Monday, August 19, 2019

Films about artists - an Omnibus interview with Lucian Freud

The lovely thing about looking for past posts on this blog is I come across ones I've totally forgotten about....

....such as Lucian Freud - on film, in words and ink - which includes my efforts to draw him while he talks - and moves!
still from Lucian Freud on Omnibus by the BBC

It's well worthwhile highlighting the Omnibus interview with past master Lucian Freud conducted by jake Auerbach on the occasion of his exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in 1988. That's over 30 years ago - when he was 66.

As Auerbach says on his own blog post The first one....
It is a filmed conversation with Lucian Freud recorded at the time of his exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in 1988.

The filming took place during two early (6.30AM) sessions at the Gallery itself and was followed on each occasion by breakfast at the Quality Chop House (Quality Chop House)… which looked similar to today… if a little dirtier… but was then a cafe for the Royal Mail sorting staff from across the road; served great porridge and had fresh kippers from the down train from Scotland which arrived at Kings Cross station at 5.45 each morning.
Omnibus: Lucian Freud - available on iPlayer

More About Lucian Freud 

For those who want to know more about Lucian Freud, here is a list of past blog posts about him

Friday, August 16, 2019

Sculpture at Wisley 2019

Yesterday we went to RHS Wisley and found there is a Modern and Contemporary Sculpture Trail around the garden which includes works by Henry Moore.

The exhibition of modern and contemporary sculpture around the 240 acre garden runs until 1 December 2019.
Sculpture at Wisley 2019 features the work of seminal 20th and 21st century artists: Henry Moore, Lynn Chadwick, Tracey Emin, Phillip King, Henry Bruce and Philip Haas.
In addition - formally opening tomorrow - the Surrey Sculpture Society Trail has other works by more local artists and continues until 22nd September.

I've included images from both exhibitions below.  If you like sculpture, Wisley is well worth a visit in the near future while both Sculpture Trails are on.

Henry Moore

Draped Reclining Figure by Henry Moore
next to the Jellicoe Canal
Locking Piece by Henry Moore
next to the Lake
Large Standing Figure - Knife Edge 1976 by Henry Moore
in the Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden
This piece seems to have claimed by the kids as the Sculpture Play Park! It had kids around it all the time we were near it.

The pieces have been lent to the exhibition by the Henry Moore Foundation at Hoglands

(You can see more Henry Moore pieces at Hoglands in my blog post Sculpture in the garden at Hoglands, Perry Green and my Flickr set Henry Moore Sculptures, Hoglands, Perry Green)

Lynn Chadwick

Little Girl, I, II , III by Lynn Chadwick
in between the Walled Gardens and the Lake
Lynn Russell Chadwick, CBE RA (24 November 1914 – 25 April 2003) was an English sculptor and artist. He was known for his innovative bronze and steel sculptures of abstracted and expressive figures and animals.

Henry Bruce

There's a Giant's Chair by Henry Bruce at the top of the Mixed Borders Hill.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Paint Offs, Paint Outs and Quick Draws - in September 2019

A couple of events for those who like their plein air painting are coming up next month - in Bristol and on the Broads.
This is in addition to the normal plein air paint out days organised by the British Plein Air Painters during the summer

Inaugural Bristol Plein Air Paint Off

Central Bristol has a rich landscape ranging from the soft slopes of Brandon Park, the historical, industrial cranes and harbour, the modern architecture of Millenium Square and the traditional architecture of the cathedral and university, not to mention the iconic suspension bridge - a feast for "Plein Air" painters whatever their medium or practice may be.

Cass Arts Bristol @ 43-45 Park Street, Bristol - organiser, assembly point and exhibition holder

EVENT: Bristol Plein Air Paint Off

Jen Gash painting plein air this time last year - in the semi-finals

Who can take part

  • 50 places available (there are 35 left on the Eventbrite website as at the time of writing)
  • Minimum age for entering is 16 years. 
  • £10 entrance fee per person
  •  and it would be helpful for you to have a mobile phone so we can find you and visit you during the day!

What you have to do

  • bring your own supply of art materials, tools etc and lunch/drinks etc (Cass Art will be providing a discount for materials on the day, should you need further supplies!)
  • 9.30am  assemble at Cass Art Bristol43 - 45 Park Street, Bristol, BS1 5NL
    • to register for a 10.30 start (i.e. time needed for paperwork etc.)
    • You will be given a unique entrant number
    • stickers will be applied to your intended supports
    • you'll also be given a waiver and a permission form for photos etc
    • provide your mobile phone number so that you can be located during the day
  • 10.30am start painting (maximum canvas size of 100cm square)
  • 3.30pm - finish painting. This gives you 5 hours painting time, in total. 
  • thereafter - gather at Cass Art for preliminary judging and shortlisting.
  • 3.30 and 5pm - paintings by 20 artists completed on stickered supports will be shortlisted for an exhibition during the following week
  • 5pm - collect your paintings if not shortlisted
PLEASE NOTE: Jen Gash and Cass Art are not responsible for participants safety and wellbeing. Please make sure you have sun screen, umbrellas, food etc and are able to take care of your own needs.


There will be prizes for the following categories:
  • Young Talent Award - 16 - 21 years, to be awarded at 5pm on the day
  • Cass Art Plein Air Award - overall winner to be awarded at 5pm on the day
  • Peoples Choice Award - to be decided following a public exhibition where members of the public can vote for their favourite piece.
Prizes and judges to be announced... but there will be some lovely things !

A Brush with the Broads

A fourth annual weekend of painting activity on the Norfolk Broads which seems to invade my Facebook feed once a year!

The Broads is a network of mostly navigable rivers and lakes in the English counties of Norfolk and Suffolk.
The lakes, known as broads, were formed by the flooding of peat workings
It's back after a break of two years having run in 2014, 2015, and 2016
A Brush with the Broads™ started as the dream of local artist, Linda H Matthews, to bring artists and collectors together in an area steeped in artistic inspiration and history, the Norfolk & Suffolk Broads.
For artists to inspire, socialise, learn from and compete with each other.

EVENT: A Brush with the Broads
  • Registration / Exhibition Space: change of location, to Hall Farm Cottages - a complex of self catering cottages in converted farm buildings.
  • Dates: Thu, 26 Sep 2019, 14:00 – Mon, 30 Sep 2019, 22:00 BST
  • Organised by: Linda H Matthews
  • Event Link (for Booking tickets): A Brush with the Broads™ 2019
  • Registration: Online and at Hall Farm Cottages

Monday, August 12, 2019

If you missed Van Gogh in Britain at the Tate

Last week I visited Van Gogh and Britain at Tate Britain - and took rather a lot of photos. I've now uploaded some of these - mostly the ones of the drawings and paintings by Vincent Van Gogh to an album attached to my public Facebook Page titled Van Gogh and Britain

The exhibition has now closed and I recommend you take a look if you wanted to visit but were unable to do so.  Also if you want to read more about Van Gogh I've listed other blog posts about Van Gogh - which also contain pics at the end of this post.

It includes:

  • drawings by Van Gogh - including one where I show the mark-making close up (see above - his drawing of the garden at the asylum at St Remy)
  • self-portraits by Van Gogh - three in total
  • paintings by Van Gogh - in variou venues and across the years
  • Drawings, paintings and prints by other artists who influenced Van Gogh - notably John Constable, John Millais and Gustave Dore
  • paintings by artists influenced by Van Gogh - including Lucien Pissarro, Samuel John Peploe and Francis Bacon.
  • pictures from the last Van Gogh Exhibition at Tate Britain in 1947-8 - when they had to resurface the floors afterwards due to the number of people who visited
You need to look at each photo individually to see the caption - and I haven't quite finished these but have done most of them - and with some that are not finished you can read the wall caption which is also in the photo

READ (a lot!) MORE

You can also read the Guide to the exhibition on the Tate website - but you'll need to be quick as for some reason the Tate does not archive its exhibition and educational material!

PLUS my blog posts from my Van Gogh Project - which do not date - and are included below (Introduction to the Van Gogh Project)

Van Gogh and Drawing

"I sometimes think there is nothing so delightful as drawing." Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890)

Van Gogh's Paintings

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Sarah Wimperis talking and teaching about how Van Gogh paints

A big shout out to my friend Sarah Wimperis who was the artist commenting on the Official Audio Guide to Van Gogh in Britain at Tate Britain - and talking about the Van Gogh paintings and how they are painted.

All the people with the headsets on are listening to Sarah Wimperis
commenting on how Van Gogh painted this painting - Starry Night (Arles, August 1888)

I finally got to see the exhibition last week having only just realised in time that it was about to finish!  (I hate the crowds at the beginning and have to endure the crowds at the end when I forget to make a date to go after the beginning and well before the end!)

I posted the above photo to my FB account and Sarah commented with Those people with headphones are listening to me!

I thought she did brilliantly - highlighting aspects of the painting which just don't come through when curators or critics talk about them. 

What I liked was she talked about how careful he was - in terms of the colours used and his brushwork.

For example, in relation to the Starry Night Painting (Arles 1888), the caption, by the curator says one thing

While Sarah - on the Audio Guide - is talking about LOOKING at:
  • how many different blues he has used for the sky to demonstrate that a sky is not always a flat colour
  • how he has always made sure his brush marks reflect the contours or form of the object he is painting e.g. the broad brush marks for the ripples in the water are all horizontal
LOOK AT: the various colours used in the night sky and the horizontal brush marks he made for the water

That's because she spent several months in 2017 painting 788 paintings exactly like Van Gogh for the total of 65,000 needed for the film 'Loving Vincent'! (see example of four frames).

Sarah was the only English artist out of 125 artists from all over the world - and hence a natural choice for the audio guide!

You can see something of what she did on her website - on the Loving Vincent page

Learn to paint like Van Gogh

Having learned an awful lot about how Van Gogh painting, Sarah now includes tuition for those who would also like to paint like Van Gogh in her portfolio of painting workshops. 

Check out the workshops section of her website for more details. 

I just rang her to tell her about this blog post and she tells me that her tuition dates for next year will be going online within the next week!

In the meantime she is providing painting tuition in oil and gouache on painting holidays and workshops this year in:
  • Provence - August 31st - September 7th 2019
  • Norfolk - September 22nd - 26th 2019 - already sold out

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Sea Star: Sean Scully at the National Gallery - closes 11 August

Yesterday I went to see the exhibition Sea Star: Sean Scully at the National Gallery.

On my (public) Making A Mark Facebook Page (i.e. you don't have to be a member to look) you can see a photo album of pics I took in this free exhibition in the Basement Galleries of the National Gallery (just beyond the Expresso cafe)

Below is a VIDEO which you can also in the lobby area before you enter the exhibition - which shows you and tells you why and how he makes his artworks - and why JMW Turner's painting of ‘The Evening Star’ is also in the exhibition.

Works by Sean Scully in the show include:
  • oil on linen
  • oil on aluminium
  • pastel on paper
  • etchings, aquatint and spitbite on paper
Arles Abend Vincent by Sean Scully

detail of one of his pastels on paper

Landline Star and Landline Pool viewed either side of JMW Turner's painting of ‘The Evening Star’ 

Triptych - Etching, aquatint and spitbit on paper  by Sean Scully

The exhibition continues until 11 August so you better move fast if you want to see it in person!

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Why the Smithsonian now owns paintings by Bob Ross - but few others do!

Trust me - you'll enjoy this! 

It's a happy little video about what happened to all those Bob Ross paintings that he painted - before, during and after "The Joy of Painting".

Published by the New York Times on 12 Jul 2019, it's already had more than 6 million views.

Did you know you can't buy a Bob Ross Painting?

That's because it has never occurred to Bob Ross Inc. to sell them.  The company which looks after his artistic estate is based  P.O. Box 946, Sterling, VA 20167 - but the building is closed to visitors and the paintings are all boxed up inside.

Bob used to paint three paintings for the famous The Joy of Painting television show
  • one before the show - as a reference
  • one during the show - in 26 minutes flat. Sometimes he introduced last minute improvisations. 
  • one after the show - for use in the "how to" instruction books
According to an analysis by the website FiveThirtyEight, Mr. Ross painted in 381 of the 403 episodes of the show (the rest featured a guest). If three versions were made of each of those paintings, at least 1,143 originals would exist. Bob Ross Inc. estimates that it has 1,165 paintings stored on site. New York Times
However his paintings never seem to come on the market.

This article perhaps best reflects why people love Bob Ross and want to buy his paintings - I Spent Two Months Trying to Buy a Bob Ross Painting Because Nothing Makes Sense Anymore

The New York Times set out to solve the big mystery of why you cannot buy a Bob Ross and wanted find out how many paintings there were - see Where Are All the Bob Ross Paintings? We Found Them.

The consensus now is that there are 1,143 paintings associated with the show which were painted by Bob Ross.  It's surmised that there may also be paintings in existence which he painted as an instructor outside the TV show and in demonstrations - but that number is unknown. There are also the paintings he made before he started on TV.

The Smithsonian offered to take some of his paintings - and as a result, in 2019,  Bob Ross Inc. donated an array of artwork and artifacts to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and the paintings and other objects officially became part of the museum’s permanent collection on March 22. You can see the paintings that were donated in the New York Times article.

Two exhibitions of paintings by Bob Ross

This year Bob Ross has paintings in two exhibitions in the USA.  Quite how the paintings were extracted from Bob Ross Inc. is a story which still needs to be told....