martin davis artist

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

Month: November, 2014

My day out in London – Rembrandt/Schiele/Turner

Had a week or so since my exhibition-aholic trip to London. So I’ve had time to digest what I saw at the Rembrandt/Schiele/Turner shows.

Standing in front of a Rembrandt masterpiece is quite a humbling experience, even when you know what to expect. I don’t think if I had a hundred years to think about it I could come up with a suitable response. But even though I love to gaze in wonder at the iconic stuff, in fact I am always left with a sneaking admiration for the smaller “sketches”, some of his ink works and gouache pieces, which seem to be dashed off almost as an afterthought..and with such perfection, precision and economy! Now emulating that would be something. Nearest I have come to being happy at something I have attempted like that is this one called “Louise” (after the life model I drew) – pencil on paper.


Still happy with my effort but where’s the magic I see in his “weeping young woman” – ink & gouache? such poise and confidence….if only!!

Schiele on the other hand was much more edgy and, in some pieces, tentative. I love to see an artist developing so looking at this panoply of nudes was fascinating. How can an artist see so much in one subject? and deliver it with such raw power and energy? Some artists’ influence you can feel seeping into your bones over the long haul but with this guy (it’s the first time I had ever clapped eyes on an original work of his) it’s there with immediacy and some force! Don’t think I will ever think about, or visualise, the human form in quite the same way again.

Perhaps I was tired by the time I got to Turner at the Tate but somehow I just can’t respond to him with much enthusiasm – my problem not his I am sure. I do like some of his seascapes and blockbuster paintings (Fighting Temeraire etc) but I find I get visual indigestion very quickly when I’m faced with a room full of his pale and insubstantial works, particularly those based on mythology – not my cup of tea. But he was clearly a genius – just not one that I can appreciate as much as perhaps I should.

However maybe the old guy works in mysterious ways, I am presently engaged in working up aa kind of landscape with huge sky….and I can’t help but think about Turner while I am doing it and wondering how he would tackle the same piece. Influence and inspiration I suppose come in many forms. Promise to post a picture of this work, along with a description, in my next post – or when I finish it.

Looking forward to my next “day off” when I can explore a few more galleries and exhibitions!

A day out

Sorry just spotted a howler in my last post. Of course I meant “bare minimum” and not “bear minimum” which is what I actually wrote – shades of Jungle Book!

Anyway after all my trials and tribulations with the website (IT is sooo stressful) I think I need some time out so tomorrow I’m off to London, the big city, to chill out and view some fabulous art? well we shall see. I intend to gorge on visual experience and try to squeeze in no less than 3 major exhibitions in one day…and then drive home!

First stop The National Gallery and Rembrandt – what can there be left to say by now. Traditional stuff by now maybe but in it’s day must have been dynamite. And what a master of the portrait, I hope to see many works I’ve only seen before online and in print. Just hope 2 hours is enough for me.

Second stop the Courtauld Gallery and Egon Schiele. In my opinion, and I haven’t yet seen much in the flesh, a much underrated artist. Dead before his time costing us God knows what art! I live in hope that my expectations will be fulfilled when I stand in front of the first nude.

Third Tate Britain and Turner of course! I was in two minds about taking in this one – after all what have I not already seen of Turners output? well maybe just maybe I will be surprised. I hope I am. Don’t get me wrong I love Turner, but I expect just a glow of recognition rather than the wham! impact of the novel or unexpected.

Whatever happens down there though it will be a blissful day that I hope, please God, will recharge my artistic batteries ready for some Winter painting after a crap Summer spoilt by health issues. Enjoy your day tomorrow wherever you are.

Self portrait 2011

My self portrait from 2011. I expect Mr Rembrandt to have a few lessons in store for me when it comes to one of these!

New website

Just relaunched my personal website so please take time out and have a look.
I’m pleased to have moved on from my previous providers and regained day-to-day control of what’s on the site. This is the culmination of a lot of personal effort and, although the site is still under construction, it is now a better fit with where I want to take things.
My intention is that the site will feature what I consider my best work in each genre rather than all of it, so it will evolve with time – but viewers/followers will still be provided with links to find anything I have ever done.

At the moment there is minimal detail about individual artworks; I’m unsure just how much to include. The overriding intention was to create a site that was easy to use and SEE! I’ve tried hard to reduce everything but images to the bear minimum because I don’t that’s what people want to see. Even prices have been removed – I have a feeling they can cheapen the experience, particularly so for an artist like me who is not particularly commercially orientated. I would much rather the art be enjoyed for its own sake first and foremost. Of course most of my stuff on there is still available and prices can be requested.

As I’ve said elsewhere it is a work in progress. If it proves to be the case that people still want the appearance of a shop I will have to reconsider. But for now it is what it is. Watch this space for developments.