Friday, 31 October 2008

Slade course

I started a new course "Painting 1" at the Slade in London. It feels like a brave and exciting thing to do - I love the studios with high ceilings and proper easels - so good to have the right equipment and space.

We made a paper box and cone, stuck them on paper and put them on the wall to draw. Homework is to draw a matchbox. I spent a week in Brazil at a conference, and some time waiting in my room passed happily drawing the box of shortbread I always take travelling to sustain, and the perfume bottle and box I bought on a whim on the plane. Whims are good, and healthy.

I recalled Giacometti - every time I look at what I am painting, it has changed. Even the shadows keep developing with looking. Strips of light appear in the matchbox's shadow, a darker line along the edge of what seemed dark before. Looking changes the seeing.

Getting the shadows 'right'

My artist friend challenged me to do more with the shadows in the Walk to the Woods painting. So I struggled on and eventually it did improve. I also worked on how to show the path in the foreground rising slightly before dropping away.

David Hockney in "Secret Knowledge", the film, said that, while a picture seen through a glass lens goes out of focus in the distance, what we see with our human eyes does not; it stays in focus, and is just far away. At least, I think that is what he said. It feels right too. When I look towards the wood, I feel that I can see the wood in focus and far away. I cannot see the details because they are too small, but I can see clearly what I can see. I talked about this with my artist friend, but I don't think she believed me,