Comfort zone

Being in one’s comfort zone when creating art is where one can work with impunity in the safety of a familiar space.

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Caution - dry paint!

Hot dry weather can be a scourge when painting plein air with acrylic paints, often resulting in flat deadened artwork. However, there are some simple tricks to prolong the workability of acrylics in such conditions.

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Vincent Van Gogh: A student of art

The life of Vincent Van Gogh has been well documented over time in writing and film, and often focus on the artist’s madness and his archetypal appearance of the suffering genius. When I visited the recent exhibition ‘Van Gogh and Britain’ at the Tate Gallery London, I came away with a more a positive sense of his immense passion and motivation in learning to creating art.

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Art is on a postcard

Postcards have always been a means of reproducing famous works of art, often picked up by visitors as a memento of an exhibition or as a gift for a an art loving friend. But the humble postcard has been utilised by artists over the years, taking its diminutive size, flexibility, immediacy and inexpensive production as a modern and powerful conceptual form of art in itself.

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Joaquín Sorolla: Leader or follower

I recently visited the exhibition ‘Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light’ at National Gallery in London that featured the visually enticing work of Joaquín Sorolla y Basteda (1863-1923). I had not yet seen his work in real life so I was highly intrigued to get a closer look. He was hailed as the greatest painter of his time at a solo exhibition in Paris in 1908, but history has since judged him in a different light.

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A place to go places

An integral theme of my art is a sense of place, so to visit one of the world’s busiest airports was an ideal and symbolic location, after all, an airport is - by its nature - a place to take us places.

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Putting more art on the map

My first ever blog post “Putting my art on the map” was published in February 2018 as an integral addition to my new website edmundpalao.com. The article covered my philosophy and approach to creating paintings and why I am attracted to localised scenes in the capital and a search for a sense of place.

The last twelve months has seen me continuing to explore new areas of London such as residential redevelopment schemes and backland areas of Barking in East London, plus new street views in my home area of Hornsey and traffic scenes along the A406 route in North London.

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To see or not to see

You could be forgiven in assuming that I possess keen eyesight as an artist. As it turns out I’m not at all blessed with perfect vision, and I have worn glasses for acute myopia for most of my life. Rather than being a hindrance, however, unaided vision has often influenced artists approach to creating work in positive and innovative ways.

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Reflecting on Bristol Avon

Exhibiting at last year's The Other Art Fair in Bristol allowed me a few days in the city and a chance to see the River Avon. My first blog of 2019 takes a look at this south western river famous for the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

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A Christmas Card

Today’s seasonal blog takes a trip to Christmas Past and back, starting with my early years at junior school in 1983. I painted a London skyline that my class teacher Mr John Pearce liked so much that he submitted it for the local borough’s schools Christmas card competition.

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A night in the museum with Frida Kahlo

The Victoria & Albert Museum in London recently presented late night viewings of the Frida Kahlo exhibition Making Herself Up, as a special tie in with Mexico’s national festival The Day of the Dead. I was lucky enough to obtain tickets for a midnight viewing. The evening (or should I say night) left me with a slightly unsettling mood but also an insightful appreciation into one of the 20th Century’s enigmatic artistic figures.

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Setting the tone

By following a simple set of tonal parameters from light to dark, one can create a painting from direct observation that will look visually realistic.

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Colour palette

The art foundation course I attended in Newham, London in 1990 taught me fundamentals of image composition and construction. Theories such as tonal and colour relationship were key to creating images that looked real and natural, especially through observational drawing and painting. One concept I was introduced to was the colour wheel, based on three primary colours of red, yellow and blue, from which a spectrum of colours could be mixed. 

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Home is where the art is

l remember a geography textbook in secondary school titled ‘A Sense of Place’. I cannot recall all of the content that it covered, but it included subjects such as settlements, conurbations and transport infrastructure, and the such like. Some of these topics have influenced my choice of painting subject and much of my artistic philosophy is rooted in a feeling of place.

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Figuring out life painting

A memorable creative period for me was between 1997 and 2000 when I attended weekly life study classes in Rosebery Avenue, Crouch End in north London. Attending life classes was a welcome challenge - and an artistic diversion from my landscape painting - and it offered me the opportunity to develop my skill in capturing the human form whilst consolidating my established approach to painting.

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Sizing up to art

Is it important for me to create consistent sizes for my art? My recent exhibitions with ArtCan and The Other Art Fair gave me important insight into scaling up (or down) the dimensions of my artwork.

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At The Other Art Fair

Taking part in an art event is always exciting, daunting and usually involves a lot of organising, hard work and tiredness but also joy, growth and recognition. One such event, The Other Art Fair Bristol, 26-29 July, gave me the opportunity to exhibit in a high-profile show alongside seasoned peers.

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Five artist heroes

Speak to any artist and they will have their creative heroes who they will always name as being a major influence on their art practice. For today's blog I have selected five painters who have inspired me at different stages of my own artistic development. 

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Blue sky painting in Barking

Over the years much of my art has depicted night-time scenes: inky dark skies punctuated with dull clouds and vibrant electric lighting set in monochromatic compositions. This year, however, I decided to embark on a project of bright daytime scenes, many painted on a larger scale than my usual plein air work. I chose to depict Barking in East London, with open spaces in the process of regeneration.

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Painting in the style of John Christopher's ruined earth

Inspiration for painting often comes in different forms. One such inspiration is a science fiction novel by British author John Christopher titled “The White Mountains”, part one of a trilogy of books published in the late 1960s. The ruined earth vision it depicts is compelling and often informs my choice of painting subjects such as abandoned railways and other derelict places.

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