Posts tagged painting
Inspired by Chuck Close

When we visited the MET in New York last month they had a piece by Chuck Close and it reminded me that he really is one of my all time favourite artists. I have been so fascinated by him and inspired by his work ever since I was in school. Here are some of his paintings that are my favourites, but there really is nothing like seeing them up close and personal! I am alway in awe of photorealist painters because I admire the skill required so much. As his paintings are larger than life they are so impressive and I love when you can get close and see each tiny brush stroke, but from far away it looks just like a photograph. 

I think one of the things I find so interesting about Chuck Close is how he has overcome adversity and where many may have given up he did not and found new ways to paint despite his limitations. You can read more about it here but basically he suffered from a seizure which left him paralysed from the neck down. He relies on a wheelchair and continued to paint with a brush strapped onto his wrist with tape. He continued doing portraits and creates them by painting low resolution grid squares - which when put together make the portrait. I find these painting just as impressive as his photorealistic paintings even though they are very different.

I found this quote by Close a little while ago about inspiration and thought it was so wise and spot on. Sometimes we just need to turn up and keep doing the work rather than waiting for a bolt of inspiration to hit us. This really helps me on days when I am not feeling it. Just turning up and doing the work is so important. 

The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.

If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to do an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.

Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction.

Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.
— Chuck Close

If you ever get a chance to see Close's work in the flesh I would highly recommend it. Although I am not a painter I just find his work and his journey so inspiring. 

Hope you all have a great Monday!

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Introducing: David Maiden

I am excited this week to be interviewing our first painter. (hopefully more to come soon!) David is the brother of a very good friend of mine, and his paintings are just beautiful. I feel like when I look at his portraits I want to know more about the people, there is a depth to them that draws you in, and starts telling a story. Read on to find out more about David and his incredible work. 

Where do you live and how do you think it influences your work?I live in Kenya, although we also spend a lot of time in London these days.

Kenya has had a huge influence on my work. I moved there from London looking for a place to live that would allow me the space to teach myself to paint. I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing if it wasn't for Kenya.

As a portrait painter Kenya surrounds me with the most inspiring, characterful faces to paint.


How would you describe what you do?I'm a figurative painter. I mostly paint people.  I try to capture more of the people that I paint than just their likeness, I try to paint a little of their mood and personality.

What are your tricks for getting inspired when you have a creative block?Go back to the sketch book! Forget the bigger projects and go to work on some smaller pieces. Work on something that you can start and finish in one go, then discard it and do the same the next day.

Once you're ready to go back to the larger projects,  ask yourself if you actually like and believe in what you're doing. If you wouldn't want the painting that you're working on to hang on your own wall then maybe you shouldn't be doing it.

What is your favourite project/piece that you have worked on and why?We've recently had a baby girl. During the pregnancy I worked on a series of self portraits which included my wife's pregnant tummy. I guess the paintings are a kind of family portrait. Painting these portraits was a way of preparing myself for being a dad.


If you could learn a new skill what would it be?I'd like to know mechanics, that would be so useful in Kenya. I'd like to speak really good Swahili too. 

What is your favourite song right now?Having a two month old baby the only song that comes to mind is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! You discover hidden depths to that song when you sing it over and over again at four in the morning!


Which designers/artists/photographers get you super inspired and excited?I love the photographs of Irving Penn. He did a series of black and white portraits called Small Trades that I love.

How do you relax and unwind?I like to cook, even after the longest, most frustrating day it's refreshing to chop an onion and brown it in the pan. 

If we finish work before the sun sets  then we often go on a game drive and watch the sunset with a cold beer surrounded by giraffes and elephants.


What is your top tip for life?Two tips: You're nothing special and you'll never regret your integrity.

To find out more about David check out his website, and follow him on twitter. Thanks for being involved David.

To see other previous interviews check out Bianca, Belinda, Chloe, Rachel,Jonathan, Luke and Dave