Friday, 24 February 2012

Cityscapes - and Terry Miura's Challenge

Terry Miura - Cityscapes

If you're interested in painting cityscapes, I suggest you check out Terry Miura's blog Studio Notes as he's running a challenge.  It's akin to the challenges which Karin Jurick used to run - the provision of a reference photograph and the challenge to produce a painting from it - as the artist sees it.  The difference is that participant's posts are being reproduced - with commentary from the artist - on Terry's own blog.
Cityscapes are hard to paint not only because everything has to be drawn well, but also because there's just an overwhelming amount of information that needs to be processed. Simplification is key, but arbitrary editing of detail can easily end up with a weak painting that lack a sense of intent.
Here are the relevant posts:
  • Simplify  - Terry suggests some rules he uses to simplify his cityscapes
One way to approach it is to have rules for editing –and you know by now I like rules. This way, you can do it systematically (more or less) and it helps me to get the painting going in the right direction. Here are some that I use often;
  • Decide on a dominant color theme (in this case, blue green) and mix every color as a variation of it. (you want violet? start with blue green and bend it towards violet. Think of it as a violet-er version of the original blue green)
  • Paint every element (car, tree, asphalt, etc.) in just two values. Later on you can add a third value to the more important elements.
  • Link all similar valued adjacent shapes.
  • Have a large passive area. (Forces me to have an area with NO detail, juxtaposed against which the more active areas need less "stuff" in order to look detailed)
  • Treat super sharp edges as exclamation points. Don't shout everywhere.
Here's a link to a slideshow of Terry's own cityscapes

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Places to Paint: David Hockney and East Yorkshire

The Hockney Trail is a new website which provides an insight into all the places where David Hockney has been painting in East Yorkshire - and in particular those which can be seen in the David Hockney RA - The Bigger Picture exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts

This is a major contribution to the "places to paint" theme which I return to periodically on this blog.  If I can locate the place where John Singer Sargent painted a painting, then surely it's possible to do the same for a contemporary painter like Hockney?  This website would suggest that's the case.

The Hockney Trail website
It was also bound to happen - and, as it happens, this website has done the job rather well - BUT with a major caveat (see end).

The Hockney Trail provides:
I made a few discoveries of my own.  First here are the locations I've found since reviewing the website
  • this is the location of "The Tunnel" which is the subject of a number of the paintings in the exhibition - and also one of the films.  It's on the right of the Kilham Road to the west of Kilham, going towards Langtoft.  It's a long straight farmer's track between his fields
Hockney's Tunnel

David Hockney
A Closer Winter Tunnel, February - March, 2006

Oil on 6 canvases, 182 x 365 cm
Collection Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Purchased with funds provided by Geoff and Vicki Ainsworth, the Florence and William Crosby Bequest
and the Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation 2007
Copyright David Hockney / Collection of Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Photo credit: Richard Schmidt

This is Woldgate and the location of Winter to Spring in Woldgate the major installation in the main Gallery at the RA (see yesterday's post Hockney: 51 iPad drawings on paper - Winter to Spring in Woldgate).  I estimate it's about 10 minutes from Hockney's house in Bridlington and is a brilliant spot to be able to get to quickly when the light looks good.
    • Woldgate is an old Roman Road which runs between Bessingby Hill on the outskirts of Bridlington and the village of Kilham.  
    • This is the Hockney Trail page for Woldgate.  
and this is one of the digital paintings Hockney did on his iPad in this location.

David Hockney
The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven) - 2 January
iPad drawing printed on paper
144.1 x 108 cm; one of a 52-part work
Courtesy of the artist
Copyright David Hockney

I have to confess this location hunting is addictive.  I think that's it for today - but I'll be back.......

The second thing I discovered yesterday is that East Yorkshire has the Wold Wide Web - with links to pages about all the villages in the Wolds.  How about that for an example of Yorkshire humour?

But how long will it be around?

My only query about the The Hockney Trail website is whether or not it's authorised.

It doesn't seem to have any sort of formal association with either the artist or any of the sponsors of the current exhibition at the Royal Academy.  I don't think it falls within the normal copyright exemptions for the use of Hockney images given the adverts which are visible in my other browser which doesn't block adverts (you're seeing the advert-free version - and I'd written most of this before I realised it had them!).

My current thoughts are that maybe the originator is well intentioned but maybe not aware of just how jealously the Hockney empire protects the copyright.  I think he might find somebody giving him the virtual tap on the shoulder sometime soon.  It would also appear that maybe the images of some paintings have already been taken down......

PS  I am by the way posting a scheduled post.  I'm actually currently sat in the RA having lunch with my sister after having just seen the exhibition for the third time!  Join the Friends of the RA and go as many times as you want - and take an adult family guest for free!

Links to related posts about Hockney and the exhibition:

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Hockney: 51 iPad drawings on paper - Winter to Spring in Woldgate

SkyNews have produced the first video film I've seen which provides a good view of the printed iPad landscapes of East Yorkshire as drawn by David Hockney - which can be seen in the David Hockney RA - The Bigger Picture exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts

The two rows of large "paintings" on three sides of the largest of the Academy’s Galleries (Gallery 3) are 51 iPad drawings printed on paper.  These together with an oil on thirty-two canvases comprise the installation titled ‘The Arrival of Spring on Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (Twenty-Eleven)

It's a sequence of paintings from the beginning of January 2011 through to early June 2011 - and shows the movement from the winter landscape through to the spring landscape.

A lot of the iPad drawings are done along the same road which features in a lot of the paintings
Woldgate is a narrow lane that runs from Bessingby Hill on the outskirts of Bridlington to the village of Kilham which is 7 miles away. It was on this road that David Hockney observed many different seasons and recorded what he saw using his iPad and on canvas with paints.
I'm taking my sister to see the exhibition tomorrow - it will be my third visit!  See Making A Mark - Review: David Hockney RA - A Bigger Picture

MIDNIGHT OPENINGS: 'David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture' is now open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays

See also:

Friday, 3 February 2012

"February" by Stanley Roy Badmin RWS

At the Watercolours and Works on Paper Art Fair today I saw a painting called "February" by Stanley Roy Badmin RWS (!906 - 1989)

February by Stanley Roy Badmin
I was reminded that his paintings used to be used for the series of Shell maps and the Shell Posters The Key to the Countryside which were produced when I was a child.  We used to have them up in my classroom at primary school.
Stanley Badmin was born in London. He studied at Camberwell College of Arts and at the Royal College of Art from 1924-1928. He taught at various London art schools, including Central School of Arts and Design from 1954. His work was based on the English countryside and the rural way of life, worked mainly in watercolour and pen and ink. His engravings had a distinctive carefully wrought style. Badmin contributed to numerous books, including Trees in Britain, published in 1943 by Puffin Picture Books, periodicals, adverts and posters for London Transport and Shell amongst others.
British Council - Stanley Roy Badmin
It's amazing how one painting takes you right back.  Particularly because I always used to enjoy his illustrations of the countryside.

His painting was very much rooted in the English countryside and his particular area of expertise was portraying all the different species of trees.  He produced the Ladybird Book of Trees, a Puffin book called Trees in Britain and a book called The Shell guide to Trees and Shrubs  - in which this painting illustrated February.

I found a very good version of it online and here are the links to every month - each with a different landscape of trees - enjoy!

I've just ordered a copy of this delightful book from Amazon!

There are some links below which tell you more about this very English watercolour painter of the English landscape.



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