Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Harry Kent: Blue in Green

Blue in Green, charcoal and acrylic on paper, 140x115 cm

Little Boy Blue,
Come blow your horn,
The sheep's in the meadow,
The cow's in the corn;
Where is that boy
Who looks after the sheep?
Under the haystack
Fast asleep.
Will you wake him?
Oh no, not I,
For if I do
He will surely cry.

                             (Trad nursery rhyme circa 1744)

I noticed at my last Painters Group Critique session at the University how may images shrank down to banality as they were hung in the long corridor. If my work is to retain some force then i must learn to paint on a more monumental scale. At the same time, i'm trying to move away from realism.

This painting was done from a mirror, just a small hand-held affair which meant i had to paint one-handed. I was hoping to produce something wild and free and abstract. Instead i got the plodding image you see. So now ive also started doodling self-portraits from memory. No photos. No mirror. No-one to hold my hand. That will be my next large self-portrait.

Meanwhile, i'm still thinking about the Fukushims series. And new media, innovative use of materials.
And ive started work on a large landscape.

So, the inertia that has held me in its grip over recent months seems to be lifting. I have a lot of catching up to do. It's a race against time. People younger than me are dropping dead from heart disease.

It's always a race against time.


  1. Encuentro fascinante la capacidad de no someterse a un realismo estricto y dejar volar libremente la imaginación, el sentimiento y la creatividad. Captura ciertamente tu esencia, Harry. Y como es un trabajo hecho a una escala grande (lo que lo hace todavía más meritorio), en vivo y en directo debe impactar mucho más.

  2. Harry, this is certainly not realistic. It is recognizable but not in an academic kind of way. Haw far away do you wish to move from realism? I am not sure what mean by "moving away from realism". Please clarify.

    I admire the expressive gutsy-ness of your work. Each piece possess a massive emotional punch. It's the reward you give me for looking.

    If you want to paint in a monumental scale, make sure you can fit the size you choose in your car. You have to consider the schlep factor. My limit is 72x48" but I'm going smaller, to 48x36" because it's getting to difficult for me move it all about. If I want to go larger it will have to be in multiple panels of that size.

  3. Harry, what an excellent job!
    this look, ask us a complicity, the cool colors and hair, make you, an enlightened being by moonlight, very close!
    You came out of realism, for me it is a figurative fantastic!
    So alive, strong and impressive!
    Glad to see your energy registered here.
    a huge hug

  4. Gracias por tu comentario, Manel. Estoy luchando por alejarse del realismo, pero resulta muy difícil. La próxima voy a pintar sólo de la memoria con mis gafas. Tal vez eso le ayudará.

  5. Emotional punch, yes, that's what i'm striving for. Thanks, Davida. Though i want the puch to be honest, truthful, and not just a manipulative trick.

    By moving away from realism, i mean moving away from photo-realism. I am looking for the distortions and 'imperfections' that not 'gridding out' work produces, that not checking the relative positions of eyes and mouth brings with it.

    I believe there is an expressiveness of its own kind in a more naive draughsmanship. When i combine that with expressive use of media, i'm hoping it will have some kind of universal punch. I'm still a long way off where i want to be.

    Great questions. Thanks.

  6. Thank you so much, Denise. Your own work has such graphical and compositional inventiveness. I'm now seeking ways of my work stronger when present in its orginal form (at an exhibition). Up until now, often my work looks stronger on the web or in a Powerpoint presentation. It's a matter of scale, i believe.

  7. You are not painting in a photo realistic way. I know how difficult it is to go from an idea to executing it visually. It may take a lot of paintings to get there. I wouldn't presume to tell you how to work. It's almost like you have to trick yourself into painting like you ordinarily wouldn't paint. I'm sure you have some of those tricks tucked away in the back of your mind.

    I was told to give myself permission to be sloppy. I was using watercolor at the time. I gave up penciling and then would randomly dampen the paper with clear water before I began. That's how I gave myself permission to be sloppy.

    You will find your own trick.

  8. I cannot imagine anything you paint being considered anywhere NEAR banal.