Thursday, 12 March 2009


Went to a small group life drawing last night. Luckily it was easy to get to the venue in Merton.

The model was fantastic - she is from Zambia and has a very slim, elegant body. I found it difficult to see my palette of colours as I had a light focussed on my white board but not on the palette. I tried acrylics - a limited range of colours - worked OK as I found on previous occasions. I used the same technique at the Hesketh Hubbard life drawing club.

It was nice having such a small group, and we enjoyed some wine and cheese too, with bread from our local Italian Bakery at The Rush. The others in the group used pencils and chalks.


South London Women Artists Group has a web site, unfortunately I cannot get the links to work on my computer. The link appears in my text but does not display when published.
Here it is anyway

There is an exhibition at the moment, of some members work, including mine. It is at the Dulwich Library, 368 Lordship Lane, Dulwich.
My piece is a photo etching, one of an edition of 10, from a photo I took at last year's London Marathon. At the time of the photo it was pissing down with rain, and the runners were soaked. I was waiting for my son to run past - it was at Mile End, Stepney, Mile 13. My son got very wet feet and his socks caused painful blisters which spoiled the run a bit! Poor him, but I also have good photos of him with his medal, and he did a good time too.

The exibition ends on Tuesday 31 March. It is part of Southwark Council's Celebrating Women Artists month. I have not been to see it yet so cannot comment on the works. There is another group of art works at the ArtDog gallery

Wednesday, 11 March 2009


Exhbition at National Portrait Gallery - March 2009

The pictures are open to the viewer's gaze and all are impenetrable - I recalled the girls who regard the viewer in the paintings by Vermeer, with their clean, cool interiors.

I thought of the painting by Degas of the weary washerwomen, when I looked at R's painting entitled Brigid Polk. The top of her head is cut off, as are her legs.

I wonder who would want a portrait of themselves done with malformed hands, sightless eyes and yet most of the earlier black and white paintings are called 'portraits'.

No. 19 is a painting in grey of a pretty woman, and I wondered how are we to regard this image and yet remind ourselves that 'what you make represents nothing but 'itself' - a quote from the notice in this room.

The last room of this exhibition has paintings of his current wife Sabine Moritz. There are pictures of wife and small baby, and among others, a large young nude girl. Most paintings under glass. The quote on wall from R mentions 'blurring'- 'to make all the parts a closer fit'. The blurring is noticeable and the scratch marks,but still these pictures are very pretty, pastel colours, pinks, blues, greens. Paint very flat and thinned. The paintings of the baby are also scraped, perhaps to reduce the sensuality of the subject.
I wondered why he changed from the very impersonal of the earlier works to these very personal ones, was it boredom?

The earlier paintings I noted seemed totally lacking in emotional engagement - bleak. How do the gallery curators make up the blurbs on the walls - does the artist keep a written note of what he says to other artists and then produce it for them?



The evening promised to be "An Evening with our President". I had met Ken Paine at the London Art Fair exhibition last month, in Covent Garden, and I got the impression he has a friendly, scruffy, extrovert and humorous personality. After the talk and demonstration he gave last night, I still think this. He was born in the 1920s and has spent a lot of time working and travelling in New York and Europe.
The paintings which he brought were roughs in acrylic, worked with large brushes, some so worn that they had the rather wild appearance of Ken's hair, and he also used chalks over the acrylic. Portraits are his thing, and judging from his books, they are,in the main, male heads.
The demonstration was great, as he started off with a very indistinct image on a coloured sheet of paper, and then got the audience to talk about what they could see there. Afterward he worked up the image with his big scratchy paint strokes until it was more distinct, a man leaning on his hand, for instance, with a shirt, and flower in his button hole.
He emphasized that imagination is the most important thing when viewing a picture. That and the darks and lights. I wish I had had a notebook to jot down a few ideas, because some of the things he said were very interested.

Monday, 9 March 2009


at National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Lane, London
Don't expect a large exhibition! The book on sale as you go in suggests a huge collection of his work, full of the iconic black and white portrait paintings, but no, there are no more than 34 pieces on display, and of these, the last one is merely a large mirror, entitled 'Spiegel (Mirror) Mixed media, 2008'. So you can look at yourself.
There are the usual printed notices in each of the five small exhibition areas, with quotes from GR and as usual, you have to read these to get the slightest idea of what the galleryists think is behind his working. In other words you can read what they think or you can think for yourself, and in fact I did, coming to the conclusion that it was unchallenging, flat, uninteresting and lacking in the sensuality of oil painting which I love.
I went with a group of friends from South London Women Artists group
More to follow, though - I did have second thoughts .....