Wednesday 1 May 2013

From Urban Sketch to Urban Paintings

    Salford Quays, Panorama

 The sketchbook has been traditionally regarded as a mere artist's tool, a starting  point for larger, longer real pieces, the finished paintings.
 I've long thought that it's unfair to judge the merit of a work on how long it took ... a laborious, dogged two years with a .01 brush and umpteen glazes, or  five minutes with pencil, joy and exuberance? What's worth more?

                         Here's Rubens' sketch of cows..

                       ..and here's one of his more 'worked' pieces. What happened to that left arm?

 A drawing reveals, too, a lot more about an artist than the 'greater' works- there's a lot more freshness, honesty and a disregard for painting's vagaries of fashion.
In fact, it's sometimes hard to tell exactly to which century a drawing might belong! Who's this long-haired hippy/hippie then? Answers on a postcard please, no prizes.

 I see the sketchbook as a delightful record and an unique insight into an artist's interests and character.
So..I've included my own books in my exhibition at Salford Museum and Art Gallery and, in their little display cabinets, they give life and warmth to a roomful of formal, framed, wall-hung work. The earliest dates from 1952!

There are over fifty works in the exhibition-  I was surprised and pleased that what I'd achieved fitted nicely in the gallery space. It was as though I'd planned it, and I'd never lain awake in the nights, listening to my heartbeats,  fretting about having enough to fill the huge room!

Despite blizzards on the opening night over a hundred souls braved the elements. I don't know how many got home.
 Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking' at such events... I didn't, and left the job up to the excellent Ann Bukantas, who is not only Head of Art at National Museums, Liverpool, but also a kindly friend.

                                         Ann Bukantas with Alastair Price

Many thanks to my sponsors, to all those who helped with the show and encouraged me along, and to those who supplied food for the opening- on the way out I was told it was delicious.
  Mmm! That sustaining glass of wine and two crisps certainly helped  on the 26 mile, snowbound, home-bound journey!

 Caroline Johnson, Manchester and Rennes.