Saturday, December 15, 2007
Referring back to my first blog, I briefly described the area around where I live and how this has influenced my work. While walking in the reserve a few years ago, I came across this deer skull lying in the woodland. At first I had thought that the deer had died a natural death (winter can be harsh on younger deer) but a bullet hole in the center of its skull told a much different story. Unfortunately some poaching does go on in the reserve and from time to time I hear gunshots coming from that area (I even found a hunting blind once). It was more recently that I found another deer skull lying next to the path which had had the antlers sawn off even though it was an immature deer probably only around a few years old. Still, I take my reference where I can find it. Skeletons of animals and birds are of great interest to me and I have drawn and painted them more than a few times. This deer skull above was an interesting study and I decided to paint it against a darker background which is somewhat unusual for me. One of the most fascinating experiences of the painting was discovering the intricate details of the skull along with the different tones and shadows etc. It was almost like a surreal landscape and I'm looking forward to painting this one again, but this time using a smoother paper and with a lighter background. "Deer Skull" is around 11'' X 18" and is in watercolour.
Friday, December 7, 2007
I started this painting some time ago and only recently finished it. Sometimes my work is like that - a painting can sit in my studio unfinished for weeks, months, years even. Then a feeling comes to me and I work on the piece until completion. This was a complex painting from the beginning (and very large one too) and it took me a while to work out exactly what I wanted to accomplish in the work. Some of you may recognise the statue; it's title is 'The Burghers of Calais' by Auguste Rodin. I think that for an artist, it is difficult not to be inspired by his work and from the first time I saw his sculptures many years ago, my first thought was that I wanted to do paintings of them.
Although most sculpture is designed to be viewed from the front, I found this view from the back to be the most exciting for me. I loved the hand just appearing in space on the right and the profound look of the older man on the left. But what really caught me was the afternoon sunlight almost cascading through the sculpture. The bronze had a lot of reflected light too, all of which I tried to capture but it is not a literal representation. I tried to add my own interpretation of the colours although the forms are as accurate as I could make them. This is a significant painting for me as in this work (again one of a series of paintings that I have done over the years), I finally brought to fulfilment a desire I had such a long time ago. The painting (an oil on canvas) is titled Reflection of Life and the size is 48" X 72".