24 January 2013: dear London, on working in the studio … day 15

Had yesterday ‘off’, although I managed to see the Jonas Mekas at the Whitechapel and a wonderful gig (so cool) by Matthew E White, who is an essential listen in the studio now!

Today, Thursday, I did manage to get drawings of five people done at St Hilda’s East, improving (or relaxing) each time and then arrived at the studio to try to rescue the RA life class painting and one of the British Museum heads, with lots of warming reds:

these two stages are works  in progress:

British museum head oils reworked

British museum head oils reworked

RA life class oils reworked

RA life class oils reworked

Some St Hilda’s details:

Dolly at St HIlda's East

Dolly at St Hilda’s East

Ernest at St HIlda's East

Ernest at St Hilda’s East

Rosie at St HIlda's East

Rosie at St Hilda’s East

The issue (wall) is:

the subject question is at the heart of everything. I am relishing working in the studio, with the freedom from observation of ‘real life’ which that implies, in fact demands, for me here and now – I think that working in the studio is the end in itself in most ways, but it does leave me in one of those circles where I know that  the paint itself is the object, but I do sometimes (quite often) find it hard to achieve the necessary tension without the tyranny of the subject!

Bacon: ‘the trouble with abstract art is that there is never any tension in it’

Manet: ‘Get it down quickly – don’t worry about the background, just go for the tonal values. Above all, keep your colours fresh.’ Pollock: ‘When I am in my painting, I’m not aware of what I’m doing. It is only after a sort of ‘get acquainted’ period that I see what I have been about. I have no fixed ideas about making changes, destroying the image etc. because the painting has a life of its own, I try to let that come through. Otherwise there is pure harmony, an easy give and take, and the painting comes out well.’

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