Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Picasso's landscapes

Picasso isn't well known for his landscapes so I was surprised recently to find them a treasure trove for the art student. A striking feature (to me, anyway) is that, despite his reputation as an "abstract" artist, his landscapes have a definite sense of place, more so than many photorealist-type landscape paintings. If you're a Picasso fan this isn't surprising because as we know he aimed to intensify experience by distortion, emphasis, even caricature. So the Mediterranean landscape above is vintage Picasso and also intensely Mediterranean, from the rooftops shimmering in the sun and the deep blue sea down to the triangles of terraced garden and the potted plant on the wall. Another one is of a village called Mougins where he lived for the last fifteen years of his life. It shows a mountain landscape with lakes and tilled fields, with the muted colour conveying a sense of awe at the majesty of nature.

This is something I'd like to be better at, expressing a sense of place in landscape painting.

It's interesting too that these pictures show Picasso's mastery of and interest in depth, debunking the received wisdom that he was a flat painter (Greenberg I think, and others, can find a ref. if anyone wants it).

[Countdown: Empty pages remaining in main sketchbook = 37]

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Long Sight in Age

. . . the title of a Philip Larkin poem.

Feeling like I don't know anything any more and Philip Larkin comes to mind, for instance Ignorance, one of the very few poems which I've half memorized. A couple of pages before it there's Long Sight in Age (1955) ending in these five lines which suit my mood:

The long soft tides of grass
Wrinkling away the gold
Wind-ridden waves -- all these,
They say, come back to focus
As we grow old.

In Philip Larkin's Collected Poems

Friday, January 1, 2010

More figures (stats)

In A4 sketchbook, yesterday. Ballpoint, ink, gouache, graphite.

Happy New Year to all.

Some figures are easier than others to be sure of. For instance I can be sure of the number of sketchbook pages I've done for the OCA's Painting 3 Advanced, but I can't be sure of the time I've spent. Weeks or months don't count, it depends on hours, and hours can only be guessed at unless records are kept.

These are some figures I can be sure of, I only have to count:

A4 Sketchbook pages = 221
A3 Sketchbook pages = 47
Total sketchbook pages so far for this course = 268

I started the course properly in mid-February 2009, 11 months or 45 weeks ago, so that works out at 5.9 pages per week.

Logbook pages so far = approx 168 ( = 3.7 pages per week)

My logbook is handwritten and illustrated, about half and half words and images. If about half is words that would be 84 pages, and at c. 250 words per page that would be 250 x 84 = 21,000 words, give or take a few thousand.

I'm about halfway through the course but feel that these figures represent more than half of what I will end up with. Just a guess.

Since there is nothing to compare the figures with they don't mean much. They're just isolated facts for now. At some time they might be placed alongside other comparative figures and then they'd be more interesting.