Sorry, I promised photos today of the Art air event I went along to yesterday but even Mark couldn't retrieve them. It seems that the program only downloaded thumbnails and as I deleted the photos from the camera the originals are now gone. Oh well, it's not a complete disaster. Not like the time a few weeks ago when we went to Mark's company's family day. We got up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday and met up to be taken by coach to the other side of Lake Geneva, passing through beautiful little villages and stunning scenery. We had to be out the door at about 6am and as I'm not a morning person, I got everything ready the night before and charged up the camera battery just to be sure. It was only when we arrived at the meeting point that I realised that although I hadn't forgotten the camera, I left the battery in the charger at home!
Yesterday, I took photos of a few of the painters at their easels on the banks of the lake and also in the main shopping street. It was a wonderful event but being a very critical person, I admit to being a little disappointed. There were only a handful of paintings that I liked and even then I wasn't bowled over. Most were oils and only a few watercolours. The one I liked most of all was a watercolour by a man who had positioned himself outside one of the main department stores. He had a nice view of the rows and rows of tables outside a cafe with a clock tower in the background. But as I was watching him an English woman with two small children passed by and she brought them over to see what the man was doing. They kept touching his painting and she kept saying in a loud voice 'don't touch darling' but carried on explaining what he was doing as if he was there solely for her children's amusement. Her voice was so loud it was as if she was acting for the crowd. The artist stood up and turned to talk to his wife behind him. He was clearly very annoyed and the woman oblivious.
I walked up from there into the old town but got lost trying to find another group of painters in a square I've managed to find many times before! I went instead to the Jardin Anglais on the banks of the lake and there were many more painters there and a more relaxed atmosphere. Very few drawings or sketchbooks were in evidence but I came across one lady sketching on a piece of paper with a Moleskine open in front of her. I took a photo for the blog as it has a beautiful little sketch of the Jet d'Eau. She was using a very thick blunt topped mechanical pencil (a Koh-i-Nor) which I really must try. It made a light smudgy line somewhere between a pencil and a brush and she was using very effectively to catch the spray of the fountain.
Some of the paintings perplexed me. Why, in such a beautiful setting on a sunny day, set up your easel and draw a night scene? Some artists seemed to me to have an idea in their head and came out to paint it regardless of their surroundings. Some were fantasy, some cartoons. I guess many would say they are artists doing what artists do - expressing themselves - but it just seemed odd to me. All the paintings will be viewed today and those that best capture Geneva will receive prizes so the aim is already set out. Maybe they were just having fun and showcasing their work? Nothing wrong with that! One fantasy one I did like however was a realistic depiction of the fountain but the edge was jagged as if the earth had fallen away and it was an island floating in space. Very Roger Dean.
I think the reason I felt disappointed was because there were very few subtle watercolours and few drawings. I had hoped to see a sketchbook or two but I didn't even see that many under-drawings. On the positive side though, I don't feel that my own abilities are as bad as I often think they are and I wondered why I keep feeling I should do colour - it doesn't excite me as much as seeing a really good drawing.
I've got to say a huge thank you to Dex for telling me about Tony Ryder's work (and for mentioning my work in the same sentence! You're now linked - flattery gets you everywhere!!) I'm really inspired! His paintings are amazing but it's the drawings that really excite me. While it's great to aspire to doing things in a certain style I think it's useful, for me anyway, to know what I can't do and not waste time fretting about it.
On the way home on the tram, I passed by the painters in the town and they were lost in the crowds of shoppers, trailing clouds of cigarette smoke behind them as they passed, walking over the thousands of discarded leaflets on the pavement. I was glad to get home!