Before you get the wrong idea, I'm not talking about my mood, you understand!

But first let me just say Hi Everyone! It's good to be back under the grey, damp London skies once again. No really, it IS! It's SO good to be back!
Another wonderful season of 'Painting Skiathos' is over, the Greek studio's locked up and materials are packed away again for another year ....and here I am, back home in the warm fold of the family and a million miles away from the sun and sand...turquoise blue seas....warm Aegean island breeze (Oh STOP!)...and ready to embrace the long dark nights, autumn mists and bustling city life, once again.

So why the title 'FEELING BLUE'?

Well, I'm more of a pale peach, golden yellow, soft pink sort of a girl; warm, gentle, rosy, cosy, colours all, and blue rarely does it for me. In fact I don't think there's a single blue thing here in my house in London (Oh, apart from my daughter's old bedroom which is still swathed in soft blue and cream 'toile de jouy' - which I do actually love) but generally, I find blue, in the harsh English light, just too cold to live with, comfortably.

Now in Greece it's another matter. Blue is THE colour one associates with Greece; it's amazing in full sun against the harsh whitewashed walls - and it's everywhere! All over Skiathos the doors:

windows and shutters:

tables and chairs:

and even the pots:

are painted in shades of blue, from deep ultramarine and brilliant cobalt, to turquoise and every shade imaginable in between.

Not to mention the incredibly blue skies and sea:

Now all this is fine in GREECE but I wasn't prepared, on my return to London, to be equally subjected to so much blue everywhere!
called in earlier this week to see the latest exhibition at The Wallace Collection: a collection (25 in all) of Damien Hirst's latest works, his 'Blue Paintings', entitled 'No Love Lost'. Without exception, they are large paintings of blue skulls on black backgounds.

Reading quite unfavourable reviews, prior to my visit, if I'm honest I didn't expect to be particularly impressed and yet strangely (despite the fact they were all blue!) I was - and I was particularly mesmerised by this piece:

I think the critics have been unkind. Perhaps the name 'Damien Hirst' alone is enough to invite controversy and somehow gives people a free rein to write his work off as 'sensationalist'and 'gimmicky' at best, or poorly executed ('the man can't paint!')at worst and I'll be the first to admit, as an artist he was never a particular favourite of mine, till I stood in awe at the foot of his solid silver 'St Bartholomew' sculpture in the R.A's Summer exhibition but, in the artist's own words, this series of paintings created between 2006 and 2008 are 'deeply connected to the past' and mark his return to the solitary practise of painting - a new direction for him after challenging what it means to be an artist, since the very start of his career.

The fact that he has opted to present these works within in a classical environment invites a dramatic visual dialogue, surrounded as they are by Old Master paintings in the Great European tradition, displayed in the adjacent sumptuous rooms. The contrast is undeniable and his paintings, by content (and colour!) are undeniably chilling too.....but certainly worth a visit, anyway....

Calling in at another local gallery ('Artica' Washington Green Fine Art in St. Christophers place, Marylebone) I came across an artist (new to me) who, has joined the Washington Green stable of artists and is beginning to make a real name for himself,Bill Bate

His stunningly beautiful paintings, of the naked female form gliding through transparent turquoise water, glistening in sunlight, made me feel I was right back on the island for a moment, diving into the familiar crystal blue waters of the Aegean....Lovely!
You can see his beautiful paintings here:Bill Bate Collection

His work reminds me very much of that of another (Greek) artist I came across this year, Maria Filopoulou. She also paints underwater scenes of women diving in turquoise, crystal-clear seas...with a wonderful sense of abandonment and expressing total freedom.

UNDERWATER SWIMMER I (OIL ON CANVAS) - 61x68cm © Maria Filopoulou

Brrrr...all this talk of blue water is making me feel cold...time to get up from the computer and start painting! I have a new commission to prepare for; a very large wall mural for a central London restaurant. No blues in this piece, Thank Goodness! Rather, a huge panorama of the rolling hills of Tuscany, awash with glorious red poppy fields, cypress trees and ancient, red-roofed farmhouses, stretching as far as the eye can see, lazing in the warm glow of a still Italian, golden afternoon.....Can't wait, it's just my cup of tea! I'll be posting pictures here soon of the progress.....

And now, talking of tea....

1 comment :

  1. Unless I miss my guess much of the carping over Hirst's new paintings springs from envy and enmity. I may not appreciate his work in the abattoir, but I do respond to some of these paintings. Hirst says they emerge from a deep connection with the past, and I see that. They also resonate with me beyond the intellectual critique. Like you, I'm especially drawn to THAT skull -- ashes to ashes, dust to dust . . . void to void, darkness to darkness. For me, his use of blue is just right as a chilly counterpoint to the blackness. Nonetheless, it offers comfort in much the same way (while we're on the subject of the color) blues music assuages, offering the heart respite in the recognition of despair and in the commiseration with other wounded souls.


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