Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune

Tens of thousands of medical professionals and representatives of the worldwide pharmaceutical industry come together in the McCormick Conference Centre in Chicago for a summer time festival, largely replicating patterns of hominid behaviour going on since Neolithic times.

I found this a bit overwhelming and went, alone, walking round Chicago. Last year, I painted several pieces based on those walks.  I had forgotten this one.

Cityscape

I arrived in the class last week with the sounds and images from the London Underground imprinted on my brain.  Straight away, I tried to depict these is charcoal and paint, as shown in my previous post.

However, this meant that I neglected the works begun the previous week (https://kestrelart.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/chicago/).  In the last half hour, I was encouraged to go back to these and work in a new layer.  Painting upside down (the picture, not me) I picked out and strengthened pre existing textures and tones.  I tried to maintain a balance between abstract and illustration.  Here is that next version, still drying.

The reference point for all these recent works has been a book of the work of John Virtue.  This British artist works only in black and white, eschewing even greys, building land and cityscapes in which recognisable features emerge from smoky abstraction.  Google images have a great selection to peruse.  I found a page in an academic blog which sets a landscape by Virtue in the context of his contemporaries: http://paintingowu.wordpress.com/2011/08/30/some-contemporary-landscape-paintings/

There is much more to develop on this theme.

Chicago

These sketches were done in the two hour class last night.  They are still drying – I took these shots on my phone.

The constraints put on us were to use just black and white, avoiding half tones.  I built in heavy charcoal and then put in white gouache and cheap acrylic ink that had settled like swamp mud at the bottom of the jug.

At this stage, I am just exploring shapes and tones, contrasting painted white, white pixellated with carbon, the virgin white of the untouched paper and the bone white scars left by shredding the surface.

I used a photograph as a reference.  I think I was looking west up East Wacker Street.

I’m back in Chicago in a few weeks.  I’ll bring charcoal and brush.