I love it when I see an Artist’s creations and they have that much of an impact on me that it changes the way I think about my own.
In this case I’m taking about the latest episode on Colour In Your Life, featuring Sydney Artist, Sandra Blackburne which was aired in Sydney last night, and which I have now watched for the second time.
I would class myself as a ‘Beginner’ in terms of painting as my creative background has been through Photography, over the past 35 years. It started as a bit of a hobby about 5 years ago, though and I only ‘painted when I could fit in it’ as I have had other full-time occupations in that time. In January this year I decided that I would allocate 2-4 hours per weekend to my Oil painting and so far I have only missed out once, and I made sure I doubled the amount the following weekend. 😃
As I watched the episode, taking notes (as I do with each one), quite a few things resonated with me and have given me food for thought, such as:
- Sandra does a few Plein-Air sketches of the subject she paints rather than photograph the scene. She mentioned that this allows herself to ‘put more of herself’ into the painting rather than be constrained by a photograph
- Sketching with Colour Gesso is a new technique to me and watching Sandra create, I can see the benefits of doing it
- The choice of colours which creatively evoke the Australian Landscape
- The concept of layering paint which helps give the image light and life
- The colours that were used and the way that they were applied. Sandra said that ‘tightening up when painting’ signals the death of a good painter
- Using Cobalt Blue on Gum trees to reflect the Blue of the rich Australian sky
My style (if indeed I have one yet) seems to be more to ’try to paint subjects in a pictorial way.’ I remember when I did a basic Drawing course 6 years ago, the teacher said that appeared more a ‘Line Drawer’ than a ’Tone Drawer.’
Part of the challenge for me I guess is that coming from a photographic background, I’m too used to seeing subjects in a pictorial presentation rather than a fluid, abstract way, i.e. when I paint a leaf, a tree, or a building I try to capture all the detail when I don’t need to…
Looking at Sandra Blackburne’s Art I see sheds, trees and other subjects as perhaps ‘how I would remember them after a period of time has elapsed’, rather than as if they are in front of me, right then.
Sometimes I paint from photographs, sometimes from my imagination. I know which is more fun! A bridge between the photograph and the imagination is perhaps a Plein-Air sketch or two, which will then allow me to ‘put more of myself’ into a painting.
Thank you, Sandra Blackburne for your Art and inspiration. I look forward to seeing your Art face-to-face. Thanks also to Graeme Stevenson and to the team from ‘Colour In You Life’ for bringing such Art and inspiration into our Lives!
The journey to find my personal style continues…
Written by David Johnson
21 May 2016
This blog post is inspired by a Photography Exhibition I went to today.
The Exhibition featured the images of Chris Donaldson, Frank Alvaro, Ray Finneran, Enrico Scotece and Paul Dorahy, three of whom I have known personally for many years. They specialise in Medium Format Monochrome Film Photography, and develop and print their own images.
“Solitary Moments” for them are those moments when they pre-visualise the idea and image, then spend the time photographing the scene, with the camera on a tripod. It is quite likely that they may only take 1 – 4 images in a day… Their “Solitary Moments” continue in the act of developing the negatives and seeing the finished prints appear ‘like magic’ in the developing tray.
Having experienced the above, I can certainly identify with the “Solitary Moments” they are speaking about.
Shooting Medium Format Film from a tripod-mounted camera slows you down. This helps you get a feel for the scene that you want to photograph i.e. the greater connection you have with the subject the greater chance you have of communicating what you want to say. Here the pre-visualisation continues as you imagine what the final image will look like before you take the photo.
It is later, in the Darkroom that you continue the process to achieve what you set out to communicate initially.
It reminds me of the “Solitary Moments” I have and am experiencing in my aim to become a better writer of Poetry and my fledgling steps of becoming an Oil Painter.
The processes whilst different in terms of the technology used, have some parallels.
I remember on my last trip to Joadja, a historical Shale Mining town in New South Wales, Australia. I took my camera gear and a visual art diary, pens and pencils with me.
These days I shoot digital and whilst the urge was there to do what many do with DSLR’s these days, i.e. shoot a 100 shots and then move on, I decided to sit down and ‘get a feel’ for what was in front of me, absorb the sense of history whilst studying the light and possible compositions.
The pencils came out first and I began to make some rough sketches after walking around the subject. I jotted down in a few words about how I felt and what I was seeing (which later became the poem below). The camera came out next and I again walked around the scene, pausing to take it all in before I started to shoot.
“Solitary Moments” are precious things to experience.
They also come whilst I am fleshing out an idea for a poem, when I sit at my canvas and endeavour to communicate what I feel I want to say, or when I am writing a speech.
I, like the photographers in today’s exhibition are looking forward to many more…
Written by David Johnson
1 May 2016
The Bowral Art Gallery – home of the Bowral & District Art Society & BDAS workshops. 1 Short Street, Bowral NSW Australia (02) 4861-4093
April 27 to May 10 Solitary Moments – Chris Donaldson, Ray Finneran, Frank Alvaro, Enrico Scotese and Paul Dorahy.
For more “Solitary Moments” click on the following links: