Thursday, 14 July 2016

Painting and decoration, occasionally co-dependant, but with two different objectives.

What is the difference between a painting and a decoration and is it important to actually differentiate between the two? Do these two activities have different purposes? Aesthetics has historically always been a tricky subject. Since ideologies were put into place to protect what was objectively becoming an abused and messy sector.
We have, as a society, become very open-minded on the one hand and hyper selective on the other. This can sometimes mean a lack of knowledge amidst a tendancy to apply catagoric and exclusive opinions. However our ideas are formed not so much on our own capacity to evaluate the things we see in front of us but rather on whatever or whoever has influenced our perception of value. This is usually based on fashion, finance or ideology. We have become very much our own critics of Art, without however, the crucial tools with which to observe and truly choose for ourselves. Discussions on alternative art forms and their intrinsic value based solely on aesthetical considerations have mostly been abandoned and this has had its repercussions on the way we percieve design around us. Paintings and decorations seem to cross boundaries just as the decorator and the painter cross boundaries. Both fractions contain both good and bad artisans, but one group has applied a set of ideologies and does not rely on technique to define it, while the other sits uncomfortably cage open to public admiration and ridicule.

We make aethetic choices numerous times a day. I consider it in its most fundermental state the natural tendency for man to organise his world. How we arrange furniture around us, is an excercise in aethetics, how we apply make-up, is an excercise in aethetics. How we choose colours while dressing, is an excercise in aethetics. 
Aethetics as an area of study IS important, it is the sum total of what has been learned by man regards beauty and how beauty can be recreated to provide comfort in our everyday lives. Is comfort important? Yes, it is. So questions regards aethetics, needs consideration. Unfortunatly all discussion regards the validity of aethetics and specifically decoration was abandoned when Fine Art freed itself from the risk of being valued on aethetic principles.

In fact now,  fine art is something quite apart from an aethetic excercise, yes of course they can have that objective, but a true work of Art has now long been established as the one-off thought behind a creative piece. An intimate expression and insight into the artists world; fruit of his personal zeitgeist. It is no longer considered the exercise of aesthetic itself. Sometimes a painting can be used as a decoration, but in essence it is not born to flex itself to its surroundings it is designed to require your total attention. To draw a comparison on a more mundane level we might begin to see that make-up can be applied creatively or aesthetically. The two objectives are completely different, the first being the ability of the artist to amaze the observer the second to enhance a persons features. The use of make-up to enhance the physical attributes of the face according to logic can be used as a comparison to describe what the purpose of decoration should be. For this reason Trompe l'oeil cannot be described as decoration, especially when it lacks the underlining architectural structure evident in in traditional Trompe l'oeil, like the Italian Quadraturismo. A painted view of the Amalfian coastline seen through a faux window on a blank wall is a modern Trompe l'oeil painting, as are tropical plants painted on four sides of a room or any number of spectacular feasts for the eye. Decoration on the other hand is designed with just that room in mind, it is does not demand your attention, but it enhances your perception of space, with an intent to comfort.

Friday, 26 June 2015


At the end of last year I signed up for a Tourist Guide course. Over the last six months I have swayed from both loving and hating the choice I made. The wealth of information awaiting you is enough to wet your appetite of an evening, so even if it was cold, wet and miserable, the incentive to go to lessons  was there. Travelling to the school during the winter months across Alta Langa was no joke, most evenings were so thick with fog that the 50 kilometer drive could take nearly two hours to complete....that's just one way. Often I would count to 10 aloud, with the car window open to keep me from falling asleep. 
Just like the fog, the course was THICK with dates, names and terms on subjects that ranged from geology to legislation, from history to genealogy, from regional traditions to geography...beyond anything that made any sense to me -considering this was a six months course. I struggled with language and with being understood. All of a sudden I felt like a foreigner in Italy, after 25 years!  This wasn't what I had hoped.. at all! 
With a massive dose of self-inflicted torture however I HAVE FINISHED! I am free!
So here's me doing a little virtual "thank-you" dance to Fortune for letting me out alive💃 
Now back to my brushes...and "seeing" with my eyes again!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

This is sky travel, with no planes involved. The Langa hills are so, so, SO beautiful that the first thing that comes to mind is finding some way (wishfully) to go and live among the comforting domes of vine and hazelnut trees. They fall away towards the alps where the tip of Monviso can be seen dominating the horizon. Langa provides thousands of panoramas in just a few turns of every road. This is wine and food heaven!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Turin, Piemonte, simply Italy

Palazzo Reale, Torino. The magnificent Scissor stairway designed by Juvarra in the early 1700's for Carlo Emanuele Savoia's wedding. The double stairway starts at the top and joins together on the middle ramp. Here you see the underside of that middle ramp and the final separation again into two passages that are the first ramp. Gossips of the time thought it an impossible task to build, so on completion Juvarra added a medallion to the stairway showing the face of a man with a serpents to an open pair of scissors ready to chop it off! (see detail)

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Vezzolano Abbey and the romanesque trail in Asti

A field trip brought me to Vezzolano Abbey in Albugnano Asti. The combination of limestone, terracotta and brick makes it surprisingly welcoming considering the austerity of its era. A beautiful cloister accompanies you towards a permanent nativity display that impressively occupies all four sides of a room. The church is dedicated to the Madonna and as with all romanesque decoration in the area, every pilar, capital and column tells its own story, sadly our own imagination is as close as we will ever get to unlocking the artists secrets!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

San Giorgio e il drago

Looking forward to painting a saint George and the dragon for a church in Torresina Cuneo.
Here's the rough sketch of how I want it composed. It will measure 100x160cm.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Essays on beauty.