Sunday, March 13, 2016

White Pears #22

'White Pears #22'
20" x 16"/oil on canvas/March 2016

As featured in a state of progression in the previous post, (re)presenting the finished painting of the latest composition, brought to an impastoed resolution over the course of the weekend with The Fall’s ‘The Real New Fall LP (formerly ‘Country on the Click’)’ and My Bloody Valentine’s ‘m b v’ for accompaniment.



Monday, February 29, 2016

White Pears #21

'White Pears #21'
oil on canvas/20" x 16"/February 2016

Completed over the course of pre- and post-lunch painting sessions on Saturday afternoon (nobly foregoing the not inconsiderable temptation to attend the competing attraction of the local Gresford Athletic v Holywell Town football match – congrats to the mighty Colliers on their late winning goal – in order to devote the time to artistic pursuits, as one must, of course), (re)presented here is the latest production off the easel, as previewed last Thursday in its in-progress state. The subject-object pears have been worked up to a loose, textured finish (somewhere between the pre- and post-New Year painting technique) in order to preserve an attempt at a certain ‘freshness’ of facture, although they’re no less considered and actively observed, with minor adjustments made to the horizontal (particularly) and vertical planes upon/against and ‘tactile space’within which they reside.

All this activity was performed to the aural accompaniment of The Caretaker’s albums ‘An Empty Bliss Beyond the World’ and then ‘Patience (After Sebald)’, the former with its genesis in samples from old pre-war dance hall 78rpm records and the latter, which serves as the soundtrack to Grant Gee’s documentary film of the same title, from Shubert’s ‘Winterreiss’, each source then subjected to a process of sonic manipulation and degradation (in part utilizing the surface crackles from original vinyl discs) that allows disembodied fragments of the originals to emerge from and then become consumed again by a dusty haze of electronic white-noise, an ever-fascinating listen, both haunting and bleak and yet warm and human, a wonderful mix of the digital and analogue, and an excellent soundtrack to the old painting practice.



Later, to celebrate the completion of another painting, our favourites Atletico emerged triumphant from the Madrid derby, a fine end to the day indeed.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Work in Progress...


Breaking with tradition here to present an image of a painting in unfinished, in-progress state, with this particular composition involving not a change in direction but at least orientation, and canvas size, to accommodate the ‘two level’ idea proposed and explored in a few photographic studies blogged recently

Monday, February 15, 2016

White Pears #20

‘White Pears #20’
oil on canvas/10″ x 14″/February 2016
Completed earlier today following sessions of substantial progress  on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, (re)presenting the latest painting off the easel, a composition of three of the recently re-modelled whitewashed pears.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Special Saturday (and a Bit of a Wobble)

A browse of the afternoon’s football results is of course an essential activity on a Saturday evening, circumstances permitting, and was yesterday rendered particularly pleasurable as not only the team to whom we are irrevocably yoked, Wrexham, won (2 – 0 at the Racecourse against Bromley in the National League) but, browsing through and down the leagues,  it transpired that all our Northern favourites had too – Stalybridge Celtic 3 – 0 at Boston and Gainsborough Trinity 2 – 0 at Hednesford in the National League North; Blyth Spartans 5 – 0 against Ramsbottom United (with the stupendously-named Wilson Kneeshaw scoring all five goals) and Marine, 2 – 1 against Matlock Town with a brace of added-time goals, for the first time since November, in the Northern Premier League Premier division and, just below in the NPL Division One North, Mossley indeed running riot in a 7 – 2 romp at poor old New Mills (who have but a solitary point to their name from 25 matches this league season) and Northwich Victoria surpassing even that with an 8 – 2 pasting of Droylsden. Happy days and, given this, today the excellent Non-League Paper had to be purchased to celebrate such. Below is evidence of how the publication reports the Mossley and Northwich Victoria goal-fests.

But that’s not nearly all, as this edition of the Non-League Paper also carries a fascinating article detailing the mighty Jah Wobble’s support of non-league football and particularly of his now-local club Stockport County (who unfortunately have of late fallen even further than Wrexham), which, to someone who has ever been a fan of the great man’s work with PiL on the early 'Public Image' and 'Death Disco' singles and first two studio albums, particularly the seminal and still extraordinary ‘Metal Box’, which begins with the deep throbbing rumbling foundation of Wobble's bass guitar and is thereafter driven along by it, makes him even more admirable and groovy.
Of another of the lower league football teams in whom we’ve come to take an interest and have indeed recently featured on this blog, our local heroes Gresford Athletic’s scheduled Huws Gray Alliance match at Mold Alexandra was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

White Pears #19

'White Pears #19'
oil on canvas/10" x 14"/February 2016

Completed this very afternoon, the latest painting off the production line but the first one of the year following our pre- and post-Yuletide/New Year lull. Previously featured in its nascent, underpainted state, this still life composition features as its subject/object matter three of the recently re-made/re-modelled pears, whose finger- and thumb-faceted, handmade surfaces encouraged, via close observation, a revision of the painting technique from the broader approach employed towards the latter part of last year, a slight calming of the rigorousness of the brushstrokes and a more apparently contemplative approach to the painting.
Currently reading Janet Abramowicz’s ‘Giorgio Morandi: The Art of Silence’, with a great deal of relish and interest, certain aspects of this fascinating artist’s practice obviously chime with my own concerns, not least his commitment to seriality and, in the words of James Thrall Soby as quoted in the book, Morandi’s conducting of “persistent research into form and space within a narrow iconographic range”, something I fully intend to continue – these white pears as observed against and upon a white ground obsess me as an artist.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

When Saturday Comes...(Drawing a Blank)

A bright but cold Saturday afternoon and, procrastinating over progressing with the painting, quite shamefully considering the rare lovely quality of available daylight in the ‘studio’, the lure of a football match but a short stroll from home proved the greater attraction, what with it being a clash between the local village team and the one from the town where I was not born in Yellow Submarinesque fashion but at least raised and to which I returned some years later to reside for a while.

Gresford Athetic v Flint Town United (who once featured as the football club ‘Badge of the Day’ when the collection was being paraded here on TOoT back in the day) in the Huws Gray Alliance was the event, an affordable £3 the admission price, and there follows a brief photo sequence of the experience/entertainment.

This particular fixture was in fact the second visit of the season to take in a match at Gresford’s Clappers Lane home, the first being for what transpired to be Athletic’s thrilling 4 – 2 victory over the wonderfully-named Holyhead Hotspur on the Saturday before Christmas, a dank day indeed but enlivened by our local heroes’ gutsy comeback from 1 – 2 and a man (unfortunately sent off by an over-officious referee) down, just the sort of performance to encourage the punters, or at least this one, to return for more, both for its own sake and in preference to attending a match a little further up the road and football echelons at Wrexham, as we had done earlier in the season for the visit of the mighty Gainsborough Trinity.

Anecdote duly delivered, back to this Saturday and a little visual evidence. To begin, we feature the small covered stand at the Clappers Lane ground, with the dug-outs to either side, home team to the left, the visitors to the right (contrast this with the comparative grandeur of the facilities at Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground and the supposed glamour of e.g. the over-hyped FA Premiership).

The opposite view, from the covered stand side of the ground, of the teams taking to the pitch, Gresford in red, Flint in their traditional black and white stripes. To digress briefly, and by way of a curious coincidence, the very first football match of which I took notice was the 1974 FA Cup Final, as televised, contested by Liverpool and Newcastle United, teams wearing similar colours, Liverpool eventually being the victors by 3 – 0: a portent for today’s match, perhaps..?
First-half action, watched by a healthy crowd of around 70 spectators (including a contingent from Flint) dotted around the perimeter railings and in the stand, Flint on the ball, largely in control of possession and proceedings during the early exchanges but without creating much at the business end, Gresford dogged in their attentions, well-organized and grafting, closing down the space.

One of a number of corner kicks to the home team, now applying occasional pressure of their own, all coming to nought, alas.

The referee in control of a feisty encounter, the Flint management duo keenly observe proceedings with much vocal encouragement and opinion offered (throughout) with a choice selection of ‘industrial’ language.

Spot the ball – oh look, there it is, up yonder! The respective number 2s double-up as the tower of the village’s imposing church peeps over the roof of the Memorial Hall in the distance.

A second-half free-kick to Gresford in what might be a dangerous position. The Flint goalkeeper lines up his defensive wall in readiness. Again, the opportunity proves unproductive.

Events proceeded with the occasional effort on either goal, Flint’s custodian making a fine save at one point to deny the home team and Gresford defending their goal staunchly when called-upon, but ultimately it was all to no avail, and a hard-fought match ended goalless, honours even, time to return home and gain some respite from what had become the bitter cold.



Monday, January 25, 2016

A Walk in the Woods

Yesterday’s constitutional around ‘our’ local woods brought a most intriguing encounter of the fictional kind, as the photo sequence below is intended to illustrate.

Taking a route up a wooden ‘staircase’ to a viewpoint, I noticed from a few steps below what appeared to be a page of paper and, upon reaching the site, stopped and stooped to inspect further, to confirm that indeed it was, more specifically printed matter, a leaf that had become unbound from a book . Continuing the ascent, rounding a corner in the stairway and then gaining the top steps, turning again to view the summit of grass and moss and trees, and in the midst of the tangle of branches and twigs of a bare bush, the sight of what was obviously a book, very likely the substance of the volume from which the just-encountered pages had become unbound, one assumed. Approaching up the rise of the hill, to the viewing area and the immediate location of the bush, closer inspection was possible. As can be observed from the photographic evidence, the book was of standard paperback format, its spine cracked and, lodged within the branches of the bush, the text open at page 305, the beginning of Chapter Fifteen, ‘The Lion’s Den’. Flurries of wind at this elevated point regularly blew this leaf over to reveal the following two pages of print, facilitating a little further glimpse into this lion’s den, before fluttering back down to rest, momentarily.

Curiosity of course dictated the disturbance of the book from its perch in order to discover more, precisely what its title and author were at least, thus revealed to be ‘Fallen’ by the hitherto unknown-to-me Lauren Ka..(te, as it proved to be in totality), the surname truncated by the physical fact of the bottom right corner of the cover having been torn off in addition to its missing pages. Such a title might fancifully complicate the mystery of who might have left the book in such a place and why – was it intimating that the object had indeed fallen, from the sky, from what- or wherever, to land in the midst of the bush, perhaps..?

Whatever the circumstances, they could be mulled over during the continuation of the walk. The book replaced within the bush, I set off to descend the wooden steps only soon to be distracted again, by the sight of another unbound page, near the top of the stairway, more of the story unfolding…



Sunday, January 24, 2016

(A) Painting-in-Progress

Following the ‘purposeful play’ indulged in yesterday afternoon (see the previous ‘All White Now…’ post) and the at-handness of one of a pair of already-stained smaller canvases, a decision was taken to proceed with the simple and familiar composition pictured below, as at least underpainted in Payne’s Grey acrylic before the natural light faded and work was thus brought to a close.


Saturday, January 23, 2016

All White Now...

Newly-remodelled white pears, as previously posted, and new white ‘Billy’ bookcases as a ‘studio’ storage solution suggested that both could be combined, in Edmund de Waal-inspired configurations with a view to providing suitable compositions for a new batch of ‘white’ still life paintings. A few examples, with subtle variations, in placement, viewpoints. etc…