Category Archives: Painting

Lucifer’s Summer

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Lucifer’s Summer – watercolour and ink, 26cm x 40cm (For Sale)

After the heatwave, that drifted over southern Europe for three weeks, the summer of 2017 earned nickname “Lucifer’s Summer”. The average temperature was in the mid-forties and the heat was stifling.

Withering landscape

The painting features the village of Belvedere Ostrense in Le Marche, with the silhouettes of Barbara and Ostra Vetere in the background. The hills had either been ploughed, which left hardened clods of earth or black, dried sunflowers, making the usual verdant landscape turn various shades of black and brown.

tumblr_m9fs9j2VIR1refr94o1_500Hot summer

The never-ending heatwave had the feel of a biblical prophecy to it so I decided to paint it in a Medieval manuscript style, complete with a demonic head in the corner. From its foul mouth swirl the stinking, reeking heat of hell. Well that’s how it felt for quite a few days that summer

Medieval Treadmill Workout

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Medieval Gym – Watercolour and ink – 21 cm x 29 cm (For Sale)

“The steady rumbling of the water wheel, turning, turning, turning, working to the beat of the race. The straining of the machine, the thump against the punch bag, the sacks of flour and the groaning, panting and sweating of the work out. Gym day, Thursday is here again. “

Watermill2Old watermills

The idea came from images I saw of old watermills, simple representations that looked fun to play with. I liked the idea that the waterwheel could also be used as a piece of gym equipment, endlessly driving people on.

The mill machine

Watermill3So the Medieval gym was filled with a punch bag, exercise bike, medicine ball, wall ladders, pommel horse and a climbing rope. The locker cabinet is based around the Ikea  cupboards. The idea is that the gym equipment somehow looks like the wheels and cogs of the mill, so in truth you’d get a work out there whether you went for exercise or as part of your job.

Painting watermills

I decided to make the watermill a natural partner with the windmill painting by using the same deep Prussian Blue sky. The dark blues in the watermill are countered by bright orange, browns and yellows to give the picture some colourful visual points.Watermill

The style of the water comes from the way traditional stained glass artists would paint water and is one I’d used previously in the painting of Positano

Windmills in the Wind

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Medieval Laundry Room – watercolor & ink, 21 cm x 29 cm (For Sale)

“Highlighted against the storm brushed horizon the windmill groaned. Its sails idly turning as the early evening sky began to bruise. From the depths inside came the groans and grinding of a dank, dark place, heavy with gloom. The flapping of the clean clothes, whip-like, as they cracked out their punishment. Yes! it’s wash day again. “

Medieval WindmillMedieval Windmills

I’ve always loved the way the Gothic painters, woodcut artists and print-makers portrayed windmills. Strange boxes, mounted on legs or humps with crazy, spindly sails, twisting and turning in the breeze.

So when it came to the next in the Medieval rooms series I thought a windmill would make the perfect laundry room. Noisy places, vibrating machinery, canvases flapping in the wind and a sense of foreboding, well perhaps that’s just my laundry room.

laundry-bagFurnishing the windmill

The idea for the furnishings of the windmill came straight out of the Ikea catalogue. The washing machine, linen basket, laundry bag and shelves are all products from the Swedish company.

I also liked the idea of including a chain mail shirt and a Boudica-esque bra with copper finish and swirls. The whirligig behind, with its CrosssectionMillwashing reflects the mill, turning, spinning and drying the clothes.

Landscape painting

Instead of the gold leaf effect background, I have opted for in previous paintings,   I chose an alternative deep, Prussian blue sky, tinged with a hint of black.

Nowadays the use of black and white in watercolour painting is somewhat frowned upon but in the International Gothic period it was a perfectly acceptable practice.

Painting techniques windmill1200_0

This technique is how the painters of the past created depth, shadows and highlights. While their attempts may look clumsy and simplistic there is also an element of sophisticated understanding that gradually develops into the Renaissance period.

 

 

 

The Gothic Library

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The Gothic Library – watercolor and ink, 21 cm x 29 cm (For Sale)

“The Gothic Library, a mysterious, musty, place of books, tomes and manuscripts. Here, squirreled away are ancient texts, dark secrets and damning admissions. More revealing stories are recorded on the shelves of the cellar below the house. Locked away in heavy chests, behind iron bound doors, lit by the flickering light of a candle.”

Painting the librarybrussels_kb_92781

This watercolor painting features a barrel arched basement with a set of steps leading up to the library. The sides are decorated with leafy foliage, reminiscent of earlier Byzantine works, and the background continues the gold leaf effect theme.

The Liatorp bookcase is lined with heavily bound, stylised, 14th century books, one, open and abandoned lies on the Stockholm coffee table. Against the wall is an Arklestrop, half moon table with a lamp and a flat woven rug on the floor.

BojaLampSwedish furniture
Putting IKEA furniture in a Medieval Gothic setting is a fun way of examining the way the masters of the age would have handled painting modern furniture. Much of the Swedish designer’s products have straight, simple lines, ideally lending themselves to being recreated in a different way.

Next up, the washroom!

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Gothic Kitchen Corner

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Gothic Kitchen Corner – watercolor and ink, 21 cm x 29 cm (For Sale)

The Gothic Kitchen has all the mod-cons necessary for today’s life but drawn in a 14th century style. The stove and work surface/ sink are completely flat but given depth through the use of shape and colour. The fridge is drawn at a crazy angle, typical of the time and has a very bulky feel to it, again the perspective is deliberately drawn as if for the High Gothic period.

Gothic cooking

ConsulterElementNum (1)The floor level is raised at an unrealistic angle but the accurate depiction of perspective in the tiles adds dimension to the room. It features a cooker hood in the manner of Medieval kitchen’s but then has a modern electric light fitting hanging from the ceiling. The cooker is also modern, white, clean and has an old style pot boiling on top of what looks like a wooden fire.

Perfect home

The building, having all the elements of a 14th century house wouldn’t look out of place with a seated Madonna  and an angel inside. The background as is often shown in religious panels of the time, is painted in gold acrylic, giving it a reverential feel.

Ye Olde IKEA Bathroom

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Medieval Bathroom – watercolor and ink, 21 cm x 29 cm (For Sale)

Bathtime

Gothic Bathroom

This time I explored the Medieval bathroom, complete with contemporary fixtures and fittings. IKEA don’t make baths and shower units so I had to look elsewhere for a modern tub. However, the shower curtain, the basket and the toothbrush glass all come from the Swedish furnishers.

Painting the old and new

Again the painting has a typical 14th century palette and I’ve got some gold acrylic paint to replicate the gold leaf commonly found in Medieval manuscripts. These pictures have the feel, colour and style of the original artworks but with the fun inclusion of electric sockets and brass taps. All fitted into impossible spaces, at weird and wonderful angles, just like the International Gothic artists did.

ikea-shower-curtain

IKEA curtain

Gothic furniture

When planning this series it suddenly came to me that IKEA are an excellent choice for the furnishings. Their designs are clean and simple but most of all they are a world renowned brand, instantly recognisable and easy to identify with. Giving their products a Medieval spin but still making them obviously IKEAesque.
Imagining how past things might have been portrayed in a modern light has always interested me. As with images, the same applies to music. Today, would the group Buggles have written YouTube killed the MTV star, instead of the long dead video killing the radio star. Blondie’s classic “Call me!”, most likely would be “Text me!” while Joni Mitchell hails an Uber cab instead of her Big Yellow Taxi. Next up, a kitchen I think.

Swedish Furniture in Medieval Manuscript

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IKEA Medieval Bedroom – watercolor and ink, 21 cm x 29 cm (For Sale)

SpaDayI’ve always loved the works of the International Gothic period. A time when conventions were being broken and new techniques explored. Artists in this era were busy exploring ways to represent three dimensions, trying out different ways of painting trees and attempting to understand the nature of water.

Modern Medieval

The thought behind this current crop of works is to take the idea of these magnificent rooms and fill them with modern furniture. I found it amusing

IKEA lamp

IKEA Dudero lamp

playing with how someone like Simone Martini might paint a modern IKEA chair or see how his bed spreads would look on a Hemnes bed.

Using a typical palette of the day and acrylic gold paint gives these watercolours a wonderful sense of a Medieval artist’s take on the modern world. Living in Italy it’s not difficult to find 700 year old buildings so the only garish thing is to fill their ancient rooms with cheap, modern furniture. This I’m sure happens all over the country, not everyone can afford or will like antique furnishings.

Swedish furniture

The aim is to continue in this way, creating bathrooms, sitting rooms, kitchens and dining rooms, all featuring IKEA furniture within a medieval surrounding. Each will have bold, bright colours and dark or golden backgrounds, giving them a dramatic effect. Obviously if people want their own lounges recreated in a period fashion, I’d happily look at that too.

Fingers crossed for a fun time. 🙂