Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Las Manos de la Protesta

The Hands of Protest, Oswaldo Guayasamin, 1963-1965

When I was 17, I visited Paris, and Monet, Rodin and Picasso changed my life. It's been a long time since I felt that way, but I felt similar visiting the Museo Guayasamin in Quito yesterday. It's difficult to convey in words or reproductions the intensity of expression in every one of Guayasamin's paintings. The painting above is from one of the most incredible series, of hands and faces expressing every emotion. Even the more positive emotions convey a sense of devastation in the angularity of the features and the gaping black spaces. Surely, anybody who visits this place wants to paint like Guayasamin.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

The Children of Otavalo

My journey took me to the animal markets at Otavalo, north of Quito. Here, amidst a heaving hubbub of pigs, cows, chickens and people, I sat down to sketch. When I realised I had a young audience for my sketching, I tore up pages from my sketchbook and invited them to draw too. So we did a kind of sketch exchange - I gave them each a picture in exchange for one of mine. I'd like to create a kind of collage re-enactment of the market, if I have enough pictures.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

From the Sketchbook: Quito Cathedral

I am surprised by the gentle colours of Quito. Even in a good quality reproduction, the colours in this sketch are bolder than I intended, but I couldn't let the delicate balance of whites, greys, dark greens and soft browns pass me by.

Obsession with Plastics

My fascination with plastics, and obsession with finding creative ways to use my rubbish continues. In Colombia, my greatest production of rubbish was the plastic bags which contain water - far cheaper and more ecological than bottles, but plentiful nevertheless! So my hostel rooms are filled with plastic bags cut open and drying, and I have been exploring the many possibilities for using them. Unsurprisingly, water bags lend themselves to watery scapes ...

Monday, 13 September 2010

Graffiti of Bogota

Candelaria has graffiti galore ... my favourite this gorgeous, subtle combination of mosaic and paint to create an imaginary city. It makes me itch to return to my broken crockery, marbles and shells!

From the Sketchbook ... Cartagena, Colombia

My mind is awash with visual stimulae ... I don't know where to start, so I fill my sketchbook with everything. Every day I invent a new theme; shall I focus on windows, or people, travel, buildings, the magnificent gold that is in the Colombian museums? Shall I make, and make, and make, from my rubbish? I collect the bags that I buy water in, I cut them open, I dry them out, I stitch with them, but in the meantime, I draw and paint and draw and paint, wherever I am, whatever I see. This is my language school in Cartagena, Nueva Lengua.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Amun's Desert

Some children just have the gift. They do what you imagined they might do, and more. I thought it a bit too ambitious to suggest making a cowboy on a donkey, but Amun did it anyway. He's 6.