A walk along the seashore this morning before art class inevitably ended up with a few pieces in my pocket: pretty pebbles, sea pottery, sea glass, glass bead and my first-ever sea marble. It’s not perfectly round, but almost.
Starting the serious tidyup in my studio in anticipation of the arrival of a couple of Studio Creative Consultants (aka relatives), I reacquainted myself with various things:
1. Box of 48 Sennelier Oil Pastels hiding underneath a couple of mostly used A3 sketchbooks.
2. Plastic pill organizer with watercolour squeezed into each day. I knew it was Sennelier’s limited edition natural colours, but just as well I’ve this photo to remind me which colours they were.
3. Two unused tubes of Green Gold, one Golden, one Winsor & Newton. The Golden version is a Series 7, so not an insignificant find (read: it’s an exquisite but expensive colour).
4. Postcard sent by a friend from Tuscany in 2011 featuring a painting by Pierro-della Francesca, Madonna del Parto, that she said had its own museum in a hilltop village.
5. Postcard from National Portrait Gallery in London of one of my favourite paintings in their collection, Justin Mortimer’s 1992 portrait of Harold Pinter, which is two-thirds red negative space. (Both postcards had got shifted from the front of a shelf to between books.)
6. Exhibition catalogue Monet et l’abstraction/Monet and abstraction, which delayed the tidyup for some time as I flipped through the pages. Monet’s late paintings, where he uses nature as a starting point but it’s mostly about pattern and colour, as some of my favourites. “The object no longer defined the pictures subject, which was now subject to the painterly gesture … The image is no longer a hermetic snapshot of reality, but a place where sensations are assembled in a duration that is also a state of harmony, an even expanse in which memory is fed by the simple pleasure of seeing.” (page 95/6)
7. A note in my handwriting that says: “I have the beret of awesome artiness.” I’m still pondering this; I imagine it came from a conversation with the In-House Art Critic about different hats one wears in life.
8. Handful of reference photos of big waves I took at Storm’s River, South Africa in 2007 (“real” photos, on photo paper). It’s where most of the photos were taken for my article Sea Painting: Understanding What You’re Trying to Paint.
Passing on the way from the hairdressers?
(For those who haven’t encountered one, the diamond-shaped roadsign indicates a passing place on a single-track road. More modern versions are small white squares with the words “passing place”, which I find aren’t as easy to spot from a distance when driving. This photo was taken on the lower part of the Quiraing Road on the Staffin side.)
Thank you to everyone who came to the official opening of my Edges Exhibition last night for your support and enthusiasm, conversation and comments. I greatly appreciate it. Thanks also to Skye Baking Co for the delicious catering, including assorted mini-breads and the cupcakes themed to my paintings — sheep, daisies, and seascapes.
This detail from a Turner oil painting of Venice, first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1833 over a decade after Turner visited the city, shows Canaletto painting one of his magnificent views of Venice. As the wall label in Tate Britain (where I came across it) pointed out, Canaletto’s canvas on his easel is “already improbably framed”. This tiny detail in the painting, so easily overlooked, makes me smile every time. The rest of the painting doesn’t do much for me; I prefer Turner’s wilder pieces where he paints mostly the atmosphere and weather.