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Lucien Freud

July 27, 2011 1 comment

Possibly the greatest British portrait painter died last week, 20th July aged 88.

Despite his worldwide fame and the astonishing value of his work (in 2008 his life size work “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping”, sold at auction for £17.2m setting a new record for a work by a living artist) Freud was a reclusive and withdrawn man, and I thought it very telling that in the various TV news articles reporting his death, there was hardly any actual footage of him, just some stills and the usual platitudes from a collection of talking heads.

Freud’s mature style is immediately recognisable; heavy swathes of layered paint and a strong use and understanding of shadows, depict with an apparently uncanny ability, the very essence of his sitter.

Freud was renown for making his sitters (almost always people he knew) sit for extraordinary periods of time. I have come across this story which suggests that Freud and his female model spent a staggering 16 months producing the painting below. Between April 2006 and August 2007, they met seven nights a week for about five hours each night, taking only four evenings off throughout this whole period. This represents a total of about 2400 hours work, which quite frankly is crazy… who on earth has got that much time to lie naked on a couch…

Never one to shy away from painting exactly how he saw his model, the portrait of the Queen is a typical case in point, and although time and familiarity have softened its effect to some degree, it is still a very striking and original work, and one that was not particularly appreciated by Her Majesty (I wonder how long she sat patiently for Mr. Freud.. I can’t imagine it was as long as he would have liked…)

Quite rightly regarded as one of the greatest British Artists of all time, he was also one of the last of the great figurative painters, someone for whom craft and effort were always more important than financial reward and fame.

Virals from my Dad…

July 27, 2011 Leave a comment

My dad loves the internet. Not when it doesn’t work, obviously, that makes him cross, but he seems to appreciate the vastness of it all and enjoys sending me little clips and montages of images/ films that have presumably gone viral in the world of him and his mates…..

Most of the stuff he sends has a tendency to the cringe worthy (funny animals and scantily clad women are obviously popular amongst 75 year olds) but every now and then, my interest in piqued ……

This one of a market on a train line is particularly excellent. Watch it until the end and see how the the tracks almost completely disappear..

The second one is of Boyanka Angelova, a Bulgarian gymnast performing a routine with a ball that really is remarkable in its grace and perfect execution. Filmed in 2008 at a tournament in Italy, I can only imagine how good she must be now, three years later, and I suspect we will hear more of her in the lead up to the 2012 Olympics.

I like the bit at about 1 minute when she does a forward roll and flicks the ball into the air with her foot… how long would you have to practice that, so that the ball went where it was supposed too…

Watch out at the very end when Boyanka catches the ball with her feet whilst lying down and the woman in the background bounces around, she knows how good the routine was….

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