I had forgotten that the month of January is so cold with a rawness that goes into your bones; it’s post-Christmas which means that there is little in the way of gatherings to look forward to and this leads me to thinking about hibernation. But one thing that keeps me going is noticing that the sun rises earlier and sets later each day.
In last month's newsletter I wrote about a book called Ways of Seeing by John Berger, which I came across in a bookshop in Bath. The book was published after a series on the subject, created by Berger, had been show on BBC television in the 1970s. The film quality, production style, fashion and hairstyles of the period are quite amusing to see – it’s interesting to see how much things have changed. The program starts by the presenter John Berger ripping/distroying the canvas of a classical painting - just take a time to see the start.
The first episode (just google John Berger Seeing Ways on You Tube), which I found fascinating, looks at the role of painting in its original form and the power of such a form. Berger explains this power by showing a film extract of a pilgrim, hundreds of people paying their respect to their patron saint, by visiting a statue of the saint. Before copies, the religious followers would only be able to pay their respect too their saint by actually visiting the statue. Once we were able to copy an original form (take photograph and mass reproduce it) the followers could now worship their saint by visiting the image of their saint in their own home, even on the go from a photo in their own wallet. Berger goes on to explain that once an original image was copied, the copied image could be misinterpreted or ‘manipulated’ just by putting another image next to it; or in the case of film, adding sound. He talks about how we see reproduced images everywhere (and this was before the digital age) in magazines, postcards, posters and in our homes. He explains how the different context in which we view an image can give it a different meaning to the original one intended.
As an artist in todays world, it is not possible to exist as an artist with out making copies of work. I have postcards and greeting cards of my work, for a while, I offered small mounted prints of landscapes and of course I use copies of my paintings in this article and on instagram. I often think through the prose and cons of selling original art and prints of art. I like the rawness/power of the original painting. To keep this value, I crop the image for the original painting to define that it is a reproduced image. Of course most of the time, you are totally unaware of this subtle difference. In the art world, it is said that a good reproduction comes from a not so good painting and a really good painting makes a bad reproduction. Another technique that I sometimes use to see whether a painting is good or not.
There is nothing more powerful than an original painting and I want to remind you to take the time to visit galleries and take even meditative time to experience of being in a gallery, really looking at a painting, undistracted by the noised of the external world.
I am a professional painting artist, with a passion for space, freedom, colour and balance - constantly pushing forward to express more of what I see and feel visually.