Monday, May 5, 2008

The Magic Number

The Magic Number
Oil on Canvas

Today's painting is dedicated to my friend Ali Drew. Ali was my neighbor at the Stables Courtyard in Betws y Coed, so we would emerge from our studios several times a day to drink tea and talk about everything in the world. She's a brilliant ceramic artist, living in North Wales, and creates the most beautiful cups out of porcelain. I've never met anyone so committed to the perfection of form. These aren't her cups in the painting, but you can see them on her website at She's also had a little boy since I saw her last, with her lovely man, Ben - hence the magic number.

I'm pleased with the restraint I managed to exercise over myself with the colours today. It started with some quite vibrant yellows and oranges, (which you can still see the remnants of) but they just overtook the forms. I wanted to try and achieve something more delicate - which is difficult for me as my style can tend to be a little heavy-handed (anyone who has played pool with me will attest to my lack of the ball goes crashing off the table into someone's lap) so this is a bit of a challenge for me.

I used to watch Ali carefully developing her forms through repetition and experiment, meticulously mapping every curve and direction of her cups with her hands and eyes - ruthlessly crushing down forms if they weren't just right. The resulting collections were incredibly tranquil, the lack of chaos hypnotising and awe inspiring. I even got to drink out of these incredible things - something bizarre for a 2D artist used to a strictly hands off approach to finished work.

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