Posts Tagged ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’

Blackpaint 535- It’s all there, at once; the Night Manager, Churchill and Llewyn.

March 6, 2016

George Blacklock – Colour and Abstraction (Crowood 2015)

Although I don’t agree with many (actually any) of the rules Blacklock sets out in his book, he makes the interesting observation that a painting differs from other art forms – literature, music, cinema, dance, theatre – in that you see the whole of a painting immediately.  With the others, the work unfolds, revealing itself to you gradually; the painting’s there straightaway, in its entirety.  Even with a sculpture, you often have to walk round it to get the full picture and, of course, you can’t see it all at the same time.

bosch

Obviously, with paintings by, say, Bosch or Bruegel, you can spend ages taking in the dozens of little monsters lurking in the landscape, or the proverbs that the peasants are acting out in the village; you don’t take in a whole painting instantly – but you do get an overall impression.  I’m not sure I know where I’m going with this, so I leave the reader to consider the implications which I’m sure are interesting.

bruegel proverbs

By the way, the rules Blacklock outlines in his intro are as follows:

  • Make all marks with “absolute conviction”; hesitancy and doubt won’t do.
  • Make sure that your surface is smooth and able to take the paint; no bobbles.
  • Make sure you have enough of the right paint.
  • Make sure you use the right-sized brush – is it big enough?
  • Paint with conviction – no half measures!

I break all these rules, all the time, which is no doubt why I’m a shit painter.

The Night Manager, BBC

I think this is being way overpraised; Tom Hiddleston is unconvincing so far in the violent bits and the same goes for Olivia Colman, whose indignation about Roper and the “river boys” (MI6)  looks manufactured to me.  I don’t think it’s the fault of the actors – it’s just a really creaky book.

Churchill’s Secret, BBC

Gambon was brilliant but I can’t understand the point of having a fictional character (Romola Garai’s nurse) in there in a central role.  Annoying, this mix of fact and fiction, where a big chunk of make-believe is chucked in.  Gambon and Glenda Jackson looking alike these days, I noticed, when the latter was being fawned over by a woman guest presenter on a recent Artsnight (BBC2).  It’s ageing, I suppose, working on the basic structures to eliminate the individuality; depressing.

Inside Llewyn Davis, 2013

This Coen Brothers film on TV the other night I realised how good it was, apart from John Goodman’s hammy bit;  I love that flat stare that Oscar gives – disbelief, resignation, contempt, long-suffering, breaking point coming very close, very quickly – and a touch of ironic humour.  That’s pretty good, just for a stare.  The music was great too, spot on, especially “The Old (Auld?) Triangle”, Dominic Behan’s song, I think, delivered by a white-sweatered close harmony group – a sort of US college boy version of the Clancy Brothers.

Llewyn gives up trying – “That’s all I got” – and walks out of the club and “folk” music – as a young Bob Dylan sings in the background.

oscar-isaac

I’ve been stuck in a freezing gallery, watching passers-by pass by – but have managed to knock out this scruffy landscape-ish thing in between stints.  Bobbly surface, ran out of paint, used the wrong brush and was hesitant and tentative.

col blow, rainy night 4

Cold Blow, Rainy Night

Blackpaint

6th March 2016

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Blackpaint 432 – The Scots, the Rollers and the Beast with Two Backs

January 30, 2014

The Scottish Colourists 

I got a cheap little book of postcards from Tate Britain of the paintings of the above – great, I think.  Cadell has three styles at least; cartoon, a sort of lush Singer Sargent/William Nicholson blend and a simplified representation of colour and shape that looks almost like Pop Art.

cadell1

Cadell, Blue Fan

Peploe is more like Cezanne, with a heavy black outline:

peploe1

I love them.  Why should the Scots have such good painters?  The earlier Glasgow Boys, Arthur Melville and his mates, were fantastic too (see earlier Blackpaints).

Guildhall

A few great paintings in this free collection in the City, near St.Pauls.  Two beautiful drawings of bishops’ heads by William Dring – couldn’t find them online – and several portraits of women in red flowery dresses by Matthew Smith; the best is a small three quarters portrait, tucked away round a corner.  And one big painting of the river and St. Pauls by John Virtue, black and imposing, that reminded me a bit of Opdahl at Kings Place.

john virtue

It’s much bigger than this.

Bay Area Painters

The figurative paintings of this school are very impressive, particularly those of Nathan Oliveira, Joan Brown and of course, David Park.  The furious row between them and the abstract painters seems very odd in retrospect; it’s not as if they are radical realists.

nathan oliveira

 

Nathan Oliveira

The Bay Area painters, of course, were commemorated in the 70s by the Scottish band the Bay City Rollers, who were great fans of the San Francisco artists.   I have nicked Hassel Smith’s great “shithouse wall” remark as the title for my paintings on Twitter; better alternate them with Smith’s.

Inside Llewyn Davis

The new Coen Brothers’ film about a loser singer on the nascent US singer/songwriter scene in 1961.  Black and white, looks great, Oscar Isaac the lead has a great deadpan stare; he’s also a very pleasing singer and guitarist.  For some reason, it’s attracting a lot of criticism for not being political enough; Dave Van Ronk, the artist who provided a sort of starting place for the character, was a socialist like many of the other singers on the circuit.  I think the film is OK as it stands; maybe now someone will make a movie about Pete Seeger.  I suspect it would be too worthy for me.

John Goodman’s character seemed superfluous to me; it did allow Davis to come out with that line about the walking stick, though.

Almayer’s Folly

I have finally finished this, Conrad’s first novel, and I realise why it took me four weeks to get through “Heart of Darkness” (great and important and thin book though it is).  He can’t write “the canoe came to a bend in the river” without describing the river, the sky, the banks, the jungle and the action of the canoe.  Three or four pages, maybe.  It’s great literary, descriptive writing but too much of it.

The Seven Samurai

One of those long, long films that you (or rather I) have to watch whenever it’s on TV.  Just a few seconds of Mifune’s antics and I’m hooked.  But then there is that samurai, the small, skinny one who stands stock still with his sword pointing forward until the enemy charges at him screaming; then, a very slight movement….

 

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Beast with Two Backs

Blackpaint

30.01.14