I’m doing a graphite study of the cover of the beautifully printed, ‘The Pre-Raphaelite Dream-Paintings and Drawings from the Tate Collection’. In the tradition of Charles Bargue, of which I am slowly going through the plates, I am also copying other works that I love in order to increase my creativity.
I could not have known how much I would be influenced by the exhibition of the same name hosted by Dunedin Public Art Gallery when Bill and I happened to visit in early 2004.
I like the words of Robert Upham, curator and author of the catalogue, “Pre-Raphaelitism was one of the great revolutionary movements of nineteenth-century British art, rejecting both the academic dryness of classicism [my note: Charles Bargue and his drawings would probably be included here] and the vapid sentimentality of so-called genre painting. Instead, using subjects taken from modern life, medievalism , and literature, Pre-Raphaelitism sought to explore more contemporary issues, including gender, marriage, sex, and fulfillment of love.”
I was captivated. How could I apply similar notions to my own newly re-established arts practice, but without medievalism. Perhaps I could explore the dichotomy I experienced as a newcomer adapting to my life in my new home, Aotearoa New Zealand.
Soon, I added oil painting as a medium to create people works. However, I was not interested in portraiture. I wanted to show people engaging in life and their surroundings in a way that captured a particular place and time. However, I also desired to express a sense of continuity to the future..
I created Keeper of the Roses followed by Off to Market, All the World’s A Stage, and Bountiful Harvest. Keeper of the Roses, my very first “real” oil painting other than the pile of attempted throw-aways, won a finalist prize at that year’s ILT awards. The other three were accepted into the Spring show at Anderson Park Art Gallery. I did not win any prizes for them, but it did prompt the folks at Anderson Park to ask me to create a solo show, Noble People Treasured Land, hosted at the historic home to celebrate the Sesquicentenary (150 years) of our province, Southland in 2006.
Then came Ephemeral Perception in 2010, a narrative exploration of what we do with what I feel is the most precious thing we possess; time.
Soon after, I focussed on the important role the hand has in helping man make life meaningful. This resulted in the 2012 show with Anna Claire Thompson entitled Out of Hand.
Then I bought a picture framing and gallery business. Ran it for 7 years. Closed it. And, now I’m in my studio doing a graphite study of the cover of ‘The Pre-Raphaellite Dream’, which pretty much started it my pursuit of a “serious art career”. I will share other influences in future posts. Soon, I’ll also post a short time-lapse video showing me creating the drawing, probably on social media.
Who are the artists or movements that have influenced you? I’d really like to know. In social posts sometimes I read that a particular artist is not really influenced by others. I have difficulty believing that to be true. What do you think. Please share in the comments below.