Anna Belleforte

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end of the residency

Posted by Anna Belleforte on June 21, 2018 at 4:00 AM Comments comments (0)

My residency has come to an end. The final week was a hard-working one, finishing the third big painting. My time here was productive and has given me a renewed sense of direction. My visual vocabulary has increased again, and yet also it has narrowed, or perhaps become more definable, or – that which many artists seek – identifiable. I remember feeling a bit intimidated by the fact that the others seemed to be professional working artists, but I’ve realized I am their equal. We all have our own paths.

It been a challenge for me to be more active on social media. New for me was posting pictures on Instagram (annabelleforte). With a new environment and plenty to see every single day, it’s been fun – though I did have to remind myself to post. Making something that may have grabbed me internally into something external, doesn’t come naturally yet. I certainly love that it’s heavily visual. Art is a way for me to keep track of what’s important to me, and I can see Instagram becoming an equally handy instrument for that. I admit, it’s also great to see hearts from total strangers because one of my images caught their eye. Hearts and hugs back to everyone!

 

pinks and greens in a third collage/painting

Posted by Anna Belleforte on June 14, 2018 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Working on a third composition. The first monochromatic stage with nothing but tones and shades is always a favourite, to the point where I’m usually hesitant to take the painting further because I like the directness, clarity and light of the image so much. I know this from earlier work, that I have to push through. But definitely want to pursue this in a next series, working just with tones, greyscales or maybe two basic colours and their shades. In the meantime, I’m hoping to finish this 3rd big painting by the end of the residency. The big challenge here is the green and shaded foreground. There’s much less structure (predictable architectural lines), and it’s not easy making things look random when every strip of paper is minutely glued in place.


#paintandpaper #papiercolle #Budapest #Budapestartresidency #artistinresidence #urbangreen #emptylot #mindspace

June exhibition opening in Budapest

Posted by Anna Belleforte on June 12, 2018 at 2:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Opening night of the 11-strong exhibition. All work made in Budapest, and largely inspired by the city, by fellow international residents. A big thank you to Kate and Marti, the organisers! Nice to hear the positive response to my work. Locals recognized the spaces characterized and appreciated the style and 'text' that went into the paintings. After the opening the art was moved to several locations for a week. On show are the two big ‘Voids of Pest’ and the black and white collages of architectural Hungary. It might be an interesting idea to pursue the difference in vacant lots between the Buda and Pest sides. Certainly Buda is greener and hillier, making for more overgrown lots, with greenery on multiple levels. And less urban density, more residential.


Magyarorszag in paint

Posted by Anna Belleforte on June 4, 2018 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Another study to see the effects of oil pastel over acrylic collage. It works well for shading, though I have to be careful not to soften the clear lines of the collaged strips too much. And not to cover the underlying text too much. The strips of paper are pages from the Magyarorszag Utikonyvek book, describing (in Hungarian) all the historic, architectural tourist sites to see in Hungary. I want this history to be an underlying part of the ‘history’ I’m documenting with these paintings. And the tiny text is a visual aspect that draws you in - certainly if you read Hungarian. Again, it’s that contrast between large scale and small scale: the strips, the text are being used to build and portray something that is quite massive to the human scale. Since I like recycling images and ‘using up’ all the pages of books I cut up, I’ve also collaged a collection of tiny black & white heritage structures onto the left-over cover of the book.


#modernart #cutandpaste #collage #painting #Budapest #vacantlot

 

the wabi-sabi of Budapest

Posted by Anna Belleforte on May 30, 2018 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Buildings are tangible evidence of history. Even the newer ones should be able to tell us something about the past, if done right, i.e. when sympathetic to local values and truths as expressed through architecture. Many of these lots are being filled in with modern, democratic concrete. Because the construction industry goes on. It’s understandable, but also what a shame to lose sight of the hand-laid brickwork, the beautiful textures resulting from river silts (of which bricks are made) and the ‘wabi-sabi’ – great Japanese terms describing the qualities of simplicity, imperfection, uniqueness and solitude. Exactly the features of these spaces.

We’re heading to the exhibition and I have to think up titles. ‘Vacant lots’ seems, well, so vacuous. I like art titles that keep things open and non-explicit, but give you enough of a hook to make you curious. Any suggestions?


 

achieving shadow colours with collage

Posted by Anna Belleforte on May 27, 2018 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (0)

I’ve left the first painting to rest and started a second. Painting new colours onto old pages: yellows, peaches, greens, blues and the varieties in between. Cutting them up and applying strip after strip. Randomly at first, then concentrated, to get the right juxtapositions and balance. There’s a meditative quality to it and pleasure in seeing the volume and perspective of the buildings come to life. The big challenge today was to get the colours right for the shaded areas and how to make the transitions look natural – from wall into projected shadow on wall, and gradations of shadows into the deeply recessed light wells, which also absorb some reflected light. Hard lines tend not to look natural for cast shadows, and getting the colour right for the cast shadow is easier in paint than in ‘pasting’. Quite a lot of details to consider. It’s not ‘immediate satisfaction’ collage, but a slow process. I did hear from a fellow resident that the buildings look both old and new, giving it an interesting appeal. I like that contrast.

#papiercolle #acrylicpainting #artistinresidence #BARTR #Budapestartresidency #mindspace #Budapest

 

acappella and collage

Posted by Anna Belleforte on May 21, 2018 at 4:15 AM Comments comments (0)

I attended a wonderful a cappella concert last night in Budapest (with a cappella groups from Hungary, Sweden and Germany) and while listening I found a similarity to my working process that day – and every day, working on this Budapest series. A cappella is like a patchwork of voices, sometimes overlapping, a harmony of opposites, sometimes shooting out of the melody; there’s rhythm and repetition, peaks and valleys. As I lay the paper strips one after the other onto the canvas, I follow the same process: overlapping, synchronizing, finding/creating rhythms and textures. I’m ultimately creating a kind of melody with coloured papers, and because they are such defined shapes – I’m now working with geometric strips – they also look a bit like the staves of musical scores. I’ve never really thought much about the parallels between music and visual art, though of course there are many (mark-making/notes, brushstrokes/playing an instrument, abstraction/jazz…). There’s purity and something fundamental in both these art forms. Somehow I feel a cappella to be a musical expression of my ‘papier colle’ process and the collage building a visualization of a cappella music.


the stage is set

Posted by Anna Belleforte on May 18, 2018 at 3:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Buildings have narratives, infrastructures have narratives, parks have narratives… all places made by or touched by people have narratives. I see it as an artist’s task to ‘record’ these in some way. Obviously there’s some construction involved on my part: I am human with my own perspective and make a selection in the multitude of human stories; then there’s what I choose to see or narrate/depict… Having chosen these empty lots as my subject, I’m thinking of the next step: should I place a narrative in the spaces I’m painting? As always, I’m initially attracted to the perspective and simplicity of space (and the geometric aesthetics), but I see the potential of the subject as a sort of stage. On the one hand I feel these vacant lots speak for themselves, there’s satisfaction in seeing (and creating) the textures, lines and dynamic perspectives. And I’m not one for putting humans in my paintings. But putting a sense of human presence in could be an added dimension. Nothing elaborate. More like the elements I have seen: caravans, dogs, playing kids, junk/remnants, or even dead potted trees.

#vacantlot #architecture #Budapest #representationalpainting #BARTR #artistinresidence2018

piece by piece, laying bricks

Posted by Anna Belleforte on May 13, 2018 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Although it takes time, it’s not so hard thinking up ideas (maybe only easily said once you have one). It’s the execution that poses real difficulties. I knew that some of those difficulties would dissolve by painting bigger. But other new ones are on the horizon. It’s difficult to maintain the crispness and clarity of collaged acrylic papers on a large scale. This size simply requires much more painterly work. Or so felt. I’ve come to realise that I’m really more of a builder than a painter. I had created some interesting texture with teabags, then managed to kill that with paint while trying to pull it together, losing all the random tea stains (and the evidence of tea drunk at this residency). The walls are too expansive to be left as uninteresting planes. I came to see that I really only could do it by focusing on every individual inch, applying inch by inch with colour to create a pattern … I’m just a builder. I see that while I’m fascinated by the large scale, I can only process it through the small scale. Some people are able to build (or happen upon) surprising effects through paint, I can only do so through collage, piece by piece, and sometimes surprisingly leave behind an interesting effect.

#artistinresidence #BARTR #Budapestartresidency #artistinresidence2018 #Budapest

 

underpainting and other decisions

Posted by Anna Belleforte on May 9, 2018 at 5:30 AM Comments comments (0)

So many decisions for this new series. Which colour combinations? Colours that pop or are subdued? Use the same colour palette for the whole series? Use coloured papers as the underpainting, or as the meat with which to build the image? Whether to include fine drawn lines or rely on the juxtapositions of collages shapes? How to treat the sky (I think I would prefer collage-free)? Could gold-leaf be an interesting accent layer here? Often you just need to get started to figure these things out. So now I’ve figured out: when I work with colour patches on a small scale, I can cut the desired shapes from a single sheet, and sustain a kind of unity/harmony; not so for the larger areas, and the pages from the Magyar book I’m using are even smaller than A5. Hoping these will give some interesting, unexpected textures, but worried that I may need to work with even smaller mosaic-type coloured pieces to make it work better. (Only worried because that requires much more time, to amass shapes.)

First, a final experiment in underpainted patches done in opposite colours (A3 size) …and getting the outline of the subject on a first big canvas…


#painting #acrylic #mixedmediatechnique #bigcanvas #urbanism #Budapestartresidency


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