Friday, 29 June 2007

Anna Ticho's landscape drawings

I was in Israel - Jerusalem - this spring, meeting up for a holiday with my two longest friends, Irene and Katrin. Irene has been living in Jerusalem for a couple of years. On the first day, after I arrived to glorious sunshine in the morning, we went to the Anna Ticho house.

Its upstairs exhibition of Israel's most famous female artist is a branch of the Israel Museum. Anna Ticho and her husband moved to Jerusalem from Vienna in 1912 and lived in the building since the early 1920s. Ticho spent the following years producing a range of intricate drawings and prints of the landscape surrounding Jerusalem: barren hills, the Jerusalem Forest - some of them are sweeping lanscape views, other are much more intricate and detailed, such as these ones:

Anna Ticho, Horizon, 1968, Charcoal

Here, the horizon line is almost right at the top margin of the paper - and what we can see is a highly varied web of lines and markmaking - shaping and filling out the slope of the hills. The ridges, in the distance are far less defined and marked with blended charcoal.
I didn't take a note of the dimension, but it is fairly large-scale, about 60x70cm or so

And, the second one:

Anna Ticho, Tree Branches and Moon, 1964, Ink on paper

With much more defined lines that shape tree branches likes spider webs in front of a pale, eery moon, this ink drawing again if full of detail and intrigue.

Irene took these photos after I had already gone back home - many thanks! Also - Irene and Katrin - on the evening of my birthday: I had a great time with you two, am looking forward to the next time and would love to have a drink with you tomorrow :)

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Pastels for detail - Inspirations

One of the inspiration for the wall textures was an article I read about the artist Sarah Bee . What struck me in her atmospheric landscape of English countryside was the way in which she provides intriguing detail of nature's textures such as hill and cliff slopes, moody pine forests and of standing stones.

Many of these have high horizon lines - just take a look at the standing stones for instance. - This, along with the level of detail in the foreground , makes the viewer become part of the scene quickly.

One painting that I found particularly fascinating was one of a chalky cliff face, again, painted from a low point. The limestone cliff took up two-thirds of the painting (Cliffs at Slapton Sands, 76x46cm) - beautifully rendered in muted beige, sandy greys with just a few structural lines of the rock visible and at the cliff top some bushes and low trees. - The painting made the cover of the June 2007 The Artist magazine:

I had been grappling with detailed texture for some time before I stumbled across these paintings. The ways in which they combine acrylics and pastels and explore density and small-scale textures was a true find for me - I ended up taking the article around with me for some time. So far, it has translated into the Textured Walls, but a plein air outing is still waiting to get closer to small-scale patterns in nature.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Details of wall textures

Textured Wall No 2, pastel on board, detail

I've used acrylic underpaintings for pastels for quite some time. But I've been keen on exploring what I could do with underpaintings and different kinds of markmaking on these for adding more textual information before painting with pastels.

These wall textures have got a lot of splashes of acrylic paints in different colours. - Some with paint straight out of the tube, others diluted with water.

The two yellow ones (centre and top left) in this detailed close-up are cadmium yellow undiluted... There are other smaller ones on the mid left in diluted ultramarine.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Textured wall series

Textured Wall no 1, pastel on board, 50x70cm

This is the first of so far three paintings on wall textures. Most of my paintings until recently have been landscapes with relatively little detail (maybe bar foreground). Wanting to experiment with more detailed textures and colour changes, I was looking round the studio and found plenty of cracks, fissures and marks on the walls.

This was the first one of them - it's on board primed with gesso and texture added with pumice powder. Then I applied an acrylic underpainting and various splashes of more acrylic paint on top of that.

Lemon yellow as underpainting was quite a discovery too - it offsets and plays with the other, more subtle colours rather beautifully I think.

First posts first...

Rather spur of the moment activity had me signed up to a blog... I've been thinking of 'doing something' with my paintings for a wee while , and a website is in the making. However, the idea of something more continuous and informal seems promising.
Most of the my paintings are in pastel (see title :)) with a variety of underpaintings and experiments with support materials... Please keep watching to see them developing.