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RED4 2

 

Red is passion, courage, revolution, luck, blood, sin, fire.....

It is scarlet, cadmium, crimson, pink, burgundy, red earth.....

Red gets noticed.....

A red painting (or 2) - abstract, figurative or somewhere between- awaits all participants on the course.

It's no coincidence I've been working with red recently! - the course is definately going ahead, I've just booked my train ticket. I've even started a new Red 'Porthleven' painting today Unquestionably, Matisse's 'The Red Studio' has had an enormous influence on my own work. Red is everywhere, it floods the canvas, disrupting space. The world is not the same anymore....

 

matisse red studio 2
'The Red Studio'

One of my red paintings......

 

City of Glass 8 The Red Notebook 150x120cms
'City of Glass 8 - (The Red Notebook)'

Porthleven 23
'Porthleven 23' 40x30cms

 

A smaller piece, this might well be finished. Love the sea/paint/sea/paint/sea.......edges breaking down....Reds from cadmium/indian-red/geranium/burnt sienna- more prep. for the 'Red' December Workshop in Canterbury!

 

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detail

 

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DSC 0110web
'D.C. - (Diamond City)' 168x132cms

 

I have enjoyed looking at this painting again in the studio, triggered by a recent re-reading of ' Shame the Devil' by George Pelecanos. He has written a brilliant series of crime novels set in Washington DC. I can't remember which particular novel I was reading, but this 2003 painting from the Americascapes series, originally highlighted the locations of all the murders, using the repeated motif of a gun.

My own personal experience of Washington is non-existent - just a few minutes in the train-station! During my travels around the US, I had an Amtrak Railpass which was about to expire and I had to be back in New York by midnight, so when I got to Washington I had to stay on the train. In a sense, i have got to know the city through the novels of George Pelecanos.

In my work, I have always been fascinated by the 'shapes of places' and the almost-diamond shape of Washington had to be taken on. In the hands of politicians, planners, cartographers, a few drawn lines on a map become reality- the diamond of Washington, the capital, distinct from all the rest. Even within the diamond, the city is divided into four quadrants, like a kite, NW, NE, SW, SE. shown in the detail below, and centered in the painting.

 

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detail 1

 

I love the colour and the composition in this piece - the placement of the diamond - and the subversion of scale with the out-sized Washington Monument, whose angled top echoes the diamond. To give a true sense of scale - to help judge how big the city is- I've put in the runways of Ronald Reagan airport (detail 3) close to the meeting of the Potomac and Anacosta rivers.

 

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detail 2

 

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detail 3

 

Arizona and DC
'Arizona' and 'DC - (Diamond City)' at the Michael West Gallery

Penzance 9 30x40cms 2011
'Penzance 9'   30x40cms

 

Another Penzance painting that changed dramatically- the only constant the rose-colour of the Inner Harbour. I enjoyed highlighting it's house-shape, echoed by the images of the Lifeboat Station and concertinaed warehouses. I don't usually care or remember the paintings underneath but I'm still very fond of 1, below. It was my demonstration painting in my very first Freedom in Painting workshop at the Penzance School Of Art - I was new to teaching and talked too much and one of the artists left after 10 minutes saying she was 'going home to paint'!

 

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Penzance 2
'Penzance 2'   150x120cms

 

The still center in 'Porthleven 22' brought memories of this painting - a wild night in Penzance when it seemed the town was about to be overwhelmed by the sea. Penzance 2 was shortlisted for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2012.

As usual the painting changed orientation several times during the process, hence the two lighthouses in the detail below! Male (structure) and female (the sea) in battle. Curiously, towards the end, when I was asking friends which way up it should go, opinion was split by gender, with the majority of females i asked preferring it with the left hand side as top and all the males liking it this way.

Throughout my career, I have intrigued/obsessed with the shapes of places and how that shape can define their uniqueness. With Penzance, I was particularly interested with the house-shaped inner-harbour which appears in a different position in each of the paintings in the series, the lighthouse pier moving round like the hands of a clock. Looking at it now, sea-shape in the earlier version lookjs like a creature, a sea-horse? The almost-diamond shape remains, now it's like a spinning top, the painting full of movement. 

 

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in progress