Jessica Cooper

Jessica Cooper is a Cornish artist, who lives and works in Cornwall. Her paintings are stark and simple. She concentrates on still life; often domestic objects such as cups or bowls of fruit. These objects are sparely painted on a white canvas, often placed unusually. She also paints so-called landscapes, frequently houses and walls, with solitary trees. her style could be called minimilist.

It has been said that her work is influenced by that of William Scott, the Irish painter of still-lifes who turned to the master of still life, the French painter Chardin. Scott is known for his figurative paintings of domestic objects, especially pots and pans, but also for his abstract works which were influenced by American artist Rothko. Below are a couple of images of his paintings, followed by two of Cooper’s for comparison.

Fig. 1.  Pears (1979)                      Fig. 2. Ochre Still Life (1958)

Fig. 3. Bowl of Pears                                             Fig. 4. The Birthday Mug

The painting Pears (see fig. 1) by Scott of pears figures two matt black fruit, placed in the lower third of the canvas, in different positions, the one on the right could be phallic and the one on the left is reminiscent of the female organs of reproduction, the uterus and cervix. Some of Scott’s work has been said to allude to the sexual relationship between male and female and this seems to be so in this work. In the upper half of the painting there are faintly drawn lines of three more friut. I have not seen this work in the flesh, so do not know how these images are made in the translucent sky -blue background. Although there is more than one fruit, and therefore there is a group, they are spaced in a way which does not connect them, except for the inferred sexual relationship between the two lower fruits. This is in contrast with Bowl of Pears by Cooper, (see fig. 3) which are contained within a bowl which occupies the whole space of the canvas. A white bowl, with little deference to the rules of perspective, contains several overlapping pears in subtle shades of greens and mauves. The grouping is evocative of a feeling of connection and containment, and there is a sense of dominance in the spatial positioning which may reflect the artist’s preoccupation with connection as opposed to isloation.

In contrast, Cooper’s The Birthday Mug (see fig. 4) is a single isolated image of a white patterned mug, with a bright red inside, visible because of the distorted elipse. It hangs without a supporting base in a white canvas. The only colours are grey, red and a blackish outline. It is orientated for a right-handed person to pick up, whether this is deliberate or subconcious, I do not know, but it is noticed when one compares the painting with that of Scott’s Ochre Still Life (see fig.2), in which the only vesselwith a handle, a saucepan, is orientated for a left handed person. To someone right-handed, this gives the work an awkwardness, makes one feel unbalanced, perhaps also because the overall compostion is of a disorganised grid, with some of the vessels just touching, but without overlapping. This and the lack of tonal depth makes the image two dimensional. Scott is not concerned with accuracy, and the painting vers towards abstraction, becoming a grid of rounded rectangles. The tension between figurative and abstract is palpable, and more pronounced than Cooper’s painting, which is strongly figurative and evocative of emotional response.

I went to Bath to the Edgar Modern Gallery which exhibits and sells Cooper’s work. I took the three photos below of her paintings.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA
Fig. 5. Echo
SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA
Fig. 6. Small White Hen in Dust Bowl

 

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA
Fig. 7. Three Concepts.

 

I visited an exhibition “Kith and Kin” at Falmouth Art Gallery . In the second room at this exhibition there were works by members of the same families of artists, amongst which two paintings, one by Ben Nicholson and one by Kate Nicholson (daughter of Ben and Winifred Nicholson), struck me as having connection with the work of Cooper.

Upper right. Fig. 8. (1962) 1962-Still-Life

Upper left. Fig. 9. (1957) Leaf Jug

Lower. Fig. 10. Title and year not known

All three use a limited palette to portray a similar subject in line, with little attempt at depth of image. Ben Nicholson’s 1962- Still-Life is more abstract in style than the other two paintings, but all three have a sparcity of line and form.

The exhibition “Kith and Kin” was posing the question as to whether an approach to art and style is carried across generations and within families.

 

Images

Figure 1. Scott, W. (1979). Pears  [Lithograph on paper] Available at:http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/scott-pears-p06823 [Accessed 29 February 2016]

Figure 2. Scott, W. (1958) Ochre Still Life [oil on canvas] Available at :http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/scott-ochre-still-life-t00505 [Accessed 29 February 2016]

Figure 3. Cooper, J . (2012) Bowl of Pears [acrylic] Available at:http://www.thestourgallery.co.uk/portfolio/jessica-cooper/paintings %5BAccessed 29 February 2016]

Figure 4. Cooper, J. (2015) The Birthday Cup [Acrylic on canvas] Available at:http://www.thestourgallery.co.uk/portfolio/jessica-cooper/paintings %5BAccessed 29 February 2016].

Figure 5. Bailey, A. (2016) Cooper, J. (2015) Echo [Acrylic on canvas] [Photograph] In: Possession of The Author. Tiverton

Figure 6. Bailey, A. (2016) Cooper, J. (2015) Small White Hen in a Dust Bowl [Acrylic and pencil on canvas] [Photograph] In: Possession of The Author. Tiverton

Figure 7. Bailey, A. (2016) Cooper, J. (2015) Three Concepts [Acrylic on canvas] [Photograph] In: Possession of The Author. Tiverton

Figure 8. Nicholson, B. (1962) 1962-Still-Life [oil on canvas) Available at: http://artuk.org/discover/artworks/1962-still-life-14582/search/makers:ben-nicholson-18941982/page/7[Accessed 1/March 2016]

Figure 9.  Bailey, A. (2016) Nicholson, K. (1957) Leaf Jug [oil on canvas] [Photograph] In: Possession of The Author. Tiverton

Figure 10. Cooper, J.  Title and year unknown. Available at: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=jessica+cooper+artist+images&espv=2&biw=1366&bih=610&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjqhZKx6Z3LAhWHOBQKHZfbCugQ7AkINg#imgrc=I6omvFWoV3oGxM%3A

Bibliography

Stolen, S. (2012) The Stour Gallery At:http://www.thestourgallery.co.uk/portfolio/spring-exhibition-2012/exhibitions—current

Laity, P. (2013) ‘William Scott, the painter who made the everyday a masterpiece’. In: The Guardian [online] At:http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/mar/02/william-scott-painter-domestic-masterpieces%5BAccessed on 1 March 2016]

Advertisements

Part 1 Research – Expressing emotions

Re: Julie Brixey-Williams’ drawing locationotation at http://www.saatchiart.com/art/-locationotation/91093/396898/view

I need to loosen up more in my approach to the concept of “drawing” as it seems my approach is too narrow. The work had little meaning or impact for me, until I knew how it was produced, and even then, the remoteness of the mechanism of its making gives it a quality of detachment, whilst the process feels contrived. I did not feel any emotion on looking at it. My “thinking brain” rather than my “feeling brain” became engaged in a consideration of the dancers who participated in making the work, and I wondered what, if anything, they felt whilst pirouetting. Did they feel like artists? Can they be considered as artists? If not what are they? Are they like the pen, the stick of charcoal etc.

I follow two local artists Debbie Locke and Sara Dudman who are working on a project “Flocking together”. This is a collaborative venture and entails webcam footage from sheep, the farmer, a webcam flying over a flock, a webcam attached to the sheep dog. the works are built up in layers using the webcam footage translated through a drawing machine, and drawings made by Sara directly from her observations of the animals, their behaviour and their interactions with their environment. The finished works are a composite of many different sources of data. I was going to say that the most meaningful contribution is that made by the artist Sara, who holds the paintbrush or the charcoal and makes the marks, but I think I am wrong. None of it would stand alone. It’s impact results from the process of its composition and all its composite parts.

Debbie Locke RWA and Sara Dudman: flocktogethernews.wordpress.com

Edward Burra

A British artist born in 1905, who died in 1976. He suffered with severe rheumatoid arthritis all his life, and this may be a reason why he worked mostly in watercolour.

He was born in London, into a wealthy family, and lived most of his life in Rye in Sussex, although he travelled and many of his works are set in places he visited, especially Harlem and Marseille, where he spent many hours in bars and cafe’s observing the lives and mores of the people who frequented them.

This painting of Harlem street life is an example. (see fig.1)

Harlem 1934 Edward Burra 1905-1976 Purchased 1939 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N05004
Fig. 1. Harlem (1934) 

Unlike many English artists of his time, he was fascinated by the lives of people who lived in the less prosperous, underpriveleged quarters and whose existence was precarious, and edgy. His compositions, always drawn from memory (he never sketched in situ), incorporated material from the ideas of other artists, and from films and magazines. They contained subversive elements, dark and sinister aspects and hinted at the potential for malice and evil in society. He was not a slave to perspective or proportions, and his pictures were often very busy and full of action and intrigue.

His watercolours are characterised by the use of vibrant colour, applied thickly in several coats, almost like oil paint. He never used washes, and apparently used spit instead of water to wet his paint.

In the 1930’s he flirted with Surrealism, although he didn’t consider his work to belong to that genre. He admired the German Neue Sachlichkeit artists George Grotz and Otto Dix. Burra’s Gouache and ink wash painting of 1934, Dancing Skeletons (see fig. 2) is typical for this period. It is fanciful in the use of unrealistic colours (the pink and blue skeletons).

Dancing Skeletons 1934 Edward Burra 1905-1976 Purchased 1939 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N05005
Fig. 2. Dancing Skeletons (1934)

Another watercolour, Birdmen and Pots 1946, (Fig. 3) illustrates the influence of surrealist painter Max Ernst. Typically, he draws on a mixed variety of sources, both “high” and “low” art and skillfully combines them. The work has a mythical feel to it, as if illustrating a well known story, but there is no hint of it’s source in the title. The vivid colours are actually from a limited palette of yellows and reds, with slashes of the complementary colours purple and green. There are repetitions of motifs, the bird beak and elipses and circles which serve to hold the composition together.

Birdmen and pots

Fig. 3. Birdmen and Pots (1946).

He painted landscapes throughout his life, but once again, was not interested in the depiction of romaticised views, but incorporated more sinister imagery, sometimes fanciful and cartoon images with hints of humour.(fig. 4 & 5)

burra_pickingquarrel 1968

Fig. 4. Picking a Quarrel (1968)

Valley and River, Northumberland 1972 Edward Burra 1905-1976 Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1973 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T01756
Fig. 5. Valley and River, Northumberland (1972)

Edward Burra died at 71, when his childhood doctors had predicted that he wouldn’t survie past 21. Many of his works are in private collections, or are rarely on display in galleries because of the fragility of watercolours to damage by sunlight.

Images

Figure 1. Burra, E. Harlem (1932). [watercolour] At: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N05004 (Accessed on 22/01/2016)

Figure 2. Burra, E. Dancing Skeletons (1934). [watercolour] At: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N05005 (Accessed 22/01/2016)

Figure 3. Burra, E. Birdmen and Pots (1946).[watercolour] At: http://www.artfund.org/supporting-museums/art-weve-helped-buy/artwork/2296/bird-men-and-pots-edward-burra (Accessed 22/01/2016)

Figure 4. Burra, E. Picking a Quarrel (1938). At: https://gerryco23.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/edward-burra-the-unquiet-
landscape/ (Accessed 22/01/2016)

Figure 5. Burra, E. Valley and River, Northumberland (1972).[watercolour] At: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T01756 (Accessed 22/01/2016)

References.

The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists.”Burra, Edward” The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists. Ed Ian Chilvers.
Oxford University Press 2009 Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University
Press.

Arts Council of Great Britain and the authors. 1985.”Edward Burra Hayward Gallery”. London. Arts Council of Great Britain

 

 

John Sell Cotman

John Sell Cotman was an English marine and landscape painter, etcher, illustrator, author and a leading member of the Norwich school of artists. He was born on May 16 1782 and died on July 24 1842.

He is considered to be one of the world’s greatest watercolourists and most gifted of English landscape painters.

Laurence Binyon, a curator in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum considered Cotman to the equal of his contempory J. W. Turner. He wrote that his ‘genius’ went unrecognised because ‘his finest watercolours’ were not only in private hands, but were essentially private works that had never contributed to his contempory or later reputation (Binyon 1897, cited in Coombs 2012:120). In spite of this he came to be considered alongside Turner and Girtin to be a leading member of the English watercolour school. His work has been influential upon artists such as Paul Nash, Eric Ravilious, John Piper.

Binyon published an influential critique of the work of Cotman in The Studio in which he argued that Cotman’s finest works were his drawings, rather than his finished paintings. He made a link between Cotman’s work and the ancient art of watercolour from the Chinese and Japanese tradition. This placed Cotman outside the period of his own times and recognised his appeal to the modern aesthetic.

Caernarfon, with its magnificent castle, was a favourite tourist spot at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and popular with many artists. Whereas older artists such as Thomas Hearne (see fig. 1.) and Paul Sandby included detail and incident, Cotman has concentrated on the effect of the light and the mystery of the landscape (see fig. 2).

thomas-hearne-sir-george-beaumont-and-joseph-farington-painting-a-waterfall-1777

Fig. 1.  Sir George Beaumont and Joseph Farington Painting a Waterfall (1777)

 

Carnarvon 1800 by John Sell Cotman 1782-1842
Fig. 2. Carnarvon (1800) 

 

Llangollen 1801 by John Sell Cotman 1782-1842
Fig. 3. Llangollen (1801) 

The colour in Llangollen (fig.3) has faded quite a lot, as have many of his other works. The indigo blue is particularly vulnerable to light and many of his paintings have become brownish in tone, which is far from how they were in their original state.  The work is a product of Cotman’s first formative tour to Wales in 1800. With its powerful tonal contrasts and sombre colouring it shows the influence ofThomas Girtin.

I was able to view The Village of Jedburgh, near Roxburgh  (see fig. 4) a watercolour of Thomas Girtin whilst visiting the Printing and Drawing Room in the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburg. The colours are also faded in this work, but it is illustrative of the similarities in the approaches of the two artists.

The village of Jedburgh, Roxburgh

Fig. 4. The Village of Jedburgh, near Roxburgh (1880)

The two images below, the first by Cotman (see fig. 5) and the second by John Piper (fig.6), illustrate the influence of Cotman’s work upon Piper.

Doorway of the Refectory, Rievaulx Abbey 1803 by John Sell Cotman 1782-1842
Fig 5. Doorway of the Refectory, Rievaulx Abbey (1803)

 

The Dairy, Fawley Court 1940 by John Piper 1903-1992
Fig 6. The Dairy, Fawley Court  (1940) 

It was in 1805, on the third of a series of visits to North Yorkshire, that Cotman made the famous sequence of watercolour studies on the river Greta near Rokeby on the Yorkshire-Durham border. The wooded slopes and winding paths close to the river in Rokeby Park are what Laurence Binyon described as ‘the most perfect examples of pure watercolour ever made in Europe’ (Binyon 1931:132).

On the Greta circa 1805 by John Sell Cotman 1782-1842
Fig. 7. On the Greta (c.1805) 

Cotman uses pure, translucent wash layers and minimum shadow. He defines shape with the crisp edges of his washes rather than with outline. In 1805 Cotman wrote to a patron that his ‘chief study’ that summer had been ‘colouring from nature’, and that his sketches were ‘close copies of that ficle Dame’.

A View on the Greta or the Tees 1805 by John Sell Cotman 1782-1842
Fig. 8. A View on the Greta or the Tees (1805) 

Crambe Beck bridge, near Kirkham, Yorkshire

Fig. 9. Crambe Beck Bridge, near Kirkham, Yorkshire (1805)

It is the simple composition of this watercolour Crambe Beck bridge, near Kirkham, Yorkshire (fig.9) that makes it such a powerful image. The delicacy of the washes that envelop the arches of the viaduct capture the fall of sunlight on the scene. The fragile wooden fence glimpsed between the arches serve to emphasise their domination of the scene.

A much admired watercolour Greta Bridge (fig. 10), painted in the same year and now housed in the British Museumis considered one of the greatest examples of English classical watercolour technique, with its boldness and sureness of hand.

 

Greta bridge BM

Fig. 10. Greta bridge. (1805)

Two years later in 1807 he painted another bridge, this time in Wales,with a compositionally strong horizontal axis.

Road to capel Curig, North Wales 1807

Fig. 11. Road to Capel Curig (1807)

His use of flat geometrical planes is seen here, in his treatment of the river water, and the tonal contrast due to the sunlight falling on the river throw the mountain ridges into sharp relief.

Later his style became much bolder as he uses paint thickened with flour or rice. A repeting motif in the 1830s was the dark prescence of the mountain of Calder Idris (fig. 12), painted from memory, when he travelled in Wales decades earlier. This series of paintings have a brooding quality, using a predominantly blue palette and simplified composition.

Cader idris; View on a Mountainside

Fig. 12. Calder Idris; A View on a Mountainside (1830s)

Another beautiful painting with similar colours and technique is Mountain Tarn (fig. 13), below.

A Mountain Tarn 1830-35

Fig. 13. A Mountain Tarn (1830-35).

Some of the advances in technique arose for the availability of wove paper from the 1790’s, following which manufacturers provided increasingly stronger paper, with surfaces prepared with different levels of sizing and finish to alter their absorbency. To some extent this is apparent in this most beautiful work Study of Sea and Gulls painted in 1832 by Cotman (fig. 14). The paint is applied boldly, leaving areas of white paper for the sky, while the small white gulls have either been ‘scaped out’ or ‘lifted out’.

Study of Sea and Gulls

Fig. 14. Study of Sea and Gulls. (1832)

Images

Figure 1. Hearne, T, (1777) Sir George Beaumont and Joseph Farington Painting a waterfall. {watercolour] Available at:  http://www.allposters.com/-sp/Sir-George-Beaumont-and-Joseph-Farington-Painting-a-Waterfall-1777-Posters_i10080855_.htm [Accessed 10/02.2016]

Figure 2. Cotman, J. S, (1800) Canarvon. [Graphite, watercolour and gum arabic on paper] Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/cotman-carnarvon-t08830 [Accessed on  10/02/2016]

Figure 3. Cotman, J. S, (1801) Llangollen. [Watercolour] Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T08237 [Accessed 10/02/2016]

Figure 4. Girtin, T, (1880) The Village of Jedburgh, near Roxburgh. [Watercolour] Available at: https://www.nationalgalleries.org/collection/artists-a-z/g/artist/thomas-girtin/object/the-village-of-jedburgh-roxburgh-d-5175 [Accessed 10/02/2016]

Figure 5. Cotman, J. S, (1803). Doorway of the Refectory, Rievaulx Abbey. [watercolour] Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T08248 [Accessed 10/02/2016]

Figure 6. Piper, J. (1940).The Dairy, Fawley Court [watercolour] Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N05215 [Accessed 10/02/2016]

Figure 7. Cotman, J. S, (c. 1805). On the Greta [watercolour] Avaiable: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/cotman-on-the-greta-t08145 [Accessed 10/02/2016]

Figure 8. Cotman, J. S, (1805) A View on the Greta or the trees  [Graphite and watercolour on paper] Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/cotman-a-view-on-the-greta-or-the-tees-t08836 [Accessed 10/02/2016]

Figure 9. Cotman, J. S, (1805) Crambe Beck Bridge, near Kirkham Yorkshire [Watercolour] Available at:http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O16389/crambe-beck-bridge-near-kirkham-watercolour-cotman-john-sell/ [Accessed 10/02/2016]

Figure 10. Cotman, J. S,(1805) Greta Bridge [Watercolour] Available at: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details/collection_image_gallery.aspx?assetId=16257001&objectId=745656&partId=1 [Accessed on 10/02.2016]

Figure 11. Cotman, J. S, (1807) Road to Capel Curig [Watercolour] Available at:http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O1028628/road-to-capel-curig-north-watercolour-john-sell-cotman/ [Accessed on 14/02/2016]

Figure 12. Cotman, J. S, (1830) Calder Idris; A View on a Mountainside [Watercolour] Available at:http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=745612&partId=1&searchText=cotman+cader+idris&page=1 [Accessed on 10/02/2016]

Figure 13. Cotman, J. S, (1830-35) Mountain Tarn [Watercolour] Available at:http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=745611&partId=1&searchText=cotman+cader+idris&page=1 [Accessed on 14/02/2016]

Figure 14. Cotman, J.S, (1832) Study of Sea and Gulls [Watercolour] Available at:http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O1178792/study-of-sea-and-gulls-watercolour-cotman/ [Accessed on 10/02/2016]

Bibliography

Coombs, K. (2012) British Watercolours 1750 – 1950 London: V&A Publishing

Arts Council of Great Britain (1982) John Sell Cotman 1782 – 1842 London: Herbert Press Limited

Lyles, A. and Hamlyn, R (1997) British Watercolours from the Oppé Collection with a Selection of Drawings and Oil Sketches, exhibition catalogue. London: Tate Publishing

Eric Ravilious

Eric Ravilious was an Engilsh painter, designer, book illustrator and engraver. He lived from 22 July 1903 to 2nd September 1942, and for many years after his premature death, he was regarded as a quintissentially English painter, whose work was considered decorative rather than serious.

A student of the Royal College of Art, he was influenced by the tutelage of Paul Nash who was engaged part-time in 1925. Nash started wood engraving in 1919, when the practice was entering a revival, in demand from publishers of books and magazines. Ravilious followed in 1923 and used Nash’s technique of cutting a white line into solid areas of black, but he also incorporated tonal areas using small strokes, as used by German engravers in the sixteenth century. In her book The England of Ravilious, Freda Constable finds a superficial similarity in the work of the two artists, in terms of subjects (downland, empty rooms and complex man-made forms), but she contrasts Nash’s engagement with the mystical with Ravilious’ tendancy to distance himself from his subject and concentrate on portraying a “naturalistic truth” (Constable. 1982).

Ravilious acheived the suggestion of colour in black and white work through his precision and technical control, which embued his abstract designs and small country scenes with energy and sparkle, as seen in the depiction below of a Sussex Church.

Untitled (Sussex Church) !925, wood engraving

 

Fig. 1.Untitled (1925)

Illustration for Almanack 1929

Fig. 2. Almanack. (1929)

Ravilious learned about texture and the portrayal of depth through his engraving work. He transposed the techniques using line, flecks, scratches and dots to his paintings, and was able to retain the reflection of light off the paper by avoiding overpainting. Whatever subject he painted, he was keenly aware of the value of shape and texture. This is seen in Interior at Furlongs (fig. 3) where he uses cross hatching and stippling and a restricted palette. The picture is equally about the landscape outside as it is about the empty room, and the landscape is framed by the window and doorway, which draws the attention of the viewer, as does the red of the curtains and gold frame of the window; the only bright colour in the painting.

Interior at Furlongs

Fig. 3. Interior at Furlongs (1939)

Ravilious became a designer for Wedgewood between 1936 and 1940, when he was appointed a War Artist. His work included designs for commemorative wares, and also incorporated patterns for dinner and tea ware, lemonade sets and nurseryware. Because of War time restrictions on the produce of decorated ware, many of his designs were not put into production in any quantities until the l950’s.

Pottery Mug 1937

Fig. 4a. Wedgewood Coronation Mug

raviliousboatrace1

Fig. 4b. Wedgewood Bowl

He was appointed as Official War Artist by Kenneth Clark during World War 2, but his paintings from this period do not portray the brutality or carnage of the war, concentrating rather on the landscapes within which the weaponry is contained, or on sanitized scenes of the weaponary of war (see fig 5 and 6).

Picture 1751
Fig. 5. Runway Perspective (1942)

Gun 1941

Fig. 6. Firing a 9.2 Gun (1941).

Michael Prodger, of The Guardian, reviewed Alan Powers’ book (2013), Eric Ravilious: Artist and Designer, which stresses that Ravilious was a member of a series of a long tradition of artists and printmakers, including William Blake, Samuel Palmer and John Sell Cotman. These artists of the early 20th century made watercolour a distictively British medium. Cotman in particular was very influential with his sense of pattern in nature, and his avoidance of the loose, wet style of watercolour painting that was popular in the late nineteenth century (see another research post John Sell Cotman).

Alan Powers, wrote of a number of books on Ravilious, and also curated the first retrospctive of Ravilious’ work, in 2003 at the Imperial War Museum. In his book Eric Ravilious: Imagined Realities (2003) he examines Ravilious’ scope as a designer, illustrator and watercolourist. He quotes Laurence Binyon who described Ravilious’ technique of under-painting and elaborate superimposed washes and stipples, as a new method (Binyon 1944, cited in Powers, 2003:33), but draws the links between the late nineteenth century artists such as John Sell Cotman and Francis Towne and the modernist trend of approaching painting in terms of design.

There is a dream-like quality in the well-known series of watercolours of the Sussex Downs. These are stylised versions of familiar landscapes, not overly sentimentalised, but none-the-less portraying an idealised view. Not to say that the influence of man upon the landscape is omitted, rather the opposite, there is generally reference to man’s activities, which gives the works a domstic feel in some instances.

downs_in_winter

Fig 7. Downs in Winter ( 1934).

Although this image (fig. 7) is austere, the mood is one of serenity, acheived through the soft light of the winter sun, low in the sky, and the calm rolling movement of the hills. The roller in the foreground acts as a reminder of the long agricultural history attached to the land. In defiance of convention, he often painted facing the sun, ‘which produced a flattening of space and a different perception of colour’ (Powers, 2015:80).

In his watercolour, The Long Man of Wilmington; The Wilmington Giant, (fig.8) he successfully combines two- and three- dimensional images, painting in the traditional landscape manner, but with the picture plane right up against the picture surface.

The Wilmington Giant

Fig. 8. The Long Man of Wilmington: The Wilmington Giant (1939).

Ravilious also used interiors as subjects, but these did not include people. In the painting below, his skill as a designer is seen in the patterned wallpaper and floor coverings, and the curves of the iron bedstead, but the perspective is distrorted, creating an oppressive mood overall.

A Farmhouse Bedroom

Fig. 9. A Farmhouse Bedroom (1930s)

Edward Bawden and Ravilious were two of a group of artists who became known as the artists of Bardfield. They were both taught by Paul Nash. Their watercolour style still has no acknowledged name. Powers discusses this, quoting Richard  Seddon, who called it ‘textured watercolour’. (Seddon 1943, cited in Powers, 2015:78) Powers suggests it owes its modernist roots primarily to Cezanne’s way of building up a painting, whether in oil or watercolour, with clearly structured strokes. Ravilious also acclaimed the work of Derain (see fig. 11) and Dunoyer de Segonzac (see fig. 10).

(c) DACS/ADAGP; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
Fig. 10. The Lockgate (1918) 
(c) DACS/ADAGP; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
Fig. 11. The Church at Vers (1912)

 

 

Images

Figure 1. Ravilious, E. Untitled [wood engraving] Available at:https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=eric+ravilious+wood+engravings&espv=2&biw=1366&bih=610&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjS7b_sr9vKAhWKcBoKHeo2CyYQsAQIHg&dpr=1#imgrc=lcxteQUNm75nBM%3A [Accessed on 14/02/2016]

Figure 2. Ravilious, E. (1929) Almanack 1929. With twelve designs engraved on wood by Eric Ravilious, London, Lanston Monotype Corporation. Available at:https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=eric+ravilious+almanack&espv=2&biw=136. &bih=610&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiisq-FudvKAhUEMhoKHb4oAyIQsAQIJA#imgrc=i_ymHqJkuuA0ZM%3A [Accessed on 14/02.2016]

Figure 3. Ravilious, E. (1939) Interior at Furlongs [Watercolour] Available at: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Ravilious+interior+at+furlongs+image&espv=2&biw=1366&bih=610&tbm=isch&imgil=-jo75fP_op2RvM%253A%253BtVWY0myzkVHRZM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.townereastbourne.org.uk%25252Fravilious-room-temporarily-closed-until-12-september%25252F&source=iu&pf=m&fir=-jo75fP_op2RvM%253A%252CtVWY0myzkVHRZM%252C_&usg=__BQiKOUUhNrmVCSbqFRY3q3QDGzo%3D&ved=0ahUKEwjzuKzPrffKAhUG6RQKHbk6A4wQyjcIMg&ei=k4DAVrOjIIbSU7n1jOAI#imgrc=jV9-YfqPa2xj3M%3A [Accessed on 14/02/2016]

Figures 4a & 4b. Wedgewood designs. Available at: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/22468. [Accessed on 14/02/2016]

Figure 5. Ravilious, E. (1942) Runway Perspective [Watercolour] Available at: http://www.iwmprints.org.uk/image/726958/ravilious-eric-runway-perspective [Accessed on 14/02/2016]

Figure 6. Ravilious, E. (1942) Firing a 9.2 Gun. [Watercolour] Available at: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=war+images+ravilious&espv=2&biw=1366&bih=610&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwix4fT609bKAhWGWhQKHR_cB_0QsAQIHg#imgrc=j31CX_NxeWRGNM%3A [Accessed on 14/02/2016]

Figure 7. Ravilious, E. (1934) Downs in Winter. [Watercolour] Available at: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=downs+in+winter+ravilious&espv=2&biw=1366&bih=610&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjLqIHH8-3KAhVIbxQKHVEHBtoQsAQIHg#imgrc=iZQwyQvJUs_hWM%3A [Accessed on 14/02/2016]

Figure 8. Ravilious, E. (1939) The Long Man of Wilmington; The Wilmington Giant. [Watercolour] Available at: http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O16431/the-long-man-of-wilmington-watercolour-ravilious-eric/ [Accessed on 14/02/2016]

Figure 9. Ravilious, E. (1930s) A Farmhouse Bedroom. [Watercolour] Available at: http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O75781/a-farmhouse-bedroom-watercolour-ravilious-eric/ [Accessed on 14/02/2016]

Figure 10. Dunoyer de Segonzac, A. (1918) The Lockgate. [Oil on canvas] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/paintings/the-lockgate [Accessed on 14/02/2016]

Figure 11. Derain, A. (1912)  The Church at Vers. [oil on canvas] Available at:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/paintings/the-church-at-vers [Accessed on 14/02/2016]

 

Bibliography

Russell, J. (2009) Ravilious in Pictures: Sussex and the Downs. Norwich Maidstone Press

Powers, A. (2003) Eric Ravilious: Imagined Realities. Philip Wilson Publishers 2012 (paperback edition).

Constable, F. (1982) The England of Eric Ravilious. Lund Humphries 2003 (paperback edition)

Powers, A.,2015. Eric Ravilious. In: G. Suanders and M. Yorke, ed. 2015. Bawden, Ravilious and the Artists of Great Bardfield. London, V&A Publishing. Chap. 3.

http://www.wedgwoodmuseum.org.uk/learning/discovery_packs/pack/working-at-wedgwood/chapter/eric-ravilious-1903-42

Contempory artists: interiors

Contempory artists depicting interiors.

Gillian Carnegie

Carnegie paints landscapes, interiors, still life and nudes, but paints more for the physical qualities of the painting than to represent the subject, even though her work is figurative.She uses a variety of history-referencing styles. Barry Schwabsky (Artforum Magazine April 2005) wrote “Carnegie turns back toward the fusty hues of old pictures rotting beneath their own varnish, not to reclaim some former solidarity but all the better to verify her form’s ultimate evanescence”.
She was shortlisted for the Turner prize in 2005, causing quite a debate amongst many critics who did not know of her work. Louisa Buck, one of the judges is quoted in the Independant as saying that the work “is very complex and conceptually rich”. Charles Darwent, Art Critic for the Independent on Sunday, quoted in the same article, was dismissive, claiming she was not that good a painter and that “painting’s over”. He did temer his view somewhat, when he considered that Carnegie “really worries about paint; she uses quite a lot of impasto – it’s expressive, very alive.”

Carnegie Prince

Figure 1. Carnegie, G.(2011-2012) Prince (detail).

Lucy McKenzie

Louise Buck (2013) in her review of the exhibition at the Tate, ‘The Bigger Splash’ observes that Art History is overtly explored in the work of Lucy McKenzie, stating that her work examines how the aesthetics of fascism have been played out in domestic interiors.

McKenzie hereslf (2012) states that she questions the givens of classical painting. The work displayed was inspired by  “Slender Means”, a novel of Muriel Spark, which is set in a delapidated formerly grand house which has been split into tiny rooms to accomodate women “of slender means”. McKenzie uses skills of 19th century interior decoration, which she learnt in a specialised school in Brussels, to produce set-like interiors. They are neither scenery or backdrop, although were later used as decor. They show the scuffs and satins of years of inhabitation and document the story of the 20th century and it’s use of the housing legacy from times of prosperity.

LMK2010_inst_db_web7-600x444 (1)

Figure 2. Slender Means installed in Daniel Buchholz Gallery, Cologne. 2011.

Sabine Moritz

Sabine Moritz is a German artist working in Cologne. She grew up in the former GDR and emigrated with her family to West Germany in 1985.

Her work is strongly linked to the concept of memory. Her first major works are called Lobeda, after the suburb of Jena in which she and her mother and sisters lived. The drawings form a book of the same name and are drawings from memory of images from her childhood. They are graphite on paper and monochrome. The objects depicted are everyday domestic objects such as a radiator, a cooking stove, simple interiors. the perspective is not always accurate, indeed the drawings have a child-like quality. The mood is sad, there is  functionality, stark use of space, isolation and desolation, conveyed in a few simple lines.

Two Washbasins 1993 by Sabine Moritz born 1969
Figure 3. Two Washbasins 1993 Sabine Moritz

Patrick Caulfield
English painter and printmaker.He simplified the representation of objects to black outlines, choosing subjects that were often hackneyed or ambiguous in time.
In her review of the exhibition Patrick Caulfield/ Gary Hume at the Tate in 2013 Laura Cumming commented,”Caulfield could paint the surfaces and spaces of modern life like nobody else.” He used many different idioms and uneringly presented the paradox of picturing the world in two dimensions on a flat surface.
In the 80s he stopped using outlines and turned to silhouettes, with the decor of his interiors appearing like collages, the representations architectural and yet somehow mysterious.

After Lunch 1975 by Patrick Caulfield 1936-2005
Figure 4. After Lunch 1975 Patrick Caulfield

In After Lunch 1975 he combines different styles of representation. What appears to be a photomural of the Chateau de Chillon hanging in a resturant is depicted with high-focus realism, contrasting with the cartoon-like black-outlined imagery in the foreground.
This approach is no longer seen in the work, Interior with a Picture, below:

Interior with a Picture 1985-6 by Patrick Caulfield 1936-2005
Figure 5. Interior with a Picture 1985-6 Patrick Caulfield

The black descriptive line is only used in the corner of the corridor to show the dado-rail and the bannister. Flat blocks of colour determine form and space.the relationships between the different elemnets in the painting are blurred by the use of the two contrasting styles.

Ivon Hitchens (3 March 1893 – 29 August 1979)
A British artist who became part of the ‘London Group’, known for his landscapes. His style was neither strictly figurative, nor astract, and comes close to the Fauvist movement in France. He used colour in a mannner reminiscent of the Fauvists and his open brush work and delicate shades and tones are reminiscent of the informality of Constable’s sketches.
http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/hitchens-interior-boy-in-bed-t03126

http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/paintings/the-red-curtain

David Hockney

David Hockney is a British artist who has worked in almost every medium – painting, drawing. stage design, photography and printmaking. In his paintings of interiors he explores the spatial ideas of perspective. He painted Van Gogh Chair and Gauguin’s Chair in 1988, using reverse perspective. In his book ‘That’s the Way I See It’ (1993) Hockney reflects upon the painter’s preoccupation with the surface, and compares this with the photographer, whose main concern is the edge. He reflects that acknowledgement  of the edge leads to consideration of the surface. He develops the notion that the surface of a painting is never completely flat and that the marks made lead the eye to appreciate the passage of time. He observes that ‘a hand moving across (the surface) means that time is involved and a line drawn: it has time in it because it has a beginning, a middle and an end and somehow this helps to make a space.’ He links this idea to three pictues, Two Pembroke Chairs 1985, Pembroke Studio with Blue Chairs and Lamp 1985, and Untitled 1985, in which there are many viewpoints. He says ‘the eye is forced to move all the time. When the perspective moves, the eye moves, and as the eye moves through time, you begin to convert time into space.’ Three further pictures, Small Interior, Los Angeles, July 1988, Large Interior, Los Angeles 1988, and Interior with Sun and Dog 1988 are a continuing exploration of this theme. Later, in 1991, Hockney drew Beach House Inside on a Macintosh computer, taking nine hours to produce enough contrast in the reds and browns on the screen in the prints he made from the drawing. Hockney has said ‘I have always believed that art should be a deep pleasure… I believe that my duty as an artist is to overcome and alleviate the sterility of despair…New ways of seeing mean new ways of feeling.’ (Hockney 1993).

Images

Figure 1. Carnegie, G. (2011-2012) Prince Available at:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-reviews/10441397/Painting-Now-Tate-Britain-review.html [Accessed 17/02/2016].

Figure 2. Mackenzie, L (2011) Slender Means Available at:http://www.contemporaryartdaily.com/2010/12/lucy-mckenzie-at-daniel-buchholz/ [Accessed 17/02/2016]

Figure 3. Moritz, S. (1996) Two Washbasins [oil and acrylic on canvas] Available at:http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/moritz-two-washbasins-t13946 [Accessed 17/02/2016]

Figure 4. Caulfield, P. (1975) After Lunch [Acrylic on canvas] Available at:http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/caulfield-after-lunch-t02033 [Accessed 17/02/2016]

Figure 5. Caulfield, P. (1985-86) Interior with a Picture [Acrylic on canvas] Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/caulfield-interior-with-a-picture-t07112 [Accessed 17/02/2016]

References

Field, M. (2005) Gillian Carnegie: Flower power. In: Independent [Online] At: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/gillian-carnegie-flower-power-493046.html (Accessed 07/10/2015)

Hamilton, A. (2011) A Bigger Slpash: More a damp squib than a big splash.
In : Independent [Online] At:http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/a-bigger-
splash-more-a-damp-squib-than-a-big-splash-8307202.html (Accessed 07/10/2015)

Buck, L (2013) Five Contemporary Artists In: The Telegraph [Online] At: www.telegraph.co.uk/…/art/…/painting-now-five-contemporary-artists (accessed 07/10/2015)

McKenzie, L. (2013) Tate Shots At: http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/video/tateshots-lucy-mckenzie-bigger-splash

Cumming, L. (2013) Patrck Caulfield/ Gary Hume. In: The Guardian [Online} At: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/jun/06/patrick-caulfield-gary-hume-review (Accessed 08/10/2015)

Hockney, D (1993) That’s the way I see it. Ed Stangos, N. London Thames and Hudson

Contempory artists and animals

Contempory artists depicting animals.

Henry Moore’s Sheep Series.

Beautiful drawings of sheep, usually etchings. sketched from his window. http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/moore-sheep-with-lamb-iii-p02229.

Strong use of cross-hatching and short line to convey the density of the wool and shape of the animals.

David Jones Drawing of a Pig http://www.tate.org.uk/art/archive/tga-8222-1-35/jones-drawing-of-a-pig

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/archive/tga-8222-1-40/jones-study-of-pigs-on-front-angel-gabriel-on-reverse

Simple use of line in these studies, with shading or watercolour to add depth.

David Hockney

Dog Days. A cute series of studies of datschunds, in oil, using bright colours and simple compositions

William Barnet

1911-2012. American Artist, known for his drawings and paintings of the human figure and animals. Stylised, cartoon-like frequent motif of cats and crows with women. Simplified form of realism and poetic symbolism. Ken Johnson November 13 2012 in New York Times [online] (accessed 14/09/15).

Tracey Emin

Drawings of birds. Deceptively difficult to reproduce. Look so simple and “rough”, but with masses of character.

Series of drawings including “Badger” in RA Summer Exhibition 2015

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA
Owl Tracey Emin 2015
SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA
Baby Rabbit and Squirrel Tracey Emin 2015
SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA
Hare Tracey Emin 2015
SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA
Squirrel Tracey Emin 2015

Gillian Jagger

Sculptor and painter born 1930. Lives in New York City.
Works with huge pieces of wood, trees, that can look like animals hanging.
She hates all animal cruelty and is anti Damien Hirst for his slaughter of animals to use in his art. She uses dead animals and mummified animals in sculptural pieces.
Drawings of Hanging Deer an animal killed on road, drawn first and then again when decomposing.
Magdalenian sculptures at Cap Blanc inspiration for her show And Then, And Now: New Work From The Cave. John Davis Gallery in Hudson.oct 12 – Nov 3 2013
Enormous drawings of animals in same colour yellow that had been used at the shelter in Cap Blanc where she stayed whilst drawing.
Ref: Claire Lambe Roll magazine.

Eugene Martin
Imaginative and complex mixed media collages and often gently humorous drawings and paintings that may incorporate whimsical allusions to animals and structural imagery among aread of geometric, biomorphic or lyrical abstraction.

David Remfry

Bluewolf: Graphite drawing of a wolf slinking away. Oscar: Etching of a daschund. Both in RA Summer Exhibition 2015.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA
Bluewolf David Remfry 2015

Meg Buick

Lithograph entitled Dog A drawing of a poor-looking stray animal. Contrasts with Remfry’s Oscar, but is similar in its emotional tone to his Bluewolf.