martin davis artist

Mark making is a primal urge. This is where I explain the ecstasy of painting and why it calms my soul.

no mojo, no title – no visuals

struggling to find the mojo still………..something to do with the weather – true it’s warmed up of late, someone tell my studio. It’s like a chill cabinet in there. Christmas is on its way too, so many other things to do. Don’t worry come the 26th ART will re-establish itself. And my brain will have worked out what it wants to do next. These fallow periods are v important I think! in the meantime a lot of behind-the-scenes things going on. it’s not all glamour and paintbrushes you know!

The importance of advice

It has been a strange Summer. My art practice has been patchy, partly due to other pressures (domestic & otherwise) and partly down to my own damned awkwardness . Trying to think about my painting I slip into overthinking it. Then I overcompensate and try to clear my mind completely as I paint, stream of consciousness stuff, which I find I can’t do. Then I get irritated that I can’t produce the right mind set as and when I want. For anyone who thinks this is easy IT IS NOT EASY! at least not for me. I guess in my more sanguine moments that is why when the balance between thinking and creating is just right it is soooo beautiful….it can’t last which is why it’s so special when it does happen and you just have to hang on to it as long as possible and make the most. What do they say? carpe diem/make hay while the sun shines ..trite but true!

What I have to keep doing is paint no matter what, and hope the beautiful thing happens sooner rather than never. In the meantime trying too hard and getting some kind of mental constipation does zero, zilch towards achieving anything worthwhile. Bloody hard though – I just want the best, the best, the best!!  One of the reasons my output has always been so varied is exactly for this. To help keep me, artistically speaking, on my toes and stop the dreaded boredom gaining a toehold.

Well I can tell you I have been on the end of some rather frank and forthright feedback (I asked for it) recently by a gallery owner which has made me take stock and re-think this approach. Is constantly painting different stuff getting the best out of me really? or is it just whimsy on my part? up until he spoke to me I had always resisted it. gotta protect my artistic purity you know & not prostitute my art blah, blah, blah! but for the first time I have acknowledged this “dark” side….I can focus on one aspect of my art rather than continually chopping and changing without some unforeseen catastrophe befalling me. Well I can at least give it a serious go and see what it produces. So this might be the importance of advice, something freely offered which might just jolt me out of my hiding place and make me consider what I might produce if I focus.

I guess I do need at some point to find what I am best at. I can’t go on ignoring advice and pretending I know better without at least putting it to the test. So as an early NY resolution you will be seeing me producing more of this sort of thing –

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just to see if I can hone my skills by a prolonged period of focus. I may need my other areas of interest just to give me a break but the main thrust of my practice will be as above for the foreseeable!

Wish me luck! I hope it works.

 

 

 

 

Tate Modern

I was back in London again yesterday at Tate Modern, one of my favourite haunts. Unlike many art galleries I can think of this place always feels alive and vibrant. I suppose being in Central London helps a bit, and being on the tourist map. But it had to start from somewhere and it’s been an unbelievable success so far since it began….and it’s not your average tourist in there either judging from many of the comments I overhear when I’m there. These are some serious art lovers!

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Even when I’ve finished at my chosen exhibition (Georgia O’Keefe yesterday) there is so much else to see in the other free exhibits and permanent collections. I stood behind a young kid yesterday couldn’t have been more than 7-8, both of us staring at Dali’s “Metamorphosis of narcissus” and he was in raptures at it. It was so great to see that at such an early age, hope he never loses his enthusiasm!

Changes are afoot there too with a lot of building work going on so we will see what improvements and additions are in place when it’s all completed.

Really enjoyed the G.O. exhibition…more than I really expected too if I’m honest. But I still get the feeling with her work of so much unfulfilled promise. I reckon she was capable of so much more . But that’s not to decry her output, what she did was stupendous. Don’t think her flowers are the best of her work though. It struck me, while I was gazing at her New York street scenes, how similar in style she was to Magritte. Just in terms of her surreal compositions and her pared down lines and smooth colour gradations. Never really noticed before, take a look – particularly her skyscrapers and moonlit sky backdrops etc.

As always I came back from my little sojourn reinvigorated and determined to push on with my own work….and not get so up myself with it all the time. Just paint!

Midlands Open: Opening Event

As one of the selected artists I will be attending this preview event http://tarpeygallery.com/exhibition/midlands-open-2016/

…. and I hope I will see you there, please come and say hello. Don’t be shy I don’t bite and I would love it if you wanted to talk art and let me know what you think of the work on display – and why!

See you there 2pm sharp.

Midlands Open 2016

Today I learned that I have been selected against some fairly stiff opposition for this year’s Midlands Open Exhibition which runs from Aug 20th – Sept 17th at the well respected Tarpey Gallery in Castle Donington, UK.

Following on from my success in April with the Hornshaw Gallery in London “Looking to the stars” this, I hope, represents a real step up for me in the all-important critical success of my work. Commercial success is all very well and I am always delighted to find a buyer for any of my work, but this is the really important side of things for me. To know that what you do is respected by others in the art world gives you such a boost – it’s great!

Anyway these are two works from my Snow Trees trio which landed me this opportunity; I think they’re good and now I know others think so too.

 

 

If you are around in the area during the exhibition dates I would be delighted if you call in and spend some time there and have a look at these two.

Turning inwards

The great thing about art – apart from the passion & the way it rips you apart and sticks you back together again – is that if you’re not in the mood you really don’t have to face people or the outside world with it. You can just withdraw and carry on without losing anything. Doing this from time to time might even make you a better artist!

Well I don’t think it does you any harm anyway. For me at any rate it’s essential. I might be “researching”, internalising, musing, thinking instead

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….call it what you want, or maybe I’m just hacked off for a while with the whole damn thing. Whatever it is I need it.

I desperately want a new approach!

Back with Zak

Derbyshire Open Arts seems a distant memory now. Very enjoyable this year with lots of visitors and it’s always great to meet new friends and network. But to be honest, and I feel a bit guilty saying this, it was quickly forgotten – or rather eclipsed – by events subsequently. Nothing to do with art, and I don’t usually let the outside world intrude, but meet Zak…..

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Zak is my new grandson and 10lbs of urgent human demand. Gorgeous though he is everything else in our family, including my artistic endeavours, blogs etc,has taken on a distinctly secondary perspective over the last few months. I expect things will gradually resume their normal course, and even though becoming a grandfather again is one of those “life-will-never-be-the-same-again-moments” once the novelty dies down even my blogging should pick up again.

Anyway I must get some painting done first. At the moment it’s still life which I seem to have discovered a real feel for – this is what I am working on presently, Marbles but it’s the colours that really have me hooked. Still life is a great observational discipline.

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Bye for now!

 

 

Derbyshire Open Arts 28th – 30th May

A week today Derbyshire’s annual arts festival kicks off with venues spread across the county. Generally I don’t do many festivals as I find stallholding a bit of a chore, but I do like meeting people and discussing all things arty. So I make an exception and support my county and the DOA effort.

This year I will be with dozens of other artists/makers spread across three venues with G2G (Cromford Studio & Art Gallery, Florence Nightingale Memorial Hall and Studio 61, Holloway) – you will find me at Florence Nightingale Hall which is the village hall in Holloway. I will be there with whatever original works, prints, cards & mugs I can get into the space allotted. Unfortunately I think we are barred from hanging work on the walls (surely not! what a strange thing for an artist to want to do) so like everyone else I will be limited to tabletop space and easels etc. But despite the constraints you will find us in good heart and with plenty on offer. Many of us will also be working on our latest pieces live during the day – me included. So if you make the effort to spend the day with us, or at least part of it, you will not be disappointed. I for one am looking forward to it.

Hope to see you there!

 

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As promised yesterday this is the latest of my work-in-progress of a Marrakech orange grove started recently. Hoping to develop it further soon! don’t know why but I feel really pleased and comfortable with it so far. A new style for me with a bit of luck.

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feels like I’m back there when I’m working on it!

After the Lord Mayor’s show.

A few weeks have now passed since my London exhibition with Hornshaw Gallery and all the hullabaloo of fetching and carrying paintings to and fro has died down. I still have my two pieces that were in the show and although they were well received and looked the part in the Brick Lane Gallery no further interest has been expressed since….so onward and upward. I enjoyed the experience and hope there will be many more!

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All this fuss with exhibiting is a distraction though and I find it takes me quite a while afterwards to find my painting rythme again, and so all my fine intentions at the start of the year about loosening up my style and trying to quicken my pace a little have been hampered a bit. I currently have at least 4 new canvases on the go and a couple of further ideas I’m playing around with but I’ve been a bit stymied by my recent double portrait of son & daughter in law and my inability to “get” the likeness as I want it. It can be frustrating particularly when you are fully committed in the latter stages of a piece of work and it is more difficult to change tack. I suppose all artists have to go through this pain barrier-portraiture can be such a nightmare! Picture when I am satisfied.

Of the new pieces one is a still life, one a landscape and one is from a view of an orange grove I was taken with when I was in Morocco recently, and it’s this last one that I have real hopes for. It doesn’t look much at the moment I admit but when I’m working on it, as I was today, it has a real nice feel to it. This is my last pic of it in progress – but this is a very earlier shot, it has progressed a bit since then.

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I’m hoping I will be able to finish this one off in a looser style than I have so far managed, and I am quite hopeful. I’ll keep you posted….even if it all goes horribly wrong. And it remains to be seen whether I can quite carry off the challenge of working on 5 or 6 different canvases simultaneously. We shall see. A bientot!