start small – Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter works across a wide variety of textures and formats: painting over photographs, painting from photographs but blurring, mirrors, versions of a major Titian painting…… where do you even begin?

On what basis do you choose your format?
I choose depending on the way I feel; randomly, in other words. When I haven’t done anything for a long time, I always start small, on paper.

Interview with Anna Tilroe, 1987 SOURCE
If you would like to see where Gerhard Richter went from his small beginnings with new themes and styles – see a 7 minute video of a gigantic exhibition of his works through his life, put together by the curator Hans Ulrich Obrist – equally as famous in his own line of work as the artist.
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Because Hans Ulrich Obrist is such an amazing curator, working together with the living artist, Richter – they have made an exhibition which is the best of both their work – the gathering together of series (currently broken apart, sold and living in separate parts of the world) – and Richter requesting that there be an added unexpected counterpoint on one part-wall, sometimes making a new piece specifically for that.  So you have the best of the old together with an added spice of something new.

There are even mirrors at the beginning and end of the exhibition – so that, as Obrist comments, the viewer becomes part of the exhibition.

Interestingly, as we see how Richter takes a classic painting, paints it blurred and draws interest from painting blurred photographs…. as I paused the video, I noticed that the curator himself becomes blurred in a mysterious way – see his hands in movement.


Featured Artist: Lori Reed

Lori Reed‘s vibrant striated photo collages caught my eye recently, especially this one:

photo collage by Lori Reed

Sippin’ on sunshine

Lori described it thus: This 12″ x 12″ piece features a happy bee sipping his supper. I made one filtered version of the photo in Photoshop and 3 in Prisma. I cut them into irregular shapes and combined to reform the image, and added in some handmade papers, too.”

Having buzzed around the photos on her website, I knew that I wanted to show her work to a wider audience (that’s you) – and asked permission, delightfully, she granted it.  So here are a few more stunning photos, together with insights from the artist herself.


Two Painters, one collage

Rick and Brenda Beerhorst, husband and wife, paint and collage together, with other people looking on.  And how inspiring that is.

If you’re wondering where the rich blockprints come from – they make them, themselves. I have a humorous print made by them, which I completely fell in love with.  It arrived from Studio Beerhorst in an envelope clearly reused and with the address written upon it in a child’s handwriting.  (They have a large family, with the kids encouraged to express themselves creatively also.)

“There’s a powerful vibe that comes off of things that are handmade and having those things in your environment where you live, I think, is really important.”

– Rick Beerhorst


In this 4 minute video, Rick muses on the experience of failure and success, as well as what a big city (New York) gives and takes away from the artist.

Studio Beerhorst prints and sculptures are available to purchase on their Etsy shop.



What freedom is… Nina Simone

This is one of the best films available on Netflix. I’m reposting, as a friend of mine saw it recently and was just as profoundly shaken and stirred by it. Totally absorbing.

Comma And

Last night I more or less idly began watching a documentary on Netflix about Nina Simone – and was right from the start transfixed by her words: “I’ll tell you what freedom is to me – no fear!”

From those opening comments in “What happened to you Miss Simone?” I was glued to the screen.  One of the words most used by the singer herself is “compelling” – and it fits her appearances.

Musically, she is electrifying: confident, powerful, emotional, unpredictable, distinctive.  Like all great artists in any genre (and this is something someone needs to tell warbly teenage wannabe popstars)

  • she inherited powerful art skills through her family (literature words and performance as her mother was a Bible preacher)
  • has invested depth into her art by years of studying and acquiring classical technique (classical piano study),
  • responding to her times and national culture (Civil Rights),
  • bringing in her most personal…

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Paul Nash – war artist

Appropriately, at this time of remembering the world wars – Armistice Day – the BBC has rereleased an excellent documentary of the war artist Paul Nash, viewable here.  This reminds me of my personal view of a retrospective of his life and work, earlier in the year.

The BBC one hour programme, presented by the great TV art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon, provides depth as well as breadth, surveying the artist’s life.

Screen shot 2017-11-12 at 17.25.23Here are summary notes on the BBC programme –

Paul Nash: The Ghosts of War

On 25th May 1917, war artist Paul Nash climbed out of his trench to sketch the battlefields of Flanders near Ypres. So focused was he on his work he tripped and fell back into the trench, breaking his ribs. Stretchered back to England, Nash missed his regiment going over the top at the Battle of Passchendaele. His regiment was wiped out.

Above all Nash painted war-torn landscapes: the mortar-scarred mud of Flanders, festooned with barbed wire and awash with pools of viscous, oily water. He left out the dead and the injured, partly because their wounds were so horrific that he believed it would have been disrespectful to depict their mutilated faces and bodies: instead, he anthropomorphised the landscapes of war, depicted scorched earth and churned up soil with a violence that implied the disfigurement of flesh.

Nash was scarred by the war and the ghosts of those experiences haunted his work throughout his life. A lover of nature, Nash became one of Britain’s most original landscape artists, embracing modern Surrealism and ancient British history, though always tainted by his experiences during two world wars. A private yet charismatic man, he brought British landscape painting into the 20th century with his mixture of the personal and visionary, the beautiful and the shocking. An artist who saw the landscape as not just a world to paint, but a way into his heart and mind.

After the war, Nash turned to Surrealism, an art of enigmatic forms and mysterious, nightmarish juxtapositions which seemed, to many, the perfect reflection of a world gone mad. His lungs had been damaged by mustard gas and his life would be sadly cut short while he was still in middle age. But Nash lived long enough to see the Second World War and become one of its greatest chroniclers in paint. Totes Meer, or Dead Sea, his depiction of a great wave of downed German fighter planes, is one of the most haunting British paintings of the twentieth century. It was also, sadly, one of Nash’s last creations.


Earlier in 2017, I visited the large Nash retrospective at Tate Britain and was suitably blown away by the experience.  See previous, substantial blog post on that here.

This exhibition was running at the same time, and overshadowed by, the blockbuster restrospective of the better-known artist, David Hockney.  I’ve had people who visited it saying to me “Did you see the David Hockney show?”  And I tend to reply “Yes – did you see the Paul Nash one?” Because I happen to have books by Hockney and he is well-covered by documentaries and of course, his work still appears in large shows like the RA Summer Exhibition, as he is a living, practising artist.  However, to see so much work by Paul Nash was a more unusual treat.



stained glass, Arran

Stained Glass and Making films – Richard Leclerc and Make Works

Having had so many posts last week about collage – here are 2 similar in a much more expensive media – stained glass and video.

  1.  Stained Glass

    A brief, one and a half minute film about Richard Leclerc, who lives and works on Arran Island, with a stained glass making practice.


Kaleidoscopic mixed media – Jill Ricci (NY)

Just met Jill’s work this morning, and I’m a fan.

Jill Ricci’s one of a kind collages immediately stand out with their unique and playful shapes & figures.  –


Vim and Vigor  30 x 40 cm

“I am exploring the place between “high art” and popular culture, text and image, figuration and abstraction, past and present, and two and three-dimensional space.”

– Jill Ricci


“Champion” 10 x 20 cm

Jill Ricci is inspired by peeling walls, layered posters and says:

“I want the pieces to evoke the walls of Morocco, a Renaissance Church, a NYC subway wall, and a hint of Malibu Barbie all simultaneously existing on one canvas.” – Jill Ricci

Her website is at

If you’re in New York, you can call in at the gallery she co-owns, Parlor Gallery, Asbury Park.