Archive for January 23rd, 2015

bacon-s-studio-1This is not my studio.

Although sometimes when I am in a really good groove of painting my studio does get progressively more and more cluttered.  At first, it doesn’t bother me at all that the floor didn’t get swept or that piles of papers are beginning to pile high on the stone kneewalls that separate the spaces in the studio.  Tubes and bottles of paint and old yogurt containers with brushes in varying degrees of wear all over the place.  New paintings propped against any available wall space so that I can freely see and consider them and a few old pieces and raw canvasses ready to be worked on stacked off to the side, creating a new wall in themselves.

bacon-studioBut at a certain point, the feeling of chaos begins to creep in and I can’t take it anymore. I have to organize at least a bit to calm the drone that the chaos has brought on in my head before it breaks into my painting rituals too much.  So, I re-stack paintings and paper, cleans some brushes and containers, put away some books and maybe vacuum.


Maybe not.

bacon-reece-mews-studioBut I feel a little lighter and my mind is clearer so I can easily fall back into that groove.  Plus my current studio is, even in its most cluttered state, less chaotic than my old studio in the woods above our home.  It was very rustic and I regularly purged the paints I soaked up in my process from my brushes on to the floor, creating a huge black spot of paint and ink.  Plus, being much smaller than the current studio made the space always seem filled and in a somewhat messy state even after I would pick up.

But even that space didn’t compare with the studio of Francis Bacon, the Irish born painter known for work that is sometimes violent and disturbing in nature.  The shots shown here are from his old London studio that was left intact after his death in 1992 at the age of 82.  It was moved exactly as it was, with every bit of dust and debris intact, to the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin where it is on permanent display.

bacon_study1953I remember seeing these photos years ago and feeling so much better about my studio.  The huge black paint stain on my floor didn’t seem so bad.  But I wondered if I could function in his space.  I guess the concentration required to block out the mounds of debris would have to be incredible.  Maybe that is part of the painting obsession- to be so engrossed in what is before you that all else is pushed far off into the background.  Bacon did view his painting as an obsession, saying, “I have been lucky enough to be able to live on my obsession. This is my only success.”  

Bacon was an incredibly interesting character and one whose words often ring true for me.  He was self taught and talked in terminology that I understand, earthy and straightforward.  Very little artspeak.

The piece shown here from Bacon is one of my favorites, Study After Velazquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X, and is very representative of the style of much of his work.  You can find a lot on Bacon and his work online.

Well, got to go– I think I better pick up a bit…

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