These paintings are going into a film, Dreaming Istanbul, directed by Gilles Blaize & Julien Tréfouël, which is being made to celebrate Istanbul being European City of Culture in 2010.
It is easier to describe how they came to be made and what they’re for rather than what they are all about.
As I painted them I photographed them at every stage for Gilles to turn them into animations (now “we’ve moved on” from using a film camera and no longer shoot all the frames as we go, he has to edit them afterwards) – little ten second transformations morphing from the photograph into the painted image.
Every so often during the film the frame freezes and a stop-motion animation begins.
How to describe the way it breaks into the action? Like a song in a musical? [Read more…]
At the moment still trying to get on with paintings for Gilles’ film, Dreaming Istanbul, what with one thing and another, am having to work nights under the lights with the canvas (actually alternating between a photograph and a blue screen – as I’m doing each one twice) in front of the camera.
You know the technique, stop-motion, I paint a bit take a photo, paint a bit more ‘n’ take another photo and so on till the picture’s done and then when it’s played back as a film (at 24 frames a second) you can watch the painting grow and take shape.
There are 15 or 16 left to do – the animations break into the live-action as they did in Aldous in London like songs in a musical and the reason that I’m painting the images twice over is that the photograph I dub the painting on top of always has different qualities of tone and colour to the film’s which creates a visual discontinuity, a jump in the optical quality whenever an animation is about to begin, which if it doesn’t spoil the surprise is kind of irritating after a while. To get over this problem I paint the interventions that I put onto the photograph onto a plain blue screen which is later filtered out and turns transparent in post-production. So the idea is that there’ll be a smooth transition from the moment the frame freezes to the appearance of the first brush strokes.
Well, Gilles is onto that, poor fellow, he’s not just editing all the pictures into a fluid sequence but having to adjust them as well because now we’re doing this digitally instead of as before with a 35mm film camera (“It’s the way forward, Aldous.”) the Nikon D40 I’m using is always compensating for every tonal change I paint even though everything on the camera is switched to manual, so a patch of white paint makes the image go darker and a spot of black paint, lighter. Not to mention, tiny movements to the position of the camera (it’s fixed onto the wall at the top of the house) which means Gilles is also having to align the little bleeders. [Read more…]
Pencil drawing on recycled paper 295mm x 210mm
This drawing is from a sketch book I kept while I was painting in Mersea Island. I had my easel set up with my oil paints on the quay side in West Mersea Harbour. The sketch book next to me, ready to hand, to note quickly things in passing that caught my eye while I was painting. So it is full of fleeting incidents; sketches of dinghies being launched, washed down, rowed and sailing by. Out of all the pictures in the book, I picked this one to frame because it is so quiet and expresses a stillness and the fullness of the estuary at high tide and does so in just a few strokes marking the reflection of the boat in the water. I like this drawing because it has an oriental feel, economical in a Chinese or Japanese way, although the look of the drawing is European, soft graphite pencil on flecked, antique-looking paper, paper with a thin, pointed crease running vertically, a fault in the manufacture, at its centre. The boat seen in three quarter view from behind, is placed in the top left quarter of the page, which optically creates a distance. The prow curves upwards in a way which, when I was drawing it, made me think of a Turkish, Ottoman slipper turning up at the toe. Between the prow and the stern I was concerned to get the intervals and spaces – the ratio of the height to distance – of the masts and rectangle of the block house. This boat has particularly elegant proportions, even in foreshortening. I painted her a few times. There is a water colour of her side on, in profile, in one of the cabinets at the entrance to this exhibition at the Andromeda, which I shall talk about later. [Read more…]
The Artist Goes Outdoors to Draw with a Sound Recorder for Company
“A sound piece, performance for voice” is what I wrote on the flyer when “Drawing on the Radio” was broadcast in June 2006. Jonny Brown, the singer with the Band of Holy Joy, has a regular spot he calls “Mining for Gold” on Resonance 104.4 FM. He invited me to do something for his show. “How about drawing on the radio? Would you do that, Aldous?”, he said one day in my studio. That was the only clue he gave me. Make of it what I will. I toyed with the idea for a while. I wondered whether to be didactic. But then in what way? A lecture? How-I-do-it instructions? Recipes for looking? It was talking with Gerry Smith one day that decided me, when his suggestion “Just record yourself drawing” made me realise that it was going to be art, not documentary, a work in its own right rather than some kind of explanation. After all, Resonance is art radio, a station like no other, where everything to do with listening can and does happen. Something here to live up to. [Read more…]