Thursday, 20 September 2012

Oil Painting 37 - Winner Stays On

It was becoming clear that whilst moored in central Birmingham during the Olympics, Victoria Square was the place to be. Part of the relaxed games atmosphere that was created in this area was thanks to the many table tennis tables that had been placed around with bats and balls left free for anybody to use and a statement of trust from the organisers to the public which is really refreshing. I have noticed strangers of all generations playing ping pong with one another with the BBC Big Screen blaring out Team GB's remarkable successes in the background.

One evening I noticed a interesting dynamic on one of the tables with one big black guy introducing a winner stays on and challenging all the local youth who had been enjoying gathering round the tables to try and knock him off.

I was quick to get the paints and easel over to them to try and quickly capture this drama. Only in the process of pulling out the easel and canvas did I realise just what I had committed to, in looking very peculiar, covered in paint and staring at a urban gang of hoodie wearing individuals. It is strange where this process of trying to be a good artist takes you, and here I now am trying to quickly paint a representation of a confused youth eyeballing me right back. Fortunately the painting took shape quickly, probably anxiety driven, and the lads were really receptive. The big black guy stayed on for 2 hours before being knocked off.

The red foundation really helped and adds to the competitive atmosphere. It reminds me of Degas' 'combing the hair'

I saw a great documentary on BBC 4 entitled 'The Madness of Peter Howson' and noticed he usually works into a red foundation which gives a warmth across the whole piece even when completely covered in further layers of paint. This is something I wish to further explore and develop in the future.

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