Rob Adams a Painter's Blog painter's progress

June 14, 2016

The Simple Pleasure of Looking

Well I am free to paint and post again. My house and studio are finished and the 2 weeks of open studios over. I thought that being mewed up with my exhibition for 2 weeks would be tedious but in actuality I rather enjoyed it. It was fascinating watching people viewing my efforts. I got everyone from the systematic 10 seconds look at each picture, to the rapid skim round and leave. What was intriguing was that there was great constancy in which pictures provoked comment. After the show I put the ones that didn’t sell in a row and tried to work out what the magic ingredient was. No luck though, if I came up with a formula I’d be rich! Though other factors were also at play. I had one picture in prime position in the centre of the wall and it drew consistent comment. I swapped it for another and it then became the subject of especial interest and the previous star languished in a corner unremarked!

Other than the mostly very positive general reactions one comment stayed with me. A lady said on leaving, “Thank you I really enjoyed looking at all the pictures.” That, I thought, about sums it up. Painting is about giving others pleasure through looking. It is about distilling and getting down something that will please and arrest. By this I don’t just mean pretty, but the full spread of reaction to visual input. It is not about me expressing my inner self, pushing any nebulous boundaries, trying to educate or explore, just about producing an interesting “looking” experience. In the same way as good music induces a worthwhile hearing experience.

I sat and drew and made linocuts while people went round so here are the pen drawings.

Bicycle, London, City, pen and ink, drawing

Done from a very blurry iPhone snap taken near the Royal Exchange in London. I’m going to do a bigger oil of this though as I think it will make a good picture.

 

Wales, pembrokeshire, sea, coast, pen and ink, drawing

This is Cwm yr Eglwys in Pembrokeshire, I did this as a plan for a linocut.

 

Albert Bridge, Chelsea, Thames, London, pen and ink, drawing

A view off Albert Bridge of the Thames, it was fun trying to get the impression of fading light in pen, that water was hard work I can tell you!

 

Okeford Fitzpaine, Dorset, church, pen and ink, drawing

The full English village in Okeford Fitzpaine. Almost too pretty… I resisted the temptation to add a car.

 

Salisbury, pen and ink, drawing, cathedral

A view of Salisbury done from an extremely dark and blurry iPhone snap. It was actually taken through the side window of the car when stopped in traffic. Due to this mostly a work of imagination. A distinctly medieval mood developed so I decided to go with it!

 

Wells, wiltshire, cathedral, drawing, pen and ink

This is Wells. A busy day with 60 or so visitors so a bit disjointed.

 

Child Okeford, Dorset, drawing, pen and ink

A local view of Child Okeford, another planned linocut.

 

Kington Magna, church, Dorset, drawing, pen and ink

Last one, this is Kington Magna and yet another potential linocut. I actually stopped doing drawings and set about cutting the lino blocks so hopefully the next post will be some prints!

April 23, 2016

Taking a Break

Filed under: Dorset,Drawing,Painting,Uncategorized,Watercolour — Tags: , , , , , , — Rob Adams @ 5:16 pm

First post in a very long while. I am at present rebuilding my house and studio which has alas consumed all of my energies. At first I tried to keep the paintings coming but had to give up as there were just too many calls on my time. As I am cursed with a fair degree of practical know how I am designing it all and doing much of the work myself. Oddly I find building a brick wall almost as satisfying as painting. There is a definite link in all making activities, there is the same planning and problem solving going on and the same satisfaction in looking at the final result after a day’s work. Presumably this is the feeling that a stone age person felt upon looking at a hand axe he or she had just napped from a chunk of flint.

Looking back I think this is the longest period I have gone without painting or drawing anything for three or four decades. I do wonder if it will bring any change. I am very much looking forward to restarting and wonder how it will feel. Will I be rusty? Full of new inspiration and drive? We will find out in due course. My instinct tells me that it will be hard to get the flow going but also that the break will have done me good. In some ways I haven’t stopped. I have thought of things to paint and have been planning new work in my head. I’m not sure I am in any way able to turn off that part of my brain!

One of the reasons for the big rebuild is to be able to exhibit work in my home and have open studio days. The first of these is coming up soon and here is the link to Dorset Arts Week which happens every 2 years. Fortunately I have plenty of work framed so I don’t need to frantically prepare content, though I do have to get cards printed. The date does at least give me a deadline on the building works that I cannot avoid!

Here are a few watercolours I painted before my constructional sabbatical began.

Golden Cap, Dorset, watercolour, painting, plein air

This is Golden Cap, I have been here a few times to paint but never been very lucky with the light. This day was no exception! Very breezy and hard to paint but I enjoyed it anyhow.

 

Melbury Hill, Dorset, Watercolour, Plein air, painting

This is Melbury Hill one of the highest hills in Dorset, it was done just after Christmas on a wet and windy day. It was hard work just holding on to everything! I was lucky though as it rained on just about everything but me. Very dramatic and I wished I had brought my oils.

 

Melbury Hill, Dorset, watercolour, painting

Once home out of the weather I tried my hand at a half sheet, but not quite right, I will have another go as I like the subject.

 

Stour, River, Dorset, plein air, painting

This is the River Stour near my house. The river was swollen due to storms and looked great in the early morning light.

 

crematorium, Manston, dorset, watercolour

This is in the village of Manston near St Nicholas’ church which is the site of one of the first cremations in recent times. Needs a figure maybe.

 

Hammoon, Stour, River, hambledon hill, watercolour, plein air

This is the Stour again but near Hammoon. A great view but I am going to have to get up really early to catch it at its best.

 

Fiddleford, river stour, Dorset, watercolour, plein air

Finally here is the River Stour yet again this time at the lovely Fiddleford Manor and the last time I put brush to paper. The third watercolour of the day and easily the best.

I was then busy with organising the Wapping show at the Mall Galleries. I only sold one, but was delighted that it was one of my pen drawings that I had exhibited to test the water as it were. Drawings are hard to sell as they sit somewhere between prints and paintings.

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