Saturday, June 9, 2007

A frankfurter in Hamburg

The prophecy was fulfilled as expected when a frankfurter smothered in mustard was consumed by the famous docks area of Hamburg. Bilious, but wonderful. This was of course followed by ‘lashings and lashings of ginger beer‘!

Hamburg itself is more reminiscent of London with its various quarters and suburbs. A very cosmopolitan and modern vibrant city. I have to say, apart from obvious problems with my lack of the language (although almost everybody speaks English!), it is a city I could happily spend a lot of time in. Eppendorfer - the area where the exhibition is being held reminded me of Notting Hill in London with ladies who lunch, chic designer shops and cars to match. It is also a city burgeoning with art and culture.

Having visited the modern art museum near the Hauptbahnhof (central station) I was astonished to find paintings by Otto Dix, Max Beckmann, Paul Klee, Edvard Munch and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. These were artists I have had an affection for since I started painting. What I found was breathtaking though was the fact that my early art was reminiscent of Max Beckmann’s early naïve seascapes. I couldn’t believe the similarity. Previously I was only used to his post war depictions and hadn’t experienced this work before. What was also interesting was the fact that his work seemed to become more involved and less naïve as he progressed through years of experience.

This is also something that people have noted with my own work. I have found it easier never to look at older paintings as reference points to my progress, rather let the skills develop anew each time I work.

Recently I had the opportunity to look at some of my earlier works from a collector of mine and was amazed at the difference a few years had made. It was like looking at two different artists! Yet, the early works had an innocence about them that still drew me into the pictures.

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