When I saw the colours and shapes of Calder’s Double Gong for this weeks Kick About on Red’s Kingdom, I was reminded of the seventies, and I have always been in love with mid-century architecture, so itching to do some environment art, I drew a house surrounded by Calder’s colours and shapes.”
This weeks kick about over on Red’s Kingdom is the illustration “The Night Before Christmas” by Arthur Rachham. I found the illustration by Arthur Rachham horrifying, in the best way. To me his art always veers on that polarising view of charming but in an uncanny not quite right way. Something about the blackness of the line work, particularly with the scratchy shadows and the way the sickly stained walls progressively get more bruised towards the top makes me think that old Saint Nick isn’t as jolly as it’s told and could be hiding in those shadows, ready to unhinge his bearded jaw and gobble up those kids as they run right up to him. So keeping in theme to that here’s a couple illustrations.
Another set of collaged symbols, shapes and colours inspired by Fernand Léger’s large scale oil painting entitled – La Ville (1919). What I love above Léger’s piece is the flatness of it and how all consuming it feels – nothing in particular sticks out but the whole composition is taken in as a whole and something I have tried to mimic with my own constructions. I was contemplating given a whirl of pushing things further by bringing this crop of creations into the 3D world and extruding elements out, but I think that would work against it – after trying some tests and realising that those extrusions would only be seen from angles other than straight on I wasn’t feeling it and I’ve decided to leave it be.
Fernand Léger’s mammoth oil painting entitled – La Ville (1919) is this weeks kick about prompt over on Red’s Kingdom where artists of all stripes have created something in response. After serving in World War 1 Leger came away recollecting upon how conflict forced a new world view of it’s surroundings. Those surroundings in city’s urbanisation characterised by interchanging materials and structures – like Legos that will never fit. I decided to mimic the feeling of constant change. Gritty photos taken from my current stomping ground in and around London are meshed together in a smorgasbord of shapes colours and texture, to highlight the building up and tearing down of the fast paced concrete jungle. I found it a very meditative experience to wander around London, scout out the best shapes, materials and texture and take photos of those blasé everyday things that would otherwise go amiss, afterwards chopping and splicing them up in photoshop and like a postmodern architect try to make something of them again.
A few further experiments in shape and colour for this Henri matisse inspired Kick about. I could have kept going with this prompt as I never tired of hastily drawing out those swirly shapes and moving and placing them in areas to brighten up the canvas – a very therapeutic practice indeed!
With this weeks kick about prompt being the cut outs of Henri Matisse I wanted to produce something quickly – full of shapes and colour. This felt very much like a meditative practice in which I lost myself in the process of creating such colourful squidgy shapes. In Photoshop the lasso tool in particular was the main modus operandi used to create the shapes which were then simply filled with colour using the paint bucket tool. Initially I made a bunch of shapes that resembled plant forms or algae as well as blocks of shapes that could be used behind the plant forms, then having a plethora of shapes at my disposal I could move, invent and create the grander picture of them all as one. I wanted to keep things as practical as possible and revert from any overly cerebral thoughts so a lot of these designs took a life of their own and I throughly enjoyed letting them be.
This weeks kick about over on Reds Kingdom revolves around Fundus Photography. When looking up images of fundus photography I was reminded of Olafur Eliasson and his otherworldly The Weather Project, but also the people that got to experience such an event. With all this in mind I have been yearning to do some digital painting as it has felt like yonks ago since I have held my wacom pen and got lost in some jazz music while painting away. I envisioned a blazing sun from a planet where the sun fills the air in a misty orange hue – a sprawling metropolis materialised with vivacious characters and stories between them, feeling so close but far away. It was a thoroughly enjoyable prompt to flex those digital painting muscles again.
This weeks Kick About prompt is The Song of Love by Giorgio de Chirico (1914) and with it the offerings from artists around the globe ranging from a multitude of mediums to marvel at!
in regards to my own response I have been having wildly vivid dreams as of late, the kind of dreams where you wake up in the middle of the night and need to write them down, the kind you remember so clearly when you get out of bed in the morning, the kind where you try to decipher their meaning to see if its some sort of cosmic message within your unconscious psyche that needs to be brought to fruition.
These dreams feel as though they relate to the collective phenomena, where people at the start of lockdown had extremely vivid dreams, probably in relation to their unconscious being so fired up because their everyday lives felt like Groundhog Day, something I still feel like I can relate too.
Surrealism, as an art form, is cemented in the unconscious, with surrealist painters adopting many techniques to unlock the power within their unconscious, so that it translates through to their art, including many being influenced by allusive dreams. With this in mind, and with this week’s The Song of love prompt, I have created a landscape of some of the symbols I have recently seen in one dream that has had a lasting effect..
I was watching the very beginning series of Tom and Jerry with my niece and was completely blown away by the gorgeous watercolour background paintings while Tom and Jerry run amok in their usual debauchery. So inspired by the paintings I have decided to adopt a similar more analogue and painterly approach, I think bringing down the complexity of many previous attempts of skies that I painted brings more attention and focus to the foreground elements and works better, that same yellow and pink that Tom and Jerry adopted works well for the Meadow scene, which is a pinnacle part of the film and where the beauty of nature of this world needs to really hit home.
〰️ Tom and Jerry Background Paintings 〰️
This weeks Kick about was Inspired by Ernst Haeckel and his botanical illustrations showing the intricate microscopic organic matter within nature that might otherwise go amiss. I have always felt sensitive to textures and colours but this year I actually had a camera to capture it with rural Ireland really ramping up my perception towards it. The merging of colours within a few feet of land can completely counteract the next a few feet further and always makes for interesting forms.
I love relishing in the patterns and forms that bloom on a log or that is sandwiched between the trenches of rich brown peat, losing a shoe in the quicksand esque mud with shite up to my knee to get some of these pictures is all part of the pleasure.
Witches broom deformities resembling sea urchins, little pastel snail shells with their inhabitants no more and reindeer moss resembling bleached coral reef all part of the treasures that are nestled within the designs resembling Haeckel’s pieces. Sometimes I would lie on the ground and aim up to the sky to get a certain shot of a branch, plant or twig without it being nestled with its family of flora so that it would be easier to edit and isolate the flora against a clean slate of sky.
A lot of the elements within my designs for this kick about were cut and pasted out of images like the ones above, then significantly editing them by changing the colour and then when all the elements came together I merged them as one and erased half of the image and then copied it one more time to then flip horizontally so they were in exact symmetry.