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hello, travelodge

We had our penultimate watercolour class last night and painted flowers. Except we didn't actually have any flowers to look at, just gardening books. My picture came out looking like one of those kinds you see on the walls of budget hotels.



The tutor told me next time to be less illustrative and use more colour; when I look at his work, which is very abstract expressionist, I can see why he'd say that.
It's funny, I went all the way through art college being told to desaturate my work and now someone's telling me to brighten up again. But I can see his point, I mean, I do love colour and all. We we talking about the From Russia exhibition I saw last week with Cristina at the Royal Academy, and one image in particular, Kandinsky's fabulous Winter Landscape. It's a riot of bright colours, but I think if anyone else did it, their painting would look very kitsch.

From Russia runs until 18 April, so don't miss it if you're in London. It was a knock in the gut, seeing all those paintings I used to visit so regularly when I lived in Moscow and went back and forth to St Petersburg. The Hermitage is famous for its European paintings, but the real treasures are those at the Russian Museum, the Tretyakov and the Pushkin Museum. Their paintings haven't been so well known because the Russians didn't market them on posters, coffee mugs and mouse pads the way they do in Europe and America. And it makes the paintings all the more powerful when you see them for the first time, works by Serov, Goncharova, Vrubel, Lentulov and others.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Mar. 13th, 2008 01:21 pm (UTC)
American Hotels
Our budget hotels (offering noon-hour quickies) and a cheap night sleep---on this side of the pond---sure don't have wonderful wall-hangings like yours. But hey, there are worse galleries for your wonderful works!!

Ruth
dlanthomas
Mar. 14th, 2008 11:43 am (UTC)
Love the Pushkin! Still need to go to the other two. The Tsereteli is a new gallery, and "unforgettable" would be the best way to describe his work.
jabberworks
Mar. 14th, 2008 11:48 am (UTC)
Oh man, that really IS the best word to describe it! It's even invaded my home turf. There's this statue between Deptford and Greenwich of a pinhead Peter the Great with some horrid little fat-headed goblin next to him and a big metal throne, and it really couldn't have been made by anyone other than Tsereteli.
trypanocorax
Mar. 14th, 2008 11:59 am (UTC)
I'm looking forward to the report of the final class. I have this notion that you will throw off your cloak and reveal yourself as the one and only Jabberworks, whereupon this upstart tutor will fall to his knees, declaring "'Tis I who need lessons from YOU..."

Re; Kandinsky, I don't get why he is not kitsch. i should UNDERSTAND! I thought art school was going to make all these things clear, but I'm as bewildered as ever I was...
jabberworks
Mar. 14th, 2008 12:09 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure about the final class, I think the tutor wants us to come up with something really special, but it takes more than eight evenings to get one's head around abstract expressionism. We've both seen each other's websites and I think we have a mutal appreciation for each other's work, but in how we work - large abstract oil paintings vs tidy little illustrations - we come at a lot of the same principles very differently. I mean, the exact same principles apply, but the outworkings are very different.

Yeah, Kandinsky was very special. I guess it's just lots and lots of practice and risk taking that helps us, well, maybe not paint like Kandinsky, but at least understand more of why he made the decisions he did.
jabberworks
Mar. 14th, 2008 12:17 pm (UTC)
Thinking about Kandinsky, he was a huge risk taker. From an illustrator's perspective, I absolutely adore his early folkloric pictures. And from a more purely aesthetic perspective, I find his middle abstract works incredibly moving. And I don't connect at all with his later, more geometric work, it leaves me totally cold. But I still think he was fabulous to stick his neck out and try something totally new like that.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )