Composition and mixing colours techniques

©Stuart Bush, The pursuit of truth, oil on board, 50 x 70cm
©Stuart Bush, The pursuit of truth, oil on board, 50 x 70cm – £1000 + shipping enquiry

In my painting ‘The Pursuit of Truth,’ I was interested in exploring the composition of an image.  A composition is usually referred to the arrangement of elements within a work of art.  An artist arranges the different elements into satisfactory relationships creating a sense of balance and pictorial harmony, while exploring rhythm, scale and movement. The composition of an image is  instinctive; when it is done well it has remarkable power and originality.  It can make you feel alive, and question; What is this?

Resolving problems when mixing the wrong colour
I was trying to make a particular grass coloured green that would work well with other colours on my painting.  I mixed cobalt blue with cadmium lemon.  Instead of arriving at the colour I hoped for, I had a dullish green mix on my palette which I was not happy with at all.
To remedy the problem I spent an hour or so creating a new colour swatch for my studio wall.  My first task was to make a value scale of each colour with white.  I extended this with a set of colour swatches with blues and yellows in value scales.
This task gives me knowledge of my palette and the colours I could make which can be further expanded with other common colours that can be mixed together.  I realise that the task of doing these tests swatches helps to fit it in my memory which makes the process of choosing the right colours to mix together a lot easier.  It certainly helps to make me feel more confident and decisive when using colour.
blue-and-white-swatch
Blue and green coloured swatch
‘The Pursuit of Truth’ is for sale, if you have any questions please contact me here
P.S. when you share, it makes my day…

Engaging with madness of the human condition

A thought came to me back in 2013 if your not happy living in the real world, create an alternative for yourself, a different way of looking at the world an ask yourself some deep questions;
What are the forces behind living things?
What does it means to be human?
How do you paint an antidote?
How do you paint a scream for help?
The outcome is a parody of human nature that looked behind the mask of our society at the underlying aggression and attitude, randomness and cruelty of the world.
©Stuart Bush, Walking that clown walk - prep work
©Stuart Bush, Preparation drawing before ‘Walking that clown walk’ painting
In this preparation piece before the final painting on canvas, I considered how my idea was going to work.  I had this idea about using newspaper to form the architecture in the background and in this prep work I simplified my idea.  The quick mixed media sketch was very helpful when it came to making the final painting.
When I made the painting I was surprised how challenging it was to create the newspaper collage.  It took a very long time to get it right.  I became very determined to make the newspaper look like the building and architecture by using the lines of print and edges of the newspaper.  I am very pleased with the final outcome.
©Stuart Bush, Walking that cat walk 2013 oil on canvas 100.3 x 130 cm
©Stuart Bush, Walking that clown walk, oil on canvas 100.3 x 130 cm – £1400 + shipping enquiry

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Refining my studio time – part 1

©Stuart Bush, The crystallisation of a scratched memory, oil on board, 70.2 x 100cm
©Stuart Bush, The crystallisation of a scratched memory, oil on board, 70.2 x 100cm – £1000 Enquiry
I made this work “The Crystallisation of a scratched memory ” in 2013. I was inspired after visiting the Gert &Use Tobias exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary in 2010. I used the rapid shutter function on my camera to capture the moment and followed it with a series of drawings and paintings. It was a unique, experimental piece of work and l enjoyed using many of the techniques and skills l developed during my degree course at Wolverhampton University. I also painted ‘Walking that Clown Walk’ at about the same time.
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Productivity in the studio has always been a problem for me. I’m sure many people can relate to this in their work environment. It is very easy to not be working on the most important things. While reading ‘The Success Principles’ by Jack Canfield l found the chapter titled ‘Refining Time’ very intrigueing and it really did help in the battle to increase productivity. This section suggests that you split your time into three groups. Best result days, preparation days and rest and recreation days.
Rest and recreation days (R&R days)
Rest and recreation days are essential to get the right balance in your life and should be just as important as eating well and exercise. The book suggests that on R&R days you should not do any work related activities, including emails and reading work related documents. And even if possible have some days away from the children. This way you are ready and refreshed, and you can work harder and smarter on your best results days and not feel guilty that you have work to do.

 

Preparation days
Preparation days are all about doing the planning, groundwork and laying the foundations in place for your best result days. Preparation days are the days when you carry out the not-so-important tasks but ones that still need to be completed to make sure that your best result days are extremely productive

Best results days
The book proposes spending more days on best result days. These days are when you do the most important work which will give you the highest payoff for the time you invest. If you schedule more of these days and hold yourself obligated to having these days you can produce better results.
This method of working is definitely a good way to obtain a better balance between work and rest days.

Crystallisation of a scratched memory is available for sale, enquiries, please click here

What I am naturally drawn to?

©Stuart Bush, I have been looking for something to believe in (2007) oil on canvas, 126 x 71 cm
©Stuart Bush, I have been looking for something to believe in (2007) oil on canvas, 126 x 71 cm – £1300 + shipping enquiry
My work looks as it does not because of a choice I have made, it is what I am naturally drawn to.
While I was studying at the University of Wolverhampton one of the many modules was to paint and draw in the streets and in public space, in the ‘plein air’ style. En plein air (French pronunciation), or plein air painting, is a phrase borrowed from the French equivalent meaning ‘open, in full air’.
I enjoyed the challenge and I became reasonably competent at it. However, painting plein air style can be time-consuming and would not work with the ideas l had in mind. It also felt too contrived for me and I wasn’t drawn towards working that way like I was towards photography.
I studied photography at Illinois State University in the US and at Wolverhampton University. When I left university I know that photography was something I wanted to continue. I was drawn and attracted to using photography as it was something l seemed to have a natural talent for. When l started walking the streets with a camera, l was originally looking for a way to use the camera as a sketchbook.  I don’t remember when I came across Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photography but it must have around the same time because it has had a profound effect on my work. I believe that l visited the 1998 National Portrait Gallery exhibition in London where Henri’s work was on show. Photography in Henri Cartier-Bresson’s eyes was; “a means of capturing what he famously called the ‘decisive moment’ when the balance of a composition or the look on a face said something special about time, place and the world we live in.”
I realised it was a way for me to capture an ephemeral moment of time that says something significant.  I didn’t know what that significant thing was when I started but I realised this could be the beginning of by practice as a painter.  The exploration of what is significant in these fleeting moments could possibly be uncovered in a lifetimes work as a painter.
©Henri Cartier-Bresson, photography of Alberto Giacometti https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12684959
©Henri Cartier-Bresson, photograph of Alberto Giacometti https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12684959
Over time I now understand a little more that I am naturally drawn to painting the relationship between the individual and the city.  Making and defining images that are important to everyone and that are significant in terms of human beings by using our great human perception.

Why do I paint?

With consumerism at the forefront of western society as a purpose to live, we live to work, to earn, to consume, is all a major part of our lives.  I find myself drawn to expressing an alternative view through my art.

Although some see painting as being based on traditional values as a limitation to address contemporary issues, I believe that it offers me the challenge of finding new meaning, creating new insight and capturing people’s imagination in a unique way.  Even though some might see this as naive, as nothing is truly original anymore in this postmodern society.

Another reason why I paint is when I am painting l would never get a chance to see what it would be like if l did something else because I can not undo the last mark.  The process of painting is addictive. I’m always hoping for improvement and possibly perfection, but always realising that it is unattainable.  The question nearly always arises; do I risk spoiling it or do I start a new painting?

I am a risk taker and painting suits my way of working and what I want to communicate.  I think this is why Francis Bacon destroyed so much of his work, he liked risk.

©Francis Bacon, Figures at the base of crucifixion 1944, 1 panel part of a triptych
©Francis Bacon, Figures at the base of crucifixion 1944, 1 panel part of a triptych
©Stuart Bush A pocket full of dreams 2010 oil on canvas, 120.4 cm x 160.4 cm
©Stuart Bush A pocket full of dreams 2010 oil on canvas, 120.4 cm x 160.4 cm – £2,500 + shipping enquiry

This painting titled ‘A pocket full of dreams’ is intended for us to just for a moment to stop and think, pulling back the curtain, to consider what it means to be human.  By reviewing the influences we allow in our minds our bodies, like the clothes we wear, all creates the consuming lifestyles we choose.

Ways of dealing with consumerism: how has my art evolved

I am going to try to answer these question in this post

  • How has my art evolved?
  • What are the common threads?
  • What has stayed the same?
  • What has changed a little
  • and what has a lot?

To start with I am going to give you a whistle stop tour of the changes in my art to show how it has evolved.  In 2004 I started considering ways to deal with the negative effects of consumerism through art.

©Stuart Bush, A study for being normal 1 (2006) oil on canvas 51 x 71.5 cm
©Stuart Bush, A study for being normal 1 (2006) oil on canvas 51 x 71.5 cm £376 + shipping enquiry
©Stuart Bush Blind boy (2007) oil on canvas 50 x 70 cm
©Stuart Bush Blind boy (2007) oil on canvas 50 x 70 cm – £650 + shipping enquiry
©Stuart Bush, The Kingdom (2009) oil on canvas 150 x85 cm
©Stuart Bush, The Kingdom (2009) oil on canvas 150 x85 cm – £2800 + shipping enquiry

 

©Andy Warhol, Campbells soup cans 1962
©Andy Warhol, Campbells soup cans (1962)

I immediately knew I didn’t want to celebrate its over bright, flashy and showy side, the way Pop Art mirrored consumerism, for example the 57 varieties of Campbell Soup.  Warhol’s pop art mimics the production line by using repetition.  He was trying to tell us about the times in which we live.  Campbell’s tomato soup, is available to everyone and you can have this too but it is a trap, it’s a prison.

©Stuart Bush, Walking that cat walk 2013 oil on canvas 100.3 x 130 cm
©Stuart Bush, Walking that cat walk 2013 oil on canvas 100.3 x 130 cm – £1400 + shipping enquiry

I went through a period of considering whether creating edgy work would be a good way to create a new body of work.

©Carl Andre, Equivalent VIII, 1966
©Carl Andre, Equivalent VIII, 1966

It took me a long time to realise that the minimalist artists also had disdain for consumerism. Minimalist artists presents a contrary and opposing view in the way their art deals with consumerism.  Art works like Carl Andre, Equivalent V, mimics the emotionless and blankness of consumerism. Life has become dominated by consumerism and we are its submissive servants.

©Stuart Bush, A section of ourselves as a commodified object 2016 oil on aluminium panel 80 x 120 cm
©Stuart Bush, A section of ourselves as a commodified object 2016 oil on aluminium panel 80 x 120 cm

As I worked to find a subtle way to deal with consumerism in my work I considered this as a response to minimalism.

What are the common threads? What has stayed the same? What has changed  little?

The common thread throughout the work have been how I have started each work.  They have all started with street photography.  From there they have also always had a relationship back the original photograph they came from.

And my final question was what has changed a lot?

What has changed a lot is my understanding of art.  I think the explanations of Andy Warhole and Minimalism highlights that.

 

‘A study for being normal 1’ (2006) ‘Blind boy’ (2007) and ‘The Kingdom’ (2009), are currently available for sale.

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Or contact me by email or Facebook if you have any questions or comments.

 

 

Review of Rana Begum exhibition at Parasol Unit, London

©Stuart Bush, Welcome To The Naive 1, 2015 gouache on paper - £400 + shipping enquiry
©Stuart Bush, Welcome To The Naive 1, 2015 gouache on paper – £400 + shipping enquiry
©Stuart Bush, Welcome To The Naive 2, 2015 gouache on paper.jpg
©Stuart Bush, Welcome To The Naive 2, 2015 gouache on paper – £400 + shipping enquiry
©Stuart Bush, Welcome To The Naive 3, 2015 gouache on paper
©Stuart Bush, Welcome To The Naive 3, 2015 gouache on paper – £400 + shipping enquiry
©Stuart Bush, Welcome To The Naive 4, 2015 gouache on paper
©Stuart Bush, Welcome To The Naive 4, 2015 gouache on paper – £400 + shipping enquiry

My review of Rana Begum – The Space Between at Parasol Unit, London

This is Begum first solo show in a public institution in the UK. It is very interesting to see how different artists approach a similar topic using their own take and ideas. Begum’s work requires the viewer to react to it, to move and look at it from different angles to see the play of light, colour, reflections and shadows created by the art work against the backdrop of the gallery wall. Similar to the way you look at architecture in the city against the sky line

My favourite work in this exhibition is the ones featuring the straws.

I liked how simple the concept was. I could imagine an art student at a degree show presenting this work. This comment could be interpreted as criticism but it is not meant to be one. Sometimes,often, the simplest things work best.

 

I also really enjoyed the simple coloured forms with wire No 624 M drawing 2015, No673 M drawing, 2015 and No 62, M Drawing 2016 made from powder coated mild steel and paint on mild steel sheet. The spatial playfulness is compelling it remind me of Justin Hibbs exhibition Alias_Re_Covered recently at Carroll / Fletcher.  Another artist that is worth a closer look.

I’m not sure that all this work is completely original but what work is? We all borrow and steal, and are inspired by what we see.

A painting has to stand up by itself

Duchamp said ‘the artist has only 50% of the responsibility and that is to get the work out, it is completed by the viewer.’

©2016 Stuart Bush, A section of ourselves as a commodified object (2016) Oil on aluminium panel 80 cm x 120 cm
©2016 Stuart Bush, A section of ourselves as a commodified object (2016) Oil on aluminium panel 80 cm x 120 cm

In my understanding of contemporary art, the Duchamp quote that the work is completed by the viewer is a really important. Often I think viewers look at work and immediately ask themselves why did the artist make this? What is he or her trying to say? Asking an artist to explain what his art means in my view defeats the ambition of the artist.

The person viewing the work comes to see the work with their own unique background, knowledge and history. It is important to understand that art is not like design where everything has a purpose and a function. Trying to understand why artists make the work in the first place is immaterial. The art work now exists on its own, and it has to stand up by itself.

Everyone sees things differently, people make their own connections. Two things are put together and they create meaning. Once the artwork is made it has to be completed by the viewer, with their imagination. The best artwork in my eyes means different things to different people.

Rekindling the creativity of a child through my visit to the Serpentine Pavilion designed by Architect Bjarke Ingels

©Stuart Bush, The otherside, oil on canvas 85 x150cm
©Stuart Bush, The otherside, oil on canvas 85 x150cm SOLD

I remember drawing as a child and really enjoying it. All it took was a single positive comment to keep me going back for more.

I still crave approval when I make work now but I have to deal with it in a new way to enable me to make work as an adult. I have to convince myself when I am producing work that it is good enough. By working and focusing on the process of making rather than thinking too much I can still be productive. If I think, I procrastinate and I stop working, so I don’t. If I stop working on piece of work I need to find another piece of work or idea to work on and keep busy.

©2016 Bush
©2016 Bush (My son’s drawing when he was aged 5)

After my recent visit to the Serpentine Pavilion designed by Architect Bjarke Ingels, I thought about my son an how inspirational this building could be to him and other younger viewers especially ones who loves Lego.

When I got home I showed my 8 year ago son the photos I had taken of the pavilion and I hope to take him to see it. I explained how the architect may have used Lego and looked at the way it stacks and interlinks to come up with the concept of the Serpentine. I hope that next time he plays with his Lego his mind might starting imagining all sorts of wild possibilities. These possibilities are endless and he should avoid getting stuck by thinking too much like I do, wondering if it is good enough.
If you’re in the Hyde Park area of London l fully recommend the short walk into the park to see it, it is on until 9th October.

A moment of reflection maybe in order and review of Mary Heilmann exhibition

©Stuart Bush A moment of refection maybe in order, oil on canvas, 150 x 85cm
©Stuart Bush A moment of reflection maybe in order, oil on canvas, 150 x 85cm – £1500 + shipping enquiry

The intention of my painting, ‘A moment of reflection maybe in order’ was partly to dissect appearance and to attempt to penetrate life’s underlying structure.  It was painted following my research into existentialism, the philosophy that sought to identify man’s significance in a meaningless universe.

A review of Mary Heilmann exhibition, ‘Looking at pictures’ at the Whitechapel Gallery in London

Exhibition continues until 21 August 2016.

I received an email from the Whitechapel Gallery inviting me to visit an exhibition of Mary Heilman’s work.  I immediately wanted to visit the show after seeing an image of the painting ‘Crashing Waves’ in the email.  I was intrigued by the dynamic and simple composition in the painting and wanted to see the original, so I made my way to the show as soon as I could.

©Mary Heilmann, Crashing Wave 2011 oil on canvas
©Mary Heilmann, Crashing Wave 2011 oil on canvas

Mary Heilmann was born in 1940 in California.  Much of her work is inspired by time on the west coast of America.  She had her first solo show in New York in 1970 at the Whitney Museum of American Art and is still working today in her seventies, living and working in New York.

The show at the Whitechapel Gallery was quiet when I visited allowing me plenty of space to look and enjoy the high-quality, beautiful works of art. The theme of the show, ‘Looking at Pictures’ embodies the scope and strength of work that is inspired by pop culture and minimalism.  

While viewing ‘Crashing Waves, ‘ I realised Mary Heilmann’s work was astonishingly beautiful.  I was interested in how Mary had let things almost fall out of control in her paintings.  I noticed the painterly marks with their different techniques from runny and washy paint to bold gestural marks were playing off against each other.  Working in this free, spontaneous way must have been very exciting, challenging and a way of learning something new with each painting.  

©Mary Heilmann, Carmelita (2004) oil on canvas
©Mary Heilmann, Carmelita (2004) oil on canvas

In the paintings, ‘Carmilita’ (2004) & ‘Franz West’ (1995), I liked their freeness. They felt unconstrained and spontaneous even though I suspect they were carefully contemplated and planned.  There are physical traces of thought and play as if Mary Heilmann was attempting to control and balance the accidents. I’m sure she made other versions of these paintings as it was difficult to control the failures that naturally occur when working this way.  Pulling pictures back from the brink of collapse would have potentially spoiled this free way of working.  I’m sure repetition would have been the solution to keep the paintings lose.  

©Mary Heilmann, Franz West (1995) oil on canvas
©Mary Heilmann, Franz West (1995) oil on canvas

There is bristling energy in Mary Heilmann’s work as she harnesses nature.  She clearly shows she cares passionately about non-representational visual language and the joy of life. Mary’s choice of colours, light and volume are a treat and fill you with warmth from the California sun.  I really enjoyed the exhibition and would recommend checking out it out.  I’m sure it will inspire some vibrant new work in my studio.