Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Painting Masters # 6 Albert Kresch

The term a 'painter's painter' occurs reasonably regularly and seems to define a painter, usually in the latter stages of life and work, whom, whilst respected and known, rarely finds renown beyond a tight circle of friends, collectors and artists. This does not imply they are not 'successful'. It might be argued that their relative 'obscurity' has preserved a working life that has allowed them greater freedom to choose their own artistic pathway. Albert Kresch may well be one such of these. I've not seen his work beyond reproduction but I am reminded of an occasion when I was in the Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice. In a fine room of 20th century painting one small canvas by Emil Nolde, shone out like a jewel. I have a sense that Kresch's work is of the same intensity. Here are a few of his words in an interview with artcritical:

ALBERT KRESCH: Let me start with a couple of quotes. One is the definition of painting by Degas that I like. He says “painting is the ability to surround a Venetian red so that it looks like vermillion.” And the other is a Roualt quote, “subjective artists are one-eyed but objective artists are blind”. Now I don’t completely agree with that because I tend to feel that a painter could be both subjective and objective

Is the color something that takes form from observing the landscape, or do you find that once you are in the studio? Could you talk about your methods and how the paintings take shape?
When you’re in the landscape you’re sometimes distracted by the view. It’s necessary sometimes to pull the parts together into one complete unity. When I get to the picture later in the studio, it makes sense because you distance yourself. Bonnard talked about how he couldn’t just work straight from looking; he would turn his back to the scene from time to time. He said that Titian had the power to just look at what he does and paint what he sees at the time. I’m not that kind of painter. I believe that you sometimes need to be away from the view to get the final touches in.
I used to discuss this with my friend Bob DeNiro, who was all for just working on the painting and finishing it in nature. Bob would say to me- “Do you think Soutine would work on a landscape painting in the studio?” Well, unfortunately I didn’t get to say this to him before he passed away, but I read a memoir by Soutine’s girlfriend in which she said that he would sometimes work in the studio on these landscapes. So, I’m not alone.
Since I’ve been painting a long time, I remember a statement that Braque made: “With age, art and life come together.” When I was younger, I didn’t quite understand it, but more recently I can see what he meant. When I wake in the morning, out of the window I see the buildings, I observe the trees. At certain points in my life when I was younger, I couldn’t figure out what to do with my observations. There would be a struggle, a warfare with the painting. But more recently, when I look outside I know almost immediately the rhythms, how the colors are going to work, and what I have to do to start the painting. I think of “Hot” and “Cool” as in jazz – here meaning “Emotion” and “Formal”, where ‘formal’ is equivalent to structure. Another way to put it is “Free” and “Formal”. My artistic life has been a search for a seamless resolution, or synthesis, of the paradox in painting between structure and freedom.
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The image above was sourced from: The National Academy Museum, New York

Wednesday, 14 January 2015


This little painting (lo-res image has killed any subtlety), working title: The Blue Path, makes an entry not because it was composed to music but because I've been listening to Debussy (Arabesques) and The Durutti Column and somehow in that grand mix the arrangement of this painting seemed a little better. 

Monday, 12 January 2015

Long Drink of Silence

Long drink of silence, or so it is since I lasted posted an entry. Does this mean inaction? No, but my energies have turned to existing works that teeter at the edge of 'success and failure'. The winter season, for many reasons, is often a time of stock-taking. As in nature goodness goes back into the roots with little outward show of what is to come. I'm planning something for 2016 which will involve the continued re-visiting of old work and the production of new paintings hinted at in previous entries. I plan to extend my creative activity, which exists already, into writing more and collaborative related art/design/music projects (the image attached is a self-generated poster created as a gift). 

There are also books I'm ready to read and other little things that will propel creative thinking forward whilst maintaining the framework in which the work I do prospers.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The Uncertainty Of Painting

Sometimes you don't know what you have until it's gone. This unfinished painting now only remains as a low grade jpg file having been destroyed during a momentary failure of nerve. This isn't to suggest that all was well with it. Simply, there are times in pursuing a new direction when your reference points become momentarily obscured. It is like leaving safe harbour and watching the security of land slip away. Then you must trust in the map you are following until you make fresh landfall. Finding this image six years on I see that it held far more than I could understand at the time.

Friday, 14 November 2014

From The Archive: View to Killerton c.1998

This viewpoint to Killerton (Devon) became familiar because It was seen from Brampford Speke where my parents-in-law once lived. It looks out from an elevated position across the river Exe. The fields are prone to flooding in winter and the sky is often animated by passing storms. This painting is freely executed and, as is so often the case, lies over another. The previous image is like a geological rock striation poking through at points, revealing another history. The source of the painting is a sketchbook gouache. Below is a further sketch and I hope to post 2 more images from the 'Killerton' archive at some later date.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Jazz Guitar

Sunday evening is the new Saturday evening for those over a certain age. Though I'm not given to going down town at night I enjoyed whiling away a couple of hours in the company of a friend. One of his mates, a guitarist and former musical collaborator was doing the musical honours.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Tutela Africa and Running a Half Marathon

As an artist and designer I was asked to create a visual identity for a nascent charity that works in Mozambique amongst vulnerable children. Their name is Tutela and their goal is to create a sustainable model for long term foster care. That means helping to develop a culture of foster caring amongst African families for orphaned and abandoned children. As I personally know the founders well I choose to further my support by running my second half marathon for charity in Bournemouth recently. Great day and great event. 'Deceptive' photo included–I really was running with 11,000 others!