I’ve arrived in Dublin. We’ve been lucky enough to find a place to live overlooking the estuary in Clontarf. I don’t have any paints or canvas yet, everything is still in storage, but I didn’t want to wait, so ‘painted’ these on my iPad… views from our new home.
The Poolbeg chimneys (as featured in a U2 music video I’ve been informed). Not quite the correct proportions here but I’ll get better as they become more familiar I think.
The cranes opposite my window at night. I’ve enjoyed watching them lift containers like they are lego bricks.
Also enjoying watching the ferries creep in and out of Dublin port whilst drinking a morning coffee, wrapped up in our new duck down duvet.
A combination of melancholy reading material (WG Sebald’s Rings of Saturn) and my window seat view of a grey East Anglian day, terrain flattened further for viewing it at speed, inspired these paintings…
The preview went really well yesterday evening, I’m very grateful to all the people who came along and supported me. I’ll be here manning the show today and tomorrow so please drop by if you haven’t already, or if you’d like to hear Nick’s sound installation properly without all the chatting (there’s a preview clip on his blog: http://nicholasbrown.co.uk/blog/ or https://soundcloud.com/nicholasbrown/et-in-cinerem-reverteris).
Its pretty quiet in here today, I’m just sitting with the paintings and the sound and considering how it all relates. The title of the show – In Arcady – is a reference to the famous ‘Et in Arcadia Ego’, a painting by Poussin that hangs in the Louvre (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Et_in_Arcadia_ego). The painting depicts shepherds sitting around a tomb, reading the inscription. The usual interpretation of the painting of the tomb with its title is ‘Even here, in arcadia [a rural utopia], I [death] exist’. Its a comment on the inevitable presence of death, even in the most frivolous idilic setting.
I was pleased, given the inspiration for the title of my show, that when I told people I felt my paintings had a slightly sinister edge, they said they hadn’t picked up on that, but then they went round again and came back to me saying they couldn’t see it before, but now they saw it in all of them! Just how it should be, since if you cannot forget the ever presence of the shadow of death you can never be truly merry and frivolous, which is how I wanted the occasion of my private view to be.
This was painted on a bright chilly afternoon on one of the days between Christmas and new year. It certainly blew the cobwebs away sitting out there for a couple of hours. Nick said it reminded him of Howard Hodgkin‘s painting, I suppose because I was quite fuss free with the brushwork… the palette is much more subdued than his would be but I can see where he’s coming from.
SOLD £175 (at the Hostry festival, Paint Out Norwich exhibition)
This painting is one of four created during the plein air painting competition ‘Paint Out Norwich’. I was lucky enough to be invited to paint from the roof of the Forum in the centre of Norwich. I had expected to have a view of the market square, but once I got up there I could only see the corner of it, so I opted instead to paint the view across the roof of St Peter Mancroft church to Norwich Castle.
The style was influenced by the artist John Piper who has painted the same church from another angle in wax relief and mixed media. I painted with oils, but where I scraped back to the white canvas with a palette knife, I like to think it is reminiscent of the waxed area in his picture (https://www.flickr.com/photos/suewhite/2821974862/).
This painting is one of four created during the Plein Air painting competition: Paint out Norwich. The location is the area known as Tombland, looking towards the Edith Cavel Pub.
It received an honourable mention from one of the judges, the artist Colin Self, who said that he
“couldn’t believe that somebody sitting there engaging with the real had made a work that to him transported him into a really hallucinogenic dream state, there was something other worldly about it, he was struck powerfully by it, whatever the artist’s intention.”
I was delighted with the comments, as I have been painting from dreams recently, and looking at Chagall’s paintings. It’s now something I intend to develop further.