Saturday, 25 February 2012

Special Occasions

Norman Rockwell's paintings were often done as illustrations for popular American magazines. They show wholesome idealised images of American life. The picture above shows a family sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner.
Weddings have featured in art for hundreds of years and all around the world. Pieter Brueghel painted this 16th Century village wedding dance. Indian miniature paintings will often feature ceremonies such as Shiva's wedding (below).
Marc Chagall's surreal image below is called 'Birthday', it features the artist and his wife. Many of Chagall's paintings were love tokens to her and show them both flying.
Impressionist painter Claude Monet captured the scene in Paris on the French national holiday Bastille Day. The tricolor flags wave in the breeze and the people throng in the streets below.


C.Eliot Hodgkin studied the way nature would quickly take over the bomb sites left after WWII. All sorts of plants would grow in the rubble (above). Birmingham born John Salt has always been fascinated with old American cars. He particularly focuses his hyper-realistic work on cars left to rust away and be overgrown by vegetation (below).
Eduardo Paolozzi is always associated with the Pop Art movement. His work often involved combining mechanical forms with figurative imagery.


Pierre Bonnard would often paint scenes through windows (as above), the whole picture highly patterned and lit by the Mediterranean sun. John Bratby's images were of a far more British and urban scene. The colours are more muted and the whole picture plain is divided up into a grid by the window panes and the net curtain.
Rachel Eardley illustration of a scene out of her back window is just as urban, but the delicate line work emphasises the rows of terrace houses and the tiled roofs.
David Hockney's 'joiner' photo technique has been used here to recreate the scene out of a Miami window. The only curved lines being those of the little balcony.
Edward Hopper reversed the idea by looking into windows, making them look like little theatres, making us wonder about the lives of the people playing out inside.

People in Chairs

David Hockney painted this rather formally posed image of his parents. His mother sitting upright looking attentively at the artist, his father engrossed in his paper. Another formal portrait is the one below by Lucian Freud, the sitter looking rather tense.
In Stanley Spencer's painting (below) the two people seem to be engulfed by the enormous chair, making them look like small children.
Bill Jacklin captures the moment a woman is about to get up from a chair - or is she about to sit down? Pictured below are a painting and a preliminary drawing of the same subject

Laura McCafferty uses fabric, print and stitch to recreate scenes of everyday life, such as sitting in the hairdressers.

Household Chores

Textile artists seem to be drawn to the subject of household chores. Caren Garfen has produced a series of pieces on the subject, often working onto items like tea towels. The quilt shown above includes a whole range of kitchen equipment and furniture. A detail is shown below.
Maxine Sutton also looks at those small everyday tasks like hanging out washing or sewing on a button (below).

Chloe Cheese is a print maker who often uses monoprinting as a technique. She produced an alphabet series using everyday items as inspiration (see above and below).
Lucian Freud was best known for his figurative painting, but he sometimes turned his attention to everyday objects around him, such as the kitchen sink (below).
Zhang Enli takes this idea further by focusing on all the empty paint cans, buckets and pots that were scattered around his studio.
Vermeer specialised in painting intimate interiors, the women of the household performing day to day tasks, such as a maid pouring milk (below).
Edgar Degas produced many studies of women ironing in a laundry. He was particularly interested in the light, but had sympathy for the women as he would often show them tired and worn out from their labours.

Supporting Structures

Edward Bawden was a master printer and illustrator, perhaps most famous for his lino prints. One of his favourite subjects were the interiors of London markets (above), particularly the iron work structures.
Fernand Leger produced many paintings focusing on the scaffolding used to construct skyscrapers and the men that scrambled over it with such ease (above). Debbie Smyth draws with thread. She uses pins to attach the thread and leaves the loose ends to give the pieces more energy.
Paul Catherall is a print maker and illustrator who often uses buildings as his main subject matter (below). The simplified shapes and tonal values emphasise the strong structures.

Functional and Decorative

Henri Matisse collected colourful textiles all his life. He would dress his models in his collection of folk and designer dresses and decorate his studio with fabrics from Africa and the Middle East. His paintings reflected the bold, bright colours of his collection, an example is shown above. Anne Rodpath painted the interior of her own home and again featured items she had collected herself, such as an Indian rug (below).

Caroline Kirton's creates images of the everyday life of teenagers (as above) using textiles, stitch and print. By using collages of colourful fabrics she plays with the concepts of decoration and function. Peter Clark collects old maps, books, tickets, packaging, postcards etc from car boot sales to use in his collages of clothes (below) and animals, especially dogs.
Julie Arkell also collects collage materials such as old books, buttons, ribbons and scraps of fabrics. She then uses them to create her menagerie of strange little characters and creatures (below), so turning things that were once functional into objects that are purely decorative.
Architect Antoni Gaudi used broken tiles and plates to decorate the outside of his wonderful buildings, many of which can be seen in Barcelona. He would often let the builders working on his buildings create their own mosaic patterns.
Julia McKenzie is a print maker. Her screen prints of broken blue and white china plates are reminiscent of Gaudi's mosaics, an example is below.