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Monday, 1 February 2016

Back in Action - and some sad news

On the plus side, I have at last finished an oil painting - my first in 2016.  I can't post a good photograph of it yet, for the simple reason that I haven't got one - given my flat is on the dark side, I can't get a good photo within it without using the flash, which of course distorts colour and causes a shine to appear on the surface which obscures any detail.  So, I need to take it outside to photograph it, and if I do that it'll either fly away in the wind or get soaked (as will I).

Even so, I'll post what I have got - and put the better photo up later: given I've painted nothing since before Christmas, I thought I'd better prove that I actually HAVE finished something.  It's called Flood Plain, which title is intended to be somewhat ironic....

It's an oil on Ampersand board, a surface I've never tried before and quite a novel experience - the surface is absorbent, though not so much so that it sucks the oil out of the paint; so although it's totally smooth, it still has enough tooth to hold the paint.  This is 11" by 16".  The panels are a little expensive by comparison with standard canvas board, but they're worth it - it may not be obvious from the reproduction here that they are, but - they are.

The sad news is the death of an internet friend of mine, who gave me a lot of encouragement and advice, and was a marvellous painter - one of the best in my opinion working in Britain in the last 25 years.  Ken Bushe, who lived and worked in Broughty Ferry in Dundee, died of cancer on Monday January 25th.  Just type his name into Google, and I think you'll be amazed by the quality of his work.  Ken loved skies above all else - sky and cloud formations, sunsets, sunrise, rain clouds, snow, fog.  He painted wonderful land- and sea-scapes too, but skies gave him a freedom which he exploited on a grand scale.  He knew a lot about clouds!  He studied them, he sought pictures of clouds from all over the world - but he would paint only from what he saw in front of him: his pictures were usually finished in the studio from colour notes and sketches, but were always based on his own observation of the magnificent skies over the River Tay, especially.

I sent him a few cloud photographs, out of interest - I knew he wouldn't paint from them though.  We never met face to face - he didn't often come South, I believe, and I hardly ever venture North.  But we talked a lot about paint, its qualities, availability, what could be done with it, the brands.  He was active in the successful campaign to keep Cadmium paints in production when they were under threat, and was scathing about those who felt artists' paints posed anything like the threat to the environment that industrial use might.  He won that fight, but lost the battle against this awful disease - please consider a donation to Cancer Research in his memory; and make sure you look at his wonderful work.

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