Thursday, 20 October 2011

A trip to the Smoke

I'm back after a stay in London, 'refilling the creative well' visiting exhibitions and museums.  The initial reason for the trip was to attend a concert at the Royal Albert Hall to see Pink Martini, who describe themselves as a thirteen piece mini orchestra - a fusion of many styles, eras and cultures. Click here to see a recording on YouTube of one of their tracks. I love this band and often have the Cd's playing in the background whilst I paint. The concert was fantastic and I hope I can get to see them play again soon.

The two top of my list exhibitions that I wanted to see were 'Degas and the Ballet - Picturing Movement' at the Royal Academy and The Royal Society of Marine Artists at the Mall Galleries . The Degas exhibition didn't disappoint, I read this in depth review last month and had been really looking forward to it. I am a great admirer of Degas, his use of colour is something that I particularly enjoy. He is also the first name that springs to my mind when someone mentions pastel and I couldn't wait to get up close to examine the marks and methods of application that he used.

There were many drawings on display which I thought made a nice change. Quite often I prefer to look at an artists drawings, sketchbooks and preparatory work than their paintings. I like to see the process behind the end product, which explains just why I do so much blog hopping. Could it be in the future that exhibitions will display blog posts next to paintings? There's a thought.... I guess it's already happening with QR codes on the labels of each picture that take you to a website which I see some places are doing. I wonder what Degas' blog would have looked like...

Also at the Royal Academy is an exhibition by Frank Bowling of works on paper, these are abstract pieces full of sensitive mark making and glorious colour and light.

On the left are some of the colour notes I made. I often make thumbnails of the colours of paintings and their relative proportions to each other. This is something that I picked up after seeing an exhibition of Joesph Albers where I saw lots of studies where he explored not only one colour in relation to another but also the effect proportion played on their relationship. It can be a good exercise to borrow another artist's colours/colour proportions and paint your own subject and style. Making the same image with one done in opposite proportions of the colours can make for interesting comparisons.

The Marine Artists exhibition is also well worth a visit, some of the artists whose work that I particularly liked were Keith Noble, Rowena Wright, Keith Richens and Ian Phillips.  The paintings that attracted me the most were the ones where the artist had painted the light, which might sound odd but a fair few had more of a focus on colour, pattern or composition. It would be hard to pick a favourite out of the show but one that caught my eye was 'Silver Sands, Long Rock' by Keith Noble. The light was delicious and whilst it wasn't a big painting it drew me in with it's sunlight from across the gallery. I spent a long time there looking at all the work (over 300 pieces) and could have spent longer but His Nibbs was in the park waiting. As it turned out I needn't have hurried as he was being entertained by these lovelies...


Bruce Sherman said...

Hi there Lisa!... Welcome back!Thank you for your visit and birthday "bestest" felicitations back to Allison!

Thank "You" too... for the heads up on "Pink Martini!! What a wonderfully enchanting and electic mix of voice... instrumentation and unusaul rhythmns. I find that even my poor typing skill improves... when done to their music! BONUS!!! HA HA!!! I am going out to search for a cd to begin my own library of their upbeat musical stylings!

Glad that your trip to "The Smoke" yielded so much in the way of pleasure and new excitement for you to carry back to the Seaside Studio!

Making art is about constant searching... exploring and reshaping old ideas and processes into whole new directions! That's what I admire about your work and your philosophy!It always seems restless... and seeking out change!

Look forward to seeing some of these new snippets of learning combine to make your... "bestest work ever!

Good Painting! Have fun!
Warmest regards,

Anonymous said...

Lisa, It has been such a long time since I visited any of the galleries in London. In fact in the last fifteen years I have been in London many times, but only at Heathrow flying in or flying out!!!! So glad I (we) can live your experience of the 'big smoke' through your words and links.

Lisa Le Quelenec said...

Hi Bruce, thank you. I hope Allison had a wonderful day. So glad that you enjoyed Pink Martini too. It was very hard at the concert to stay sitting down, for their final track they were encouraging everyone to do a conga. It was a fun night. The trip has certainly done me good and given me lots to think about... Best wishes

Hi Maggie, it's a shame really isn't it how 'stuff' gets in the way of visiting these places. Part of me thinks though that if I lived in London I wouldn't get any work done because I would be at exhibitions all the time. I'm glad that you have enjoyed the post. Have a great day.

Michael Bailey said...

Hi Lisa. So you call it 'The Smoke' too, LOL, and I thought that was a Northern thing :) Living so close (60 miles or so) I should go there more often to the galleries but it's usually with the family and they're not generally as happy as His Nibbs to wait :( Super post and nice to see the notes you made on the Degas marks!

Lisa Le Quelenec said...

Hi Michael, Glad you enjoyed the post. I'm so lucky that His Nibbs enjoys looking at exhibitions too. He has a limit though and then after that he'll slope off and find somewhere, usually the somewhere has tea and cake ;o)to sit and read.