Blackpaint 168

Turtle Burners’ Portrait Prize at the NPG

Managed to get up to this today.  All portraits very competent and, no doubt, accurate – but only one had that thing of grabbing your eye; cynosure is the word, I think.  This one was by Diarmuid Kelley and was titled “What a Terrific Party”, or something similar (didn’t have a pen on me).  It was of a British Army officer in dress uniform, seated on a cot in pensive (or possibly drunken) mode.  It was painted with those flat, short brush strokes and strong contrast of light and dark and reminded me of someone like Orpen.  The background was ochre, I think, and grey or black and was abstracted to a degree.  The only one where the surface of the paint drew me. 

The other painting I liked was the one based on Rembrandt’s Dr. Tulp, by Henry Ward.  It was huge, and showed a group of six or seven besuited dignitaries surrounding a patient on the operating table, whose kidney has just been removed by the “Finger Method” (!  Is this a joke?)  They look like a group of ghouls or vampires.  the reference is clearly to those pictures where loads of VIPs were painted at some conference or meeting, with their faces turned unnaturally toward the viewer.  They leer satanically out at you – I presume that was the painter’s intention.

I have decided to celebrate the success of BP’s timely and efficient operation to stop the leak by returning to oils.  I’d forgotten, however, that the bloody stuff never dries, so have already managed to ruin a pair of jeans.  Oils are much better than acrylics though, somehow – they glow more and they’re more slippery and unctious, which is just another way of saying they’re…oilier.

Jean Miotte

Miotte is today’s recommendation.  born 1926 and still with us, he does wild gestural stuff often “built” around black, spidery knots of paint with vivid colours.  Check out “Deliverance” 1960 in Taschen’s Art of the 20th Century (very Franz Kline-ish), and Google him – well worth it.

Brixton Urban Art

Been sitting in the gutter opposite my paintings all day in Josephine Avenue, getting sunburnt and watching the crowds from the Lambeth Country Show go by.  Not a great deal of action down my end, I’m sorry to say – but you get your stuff seen, which is half the battle.

Black Fork on White by Blackpaint


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