Preparation for Part 2 (and looking back)

I was reading Scotland on Sunday newspaper today (8th December 2013, p8) and came across a review by Duncan MacMillan, “Works that altered the course of Scottish Art”, that extols the beauty of the current J.D. Fergusson exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (SNGMA) – http://www.nationalgalleries.org/whatson/exhibitions/the-scottish-colourists-series-jd-fergusson/, which runs from 7th December 2013 to 15th June 2014. MacMillan notes this is the final exhibition in a series of four recently shown at SNGMA and Edinburgh City Art Centre celebrating the life and work of the four ‘Scottish Colourists’ – S.J. Peploe, F.C.B. Cadell, Leslie Hunter, and now J.D. Fergusson.

I decided to take a look at MacMillan’s study of Scottish art and see what he had to say about the ‘The Colourists’  [MacMillan, D. (2000) Scottish art 1460-2000. Edinburgh: Mainstream. Chapter XVII, pp309-330].

Reading firstly about Peploe, I was surprised to see a still life [plate 262 on p315] entitled ‘The Black Bottle’ and painted around 1903.

S.J. Peploe The Black Bottle, c1903. Oil on canvas, 50.8 x 61cm. National Gallery of Scotland

S.J. Peploe The Black Bottle, c1903. Oil on canvas, 50.8 x 61cm. National Gallery of Scotland

[image source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/paintings/the-black-bottle-211589]

This immediately caught my attention as I had just completed two still life paintings, one in landscape format and one in portrait format, that included a dark bottle (though not black!) within the composition. On following this image up within MacMillan’s text I found the intriguing comment on Peploe’s still life: ‘… a sparkling white table-cloth against a dark ground. Then against this simple tonal opposition he sets accents of brilliant colour…’ [p312].

The bold text is mine, as it rang bells in my head! When I think now of my attempts to portray the two still life paintings of Assignment 1, I can honestly say that I was not thinking about simple tonal opposition nor accents of brilliant colour. I probably should have been, but was painting intuitively and in essence I think that this is what I achieved in some basic way:

simple tonal opposition – maybe not bold enough?

Assignment 1 - still-life landscape format finished painting

Assignment 1 – still-life landscape format finished painting

… and, with accents of brilliant colour – maybe not striking enough?

Assignment 1 - still-life portrait format finished painting

Assignment 1 – still-life portrait format finished painting