Friday, 26 October 2012

Rain, Paintings, Don Bessant and Brushes

The rain is coming down hard. Today is particularly bad, but it has rained a lot recently. Although that's not entirely true - two days ago I was driving around with the roof down on my car, the sun was shining and the temperature recorded outside the pharmacy was 30°c. But summer is well and truly over. When I take the dog out at 7am I have to take a torch, and am disturbed to find the ground where we play frisbee has been dug up by wild boar. This morning though we couldn't even get to the field - the river Derridière was running and no hope of crossing it for me. The dog didn't mind - we played in the river instead.

This means that I am not out drawing, and actually am finding it hard to motivate myself out of my nice warm bed. It usually takes a ginger cat miaowing in my ear to get me up.

I have found some time to do some painting, and some iPad pics, some of which I will share with you here.

Black Flag

Red Flag

Red Flag and Black Flag - communism and anarchism. But in many ways these are paintings about painting. I have reverted to using entirely acrylic paints. It's much easier in the small space I am painting ion now. I like the textures I have made by using different palette knives. Scraping paint off gives different effects, and using masking tape to create geometrical-type shapes gives an impression of layers I like. Lots of things inspired me whilst painting. I spent some time looking at other painters' work, including Hodgkin and Hoyland, and Jim Dine. Which made me think of one of my old printmaking tutors at college, Don Bessant, who died young in the 1990s - as did two other of my printmaking tutors, Geoff Smith and Jim Chappin - very sad, and reminds me that painting with water soluble stuff is good health and safety practice - and reminds me of how sensible I was to give up smoking 8 years ago. So I googled Don and found galleries selling his prints - which is nice, and found that Wolverhampton had opened a gallery in his name, which is also nice. And found loads of pictures of him as a young man with Julie Christie - whom he dated in the 60s. Down the pub, fag in the corner of his mouth, Don would reminisce about those days over a pint. Now I'm reminiscing about him.

So after such serious research it's nice to pick up the iPad and do some more silly drawings. I usually use "Brushes" for these, and  recently was pleased to learn that a new version - Brushes 3 (what happened to Brushes 2 is a mystery) - is out. Unfortunately it has mutated into something that doesn't interest me. An iPad app aimed at people who want to produce iPad paintings that look like they have been done on paper or canvas - in other words that don't look like they were done on an iPad. I love the simplicity of the original Brushes, and don't really see the point of the new app - there are already similar apps out there - the best of which (if you're interested) is "Procreate". To show you what I mean, here are two recent Brushes pictures:

Long-horned sheep

And here's one I made with Procreate:


 Nothing wrong with it - it looks like an ink drawing of a horse. But you know what? I think I prefer to do ink drawings of horses on paper - with a pen and ink, like this:


It's somehow more alive.

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