Wednesday, 30 January 2008
In the public eye
It's much too cold to set up to paint outside... I've been looking to see if there's any difference in the work I do from the 'real' and from photographs.... the outdoor work might be livelier ( changing light, the call of a cup of tea or nature could lend a sense of urgency!), but the standard's no better 0r worse.
Very often a photo gives a viewpoint that the artist couldn't maintain - looking up at a building or over a wall, for example, or, dangerously! a good view from the middle of a road.
And it's still important to draw regularly from life.
Spectators can be a distraction when working in public - when I was a student I hated onlookers ("Aye, I've a second cousin twice removed who does grand watercolours, beautiful!") but working on murals and window paintings cured me of that- you just have to get on with it, too bad!
For the Tour de France in Plumelec I was painting a life-size portrait of a rider, inside on the window of a bar. As a final embellishment I started painting a ribbon in the colours of the French flag along the length of the window.
By now it was 'l'heure de l'apero' and the bar was packed. A silence fell behind me as the clients watched the painstaking progress of my loaded brush. When I'd done the final flourish, I turned round and gave a bow and a great cheer went up!
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I was told by another artist that working from photos was always 'second hand' and therefore not acceptable except if the photo was taken by the artist themselves, as it was then their vision. I admire your work so you may have dispelled this myth. Are you using your own photos or those taken by others, or both?
The short answer is that I use both, depends on the project in hand.
See my next blog for a more in-depth analysis of the criteria involved!
How on earth could you concentrate with all those people watching you painting Caroline?
Mango- I just had to get used to it! Fortunately, I have my back to everyone else when I do the windows and, in France, despite being fluent my concentration cuts out their conversations and comments. Strange though that in England I hear everything said, especially "Would you like another cuppa?".
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