After Bake Off and Celebrity Bake Off as well as the many cookery competition programmes; it looks like the analysts are looking to take painting into main stream TV. I wonder how many of you remember, 'Painting With Nancy' (Kominsky) from the 1970's and Hannah Gordon's 'Watercolour Challenge' first shown in 1998?
Home Is Where the Art Is.
Another BBC programme on at the moment is, the 3.45pm daily art programme, Home is Where the Art Is. There are 15 programmes altogether and this week was the start of the final 5 programmes.
"Each episode of Home Is Where The Art Is sees artists compete for the chance to create a piece of unique artwork for a mystery buyer’s home.
The artists visit the home of a potential buyer to glean inspiration before delivering a pitch of their idea.
The buyer then chooses two of the three artists to create their artwork before finally selecting which piece they would like to purchase.
In each show, three artists, whose skills could range from painting, metal work and embroidery to woodcarving and ceramics, will get to look around a mystery buyers’ home for inspiration before pitching their ideas and creating something unique for the buyers – but which one will they go for?
Rather than spending money on ‘off the shelf’ pieces from the high street, this series will show how easy it is to commission local artists."
This is of particular interest to me because I was originally interviewed as one of the artists. After this, I think they matched the artist to the commission required. From watching the programmes so far, I don't think I would have liked to gave been chosen. This may seem an unusual response but I'm not inspired by portraits of animals or some of the 'brief' - ideas people wanted. I offered Landscapes and Cityscapes but no one, so far, has wanted these.
There has been some really interesting requests, some for very personal reasons; others to fit in with the house or area. Looking around the buyer's house can help but can also confuse at times, when there is already a range of artwork.
I have been fascinated by the wide range of skills offered by the artists, and in all but one case, impressed with their artwork offered to the clients. It shows that there are many artists around that can offer superb individual artwork.
From the two artists chosen to make the final pieces, one has always been purchased and on a couple of occasions both have been bought. I'm not sure what would happen if they liked neither. That might make an interesting final meeting though!
,Nick Knowles is an excellent host and the programme flows well, I'm sure there is a lot more that happens behind the scenes, but it is an interesting concept. I'm not sure if the early scheduled time is to catch a different audience or that the planners were not confident enough to put it on at peak times.
On Facebook, I saw one post where the comments were quite derisory of the programme. This seems very unfair as it is the first time it has run and like everything could evolve over time. To me anything that advertises the quality of artwork available to the public is a good thing. Some of the clients had never considered an original artwork and were pleased with the end result.
Nick Knowles' summing up at the end of the programme encourages people to think about buying original art and that can only be a good thing!
I hope they do another series because programmes such as this can influence people to buy original artwork rather than the mass produced work found in every large retail outlet.
After a short walk away from the Manchester Art gallery, we arrived at the private gallery called Contemporary Six, which was showing the work of the Northern Boy; who are nine of the North's best 'plein-air' painters. Although each member has his own style, they are united in their love of painting outdoors and in all weathers. This gives their work a distinct feel of the moment, and yet still appear timeless.
The work was impressive and what was even more interesting, was that a lot of the scenes were of Manchester many of which we had walked through on recent trips to the City Centre. Thankfully, the growth of groups such as this and the Urban Sketchers, show how healthy the art scene is, in the UK.
However. this makes me think of the decline of art in schools where the focus and energy seems to be dwindling. This is no fault of the dedicated teachers who try to inspire but are hindered by the constraints put upon them by a Government who show no interest in developing this part of the curriculum.
My #Manchester paintings
I have painted several scenes from Manchester but mostly from watercolour sketches or with the help of photographs as reference material. I started by capturing the rise of the modern shopping centre from 1979, when the Arndale opened and before the Trafford Centre was even an idea.
My paintings, in a way, are an historical documentation of the changes in Manchester, as large stores took over from smaller outlets.
They also show how the Arndale changed from a darker space into a brighter one, as they opened up the roof. Some of these shops and attractions are no longer part of the Arndale setup. In my paintings below, I have tried to capture the hustle and bustle of the shopping centre and the painting in the left hand corner, reminds me of many of the backgrounds painted by L S Lowry in his paintings
I do a lot of sketching from life, however, I am more comfortable sitting in a quiet corner observing people and my surroundings. I haven't yet plucked up the courage to spend time, stood amongst the busy crowds, painting my oils!
Maybe, one day, there will be an addition to the Northern Boys! You never know, in the future, there might even be a Northern Boys and Girls group! I would like to think so.
,After an enjoyable walk around the Leonardo drawings we wandered down to the lower floor of Manchester Art Gallery. Here we were pleasantly surprised by the carved bowls and sculptures of Halima Cassell.
The images above show the large selection of intricate carved bowls produced so far. This display is a series of bowls made from clay taken from different countries. Number 13 is the Honour bowl for the United Kingdom. You can't help but be impressed by the amount of effort involved in creating each bowl. As she developed her techniques, she became interested in a Japanese technique of Kintsugi, where cracks are repaired using lacquer dusted with gold. This celebrates rather than hides the repair, an interesting concept and certainly adds interest to the piece.
A fascinating insight into this artist's work and well worth a visit.
It seems quite a time since we have had a chance to get into Manchester but thought of visiting the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci exhibition was the inspiration we needed.
After an enjoyable meal at the quirky Richmond Tea rooms, we set off to visit Manchester Art Gallery. Having been warned about possible queues to get into the Leonardo exhibition, we were pleased to find we had timed it perfectly and walked straight in. The room was dark to protect the drawings but we had the opportunity to view a range of his work. These included his anatomical work, where he was exploring the human body, as well as some portraits.
Apparently, he was studying human proportion; attempting to find the mathematical formula for ideal beauty. In the last sketch below, he distorted the features of a couple to see if he could create ideal ugliness. An interesting concept that shows how he was developing his thought process.
It was interesting that these were never really meant to be shown and many were just Leonardo trying out ideas.
Another sketch showed him drawing a series of small thumbnail sketches to cover all the knowledge he believed a painter should possess to represent the world accurately. Here he attempts to capture every action of the human body. The very small sketches are fascinating in the amount of detail and movement he achieves; something all artists could learn from.
A fascinating and thought provoking exhibition and it was interesting to see that there are other exhibitions of his work around the country, giving a chance for many people to appreciate a selection of his work. We hope to visit one or two ourselves.
After a hectic few months I finally got down to spending a day completing an oil painting. After attending a painting holiday in Norfolk I have been busy practicing my watercolours ready to be part of an exhibition in July.
I have been busy for the last couple of years preparing for my exhibition at The Old Parsonage, Didsbury in May, so it was a nice change to just try something different. The exhibition there will feature my oils and Digital drawings in two of the galleries. I'm looking forward to that and managed to go to the preview of another artist yesterday for a final look around.
This oil painting is painted in my usual way, building up the layers with a palette knife. I started with the light colours put on very loosely before adding more and more detail.
Another reason for doing this is that I'm doing a demonstration for my art club and needed to check my materials and get myself focussed again.