Original abstract paintings made in London

Blog 3 - From Life at the Royal Academy

From Life at the Royal Academy



It appears that the oath to start blogging once a week that I proclaimed in my last blog has failed dismally. This, and my failed attempt at dry January shows that I haven't made any changes to my behaviour from 2017, however I have enjoyed being social again and finding things to write about.

This includes my trip to the Royal Academy to see the 'From Life' exhibition which is running until March 2018. The Royal Academy describes the exhibition below;

'Looking to the past, present and future of one of the cornerstones of artistic process, we ask what it means to make art from life, and how the practice is evolving as technology opens up new ways of making and seeing.

Drawing from casts and life models was long considered essential training for any aspiring artist, and was once a staple of the Royal Academy’s own art school. Now, on the cusp of the RA’s 250th anniversary, this special exhibition project takes an inquisitive look at the tradition and its ongoing relationship with artists today.'

I have always enjoyed participating in life drawing classes as I think the human form and portraiture is such a difficult subject to master, and I always like to challenge myself when it comes to my art work. I am inspired by artists approach to life drawing, the final outcome can be wild, a combination of their perspective of a subject and their own personal style translated onto the page. My weakness is life drawing but I am inspired to pick up a pencil again or incorporate figures into my abstract works.

Me and my partner Mark had intended to spend a lot of time walking through the gallery, taking time to feel inspired by the paintings, drawings and sculptures on show and carefully examine the masterful technique of each stroke. However by the time we finally crawled out from the safety of our warm house and ventured into the dreary bleak winter in London, we found ourselves with only 30 minutes before the exhibition closed.

Despite this, we were fortunate to see many recognisable art works from artists such as Jenny Saville, Anthony Gormley and Lucien Freud on our dash through the Sackler Wing, as well as artists that I had not come across before. I talk about my favourite works below.

Entry by Jenny Saville

I remember researching artist Jenny Saville and her large scale fleshy paintings during my A-Levels. I was happy to see one of her works up close to witness the scale and expression of her subjects first hand. 'Entry' is a painting of Jenny's, it's subject is a corpse with a bullet wound to her face. I believe this painting is an exaggeration of her studies of the flesh and that by painting a corpse she has shown to the viewer in this 'From Life' exhibition that we are just a collection of skin and tissue that was eventually cease to function. Despite its morbid subject I love this painting for its thick application of oil paint that creates this realistic portrait. 


Bronze Sculpture by Jonathan Yeo

I am always delighted when I find new artwork from artists I had not heard of before. Some of my favourite work came from the artist, Jonathan Yeo, a celebrated and the 'worlds' most in demand portraitist'. I liked the range of work on display from Jonathan's collection including a self portrait sculpture that was created from a virtual reality painting. This shows the possibilities and direction of the development of life drawing thanks to the advancement of technology. 

I urge you to see this show if you haven't already! And watch this space for some new 'from life' inspired paintings!