Simon Bull: Painting Mount Vernon

Simon Bull: Painting Mount Vernon


– Well I arrived, day before yesterday, which was great ’cause it gave me time to scope out the grounds. Although I have been here,
to Mount Vernon before, this was the first time
I’ve been able to take, a while to look around, so, what I wanted to do was
get a feel for the place and pull out some of the more interesting icons like, iconic looks. Other than just the obvious stuff, like of the house, like, postcard view of house,
Mount Vernon, river, etc. I think this is a very
pastoral sort of setup when you come here, ,
everybody who lived here, was involved in food production or sustaining life in some way. So, I was reading yesterday
in the 23rd Psalm, in there it talks about
things like green pastures, still waters, paths, tables,
cups overflowing, houses, all those kinds of
imagery, and it struck me as interesting that all those images are very rich around this estate, so, the pastoral theme is
actually big for me this week. I’m going to be painting
fruit trees, fences, pathways, still waters, green pastures,
but all with a little bit of an abstract twist, it’s
not going to be just a planar, traditional planar painting. So, that’s what I’m going to be doing! Well, I’m inspired heavily by nature. I’m a visual person, the data arrives through my eyes, primarily. Also, through my feelings and through my, the way I observe human life,
so I like to think of my life and my work, as a combination
of the natural world and the spiritual world, a mental world. A inner world, so, I don’t
try to make my things look exactly like what they
look like in real life, ’cause that’s, you could
take a photo of that. Which is good, I mean I
take photos of stuff myself, but as an artist, you’re trying to look beyond the surface realities
and find something deeper. Something which is
communicable, a human lateral. So that’s what I try to, get through, that’s my sort of, inspiration. Especially at the end of the day, it’s like looking at nature,
and finding and using it to compile stories that
you can tell through art. So, when I, when I’m going
to be painting, say, the sky and the river today, I’ll
just be pouring the paint on the canvas, sort of like
the river flows itself, rather than just painting it with a brush. I’ll be letting, I’ll be
creating a river on my canvas, you know what I’m saying? So I try to, go with the flow of nature. Paint to me is something
really interesting, especially acrylic paint, because it’s a water-based paint. So, it moves like water
’cause it is water, depending on how diluted it is. It’s basically water with a
pigment and polymer in it. But, I love the way that the paint moves, the way that it evaporates, the way that, all those kinds of things interest me. So, I like, I love my
materials, so as you can see I’ve got whole ton of them behind here. I draw influence, I think,
from nearly all the, I mean I love all kinds of art. I was particularly
influenced in my earlier days by Van Gogh, Georgia O’Keeffe’s
been a big influence. Rembrandt when I was at college. Interestingly enough, there was an artist called C. F. Tunnicliffe
who was a big influence over me when I was a kid, and he painted, he drew farm animals and so on, and so you’ve got a lot of farm animals around the estate here. I won’t actually be doing sheep this time, but I did do a lot of
sheep when I was younger. But all kinds of movements,
but at the end of the day, I try to sort of push out into kind of what feels right to me,
and I think the work of an artist is to create future. Art is a forward thinking thing,
it’s, you draw inspiration from the past, but you
create the new past. The artist creates the ideas that emerges, the ideas emerge from
the artistic process, that will become standard tomorrow. We look back at Georgia O’Keeffe,
we look back at Van Gogh, and we’re like “Oh yeah,
this is great, ah!” And whatever, but it wasn’t
great art when they did it, it was just like another
day in the office, you know what I’m saying? They weren’t thinking it was great art, they just thought, “Well
that’s not really good, “I’ll maybe try another one tomorrow.” But they made the past, they put the past, they put their present
moment into the future, and one day what they did became the past. And you look at it and you think, “Wow.” A little bit like here, George Washington created Mount Vernon,
apparently, when he was finished all his travels and
his wars and everything and he lived here three
years, I read that somewhere. Now, after, he obviously lived here for a long time before
that, but, he retired here. And life is very transient,
but we do have the opportunity, in this life, to create something
for the next generation. I think, as an artist,
that’s what I’m doing. Click the subscribe button
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