Wednesday 21 May 2014

Songs of colour

Songs of colour in the eighties

The nineteen-eighties were a golden age for my work. Paintings of dance, music, landscapes, portraits and nudes. Teaching summer schools in Burgundy while enjoying a bottle of Chablis - such happy times! My paintings echo those emotions and that energy. In addition to many watercolours, 1983 and '84 saw the creation of several large 120 x 80cm. oils on canvas. A return to the joys of vivid colours and the sensual delight of smearing the juicy oil paint with which I had learned to paint at art college. 
                                         Colin Carr, oil on canvas, 120 x 80, 1983

Music and movement were my trademarks. But why not move away from the time-based arts for a while? At Birmingham Art College in the fifties, we students spent day after day drawing and painting the nude model - an obligatory requirement for your Diploma. It was an excellent discipline, working directly from observation while learning how to use the potential of the medium for personal expression. Thirty years later those skills were still deeply ingrained and could be put to use again. 

In the eighties a period of intense exposure to the colours of music and dance gave me the urge to celebrate colour in the nude (er, well no, I wasn't in the nude). I had some really strong models for this project. I also had the inspiration of my hero the musical Matisse, not to mention the Fauves. With these models I had all the time in the world and, even without a musical subject, I found colours that could sing. Oh, the joy of oil-painting! The bulk of my oeuvre is painted in watercolour (with some notable exceptions), but I do sometimes miss oils.


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