Keeping paintings

Getting paintings ready for my show with Fairfax at the end of the month and each image that comes up for framing I don’t want to let go of. Its either the photo does not capture the colour or the pallet I want to save to use for another time. I need the real thing not an on screen replica. Its like they are part of something not yet done and selling them would break it up before it’s come to anything. I have had them for ages now and never let anyone buy them, I need to give myself some time to use these sketches in colour for bigger paintings and then may let them go. But for now this pallet, this reaction to life, in front of life is not the painting, it only informs the future one and for now will not go in the show.

Shouting not Singing

Three new block people for Nick Woolff, these will be going to his American art fairs this year.

This last piece ‘Man with mouth open’ I called ‘Shouting not Singing’ after the poem ‘Not Waving but Drowning’ by Stevie Smith. In the end it remains the descriptive title as sometimes I think its best to let the viewer make up their own minds, it will be their sculture after all. 
If you follow the link below you can listen to her talking, she has the most amazing voice and what she says resonates strongly with me and my work
“They are written from the experiences of my own life, its pressures and fancies, and they arewritten to give ease and relief to me: while they are being written I’m afraid nobody
else comes into it at all. I want to get something out that is working away at me. I
think pressure is the operative word here: the pressure of daily life; the pressure of
having to earn one’s own living, possibly at work that is not very congenial; the
pressure of one’s relations with other people; the pressure of all the things one hears
about or reads about in philosophy, history and religion for instance, and agrees with
or does not agree with; the pressure of despair. And the pressure too of pleasures that
take one’s breath away – colours, animals tearing about, birds fighting each other to
get the best bit of bacon rind. And the funniness of things too…”
Stevie Smith

Paintworks 2008 – Studio

In November 2008, I put on a large show in the Paintworks Event Space, you can view films from the event here.

Below is an interview piece written in the lead up, plus some images of the studio to go with it.

Walking into Carol Peace’s studio feels like arriving at a party in mid-flow. There seems to be people everywhere – some huddled close together and whispering, others striking a pose at various points around the room..

Of course, the sculptor is the only one living and breathing. Carol scampers busily from one side of the room to the other, attacking her working day with all the fretful bustle of Lewis Carroll’s White Rabbit. The unflinching statues all watch her calmly..
Carol’s creations have a poise all of their own – elegant and caressing, they weave around each other like a room of bronze and resin lovers. Beside the door, two larger-than-life figures tower over visitors. The piece, simply entitled Precious, depicts a couple sitting side by side, his arm holding her affectionately around the waist..

“It’s all about that reassuring sense of feeling somebody else’s skin touching yours,” Carol explains.

“Everyone wants to have somebody special in their life that they can just be with – who they can just hold. I think that feeling’s pretty universal. That’s precious to everyone.”.

Carol pauses to look at the statue, before turning back to attack the job of tidying her studio. Moments later, she’s up a ladder, working on a wire framework in the shape of a flowing dress..

“I’ve had this idea I’m experimenting with,” she explains from on high. “It may never come to anything, but I’ve got this image of people walking into a gallery and looking up at the dress from below.”.

David Clensy 2008

Paintworks 08

I wanted to document some of the ideas, thoughts and inspirations that were going around in my head as I led up to the show at Paintworks 08.

My starting point has been drawing and the Bristol Drawing School. Drawing a lot and often is like refreshment, its invigorating, inspiring and reviving. It is something that I should have always done more of, can never do enough of. It is like a fantastic foundation on which everything rests and draws from but without you necessarily realising it.

See note 1 on drawing

I used to always do large drawings in the life room but have found through doing a lot of drawing they have become smaller, they do seem to be studies. It is not so much about making a beautiful drawing, more about trying to really see what’s there, really learn, through repetition about the human form. The volumes, the angles, the flesh and how bone pokes through towards the surface. To me these more intuitive drawings do in fact make a ‘better’ drawing, more interesting and definitely more useful.

I still do the charcoal drawings in the life room and will be showing some of these also.

I have also been reworking drawings that I have done at the Drawing School. It’s like an unwritten rule for me not to touch the work once the model has moved but now I do not seem so precious about it. I am still not sure what to think about this process though, without wanting to get too dramatic about it, it’s like a fear of loosing the truth. Here is one of the more successful ones though, I showed it at a recent show ‘Drawing Matters’ in the drawing school and someone said it had more of me in it. I am undecided as some are not successful but will have another play at it all the same, any drawing seems to connect to that part of the brain that refreshes, opens.

See note 2. on drawing opening you up

This amount of drawing has given me the courage to move on, push things further. I have never been able to paint from drawings I guess I have never had the courage to just use my own work as reference. Although I always use my imagination and knowledge gained in the life room to make sculpture, painting from drawings has always seemed unattainable. Now I seem to be able to guess where the information is missing, which is what I do solely in making sculpture. Painting, while still a huge challenge for me seems more approachable now.

This drawing was done at the Drawing school and then later I used it as reference to make this painting, which will be on show in November. It is 8ft x 4ft and I enjoyed the marks moving from small movements of the hand going to large movements of my arm and body. I try and do the majority in a long day or two; any longer I think the spontaneity would go, I hope to do a couple more before November.