Wednesday, 11 September 2019

A lot of painting for a little price...

It's time for two of my larger paintings to go.

This week, Sibilini Sunset.

This is a view of the Sibilini mountains in Italy, from when I visited there last summer. But the where and the when are not so important in a painting like this, it's the colours, the clouds, the forms and the feelings intensified and made manifest in paint.

I am asking only £400 for this painting, but this deal will not last forever and then it will go back to it's original price so if you're interested, go to where, if you click on "message tamor" at the bottom of the page, you can contact me directly through my website.

Sibilini Sunset
Oil on canvas
36" x 48"

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Review: All Too Human at Tate Britain

All Too Human is an exhibition on at Tate Britain in London. It's a large show that I would recommend anyone to go to who is interested in painting as an art form. It's focus claims to be about the artist trying to capture the world around them, but personally, I'm not too interested in what the curator claims the exhibition as a whole to be about, I am interested in what is on show, the paintings themselves, and so that is what I'll concentrate on in this review, room by room.

Room 1
David Bomberg
The show starts well with with two painters who I love: Chaim Soutine and David Bomberg. There are also paintings from Walter Sickert and Stanley Spencer, but if you've ever read or watched anything I've done before you'll know that my main interest is in the use of paint as a medium to creating art rather than just the pictures that are the result. That said, you can't go wrong with Soutine and Bomberg who both use paint to express themselves in a way which ratchets up the power of any work of art far beyond those that merely use paint as a means to get colour on a canvas. The Soutines are great - a portrait, a landscape and a scene of the outside of a butcher's. These are good paintings which show how the power of paint can be used to great effect. The Bombergs are also excellent and include one of his landscapes, a view of Toledo, which is just a glorious expression of buildings in a landscape, paint helping to express the higgledy-piggledy nature of the scene - a really fantastic painting. The Spencer's are interesting, two portraits of Patricia Preece, one clothed, the other naked, which remind me a little of early Freud, and although I think they are good paintings, the use of paint itself I find a little lacking, but the resulting images are good. The Sickerts are what I have always come to expect from him: dingy and dark, the smoke and pollution from innumerable factories and domestic fires seeming to pervade the paint itself - everything one has always imagined of dirty Victorian London. Decent painting for sure, but I feel more can be done with the medium. However, if you like Spencer or Sickert, you certainly won't be disappointed.

Room 2
Francis Bacon
In Room 2 there are a number of early paintings by Francis Bacon. I don't think these are his best, tending to display a slight lack of focus, often a bit of a mess. But the Baboon painting is great to see and shows where he is going to go in future decades. There is also a Giacometti sculpture, a typical work for him of a standing nude, tall and thin, but honestly I'm not sure why it's there. I don't really think it fits in with the rest of the show and is the only sculpture on display. A nice enough piece, but a bit unnecessary.

Room 3
F.N. Souza is an artist whose paintings I have come across before but whose name I never knew. I have been to this show twice now, and the first time I was really impressed by his work. However, on a second viewing, I felt they lacked a little something. They are pictures more than paintings, though his two landscapes, "Citadel" and "Red Sun", I still really like, but more for aesthetic reasons than artistic ones - but you can't have everything! There is one painting in this room however which really annoyed me. It is called "Two Saints (after El Greco)", and is painted only using black paint. Frankly, the first time something like this was done it was a bad joke, and now, after no doubt several thousand paintings done by all kinds of artists employing the same game of "look - no colour!", it is still a bad joke. Uninteresting to look at and even less interesting to think about - unless perhaps you are an art student and enjoy nonsense for its own sake. For me though, I have better things to do with my time.

Room 4
Euan Uglo
This room has the title "William Coldstream and the Slade School of Fine Art: an Analytical Gaze" but would be better titled "William Coldstream and how to kill a painting". These are artists who I despise as painters. Their main purpose is to accurately portray what they see, without any expression whatsoever. Everything is measured and recorded almost as if a spreadsheet of points that need to be noted in order to prove you were there. This room features other artist as well including Euan Uglo, another epitomising the dead-eye-gaze. I took some notes while at the show and this is what I wrote: "If you want to destroy any notion of the creative eye then it seems you should have gone to the Slade. William Coldstream created dull dull paintings by removing any sense of interpretation. These paintings are about as uninteresting as it gets with naturalistic colours and "whatever" poses. This kind of analytical approach can also be found in Freud, but at least he made an effort. Euan Uglo - more tedious dead painting - well done! You can paint accurately what you see without imparting any character of your own. Very forgettable".
Of course, there are people who like this stuff. I suppose they like the resulting images, but really, if you are into paint - and I mean using paint to express yourself in a work of art, then this room can only make you angry/cry/distraught (delete as appropriate).
Interestingly though (or perhaps not given my antipathy towards these "painters"), it seems Lucien Freud was a pupil of Coldstream. I have talked before about how I find Freud rather uninteresting (more about Freud in a later room), and it is clear that his rather unimaginative approach to painting comes directly from Coldstream's dead paintbrush. There are other artists in this room too, but it's all the same stuff: expression sacrificed on the alter of intellectual analysis, like so much bad art even today from painting to the conceptual. These are nothing more than pictures to demonstrate their ability to measure. No interpretation, no artistry, no expression. Dead dead dead.

Room 5

Frank Auerbach
Things start to get a little more interesting in Room 5 with more David Bomberg, Frank Auerbach, and Leon Kossoff. This was the Borough Polytechnic where Bomberg taught. Fan as I am of all three, especially Bomberg and Auerbach, these are not the greatest of their paintings. I have talked before about how I think Auerbach's earlier paintings are just trying too hard and the same can be said of Kossoff. But at least they were trying to do something - unlike the previous room. Kossoff's paintings are just too stodgy; too much paint, too much dull paint; too thickly painted. If what you come up with is somewhat akin to mud painted on mud I really think you need to take a step back and consider if you are doing things correctly - as an artist one has to communicate, and mud has very limited powers. Auerbach is similarly over burdened. He has commented before that his palette was limited to those earth colours since they were the only ones he could afford - I presume the same went for Kossoff who was his friend and fellow student at the time. I can only imagine that the very practical idea of painting smaller paintings and considering what you were doing a little more rather than just laying it on thicker and thicker in the hope of creating something worth creating, and then spending the money saved on a few extra colours, had eluded them. But you have to admire their spirit, and for Auerbach there was certainly far far greater things to come.

David Bomberg
There are also a couple of Bombergs, again, not his finest, but one very well known painting called "Vigilante" which is pretty good. Interestingly, I recently came across an interview with a student of Bomberg's from the Borough days who described how Bomberg was a firm believer that the creation of art by a painter did not require the painter to go through the mill of a tedious art-school education, they need only get on with it and become the painter they need to be (I paraphrase). I only wish I had been around at that time as I certainly would have got on well there, rather than determining the self same attitude on my own. There is one nice little Auerbach however, a portrait I think of Estella West - whoever it is, more colour is used and the result, although inches thick, is much better for it.

Room 6

Frank Auerbach
Leon Kossoff
More Auerbach and Kossoff. These are later paintings by the pair, and for Auerbach at least some fantastic work. These paintings - cityscapes of London as the title to the room tells you - are no longer mono-tonal, are emphatic, well choreographed, imaginative and expressive. They really are fantastic paintings. As for Kossoff, well it pains me a little to say so but I feel he reached his peak and had no where else to go. His paintings still seem rather stodgy, and a little messy. There is one of his best known painting, mainly I think because it is in the Tate's permanent collection, of a swimming pool. I don't like this painting though. There's something a little cartoony about it and again it is a bit messy and a bit lacking to my mind. It seems clear to me that what Auerbach has that Kossoff lacks is vision, but they still ride rough-shod over the tedium of the Coldstream acolytes.

But having said all that, there is a rather nice self portrait by Kossoff. Of course, there is something to be said for being able to pull off a very large painting while maintaining its coherence, but I feel that that is more a case of technique rather than art. Still, there is some really great painting in this room.

Room 7
Lucien Freud
I am aware that for a lot of people this will be their favourite. It is a room full of Lucien Freud. I have talked before how I feel Freud's work is unimaginative. His colours are naturalistic, and his execution, though clearly top notch, leaves me wondering if he couldn't just express himself a little more. This is a view I have always held on Freud, and it interested me to discover in the Coldstream room that he was Coldstream's pupil - the dead paintbrush making itself felt. Freud clearly is a greater painter than Coldstream or Uglo could ever have hoped to be, but once again, as I have described before when talking about a retrospective of Freud that I saw a few years back, I am left feeling that more or less every painting is the same: nothing much changes, every sitter is painted with the same eye rather than seeing things for their difference and their own value. Because of this I think this large room does get a little boring. However, there are some good paintings to see, my favourite being of two women on a bed. And it is also surprising to see just how small some of the portraits are with a similarly tiny attention to detail. One cannot deny his craft, his ability to render his subject, and of course they are easy to look at and interpret which will always make Freud a firm crowd favourite, but I think there's more to painting than this.

Room 8
Francis Bacon
This room has some great work in it: Francis Bacon at his best. They are paintings from the 60's and 70's, and if you want to see expression and power in a painting you can't get much better. They are vibrant, expressive, powerful, emphatic - this painter had a big pair of balls and waves them in your face! In the 1970's I think he did occasionally get a little lazy, resting on his laurels perhaps as he has found a style he is happy to repeat, but even so, damn good stuff. These are Tyrannosaurus compared to Coldstream's tiny dead sand lizard. There are also some photographs by John Deacon in this room though I don't really get why. They are not interesting other than for the fact of the subjects, people who Bacon painted, maybe he even used those photographs for his paintings. Whatever the reason, I don't think they add anything to anything. Take them down and put up some more Bacons is what I say.

Room 9
Michael Andrews
Things start to go downhill a little here as we head towards the end of the show. R.B. Kitaj and Michael Andrews. To be honest, I don't know what all the fuss is about Kitaj. I find his paintings rather badly painted, rather too much going on resulting in a lack of coherence. In short, I don't think they're very good. There is a video of him talking about painting outside the exhibition and yet again it struck me how so often artists are assumed to be good at what they do, or having produced work of value, simply because of the rather pompous and over intellectualised way they talk about it. My view is: don't listen, look. If you can't say it in the work, then it's meaningless - write instead and do us all a favour. As for Andrews, well...? I don't know what to say. He seems to be best know for one painting which has been reproduced countless times as prints, a father in a lake or river teaching a child to swim - I don't tend to look at titles so forgive me if I have missed the point. It's a nice enough painting for sure, but more of a picture than a painting. Paint is not the point and so expression is lacking which is something you will never find with Bomberg, Bacon or Auerbach.

Room 10
Paula Rego is again a firm favourite of some. I am not a fan but I do appreciate are ability. In some ways I find her more interesting than Freud, yet less appealing. Again, paint is not a thing in this room, the medium is a way to get colour on a canvas. I personally find her over allegorical style rather wearing, and her figures are all a little too heavy, but again, I can't fault her skill in achieving what she sets out to do. For me I suppose it's an aesthetic that just doesn't appeal, but if you're into that kind of thing you'll have a great time in this room.

Room 11
Arnold Tuppley
This room certainly has some of the worst abuses of paint ever known mainly because there is a painting of someone whose work I cannot stand: Jenny Saville. What is it with her and her monumental self portraits? I could be wrong but I think she paints herself more than anything else (is her ego not big enough?), and early on discovered the gimmick of supersizing. The painting she has on show here is massive, something like 10 or 12 feet wide, maybe 8 feet high, and is of a face only, on its side lying on a mirror. Apart from the gross gimmicky size of the painting the style she uses is something that simply disgusts me and yet again goes back to the "dead art" school of Coldstream. There is a certain "painterly" art school style which she epitomises in very very large form. It is as if realising that painting accurately à la Coldstream results in no expression, and so the art schools decided that one could at least impart the appearance of expression by the use of visible brush strokes and slabs of colour so as to give the right impression of artistry. But it is a fake. This way of painting is pretending to be expressive without expressing anything at all, it is false, pretentious, pretending, obnoxious, superficial in the extreme, and it disgusts me. You can readily see this style of painting in hundreds of other unkown artists if you trawl the commercial galleries or go to something like the BP Portrait Award exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London. This is a travesty of painting. A similar style can be found in two works by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye in this room. On a happier note however, there are a couple of paintings by Celia Paul which are pretty good and a nice little painting by Arnold Tuppley which mixes a little abstraction with the sitter and is frankly a relief to look at with your back to the hideous Saville.

All in all, despite my ranting about what I don't like, I think this is a great exhibition. It does have some really fantastic paintings by Bomberg, Bacon and Auerbach which are worth going to see for them alone. The cost of entry is no doubt prohibitive to those who are not part of the wealthy middle-classes - I would certainly not have been able to afford it if it wasn't for my good friend having a membership with the Tate, but I shan't rant on about that now as I have done many times before. So if you like painting, go see this show, it's a good one!

If you want to see me talk about this show on camera with a little ranting as I go, I have a video review on youtube here:

Thursday, 15 June 2017

30-day Sales

A new 30-day Sales page is now on my website at

What is a 30-day Sale?

I have a lot of paintings that don't fit into current series I'm working on or won't appear in future exhibitions. Some of these are older paintings, some are new experiments working out new styles to use, or new ways of paintings for different subjects, but the result is the same: they will not go into any future shows.

So, what to do with these paintings? Paintings take a lot of room to store, so I usually remove them from their stretchers, roll them up, and put them in a cupboard somewhere. But that's not something I like to do. I would much rather sell them at a massive discount; after all, a painting is best on a wall where it can be seen and enjoyed. But of course, I can't have these paintings at low prices forever and still have to store them. So I have decided on instigating a 30-day Sales page where I can upload whatever paintings I want, to sell at a huge discount for a strictly limited time of only 30-days for each individual painting.

When does it start?

It's already started! The first four paintings are online and ready to buy. Just click the buy now button to send me an email and we'll go from there. And remember, there will be new paintings added from time-to-time so keep coming back to grab yourself a bargain.

When does it end?

Each painting has its own 30-day countdown. Once the 30-days are up that painting will no longer be for sale. It will be taken off its stretcher frame, and the cupboard will have gained one more victim. So don't delay. If there's a painting you like, get in touch and lets get it on your wall!

Click here to go to

Here are the first four bargains to be had:

Top of the Downs, FRAMED, £150
Top of the Downs, FRAMED, £150

Sunset Diptych, FRAMED, £300

Three Cliffs, FRAMED, £300

2x Flower Paintings, both FRAMED, the pair for £150

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Frank Auerbach - a brief biography

Frank Auerbach, 1989
Frank Helmut Auerbach was born in Berlin in 1931 to Charlotte and Max Auerbach who was a patent Lawyer.

In 1939, with the rise of Hitler and impending war, his parents decided to send him to England on the Kindertransport which was organised to save mainly, but not exclusively, Jewish children from the NAZIs.

He left Hamburg on the SS George Washington just before his 8th birthday arriving in Southampton 3 days later and was subsequently taken to Bunce Court School in Kent, a boarding school, while his parents stayed behind in Germany. They were later killed in the Holocaust, probably in Auschwitz.

When the news reached him that his parents had been killed his reaction seemed to not have been that great - that is, as far as one can tell from watching interviews with him. But, of course, who knows the depths of anguish hidden beneath the calm and controlled waters of any of us? What he has said, however, is that he was happy at Bunce Court, and thought his family was a bit "stuffy". We must also remember he was only a little boy at the time and reading between the lines in his interviews, to me it seems that he was clearly not that close to either of his parents.

In 1948 he went to St Martins School of Art where made friends with Leon Kossoff, while at the same time, from 1947-53 he also attended night classes at Borough Polytechnic, also with Leon Kossoff, where they were taught by the great David Bomberg. He and Leon would go out together and paint scenes around London, particularly bomb sites and construction sites which were plentiful after the War. He was happy at Borough Poly where he felt he could paint more freely than he could at St. Martins, where the stifling atmosphere of a traditional "art school" clearly left him struggling with the constrictions of what art was supposed to be (according to whomever were the designated "master artists" of the time).

After studying he started teaching in secondary schools, and then travelling around the country teaching at various art schools, but mostly at Camberwell School of Art in London where he taught from 1958-65.

In 1958 he also married Julia Wolstenholme, and they had a son called Jake the same year.

Head of E.O.W. - profile, 1972
He is best known for his portraits and his steadfastness in painting the same painting over and over and over again until he gets it right, often taking a year or more. In that way we could consider him to have painted many thousands of paintings, but that he re-uses his canvases again and again before he considers what he has done has achieved what he set out to do. The point of this is that what he wants is an immediate description of his subject, as if painted in a few minutes or hours. But that is a very hard thing to do which is why he does it again and again. He doesn't so much build on previous work he has already laid down on the canvas, although some influence must obviously be there, instead he scrapes it all off, and "starts again". So what you end up seeing as a painting that is marked as, for example, 1985-86, is something that he actually painted in a couple of hours, although it took him over a year to get to the point where he knew the idea of the painting so well that he was able to produce it in such a short period of time.

Most of his sitters he has painted for decades, regularly seeing them at the same time, on the same day, week after week after week after year after year, and they include:

  • Stella West, also know as EOW (Estella Olive West)
  • Julia Briggs Mills, also known as JYM,
  • Catherine Lampert,
  • Jake Auerbach (his son),
  • Julia Auerbach (his wife),
  • Ruth Bromberg,
  • David Landau.

There are others of course, but those mentioned above have provided some of his most constant material.

Albert Street III, 2010
Frank Auerbach doesn't only paint people, he also paints landscapes he knows well in London such as Primrose Hill and the streets around his studio, and the inside of his studio itself.

His series of paintings "To the Studio", painted over many years, has always intrigued me simply because I live nearby to where his studio is known to be. So I took an hour out of my busy schedule to go check out the precise area where I hoped to find him strolling down the street to his studio. But of course, no such encounter occurred, and in fact, I couldn't even see where the studio was. I have a good idea, but there was nothing obvious, no sign, no smudges of paint on the pavement outside, no lingering taint of turpentine on the air.

It is now 2017, and he is still alive, and still travels to his studio everyday to work - a man after my own heart! This is man who knows he is an artist, and therefore has always had that imperative to work, and I, for one, am just glad that he is still able to do what any artist must - create!

Frank Auerbach is, for my money, the best painter in the world. Why? Because he does what so many "painters" actually do not do (see my review of the Hockney exhibition). Everything he expresses, as an artist, as a man, as a human being communicating directly to another human being (as any artist must), is done primarily through the power of his brush strokes. It is not the composition, it is not the colours, it is not the subject matter or the intellectual game, it is not fashion, it is not pretence, and it most certainly is not pretty pictures to please the eye. No. What you get with Frank Auerbach is real art - the brush strokes, those brush strokes that take him so long to get right. He is a pure painter, and better than anyone else.

If you want to learn more about Frank Auerbach, I recommend this book by Robert Hughes for pictures (which only goes up to 1989 but has great images):

There is also a good film about him, that has interviews with him and a number of his sitters, produced by his son Jake who has made films of a number of other artists too:

And finally, if you don't want to read this blog, then you can just watch/listen to my youtube version "Frank Auerbach 2 minutes" here:

Summer Building Site, 1953

Leaon Kossoff, 1954

E.O.W., 1955

E.O.W., 1957 charcoal

E.O.W., 1961

E.O.W. VI, 1963

EOW, SAW, and JJW in the Garden I, 1963

Head of Miss Steinberg, 1967

Mornington Crescent, 1967

The Origin of the Great Bear, 1967-1968

Primrose Hill Autumn Morning, 1968

Primrose Hill - Summer, 1968

E.O.W., 1970

Bacchus and Ariadne, 1971

Julia, 1981 charcoal
JYM, 1984 charcoal

Vincent Terrace II, 1984

Jacob, 1984-85 charcoal

JYM, 1984-85

Catherine Lampert, 1985-86 charcoal

Catherine Lampert, 1986

Mornington Crescent Early Morning, 1991

Park Village East, 2006

In the Studio IV, 2013-14

Frank Auerbach's studio in 1985

Monday, 15 May 2017

David Hockney at Tate Britain

David Hockney has a big show on at Tate Britain in London until May 29th 2017. I say big, but to be honest, it didn't actually seem that big. Part of the reason for this is that I found it a little insubstantial, and certainly the first two or three rooms you needn't do more than walk straight through since they are full of art school crap, semi-abstract designs masquerading as painting, and just straightforward bad work.

So I have split up my review into three sections: The Good; The Bad; and The Ugly - or you can just watch/listen to my review on youtube here:

The Good

So, lets start with the good stuff.

Billy and Audrey Wilder, 1982
Billy and Audrey Wilder, 1982
In the 1980's Hockney started experimenting with using photographs as photo-montages that are reminiscent of cubism, and there are a number of portraits in the show which are very effective. The ones I liked the most were the earliest which used Polaroids, something that you will only remember (or even know about) if you are of a certain age, but which, because of the white border surrounding the developed image, lend a prism like effect to the finished works which helps give the impression of looking through the artist's eyes. They also worked particularly well I thought, when compared to the other photographic works because of the colours. The colours of analogue photographs are greatly effected by the processes involved in the images chemical development. That is something that we all had to wrestle with back in the past when analogue photography was all that was available, whereby different film stocks would produce slightly different colours and contrasts, the kinds of differences that you can now synthesize with a tap of your finger on your smart phone, but which, back in the day, you had to decide about well ahead of time. I have to say though that I didn't like as much the later montages that used full frame 35mm photos. Something about them gave the impression more of a scrap book than something deliberately worked on to best effect. The best known of these was of a desert road, which I had seen before and still felt it just looked a little washed out, a little lacking in intensity which the Polaroids do not. There was one rather touching image though, created with the 35mm photos, of his mother looking cold, wet, and dejected at the ruins of some cathedral or church. A nice image, but none of these left me feeling I had seen a great work of art. But the Polaroids definitely left more of an impression.

Moving on, and perhaps the highlight of the show for many people was his video/digital series "The Four Seasons".

The Four Seasons - Winter, 2010
The Four Seasons - Winter, 2010
Imagine going into a square room. On each wall are ranged nine large flat screens in a grid, 3 x 3, each displaying a slightly different view of a country road as you drive slowly down it. You can imagine how this is done by attaching 9 separate cameras to a car, each pointing in a slightly different direction, and recording as you drive. It gives a great impression of the 3-dimensionality of the road, and added to this, the same drive has been made in winter, spring, summer, and autumn, each season on its own wall. And it looks really good and is a great idea. Most peoples favourite is winter, and I have to concur, finding it peaceful, restful, imagining the deadening of the air by the blanket of snow. Good stuff.

Then we move on a little further, and find his i-pad "paintings" which I thought were much better than his "real" paintings. Frankly speaking, he doesn't know how to use paint. Some may find that an extraordinary statement but honestly, paint is there to be used as a medium for expression whereas David Hockney seems to only use it as a means to get colour on a canvas - this is a complaint I have about many an artist who are called painters but who actually cannot paint, they can only colour! But more of that later. His i-pad work doesn't seem to suffer from quite the same problems as his real paintings. My conclusion was that this is mainly to do with the fact that he has far more control over the opacity of the colours used, and there is no argument about texture since digital images have none.

Many of these images you can see him drawing, watching the screen capture as they are created. These seemed quite fascinating to many at the show, whereas for me, not so much, but I am no stranger to this kind of thing since some 15-20 years ago I wrote my own computer program to do just that, and trust me, the novelty soon wares off. Interestingly though, they printed some of these digital images and displayed them above the screens. The prints were not good, far duller and less interesting. The vibrancy of the colours in the digital realm, which of course is how they were originally created, were far more appealing. It is as if something was lost in translation. It is not so easy to create digitally using light, while at the same time creating a work which is just as effective once printed out - I know, having done this myself many times.

The Bad

I have already stated that David Hockney cannot paint. Sure he uses paint, but it is not used to express anything, it is solely a means to an end. The first two or three rooms were full of rubbish. Semi-abstract nonsense purporting to contain some mysticality of art, naive art-school rubbish which, done by any none-famous artist would soon be found only in a skip or the back of a dust-cart. His paintings at this time started veering into abstract geometric designs, where again, paint is used only as a means to get colour on the canvas. Uninteresting, badly executed, and lacking in any philosophical or artistic depth. Loved by those who value graphics above expression, but without expression there is no art. I was not impressed.

Going Up Garrowby Hill, 2000
Going Up Garrowby Hill, 2000
You finally get some works that are a little better when he paints portraits of the wealthy in California. Presumably he was being paid a tidy sum and so put a little more effort into these. He clearly has an ability at portraiture, creating great likenesses and the "appearance" of character. But as I have said, the paint itself is badly applied with little or no thought. Edges are left badly defined where he clearly couldn't be bothered to do otherwise, drips of paint left where the rest of the canvas is made pristine, none of this aiding the work in artistic terms just simply leaving the impression of a man who paid no attention to his craft or expression, but only the image.

These failings are a constant throughout his career, as can been seen in his later landscapes where from 50-60 feet away the overly large canvases look great (what artist doesn't love the easy effect of size?), the imagery shining through. But as soon as you get close enough to see the quality of the paint work, his lack of care for what the paint is actually doing and for what it is capable of, appals me.

The irrefutable conclusion I am left with is that David Hockney is a graphic artist, not a painter, and it is no surprise therefore that his digital work works best.

The Ugly

But there is a very big and expensive elephant in the room, which is not directly connected to the work on display: the price of entry!

I have ranted about this to friends, I have ranted about it on my video review, and I will rant about it again here. To gain entry to this show costs and adult £19.50. This is an extraordinary price, a massive price, which puts shows such as this way out of reach of most people who simply haven't got that amount of cash to spend to see an exhibition. There is a concession rate - which doesn't deserve the name, of £17.50! So if you are unemployed or a student, are you really going to see this show? And it's not just this show, or this gallery. All the big galleries do this - massive prices that ensure that art becomes more and more an entertainment for the wealthy middle-classes, pricing everyone else out of the market.

I could only go to this show because I went with a friend who had a members pass that let us both in. Without it, as a non-world-famous artist, this is not a show I could afford to go to. It really disgusts me that art, something which at its best is direct communication from human being to human being regardless of age, rank, worth or any other way you may wish to divide people, is being made more and more elitist. And not elitist in artistic terms - that would be OK: only wanting the best art is fine. No this is money elitist: only those with substantial spare income can go, lets keep the poor, the unsuccessful, the lowly and downtrodden out. Ever wondered why you see all the posters for big new exhibitions on the underground in London, on the busses and bus stops, in the papers, but they never ever mention the price of a ticket? Well now you know.

The prices are disgusting, non-inclusive, and monetarily elitist. Shame on them.

So, should you go see this show? If you are a fan of David Hockney, sure, go fill yer'boots. Otherwise, you could probably do something better with your twenty quid.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Horizons - paintings showing in Kalendar

This show is now over.

Paintings in Kalendar now on show until early January 2017.

Kalendar is a cafe at the bottom of Parliament Hill (Hampstead Heath), in Highgate, North London. It's a great cafe, good coffee, good food, with a plethora of artists, art critics, and actors visiting regularly, as you would expect from that very arty part of North London.

The paintings I am showing, all of which are for sale, are from my Horizons series, which you can see on my website:

Kalendar's address: 15 Swain's Lane, London N6 6QX

Below are the paintings currently on display. They may change over the time of the show so keep checking to see what's new.

I hope you get to see and enjoy the show!

The Moors £900
30" x 42"

Sunset V SOLD

The Last Sunset SOLD

Sunset II £700
24" x 22"

Storm on the Water £800
29" x 34"

Sky Lights £400
12" x 16"

Welsh Hillside £700
22" x 36"

Sunset IV SOLD

Cornwall SOLD

On the Other Side £600
18" x 24"

Sinking Sun SOLD

Sunset III £250
11" x 8"

Wet Road £250
11" x 11"