Monthly Archives: July 2011

Sketchbook studies

Yesterday afternoon saw waves of very heavy rain passing over. Out and about in the car the sky, trees and fields looked almost like a giant watercolour and what I’ve tried to do is capture the density of the rain without being too literal.

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Francis Bacon and the photographic image

I’ve been reading Francis Bacon: a Terrible Beauty, which is about Francis Bacon’s studio, now dismantled and recreated at the Hugh Lane gallery in Dublin. Bacon’s use of photographs is explored and particularly his method of cutting and sticking together photos that resemble what will be the finished painting. What I find particularly interesting about this is that part of the mythology about Bacon is that he never produced any drawings, his entire work consists of oil on canvas. However not only does the book refer to drawings being found in Bacon’s studio but his treatment of his photographs of friends and lovers seem to me to be a form of drawing – though of course it isn’t drawing – and its certainly seems to directly inform the images that would eventually appear on canvas. Indeed Bacon’s famous insistence on chance as a central part of his practice is questioned as it seems increasingly from the 196o’s onwards that the composition Bacon drew out on his canvases didn’t change substantially as the painting progressed.

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