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Modigliani’s paintings at Tate Modern.  I’m sitting here asking myself why I don’t like  Modigliani’s paintings and sculptures.  Modigliani was a competent painter but his ideas seemed a bit shallow.  He was painting portraits in an old fashioned but heavily stylized manner when all around him were people like Picasso & Gris experimenting with ideas like cubism.  Why do so many of his sitters look as if they’ve been sucking lemons and where are their eyeballs? His nudes are soft porn and embarrassing.

Satyagraha – I quite enjoyed the first two acts but by the third I was praying for it to finish!


Experiments using ground mica mixed in with the acrylic gesso and also sprinkled on to the surface of the wet gesso.  I was hoping to increase the luminosity of the ground but I think it only made the acrylic gesso ground rough.  This is a relief as ground mica is classified as dusty material and would have meant that I should wear a mask!

Painting on my mini Ipad with Brushes Redux app and a Sensu Digital Artist Brush & Stylus.  It’s quite a blunt instrument and would probably better to use a full sized Ipad.  It’s good for travelling though.

Exhibition visit to see, Monochrome: Painting in Black and White, at The National Gallery.  An interesting, thought provoking and well curated exhibition (for once!).  Not the least because it made me investigate the word ‘monochrome’.  Black, white and grey are all achromatic as they have no colour.    Monochrome is used as an  adjective  having the images reproduced in tones of grey eg monochrome television.  


19th November 2017. I love the way that shafts of sunlight play on this painting of Neptune. Like its very own sunrise.


An early Christmas present.


Sunrise on Neptune

Next up – MACS0647-JD the most red shifted object detected in the Universe, so far.


13th November – A fleeting moment.

Picasso’s Guernica was the subject of In our Time on Radio 4, yesterday.   It was mentioned that Picasso used ground glass when preparing his canvasses and this increased the luminosity of the paint prefiguring TV and other forms of image lit from behind.  I had a look round and have found a wealth of powdered mediums supplied by Jackson’s.  I’d like to try using some of these.

I’ve been trying to discover more about Chiam Soutine’s life.  Information is very hard to come by.  Chiam Soutine (best of) by Klaus H. Carl looks like a useful book.

Just finished reading The Emerald Planet, How Plants Changed Earth’s History by David Berling.  Really interesting book about how evolving plant life interacted with the Earth, sea and atmosphere.  Explains how the gasous mix in the atmosphere is constantly changing and how feedback mechanisms are thought to work.   It also tackled the question I had about palaeo atmospheric pressure.   It is proposed that atmospheric pressure was higher 300MA, in the Carbonferous and that this led to the evolution of giant insects.

Visit to Courtauld Gallery to see Soutine’s Portraits:  Cooks, Waiters and Bell boys.  Nice little exhibition and the paintings didn’t disappoint.  Reproductions of some of the paintings were sometimes better than the actual paintings.  I often find that and I don’t know why.

Most of his pictures were of men in service.  Mostly torso & head and occasionally full length.  There were very few pictures of women and it was noticeable in the ones that were there that the artist’s viewpoint was looking down on the subject whereas the men were looked in the eye.

Jonathan Jones writes a good review of this exhibition for the Guardian newspaper.  I can see the link to Lucien Freud, Frank Auerbach & Lucien Freud.  An even more detailed review is given by Alison Cole for The Arts


Young woman in a white blouse. Around 1923. Oil on canvas. 34cm x 45cm. Part of The Courtauld collection. Allocated by HMRC in lieu of IHT.


30th October 2017

Quite interested to see Waldemar Januszczak criticize the use of the term ‘practice’ in art galleries.  Culture section of the Sunday Times this weekend.  He’s describing information about Cezanne’s Portraits at The National Portrait Gallery:  “Cezannes practice of portraiture”.  Januszczak says that “Practice is art world jargon borrowed from the medical profession.”  I think that Januszczak is incorrect.

Practice:  The customary, habitual, or expected procedure or way of doing of something.

This use seems entirely appropriate.

I had my photograph taken at a photographic exhibition this weekend.  When asked to smile I should have said ‘Madonna’s don’t smile’ instead of ‘I hate smiling’!