Saturday, August 16, 2014

Daily Routines of Chris Ofili and Gerhard Richter

I am in a turquoise mood today. 
I love turquoise.  The first horse I sculpted in the House Horse Series, little "Look!" has a turquoise patina and he is well loved by his many collectors.

"Look!" by Alex Alvis limited edition bronze sculpture

I have found Mason Currey's blog now and here are the stories of the routines of two artists:  Chris Ofili and Gerhard Richter with some examples of their paintings.

Chris Ofili

He arrives in his studio at 9 or 10 in the morning, he explained. He sets aside a corner for watercolors and drawings "away from center stage," meaning where he paints his big, collaged oil paintings. "I consider that corner of the studio to be my comfort zone," he said. First, he tears a large sheet of paper, always the same size, into eight pieces, all about 6 by 9 inches. Then he loosens up with some pencil marks, "nothing statements, which have no function."
"They're not a guide," he went on, they're just a way to say something and nothing with a physical mark that is nothing except a start."
Watercolor goes on top. He estimated that each head takes 5 to 15 minutes. Occasionally he'll paint while on the phone. He may finish one watercolor or 10 in the course of a day.
"There have been days I have not made them," he added. "Sometimes it felt absolutely necessary to do pencil drawings instead. It was cleansing. There's a beautiful sound that pencil makes when it's scratching on paper. Very soothing. Watercolor is like waving a conductor's baton. It's very quick. I almost don't even have to think."
"Sometimes," he added, "I will return to the watercolors in the evening. And that's a completely different atmosphere. If things haven't gone well during the day, I can calm down. The big paintings are like a performance -- me looking at me. It's self-conscious. There's a lot of getting up close to the canvas, then stepping back, reflecting on decisions, thinking about gestures. I try to take on all sorts of issues and ideas. So my mind is busy. With watercolor, it's just about the colors and the faces. They're free to go any way they want to go. I may tell myself, 'This will be the last one I do.' Then I'll do another. That's liberating."
The New York Times, May 8, 2005
(Thanks to Ben Griswold.)

Mono Turquesa-Chris Ofili

Gerhard Richter

He sticks to a strict routine, waking at 6:15 every morning. He makes breakfast for his family, takes Ella to school at 7:20 and is in the studio by 8. At 1 o'clock, he crosses the garden from the studio back to the house. The grass in the garden is uncut. Richter proudly points this out, to show that even it is a matter of his choosing, not by chance. At 1 o'clock, he eats lunch in the dining room, alone. A housekeeper lays out the same meal for him each day: yogurt, tomatoes, bread, olive oil and chamomile tea.

After lunch, Richter returns to his studio to work into the evening. ''I have always been structured,'' he explains. ''What has changed is the proportions. Now it is eight hours of paperwork and one of painting.'' He claims to waste time -- on the house, the garden -- although this is hard to believe. ''I go to the studio every day, but I don't paint every day. I love playing with my architectural models. I love making plans. I could spend my life arranging things. Weeks go by, and I don't paint until finally I can't stand it any longer. I get fed up. I almost don't want to talk about it, because I don't want to become self-conscious about it, but perhaps I create these little crises as a kind of a secret strategy to push myself. It is a danger to wait around for an idea to occur to you. You have to find the idea.'' As he talks, I notice a single drop of paint on the floor beneath one of his abstract pictures, the only thing out of place in the studio.
The New York Times Magazine, January 27, 2002
(Thanks to Dylan Chatain.)

Gerhard Richter - Untitled (Sept. 1988)

Wishing you a turquoise kind of Saturday.  A color that brings you hope, serenity and balance.

Tomorrow is inspiration Sunday!

'Til then!