Monday, August 17, 2009

Dog Star Strathspey
60 x 45cm; 18 x 24"
acrylic on canvas
At last, something to 'show'! I have started a new painting class where we are looking at and being inspired by Chagall, Degas and others. I cycle 20 km to the class so I am using quick drying acrylics on smallish boards. Chagall's paintings often feature invented compositions, inspired by his Jewish childhood in a poor Russian village or Biblical stories and evoke a sense of child-like whimsy or naivety. They include non-literal narratives, theatrical, with distorted scale and strange perspectives. He uses non realistic, reduced or full pallette luminous, jewel-like colour to evoke mood, time of day. A heightened sense of drama can be achieved by employing contrasting elements eg dark/light values; warm/cool colour; coloured/black outline; hard/soft edges.
My 'Chagall' piece is inspired by my childhood in St Andrews on the east coast of Scotland - the bully gets his come-uppance at last and the fields are represented by painting the designs from two tiny scraps of fabric that I have saved from 60's A-line dresses my granny made for me.
I made a very pleasing discovery when Googling to confirm my memory about the dog star (Sirius or God star) being used by east coast fisherman to guide them to harbour - the only reference I found was from a wonderful folk singer/song writer, Tom Fairnie, in his song Rolling Home (avail. under creative commons). When I am creating, I often listen to just one piece of music (not necessarily related in any obvious way to the work) . I find that switching on the music puts me instantly in 'the zone' and I think provides a consistent harmony to the piece. Rolling Home is the background music for Dog Star Strathspey. Thank you for sharing your songs with the world, Mr Fairnie.


Hashi said...

Whoa! that bully is getting pincered! Great painting ... I have missed your wonderful creativity!

annie said...

Great payback to the Bully and he deserves every pinch and squeeze. I love the colors and the rhythmical accordion player under the dog star
and among the pieces of memory fabric. So good to hear from you, Alison. I've missed the memory posts and keep wondering about a possible memory book.

Jan Allsopp said...

I can't believe how long it's been since I visited here. I've had a lovely time catching up! You are always an inspiration Alison! 20k cycle to your class!!! Ah Chagal. I've always been a fan but a couple of years ago I visited the Chagal museum in Nice, France and it was an incredible experience. His works are entirely different in person. I know this is true of every artist but I've rarely seen such an extreme case as with Chagal. Such emotion. My T who has never been a Chagal fan was as equally moved as I was.

And yes, I'm right back with Annie thinking about a memory book for you too!

JaKo said...

Finally !! :-)
WAW, 20 km to class.
And , WAW . Nice painting !!!

Anonymous said...

It's so wonderful to see your work again and to see it blooming in full color! This class sounds really exciting and the approach seems really well suited for your imaginative style.

Tom Fairnie said...


I should have got back to you months ago so apologies for the tardiness of this response. I'm so flattered that you liked my music and I'm totally amazed how an accomplished artist on the other side of the world can connect with a musician in Scotland through the ether. I really enjoy you paintings and especially the dog star piece, you're very talented! I hope you continue to enjoy my songs, best wishes, Tom

ElizT said...

You must be really pleased.
I think the dream-like amalgamation is very successful, a hard thing to manage.

ElizT said...

And I play jazz when in the mood to draw.