Series “doubts and fears”

 

Painting speaking of the questions I ask myself.

The first one is “Sleepwalking“ on dark waters, the second one is entitled “precipices and fears”. Sounds a bit melodramatic, but then I’ve never been good with words…

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sketchbook stuff

Rainy day, cloudy mind. I work on a few new projects, one of them is to look for inspiration in the works of great masters. I did that Van Eyck thing last week, this time I’m studying Michelangelo’s paint jobs.

At the same time, I reconnect with my sketchbook. To be honest, I have several sketchbooks. They’re all more or less empty. Each new one is sort of a promise I make to myself, just to forget about it 2 days later … I read many things about other people’s sketchbooks. Some of them are actually genuine pieces of artwork.

Mine are not. They’re fast sketches, trials, loud thinking. I doodle more than I actually work. But then that’s ok, because looking at these errors make me evolve in my apprenticeship.

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Here are a few examples. They are scratchy, messy and very approximate. But then, that’s what they’re supposed to be: sketches.

By the way, the blue lady is my interpretation of Michelangelo’s Sixtin’s chapel ceiling. I hope he doesn’t mind too much my ugly version of a masterpiece. I did the same with De Kooning’s “palisade” :

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It’s when I try to copy these paintings that I understand why these guys are considered geniuses and not me …

De Kooning’s color choices are so unbelievable. Each time I look at his paintings from the late 50s I am just blown away. Kandinsky predicted that sort of absolute skill of the use of colors in his book “About Spirituality in Art”, way back in 1921. He died in 1944, which means he didn’t get to see these pictures. But I’m sure he would have been just as amazed as I am today.

Looking at all that human beings have produced as art is very soothing. Ever since we started to paint on cave walls and on pottery, mankind has played with that idea of spirituality in beauty, beauty in art and spirituality in art. The definitions may be numerous and diverse, but the sheer fact that so many people get involved with the question is reassuring. Especially today, as some old ideas we thought forgotten and stored away come back. I speak about fascism, religious fanaticism and the myth of war heroes. After what happened during the first half of the 20th century, you might have thought we learned, but the news tells us every day we didn’t. A racist party in the German “Bundestag”, an American President menacing to wipe out North Corea, countries trying to obtain nuclear weapons at any price, …

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If it weren’t for artists, mankind would have disappeared since centuries. Artists like Michelangelo, Picasso, De Kooning, and, and, and, … are there to remind us not to forget that human beings are able to do so much more than just kill, conquer and kill again.

Well, it still rains outside. I think I’ll return to my sketchbook…

Have a wonderful peaceful week, and let’s make ART not war.

Going new ways

 

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Here’s what I am working on, these days.

I know it looks weird. I don’t know where this kind of painting will take me. I can’t even really say if I like it or not. A dead-end road?

Well, I promised myself to go for new discoveries, to leave old and known paths, and this sure looks like I was on one genuine new road to wherever … If I turn around and run back home now, it might not be the best idea. So I guess I might as well continue.

I started a second painting. That one is even more bizarre. In fact, I think I tried to reproduce what happened with the first one. Useless to say it didn’t work. Shortly after beginning to mix my colors I got stuck. And I mean STUCK.  Even though I tried all of my “tricks” like scratching and covering up, I can’t seem to find my way out of the disastrous maze I’m in.

Some artists are anxious in front of a white canvas, I’m lost in front of a multicoloured no head no feet something.

Here it is :

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It’ll take a while to bring this one back to life!

 

I’ll let you know …

 

Lucca Madonna

I studied the 15th century painting “Lucca Madonna” by Jan van Eyck the last 3 days trying to understand it.

Then I tried to transpose what I noticed into a more abstract version of the mother and child theme. The thing that I found most amazing is the dialogue between the red of the robe and the pale green of the walls. I also noticed the simple composition van Eyck used by constructing his painting around a diagonal cross structure. If you trace the 2 diagonals you’ll find that the exact center of the picture is represented by an orange colored sphere in the baby’s left hand. Maybe a fruit…

So when I started to paint I used this as the basis for a simplified version of the masterpiece. I also decided to apply a technical trick often used by Francis Bacon. It’s a cage type outlining of the

space occupied by the main subject.

Even though my painting doesn’t have ( and by far ) the elegance of van Eyck’s work, I’m quite happy with the result. And anyways, it was fun to do. Just copying the art of others is not so interesting to me. I prefer trying to make the essence of the picture the real aim to reach.

Emotional landscapes

I keep experimenting with colors and emotional expression. Little by little I seem to be able to let them out more easily. The complex combinations in contrasts and color balance is what gives me the most satisfying experience.

De Kooning, Soulages, Rothko, Pollock and so many others have gone that way. Not that I want to compare myself with these “monsters”. I wouldn’t dare. But I think I begin to understand what drove them. At least a little.

Meet Thelma

Thelma lives in my cherry tomatoes. I say “my” tomatoes, but I’m sure she thinks it’s hers.

And as 🕷 I pick some of my (her) tomatoes I see that she’s not alone. Her 🕷 children live there too.

I call her Thelma because 🕷 she reminds me of one 🕷 the books I read to my children when they were younger about Thelma, the 🕷 spider. Really, I don’t remember what the story was all about but I liked the name. I’ll have 🕷 to find the 🕷 book for my grandchildren. Zoé, my daughter tells me I don’t have to hurry to do so, she and her boyfriend seem not ready yet to read stories of spiders 🕷 to anyone.

But I won’t tell that to Thelma …