Some progress made but I need to darken the hair and refine the face, it needs to be pinker and the eyes aren’t right yet.
Its that time of year again, I have just four weeks to paint a credible portrait, from life, that might stand out amongst the usual 2000 or so entrants’ works.
Only 55 paintings are selected in total to be exhibited, the top prize this year is £30,000. The award is made for “outstanding and innovative work ” – it is increasingly hard to produce something that is innovative without bordering on the pretentious.
I chose to paint a friend, who is a painter herself, indeed she only paints herself, often in elaborate guises, adopting personas or attitudes, situations or allegories. I know what she really looks like as a friend but does she show me the face that she paints or someone else?
Here is my beginning – the first day of oil paint after many pencil sketches. I love the background and the shapes but I’m anxious about her dress, which is made of thick wool, dark blue with a contrasting maroon panel on the front. She was also wearing a necklace made of felt but I have decided to leave that out. I might try to make to the wool look like silk instead.
Her hair – a halo of marvellous auburn curls, will be back lit by a nearby standard lamp to the right. In this image, the holo of hair is much smaller than it will be when finished. She is sporting navy blue tights with white spots, I’m looking forward to painting those.
Its all looking raw and too bright just now and with no details but hopefully things will come together soon.
The stories are true, Cuba is passion, heat, decay, music and vintage cars but so much more. After a regrettably short visit my mind and my mind’s eye are bursting with sounds and colours, people and sensations. I travelled with a small group of keen photographers in a coach over dusty pock-marked roads from Havana to CienFuego, to Trinidad and Santa Clara and finally back to Havana. My amigos also visited Vinales but a short interlude with the excellent Cuban health system prevented me from joining them. Frui runs holidays (with a photographic tutor) to Cuba and many other great destinations.
We flourished in the expert guidance of Giselle our Cuban chaperone and our driver Candito, who both went far beyond the call of duty to find us the perfect places and situations for our photographic purposes.
Cuba is not an easy country to understand, its history is complex and thrilling. Stuck as it is with the US trade embargo still in place, the Cubans are short of all sorts of modern and everyday products which are so familiar to us. Cuba is not short of welcome and rhythm. The salsa beat is with you day and night, sit down in a cafe and within moments a live band will be serenading you and musicians set up in the street in the most unlikely places. Tourism is Cuba ‘s money-maker, life there will change very quickly when the Castro dynasty ends, tourism will be the big draw for foreign entrepreneurs, who no doubt will suck away all the profits leaving the Cubans to make what they can with an infra-structure that has been starved of regeneration funds for more than 50 years.
One day in Berlin is not enough – of course! I was there to visit the Bauhaus Archives, the most comprehensive representation of information about the mid 20th C design school. I also enjoyed a 3 hour coach tour with a certain Thomas who was the most informed and amusing guide I have ever met. He skilfully took us around or past every historic point, every breath-taking piece of modern architecture with an encyclopaedic knowledge of everything Berlin has to offer the coach-bound traveller. Due to lack of time we could only leave the coach twice and for just a few moments, so many of the photos are compromised by having been taken through the coach window as the coach was moving.
Just one photograph hardly does justice to this complex building, light and shadows dance across the angled facades and jagged chasms and take your breath away. Daniel Libeskind
Meinhard von Gerkan The station looks particularly marvellous at night, streaks of light gliding through and out of the enormous glazed tube of a roof.
The external structure of steel rods or shafts catch the light and cast shadows giving the whole structure a nebulous appearance, quite the antithesis of the stern buildings that preceded it under the Third Reich. Ursula Wilm
At first sight this appears to be a man with no head! Actually he is bending his scarf-covered head forward sharply in order to better read his phone.
I was too close to be able to capture much of the facade but I love the steps. Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners