Rob Adams a Painter's Blog painter's progress

April 5, 2022

Back off I’m Boosted…

Filed under: Dorset,Painting,Portraits,Portraits — Tags: , , , , , — Rob Adams @ 3:10 pm

Here we go, three lots of vaccine now. I am very disappointed that the claims of it giving you internal 4g reception were unfounded. It now appears that most of the news, history and the bulk of human knowledge was also all completely unfounded. It was all made up by child eating lizards apparently. One certainty is that painting is really, really hard, especially when you are out trying to paint it when the wind blowing a gale.

This is the track leading to the charmingly named Satan’s Square, probably where those child dining lizard people hung out in olden days. The sun burnt a hole in my retinas… or would have if I hadn’t worn my trusty cap. 16in by 10in Oils,

Here’s all the snow we got, it arrived after Christmas had come and gone. You can now find out if you are virus ridden with a lateral flow test… then you have to hide for 10 days in a plastic bag. I am obviously not meeting enough people as my tests remain stubbornly negative. 10in by 8in Oils.

Kimmeridge Bay, it was almost warm sitting in the sun. I seem to be painting thicker now, the change has come about slowly. I have started painting some skies by putting solid thick white on first and then mixing the colour on the board rather than the palette. This gives a brightness hard to get any other way. It is intriguing that a adding homeopathic amount of blue to the white still produces a satisfactory hue. 12in by 10in Oils

More damage to my retinas, this early in the year the light has a brilliance that is hard to catch. This is the Stour at Hanford. 14in by 6in Oils.

A frosty morning in Child Okeford. I took a photo of the frost on my way back from getting my paper and a pint of milk from the local shop. After coffee I went back to sketch it and it had all melted away. I consoled my self by painting the scene from the earlier photo. I did a lot of dragging the paint around with a rigger on this, it seemed the only way to suggest the texture without going overboard on the detail. 16in by 8in. Oils.

Over near Shillingstone, I love the moment when the new buds bring a blush of pink to the trees. From a photo done on a socially distanced walk. You don’t walk with someone, you just keep them in sight, if you want a chat you can use your phone. 16in by 12in Oils.

I decide to do some paintings of Swanage, I miss doing townscapes. Unfortunately no one wants townscapes of small seaside towns they want cities and proper grime. 16in by 12in Oils.

More Swanage, it has very grand bits of architecture that are from buildings demolished in London and taken to Dorset as ballast. 16in by 12in. Oils.

Yet more of down town Swanage. I shall have to give up and just paint the seashore bit of the town as no one will ever want these. 20in by 16in Oils.

Here we go this is the aspect of Swanage that is more likely to be a hit. I have been messing with painted frames and now lean towards framing the frame…

Another painted frame, not sure they will sell like this I really will have to frame the frame! Inner 12in Sq. Oils.

I am losing track of the waves of virus now, it is one after another… will the seventh be the largest like in the sea? We are all avoiding each other again so it is back the self portraits. Here I made the mistake of wearing a complex jumper… I won’t make that error again. Oils.

I decide to do a Memento Mori which is a very old fashioned type of picture from when people relished being told they were going to die.

More of myself… I hung this one in my loo. Here I have framed the frame… should I frame the framed frame? You never know it could make me framous.

The hair has grown again… time to chop it off. 14in by 10in Oils.

March 11, 2022

New places, same me.

Filed under: Cornwall,Devon,Dorset,London,Painting,Portraits,Thames,Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Rob Adams @ 2:05 pm

I stopped this blog a few years ago as I had got well settled in Dorset and was too caught up with a new places, new people, music, painting an unfamiliar place and the general blizzard of life. I was also short of new takes on old topics and felt I was rehashing previous posts. As I age I have more difficulty being certain of my own position on any subject, which doesn’t help with creating posts. It is perhaps bad to be dogmatic, but worse to have opinions that are so vague and nebulous as to be similar to having no opinion at all.

I had left London just as I was making headway with getting known. I was regularly in the exhibitions of the various societies and a Member of the Wapping Group. I met with others to paint most weeks. I was having fun and actually making a living at this strange occupation called painting. I threw all that away and moved to Dorset. From and urban first floor flat in Deptford to a 17th century cottage in Dorset. I still don’t quite know why, some part of me came to a turning in the road looked down it and thought, why not?

Age is one aspect, it changes the focus of your ambition. As a young or middle aged person you look at the future and wonder where you might journey. What you might achieve in the eye of the world, in other words success. This inevitably looses appeal as the future gets smaller. As Woody Allen said, “I don’t want to be immortal through my work, I want to be immortal by not dying.” When it comes down to it I have no interest as to whether my work is remembered or dumped in a skip when they clear my house.

This might sound a little depressing, but in reality it is rather liberating. All that wanting to be noticed and recognised is just a distraction really. With that mostly gone as a driving force I find I still paint just as much. Long term ambitions are replaced by short term ones, just to know whether the current painting flies or dies. The other thing that never palls is craft. How can I do this thing called painting better, differently or more subtly? How can I dance the line between what is being painted and how it is painted in a more elegant or appropriate manner?

I re-read the paragraph above and might also suggest an opposing view. Ambition is gone but what remains is mere habit. After a long lifetime doing nothing outside the visual arts I don’t know of any other way of filling my days. The hours are there and painting is a way of filling them, a pleasant distraction. In other words therapy, a way of staying sane. I find I can hold both of these views at the same time. As to which is more true and valid I have not the faintest idea or any wish to know.

Another thing that was perhaps to blame for squeezing out the blogging was music. To my surprise the music scene in Dorset is very vibrant, so music fills an ever greater part of my days. As with painting the only ways to get better are practice and refining your understanding. Music has always been a contrasting and perhaps balancing interest for me. With painting the results of your labours pile up and clutter the walls and the attic. With music the notes hang in the air for a moment and are gone.

Which brings me neatly to the purpose of this blog. It’s original intent was just to map my progress as I moved from being a commercial artist to one who painted pictures to frame and hang on the wall. From theme parks to decor. As I went along it mutated into a one person forum to help me understand what the hell this business I was engaged in actually was and how that might contrast with how I and others wanted it to be seen. That the blog became popular and others enjoyed my rather random thoughts was a complete surprise.

Over the years blogging has become supplanted by social media. Many artists now in reality paint just for their Instagram account. Is the final result of your labours a painting for someone’s wall, or a generator of likes? I understand the process, getting likes and followers gives that delicious hit of serotonin that we all love. Social media is cruel though, it moves relentlessly into the future, it leaves a trail of images that nobody ever looks at. You have to feed the monster regularly or you will be quickly forgotten. It is at root entertainment, but when everyone is an entertainer where is the audience to come from?

I look at my own account. My followers are painters… and those I in turn follow… painters too. It is not a comfortable thought, but the word ‘incestuous’ springs to mind. The other thought that emerges is that other painters are perhaps not my ideal audience. It is lovely to be appreciated by your peers and I consider their opinions on my efforts more seriously than those from others. They however are mostly not the people who are going to hang my product on their walls. I have done open studios with Dorset Arts Weeks for a few years now and those who buy my pictures are for the most part not artists, maybe they buy them because they don’t know any better.

So some pictures. What have I been up to in these intervening years? Far too many to post so I have decided on quick scoot through the missing 3 years. The last bit of 2019 before the world ended here we go.

The nearby Piddle valley has several interesting villages strung out along it. This one is about as big as I get en plein air, 24in by 12in.

Why do I paint self portraits? I have not the faintest idea. I like them done by others, I could type some guff about honesty and inner life. Are they a glimpse into the inner workings of the artist or just a painting of an old bloke on an aluminium chair? Your choice.

Sometimes I rest my camera on the dash and leave it filming as I drive through Corfe. The castle does a great reveal as you approach. 16in by 12in. I thought this one would sell but it didn’t… another one for the attic.

My last visit to Richmond, hardly been back since. I miss the Thames and the life along it. 10in by 8in.

Combe Martin. I bought a huge MPV that is half turned into a camper. This was one of my early expeditions to Devon. I started this in a patch of shadow standing in a rock pool… the sun came round and I proceeded to bake. Odd how paintings carry the memory of the day they were painted. I look at this and I can even remember the vile coffee I had at the cafe. Not in the attic, sold this one… I actually sold most pictures painted on this trip which means I should go back maybe. 14in by 10in.

You never know when you will paint a good one. It is a rare thing for me to like one of my own paintings. This was done in a rush on Bridport’s market day. I had no sooner set up than someone started to set up a stall almost on my toes. I was going to finish it off but it looked like just enough next day so I left it. Still in the attic so the buying public has different tastes to me. 16in by 8in.

Swanage, I love the old school seaside atmosphere of the place. Studio painting and on someone’s wall rather than in my attic. 20in by 16in.

More seaside, Weymouth this time. I love Dorset’s slightly faded seaside towns. In the attic this one but I still have hopes of getting it on someone’s wall. 12in sq.

I had a moment of pointillism with this one of Bath abbey. I am sorry and it won’t happen again. 16in by 12in.

A plein air sketch…

A studio version from the same day. You can now have a discussion as to the merits of each. Don’t do it in my hearing though as I don’t give a rat’s arse as to where or how a picture was painted.

Plein air, standing on a tiny ledge with the wind ripping at me and rain coming in horizontally. Guy ropes on the tripod and the painting rattling away making it hard to get the brush in the right spot.

Studio painting of same subject. Nice comfy studio, breaks for coffee. No rush an hour here and there, bit of a tune on the flute then back to it. 20in by 12in.

Last one before the pandemic hit. The Stour at White Mills. Mostly water the bit of land at the top is just a supporting actor. 12in sq.

That’s 2019 caught up with. Next we have the strange tale of what happens when you lock an old bloke into a cottage all by himself for a year or so.

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