I have been making these mark making experimental process pieces in relation the theme ‘Self and Other’, and in particular relating to the Van Gogh inspired notion that cottages are human ‘Nests’. I have been working on the Solitary Figure large oil paintings recently, and these new process pieces are kind of the opposite. I am thinking what it means to be in a very close family with children. I’ve been looking at a rather wonderful family group by Picasso that inspired me on Artstack, and did my own version in Indian Ink on top of one of my experiments. I would like to draw my own family group with a young child or baby but don’t know any. I’m sure they will come to me if its’s meant to be. I’ve also been watching the film ‘Running on Empty’ with River Phoenix which incorporates many family issues and challenges in its plot-line. Here are the experiments I made in the order I did them on this post, and the piece by Picasso, ‘Homme, Femme et Enfant’ of 1906 that inspired me is on the next post. The original Van Gogh, ‘Cottage’ 1885 that I recently saw at the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam I will share on my next post as well,
We went to Amsterdam last week as my retirement from Art Teaching treat. I was blown away by the Van Gogh museum and to see so much of the master’s work in one place. I made a sketch of one that really spoke to me and here it is. Do click on image to see marks more clearly. It was difficult to work as there were so many people, but that gave an urgency to the response I feel.
When I got home I returned to my own work inspired by Van Gogh’s use of impasto and vibrancy of colour. I wanted to add it to certain ‘zones’ and leave others very ‘thin’ as Munch often did. His work was also on show at the Van Gogh museum which was a real treat. I am familiar with so much of it as I travelled to Oslo for my dissertation as a student at Leeds which was based on Munch’s painting. Any way here is a section of my painting with the impasto marks. Got to be careful and know when to stop!
This is a companion piece to the ‘Solitary Figure on a bench in Bruges’ that I have recently completed and shared the process on this blog. I wanted it to be the same scale and had a stretcher made to the same dimensions. The composition is similar and there is a figural element suggested in the same location on the canvas as the figure in the previous piece. There the similarities end though. The influences come from all sorts of sources from the glowing embers and splits of coals in my fire to very old photographs. I never copy literally, but use them to contextualise a piece. It’s making me think about composition, scale of elements and brushstrokes, and when to stop all at once. The piece is not complete, but I am going to be careful not to ‘overdo’ things. Here are some details and the whole painting so far.