Ruthann is an artist and potter who lives in Norfolk but was born and brought up in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in California, between the ocean and desert. She says that “the primal connections to such physical elements as the mountains, sea and desert have formed me and been essential to the inspiration for my making pots”. Her work is epitomised by soda glazing the clay and using “slips” (a mixture water, clay and mineral colourants e.g. manganese, iron, cobalt and chrome) to produce shades of orange, black, grey and blue.
Ruthanne makes “families” of pots, in the same colours and form (oranges, browns and dark blues). Her inspiration comes mainly from the natural world, especially the changing landscape and the human body. Life drawing helps her reflect on the shape and form of her pots which take on a feeling of movement and dance. She has built a brick kiln in the garden of her Norfolk home which is fired by wood and gas. She sometimes uses clay dug from her own land to make pots. During the firing process she sprays the pots with a mixture of soda and water to produce a unique speckled finish.
Ruthanne is known internationally as a ceramic artist, bridging the world of art and ceramics. See: www.ruthannetudball.co.uk
Hailing from Middlesborough, Peter Goodfellow studied art at the Central School of Art in London and initially worked as a freelance illustrator, soon establishing himself as a leader in his field. Since moving to Scotland in 1985, he has become one of the countries best known landscape painters in both oil and watercolour. Latterly, he has also painted portraits, the urban environment and subjects expressing his view of the current state of the art establishment. He now lives in Aberdeenshire, running the excellent Lost Gallery in Strathdon with his wife, Jean.
He says of these two Paintings:
The mountain is Suilven in Assynt 90 x 140 cm oil on canvas 2007.This is my favourite landscape painting,& was on show in London, Edinburgh & Copenhagen . It was bought by a Danish Copywriter so it stayed in Denmark. The Double portrait is of Tracey Emin & is called The Gaze of Narcissus. 70 x 210 cms. oil on linen . If you look closely where the ripples form & become the right hand coloured portrait you will see a pound sign £. The left hand Black & White portrait is highlighting her lack of talent [Drawing, Painting ) so by self analysing her seedy & insincere past filled with promiscuity & drug abuse then documenting it by exhibiting unmade beds etc. she has made a fortune by just looking in the mirror.
The contributor of this piece says ”This artist truly epitomises the way I feel about colour and freedom with his exuberance. I do hope, one day, I could also convey sheer joy with my artwork”
Makiwa Mutomba (born 1976 in Zimbabwe) showed an excellent ability to draw at an early age. It was not until his third year at university in 1999 where he was studying Electronics Engineering that he quit studies and started painting pictures for a living. Moving from Bulawayo to Harare, which is the commercial capital of the country, and then on to the resort town of Victoria falls, where he sold miniature paintings at the roadside to tourists (hanging paintings from tree branches). It was at this time that Makiwa developed a love for the knife as a painting tool. Makiwa is the founder and Managing Director of Makiwa Galleries, which comprises of 4 Galleries in Durban, Pretoria, Franschhoek, and Hermanus. Most of his art is sold through Makiwa Galleries to art collectors in South Africa and all over the world.
ARTIST’S STATEMENT: “I believe a true work of art has a life and a soul. It is for posterity. Human as I am, I can only attempt to create it, I never quite succeed. For true art is not human, but divine. Nevertheless, it is that quest for a masterpiece that makes me who I am. That never-ending search for the perfect picture, the definitive line, the ultimate poem, and above all, the truth. For the truth is more valuable than what we think we know. I do not make political or religious statements with my art. I paint pictures to give hope, joy, and meaning to the lives of those who see them. For beauty, I believe, is abounding in all creation. Even the humble, lowly, down-trodden and dirty have a beautiful story to tell. I will strive to show beauty where there is no beauty, and to show colour where there is only black and white.”
The contributor of this post says that they find this to be a powerful image which draws the eye and the soul into it’s depths.
By far the most popular of all Dali’s religious works is without a doubt his ‘Christ of Saint John of the Cross’, whose figure dominates the Bay of Port Lligat. The painting was inspired by a drawing, preserved in the Convent of the Incarnation in Avila, Spain, and done by Saint John of the Cross himself after he had seen this vision of Christ during an ecstasy. The people beside the boat are derived from a picture by Le Nain and from a drawing by Diego Velazquez for The Surrender of Breda.
At the bottom of his studies for the Christ, Dali wrote:”In the first place, in 19150, I had a ‘cosmic dream’ in which I saw this image in color and and which in my dream represented the ‘nucleus of the atom’. This nucleus later took on a metaphysical sense; I considered in ‘the very unity of the universe’, the Christ! In the second place, when, thanks to the instructions of Father Bruno, a Carmelite, I saw the Christ drawn by Saint John of the Cross, I worked out geometrically a triangle and a circle, which aesthetically summarized all my previous experiments, and I inscribed my Christ in this triangle.”
This work was regarded as banal by an important art critic when it was first exhibited in London. Nevertheless, several years later, it was slashed by a fanatic while it was hanging in Glasgow Museum, proof of its astonishing effect on people.
John Singer Sargent was an American artist born in Florence, Italy in 1856. He studied in Italy and France and was considered the leading portrait painter of his generation. He produced around 900 Oils and 2,000 Watercolours. This portrait, painted in 1902, is of John Fyfe, a prominent North East Granite Merchant and Quarry Man. Although his sitter lived in Bucksburn, and Sargent visited the area on many occasions, it is thought to have been painted in his London studio. The portrait hung for many years in the offices of John Fyfe Ltd at Westhill, and later in Aberdeen Art Gallery. Another local dignitary painted by Sargent was Mrs Crombie, wife of John Crombie of Grandholm Woolen Mill, and also in Aberdeen Art Gallery. Sargent died in 1925
Tom Thomson was one of Canada’s most influential painters of the 20th-century. Born in 1877, he came from a farming family and worked as a pen artist for engraving companies before he started painting at the age of 25. Tom was inspired by the wild landscapes and vivid colours of the Algonquin National Park in Ontario. His paintings were different from his contemporaries in that he used thick layers of paint to bring out the light and variety of colours in the landscapes. He worked through the winter in Toronto to save enough money to head north as soon as the ice broke in the rivers and lakes. He spent the summers exploring and painting the wilderness, living simply by fishing and hunting and canoeing around the network of rivers and lakes in the Algonquin and the northern shores of Lake Ontario. If anyone expressed admiration for a painting he would immediately gift it to them in a fit of generosity. He never appreciated his own work, but his reputation grew and he spearheaded a new way of painting the Canadian landscapes which is reflected in the work of the famous Group of Seven artists, of which he was a forerunner.
In his short life he produced over 400 works of art on canvas, paper and wood. Tom Thomson, was last seen alive around mid-day, July 8, 1917, when setting out alone across Canoe Lake to begin a fishing trip. It is not known what happened to him on this trip, his empty canoes was discovered drifting on the lake and his body found a week later. In addition it is not known where he is buried, a veil of mystery hangs over his end. He was only 39 years old and becoming world famous at the time. He had one failed love affair with writer Alice Elinor Lambert that cast a shadow over his life, although this was compensated by his love of nature. Thomson made an important contribution to art and inspired other Canadian artists to explore their environment with a fresh approach.
Jeune filles au piano – Young Girls at the Piano – 1892 – Renoir
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1841 – 1919 was a French artist and a leading painter in the development of the impressionist style. At the age of 21 he began studying art formally. He had his first success with “ Lise with a Parasol “ in 1868, but recognition was slow in coming.
In 1874, having joined forces with Monet, Sisley, Pissarro and several others, he entered six paintings in the first Impressionist Exhibition. Renoir’s work was well received, though the exhibition as a whole was not successful and two of his works were shown in London. He attracted portrait commissions, continued to exhibit and by 1879 age 38 he was a successful and fashionable painter.
In 1890 age 49 he married Aline and Renoir’s life became more serene. He painted many scenes of his wife and children depicting family life. This period of his life is sometimes referred to as his “ Pearly Period “, when colours become softer-keyed producing silvery hues and a wonderful “pearly” transparency of flesh tones.
The “Young Girls at the Piano” belongs to this period. Renoir received a commission from the French government for a painting to hang in the Museum of Living Artists, the Luxembourg Palace. Wishing to create a work that was truly representative of him, Renoir produced six almost identical versions – four in oil, one in pastel and an oil sketch. The painting chosen is thought to be the least successful of the set as the style is quite conventional and the faces somewhat studied. For modern tastes, the version probably painted first with its looser, blotchy applications of colour is perhaps favourite. The subtle changes in detail, poses and background between the versions can be seen in the illustrations.
To quote Renoir during this period, “For me painting must be agreeably joyful and pretty – yes, pretty! There are enough depressing things in life without our creating still more”.