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.
Yes, and going back to the reason I’m painting them twice over is because I need to know what I’m going to be doing on the blank blue screen so the first version dubbed on the photograph is is like a practice run. Sometimes the painting on the dead flat blue background has quite a contemporary flavour.
To Cologne two weeks ago with a picture for an exhibition in
Aachener Strasse 28
The title of the show is Trinken als Chance and it’s on until 24.June 2009
It’s art fair time, Art Cologne used to be in November now it’s been changed to April and it was a tradition of mine to go, well, it’s been more ‘an twenty years, so if it’s not a tradition it’s a habit. These days it’s more to see my friends, once upon a time, it was to see the art and check the trends, what was happening, being picked up and touted by the Art World. Now art fairs are everywhere and all the time, and they themselves are the blushing brides battling for attention, all trying to catch the cachet, to be trendiest; picked out and booked up – anxiously vying to be the most fashionable five generating fantastic figures etc etc
Took the train under the Channel and changed in Brussels, under my arm a painting in a frame and a folded sheet of New York City drawings. The painting, “Two Turkish Coffees”, for the exhibition (note how it fits with the theme of the show) and the drawing for my friend, Markus Gertken, the actor, who came especially from Berlin to pick it up from me not wishing to trust the post. He’d seen that one and others years ago and been thinking about it ever since. When i fished it out though and laid it out, he had remembered it differently, he’d combined two together in his memory – one had a couple of wide open spaces, Union Square and the SW corner of Central Park on it, and the other, lots of little scenes. Anyway, he trotted off again early the next morning with it, catching the early morning train as he had a performance that evening. Great to see him, “The old farm dog” he calls me, on account of being kept awake by my snuffling and snoring one time we had to share a bed years ago. He did an impression over the phone for Stephanie that hurt her she laughed so much.
Was reluctant to leave, would’ve considered canceling if Stephanie hadn’t of insisted I go. She’s not well at the moment; my father has just had a serious stroke and I’d been trying to cut though Dr Flannel’s bland assurances that treatment in the hospital was 100% on the button – when the Old Man had lost two stone in three weeks and they were saying, “Therapy won’t work.” …ship him off outta here. Was getting ready to go ballistic and that is really time-consuming. A bit rich, I thought, that the medics stress me more than the patient…but the day before I left the snr consultant stepped up to take an interest and the situation improved. Still dealing with that.