24 thoughts on “New Work by Clive Hicks-Jenkins at Oriel Tegfryn

  1. Pingback: those of us who love staffordshire china… | Clive Hicks-Jenkins' Artlog:

  2. Ah textures love those textures Clive, the suit, the t-shirt, the wolf’s fur; when you are painting clothing do you imagine the texture of a specific fabric or is it more the fall and folds that inspire?

    • Both, really. It wouldn’t do were I to capture too specific a texture if the finished result distracted from the overall idea, so I tend to think of surfaces as patterning.

      In this image I began to see the wolf’s fur as the eddies apparent on the surface of water, and that was fine, because it added another layer of possibilities to the piece. Moreover it took me down a different route to THIS image, where I thought of the fur almost as a cursive language that was a secret repository of wolfish knowledge.

      Once the compositional form has emerged to my satisfaction, then these are the things I’m looking out for;

      the travelling eye, and making sure nothing impedes its progress

      the emotional temperature

      have I served the story, or my sense of the story, well

      have I left enough room for various interpretations

      are there questions present

      has the image the power to bring the viewer back

      My work on this theme tends toward the hieratic, and so lacking the kinetic in obvious terms, I place falling leaves to conjure restlessness. They also help the viewer to know how it is to be blind Hervé in that moment, with the sense of displaced air as the leaves pass, and the cold vulnerability of exposed skin in the presence of rough fur and sharp teeth.

      So many things to be thinking about as a painting like this comes together, and I rarely capture all the thoughts buzzing through my head. And so I make another, and another, and another…

      … and so it goes on.

  3. I’d snatched a couple of peeks at this painting on my iPad in breaks at work this afternoon, taking in bits at a time; it’s grown on me over the day and now I’m looking at it on the big screen at home I’m completely smitten, it is really mesmerising me. I love the silvery whites cutting through the richness of the reds and blues, the wildness of the wolf with the tenderness coming through, Herve’s delicate expression, the planes and shapes running round the picture, the shadow across the wolf’s hindquarters, I’m astonished, it’s brilliant 🙂

    • You express thoughts so poetically that I see we’re completely in tune on this, on what I’ve tried to express and what you see. As is ever the way, I see only the failings and the lack, and feel sharply how I might have made it better. But then it’s these feelings, no matter how painful, that spur me on to the next. There always has to be another, to make up for the deficiencies of the last.

      Thank you, Phil.

      • I do identify with what you write about how you feel about your work Clive – maybe, as you say, it’s better it were thus as it spurs us on to making more work and striving for new heights. But in this case of this painting, gosh, you’ve created something of real power, that hand grazing the foreleg is the clincher for me, so soft but it’s like lightning!

  4. I love the sense of floating, suspension in this. The falling (in love?) and the contrast of the red (oxblood red) and the blues made even richer by the little bit of grey, and the black. Also that the Wolf looks straight at us while Herve bends away with eyes closed, but not in fear it seems, but in transformation. The missing shoe, as mentioned above, Herve’s shirt lifting up showing belly. All so tender and deeply felt. I’ve enjoyed watching the progress of this piece. Bravo as always wise and masterly Clive.

    • No, not wise… or not wise enough… and far from masterly. But I aspire with each day at the easel to both those things, and doomed to failure though I must be, I still keep trying.

      I’m glad that you see so much in it that moves you. It is deeply felt. I’m always moved by this tale, and never tire of it. Each time at the easel I feel as though I discover it anew, and fear I’ll never do it justice, no matter how many times I paint it.

      Thank you for writing so beautifully about it, Jeffery.

  5. There is always something about each of your paintings that really gets me thinking. Often I can go online and research the story and learn something new, but today I will spend all day thinking about that missing shoe…
    What action/adventrure happened just before the moment of the painting that made him drop it? Where is he going next and how willl he get there with one bare foot?

    Or maybe they’re just lying in a field together and he merely kicked off a shoe to feel the sunlight on his toes, and the other shoe will be kicked off in a moment.

    I will never know, and so I will always wonder.

    • Well I can see, Rebecca, that you recognise there have to be mysteries, and so I shall add nothing to distract from your own musings. A painting should be like life: lots of peculiarities that are unexplained and will most likely remain that way. But just so that you know, there are always reasons behind the oddities in my paintings, though I try to avoid being pinned down about them. (I recall the art historian who kept insisting that there must be a symbolic reason for the red horse in Green George, and how cross he became when I refused to oblige him with an explanation.)

      However, if you’re interested in the back story of why I constantly return to the subject of the blind boy and his beast, then read THIS.

      I miss your blogging! You were so good at it.

  6. We were hoping to take a trip to Wales this year. It would have been a real treat to see the exhibition in person, but it’s just too long a journey for our little ‘un and too long for him to be away from us if he were to stay with his Nana. Ho hum, one day maybe, one day…

  7. it really is a special color…mixed media–is that the conté pencil, then, that produces the black?
    it’s a gorgeous moment, i love especially that the wolf seems to be floating, as if elevated by the intensity of their feeling.

    • I’ve stopped using Conté, which is wax-based and tends to ‘bloom’ when worked this densely. (The bloom wipes away, but it can mean a lot of work if it occurs once a large drawing has been framed under glass.) For images rendered as densely as this one, I now use an oil-based pencil, which doesn’t bloom at all.

        • I made the underdrawing with a white Faber-Castell Polychromos pencil onto a black gouache-coated MDF (medium density fibreboard) panel. The blue and white paints are Golden brand acrylic, overdrawn with black Faber-Castell Polychromos pencil. There, you have it all.

    • Thank you, Shellie. Glad you like it. It’s quite an austere painting. (I had to throw a lot of light at that blue to get it so vibrant for the lens.) You’re right about the ‘tender point’. It’s where the heart of the painting resides.

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