So. I went for an interview yesterday.

A nice girl by the name of Nel turned out to be also very beautiful. The interview took 10 minutes, and the first thing they asked me to do was NOT to twit, facebook or blog about it until the actual broadcast. That’s it. Sorry, folks!


I went to the exhibition of David Hockney’s work at the Royal Academy, and that’s what I am going to twit, facebook and blog about. Heed!

First: it’s very impressive. It impresses by:

  •  the scale of the exhibit
  • the scale of many paintings themselves
  • the thoroughness of David’s research of any subject (if the man goes after something, he really goes after something)
  • the mastery of the gadgets the old man displays
  • the gift shop.

We know he loves big. He is also good at small. He’s got the range sorted.

When working in a small scale, he still thinks big and finds a way to make a collection of small things into a big issue. Mostly by grid method. Also, sticking to the subject matter and looking at it from different angles, creating a time line, making a performance.

In the audio (£3.50 extra), he reveals that his ancestors were agricultural labourers (as if anyone is any  different here… Although, some of us might be descendants of aliens and on other planets there may be no agriculture at all…) who followed the pace of seasons, watched the nature. He is thrilled to find himeself following in their footsteps now, albeit in a different capacity. He says, he learned to plan ahead, just like they had to, anticipating the seasons and planning and pacing accordingly. The show displays that spectacularly. The landscapes of the same places at different times of year, dressed up in colours of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter and executed in a variety of media and sizes is a triumph of forward thinking.

I was most taken by the digital media – iPad pictures and videos.

Yesterday, I intended to visit the exhibition, but later changed my mind in favour of going to the Apple store to play with the gadgets and ask questions. The idea was to see if I need any. Well, I soon got bored, because I couldn’t see how to apply them to my create processes. And as there was still time to kill, went to David’s exhibition after all. And he showed me!..

How to paint with an iPad in a most spectacular way! Not the technicalities, of course, but the end result. And that’s all one needs to get inspired and to want to learn more. I think, Apple people should pay him for brilliant  marketing job. I personally am buying an Ipad!

David Hockney iPad art

Hockney's iPad artDavid Hockney iPad art

I would also like to buy several video cameras, 18 huge flat screens, computers to process it all, a team of technicians to do the filming and editing and a dance company to throw in as well. Because what he did with all of that is: amazing, beautiful, mesmerising, innovative, spectacular, fascinating (in spite of my dislike of this word), impressive, meditative, fun, logical, playful, and so on… I recommend.

And finally, the gift shop.

There are books. A number of them. By him and about him, but mostly by. Which indicates that every now and then he swipes aside his doodling and gets down to (a lot of!) researching and writing about the things he thinks about.

I think about things. But did I write about them? No. Did I research the subjects in depth? No.

The gift whop was my biggest inspiration. One day, I want to have a show which would display the breadth and the depth of my work and my persona, AND at the exit I want to have a gift whop full of stuff, and people would be buying it all like creasy. Like I did buy “Secret Knowledge” by David Hockney and it is brilliant! So, that’s my wish.

The exhibition runs at the Royal Academy 21 January – 9 April 2012. You must go.

Mezzotint copper plate

The Matrix

A friend of mine, Lesley Samms, sent me a link at the end of December to apply for the “Show Me The Monet” BBC series on art which I did. And forgot about it.

Last week nice voice by the name of Nel phoned and we had a great chat – that was the second stage of selection. So, from 3000 it went down to 300, and after the telephone conversation another 150 of the applicants went in a puff of smoke. But I survived. And that’s why…

Tomorrow I am going to Shepherds Bush for an interview. After that only a quater of the remaining 150 artists will make it to the final exhibition. Wish me luck!

Mezzotint plate for the portrait of Eve Delf.

Me and The Matrix

I’ll have to produce a proof of my identity and a proof of my authorship for the artwork I submitted. I thought I’d do the latter in a blog form to save myself lagging stuff around London and also illuminate briefly on my way of working on a mezzotint portrait.

It started last Autumn. I was again thinking about a getting a new model on my quest for a remarkable face, and remembered Eve – a pretty girl of about 14-15. I contacted her mom Angela, asking if Eve would be interested to sit for me and if Angela herself wouldn’t mind. “Yes” was the answer and one day after that they came to the gallery.

Sketch drawing of Eve Delf

Sketch drawing of Eve Delf

Eve was 15, slim, nearly 6 foot tall and beautiful beyond words. I didn’t expect all this when I was asking and certainly got more than I bargained for. It turned out as well, that Eve has just been signed up by a modelling agency after an unexpected turn of events.

We had a couple of sessions in my studio with Eve. I was photographing and drawing. We talked about this and that. And so, at the end I had about 800 photos, a few video clips and several quick sketches.

The next stage is brooding. Brooding, brooding. Looking through the materials: photos and clips. (I am still to figure out how to make use of videos…)

Fibonacci spiral

Fibonacci spiral

During that time, I re-visited the Golden Ratio and Fibonacci spiral ideas and thought about composition.

A few photos emerged as possibilities. Then I photoshopped them into something I wanted the mezzotints look like. Trying them with bands of colour, cropping etc.



So, here is the photo of Eve which was the base for the print. What attracted me to this particular one out of the 800 others is the geometry of the lines formed by the hair on the forehead, outline of the face, hand and arm.

The face is peaceful, at the same time there is a subtle smile. It hints towards thoughts which cannot be seen, cannot be known, but they are the most important element. They create the dynamics of the whole picture. So, the picture is very static here, but there is motion created by the underlying geometry of the composition and by the subtle expression f the face.

Eve Delf - 2

Eve Delf - 2

Next stage – cropping. I decided to take the Golden Ratio proportions and Fibonacci spiral to base the composition on. Why? To tie together proven classical references and rules (one way or another they run a lot of human programming in terms of how we perceive art) in order  to create an iconic image.

In a way, I am after something as iconic as Mona Lisa, and some references to that portrait are also incorporated into Eve’s mezzotint. All that laid on the powerful chiaro-scuro effect of the technique itself is bound to create a remarkable image.

Eve Delf - 1

Eve Delf - 1

The road is marked. Now, all that is left to do is to actually make it. Simple 🙂

I ordered two large plates to Martin Maywood. Not long before that we talked and he said he was able to rock much bigger plates now. That’s why I could plan a more ambitious project – size-wise as well as in other ways. 75-46cm plate is quite large for a mezzotint. Got the plates some time in February or March. The next 4-5 months were spent in burnishing. And that’s it.

Many hundreds of hours and several stage proofs later I had two beautiful portraits of Eve Delf. Well, also a series of hands with an apple and a trio of smaller plates picturing fragments of Eve’s beautiful face.

PS. I’ve never watched the program itself, as we haven’t got a television in the house. I might leave it that way to make it more exciting 🙂

Framed portrait of Eve Delf and the matrix plate

Matrix and the framed print