Friday, December 12, 2014


At the moment I am working a canvas which is destined for my next solo show in May next year, this being the largest canvas in the collection of paintings that I will be exhibiting.  I used here a raw sienna  ground (see below) which creates a warm yellow earth base on which to lay on my colours.  I spent a while trying to create a particular green-blue jade colour , based around phthalo blue, which will work so well with the cadmium red light that I plan to use here, its early days yet, so anything might happen, who knows,  but all I know, is that by looking at  great art like The Annunciation by Jacques Yverni d.1435-38 this can only help my cause.      
                                                   I am constantly filtering out visual information, often abstracting out the colour or form of a thing, without any historical or literal reference, and storing this information in my visual memory bank which has no filing system what so ever, therefore is quite difficult to access verbally, as I have usually forgotten to look at any written information.  So this is not a promising start to a written blog on what has inspired me recently, but bear with me, because I will slowly piece together enough reference material to get my message across.  So I was in Dublin doing some Christmas shopping with some time left over and in desperate need of some visual solace,  and needing to meditate at the alter of heavenly painting, so the NGI just up the road from the busy shopping thorough-fare of Dublin,  helped to restore my faith.   Escaping the hectic, throng of  Christmas shoppers and darting into the sanctuary of the Gallery I then made my way to my two favorite paintings which happen to be hung conveniently next to each other.
The Annunciation Jacques Yverni French d.1435

The Virgin Mary Antoniazzo Romano d. 1508

The annunciation by Jacques Yverni French d.1435, and The Virgin Mary Invoking God to Heal the Hand of Pope Leo 1 by Antoniazzo Romano d.1508 there did it!! And the images here are not the best colour representation, which slightly defeats my object, in my attempt to share with you their deliciousness. The Annunciation is maybe 6 or so feet wide and 5 or so feet in length, a large alter piece depicting the Virgin Mary receiving Angel Gabriel’s good tidings; a tall lily is cast between them, and the virgin’s left hand is gently resting on an open text reading ‘My soul does magnify the Lord’.  this large painting beautifully iridescent with its overall ground of gold leaf which imbues it with a sunny radiance of warmth and well being.  This painting is nearly 600 years old, so I wonder whether the ethereal duck egg blue and greens of the angels wings and the faded indigo -prussian blue of the architectural elements were originally that colour, but who cares it is
exactly why I stand in front of it for so long and never get enough of that incredible up-lifting light infused cool greens and blues, that has the effect of the wings floating upwards and the building soaring heaven-wards.   The cadmium red of the alter cloth is just divine… there are no words…the pattern delicately and reverently painted here is so honest its heart-rending and the way it crosses the turned down edge without a thought to conventional perspective – because at the time this was painted, that dreadful dictate of a constriction had not yet been set in stone!- is to me one of the reasons why this painting is food for the soul.  Its neighbour The Virgin Mary Invoking God to Heal the Hand of Pope Leo I by Antoniazzo Romano is utterly divine, it transcends onto another plane of beauty, every touch of the artist's brush is a prayer, the Virgin's face is so open and perfect and again her regal robes of a simple classic cadmium red dress is paired perfectly with her dark cloak of warm black with a rich forest-green lining all edged delicately with gold filigree. Magnificant!!

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