In an oxfam shop I picked up and purchased two books which took my eye. One was actually an exhibition catalogue of work by Richard Diebenkorn, an artist whose name I knew, but about whose work I knew nothing. The exhibition had been in 1991 at The Whitechapel gallery, London.
The second is a book on work by an artist, called Antoni Tapies.
Richard Diebenkorn 1922-1993, and american artist identified as an abstract expressionist. Flicking through the plates in the catalogue I was particularly attracted to the series of paintings titled “Ocean Park”. One of these paintings is on the cover of the book. I took a quick look on the internet to find a little more about the artist.
Below are two of his landscape works, the first painted in 1955 entitled Berkeley “57 and the second is on of the Ocean Park series no 54. This series is painted in the seventies.
They are abstract landscapes and in order to try and understand how he came to these I looked on the internet at actual photographs of the areas. Berkley is a hillier and greener area of the USA, ocean Park California is vast spread out sun kissed and flat.
The colours in the paintings and the shapes portray the feel of the places, Ocean Park paintings in particular have an atmosphere of calm, I get this from the colours and the large flat shapes. There is nothing busy here at all, which is the vibe California gives off. I have driven through this state and the enormous spaces, fields that go on for ever are so different to someone from England who is used to neat rolling green fields. I feel as if these paintings also have a certain aerial view quality, as if the artist is looking down from above.
I notice that there appears to be overpainting of original layouts, but these are not done in order to coverup as they are clearly visible. There are also some line that are ruled in some of the paintings, perhaps in a pen of some sort they are too crisp surely to be paint.
Having looked at this work I was inspired to go off and riff a while in my sketchbook.
Having in mind my garden from the side and from above.
Here I just played with colour and line
Here I thought about my last exercise and some doodling that I had been doing using the diamond shape from my leaded light windows
I changed to watercolour pencils in a small sketchbook contemplating wet beaches.
With regard to the Tapies works, I only skimmed the book at this stage, I found it maybe a step too far for my understanding. I will return to it at a later date.
Richard Diebenkorn. (1991). 1st ed. Whitechapel.
Tàpies, A. (2005). Works on paper & sculpture. 1st ed. London: Waddington Galleries.