Weekend Artists Series, Part 3: Jenny Saville

Los retratos situados "entre la vida y la muerte" de Jenny Saville
(Jenny Saville, 1970- )

If you want an artist that paints volumes and creates abstracts, illusions and expressions that compose the human anatomy, then don’t look to a Botero, instead, look to a brilliant one, like Jenny Saville. Her compositions are overflowing with flesh, with colour and with intention. What is her intention? I’ve no clue, but what I see is the intention to recreate some of the wonders and beauties contained in the human form.

Jenny Saville is a member of the Young British Artists and is well known for her female nudes. Presently she lives and works between London and Palermo. When in 2018 one of her self-portraits, Propped, fetched £9.5 million (10,8 millon euros), she became the most expensive artist in history. The auction at Sotheby’s in London set a record for any living artist.

She attended the Glasgow School of Art from 1988 to 1992. From there she gained a scholarship to University of Cincinnati (United States) and she topped off her studies at the Slade School Of Fine Art, where she studied from 1992 to 1993. Her work became of interest to the great Charles Saatchi, who purchased all her paintings and commissioned all her work for the following two years.

Her work is considered the new figurative and it is greatly influenced by Rubens and Lucian Freud. Her canvases are monumental, not just for their enormous size but because of the angles she chooses. The female bodies she paints seem like landscapes where body parts become literally mountains of flesh and colour. These huge bodies fill the entire space, focusing on the genitals or perhaps imperfections on the flesh or scars, created with brilliant colours, intense colours, at time resembling splashes of paint on a canvas where the predominant hues and tones are reds and red derivatives.

Saville’s paintings are mostly of obese bodies, frequently using her own body as the model. The flesh she paints forms folds, curves, and protuberances and seem like what an adult body might look to a child. Her inspiration comes from Courbet and Velázquez. She paints real women, women of the moment without idealising her subjects, without looking for aesthetics or beauty, only searching for the truth, for reality, creating thus what she calls “landscapes of bodies”.

Artist Jenny Saville was born in Cambridge, England in 1970.

Jenny Saville - Historia Arte (HA!)
(“Reverse” 2003)
The Groundbreaking Self-Portrait That Launched Jenny Saville's Career |  London Frieze Week Auctions | Sotheby's
“Propped” 1992)
Jake Allsopp: Critical Analysis - Jenny Saville
(“Strategy” 1994)
(“Stare” 2005)

If you are interested in this artist I urge you to look through her work and if you’ve the opportunity to visit one of her expos, I would not miss it. And for those artists studying the human form, she is a must.


Weekend Artists Series, Part 2: Banksy

Tratan de verificar si el grafiti aparecido en Ferrol pertenece a Banksy |  Radio Galicia | Cadena SER
(Banksy…supposedly…on a wall in Ferrol, Galicia, Spain)

Well, he…or she, or they…is a British wall artist. He may be from Bristol, England, maybe not. Works attributed to Banksy have appeared in many cities, especially in London. He…or she or they…maintains his personality secret because he is wanted by the police for defacing public property.

Well, since there is not too much to say about someone who may be or not a single human or a group, I will not say anything more. I will provide a video with the images he has painted on walls and a question, would you allow Banksy to paint your car or your walls?

Here is some of his works. I hope you like it. And please, let me know if you like it and if you do, please give the video a like as it helps us place better in the YouTube algorithms and we will greatly appreciate it.

(Please do not forget to like, share and subscribe to our YouTube channel, thank you!)


Weekend Artists Series, Part 1: James Whistler

Why Is “Whistler's Mother” So Iconic? | The New Yorker
(“Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1” by James Whistler commonly called “Whistler’s Mother”

I remember reading a book about Whistler during my early years at university. I think it may have been a biography but since I cannot recall the name, nor find the book, I cannot tell, however, it got me interested in his artwork. I had seen thousands of references to “Whistler’s Mother” many times, even in cartoons, but I never knew much about the painting or much less about Whistler himself. But he was one of the good ones in art history and worth this edition, for sure.

In truth the painting does represent the artists mother. Her name was Anna Matilda McNeill Whistler. The painting is owned by the French state, and being that it is a work done by a United States painter, it is the most important painting from the US to reside outside the US, namely at the Musée d’Orsay, in Paris. The French government bought “Whistler’s Mother in 1891.

It can be said that James Abott McNeill Whistler was an impressionist painter who also studied and worked in the style of the brought about in France by symbolism. These writers and artists wanted to represent in symbolic fashion that which is considered truth, perhaps rebelling against naturalism and realism.

Whistler was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, United States on the 11th of July 1834. In 1842 his father takes a job in Russia and Whistler, a young lad, starts studying at the Imperial Academy of the Arts in Saint Petersburg. It is there where he learns to speak French. In 1848 the family moved to London, but his father’s death in 1849 prompted a move back to the United States, and moved to Pomfret, Connecticut. Then in 1851 he matriculates in West Point Military Academy. However, he failed to pass the Chemistry exam. He said, “If silence was a gas I would have been at one time a general.” He returned to Connecticut in 1854.

In 1855, with the money from a small inheritance he went on to Paris to study painting. In 1856 he prepared, together with such men as Monet, Renoir, Sisley and Bazille, to take the entrance exam to the School of Fine Arts of Paris. From Paris to London, to Madrid. He studied the great masters like Velazquez at the museums…

En 1863, when Napoleon III opened the Salon des Refusés, one of the paintings that caused a stir was Whistler’s “The White Girl”, (actually titled “Symphony in White No. 1), a painting that the year before had been refused by the Royal Academy of London.

Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl - Wikipedia
(“Symphony in White No. 1”)

I greatly admire the work of James Whistler. I find his style refreshing and deep, crystal clear and complex and all those things at the same time. I can say that he was a great painter that deeply studied his craft and perfected his art through his talent, which he worked strenuously throughout his life. He could have been an impressionist painter as many of his “nocturnes” reflect that impression of life outside the painter’s studio. But he preferred the more esoteric path of symbolism in art as the poet Baudelaire sought in poetry.

Nocturne: Black and Gold - The Fire Wheel', James Abbott McNeill Whistler,  1875 | Tate
(“Nocturne Black and Gold”)

Whistler was recognised as a great artist during his lifetime. In 1884 he was elected as an honorary member of the Munich Royal Academy of Fine Arts. In 1892 he was named as an officer to the French Legion of Honour. He was a founding member and first president of the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Engravers (1897). One may suppose that he was the model for the painter Elstir from Marcel Proust’s novel ​”À la recherche du temps perdu” (“In Search of Lost Time”). He is considered the creator of English Impressionism.

I would urge you to read about Whistler, because it could be said that besides being a great painter, like I’ve said before, he led a very interesting life which was lived during the Gilded Age. He met and befriended many interesting people, like his close friend Oscar Wilde. Whistler died in London on the 17th of July 1903. His birth home is now the Whistler Museum in Massachusetts, United States.

James McNeill Whistler | Biography, Art, & Facts | Britannica

“Art is the science of beauty” (James Whistler)

Omnia Caelum Art: Drawings on the basis of Jazz, or “JaZzArt”

(photo property of FBC, original drawing in graphite on paper from the “JaZzArt” series, Omnia Caelum Studios Valencia)

As an artist I truly enjoy the work of drawing and illustration. On the surface of the paper many worlds can come to life and the lifeline is that line which you put down using a pencil, several different types of pencils and perhaps charcoal or ink as well.

When I do what I call “JaZzArt” I let the drawing decide for itself what the composition is to be. The reference begins with a thought or a thought after listening to a tune, starting from the first note of the first chord. Just like the musician who uses the chart as a guide, in general terms, but uses his own innate ability to improvise to actually decide which way he is going to take, I let my “musicians” also become composers. The idea is to start in one point, let is say “A” and end in the last one, say “Z”. So you go from A to Z, it can be a long trip but it will be guided by the elements you put into the composition.

Another aspect of Jazz, and therefore one which I must incorporate into my “JaZzArt” is rhythm. Well how can one create rhythm in a flat, two dimensional composition? I try to create that rhythm using the visual laws of art. I try to guide your eyes as you look at the drawing by creating eyes that look in a certain direction. I also guide your attention to different parts or to different “musicians” in the composition by placing gestures that resemble human movement. I am also using the laws of composition which says that if you structure your elements in a pyramid shape you will establish a base with power and ascending lightness, therefore guiding your eyes to look from base to apex. These are all laws for the composition of art, or the way a composition should be drawn and later, perhaps painted. This creates rhythm in a two dimensional work of art.

These are some of the drawings I have been working on, for the series. I began them several years ago, they are not the latest ones. But they exemplify my idea that with three basic defining phrases, one can create a different and valuable work of art, whether it stays at a completed and perfected drawing or it goes on to become a painting.

There are many more but to see them, I invite you to my Instagram galleries where I feature my black and white, graphite…and graphite and ink…on paper, as well as my paintings in acrylics. Please visit @Francisco_Bravo_Cabrera and I will also link my videos…with original music…on YouTube, which I hope you will take a look at. If you do, please hit that like button, perhaps share and if it is not too much to ask, please subscribe. Thank you!

(We ask you to please do not forget to like, to share and to subscribe to our YouTube channel, with our appreciation!)


Un poema para un viernes valenciano: “Baila tus peteneras”

(Foto propiedad de FBC, Omnia Caelum Studios València)

Si toco el agua,

aunque sea una gota de la marea verde,

de la marea azul,

toco tu cuerpo…

Eres el mar,

Y ¿yo que soy?

¿El viento?

Soy tu hijo,

soy la multitud que reza,

la que poco a poco empieza a conocerte,

la que necesita verte…

Baila tus peteneras y tus fandangos,

por bulerías o por alegrías.

Sobre el tablao eterno de la mar salada,

te mueves como diosa alada,

como santa cosa.

Plegarias elevas al cielo sobre la tierra celosa.

C.2021, Francisco Bravo Cabrera, 28 de enero de 2021, València, España 🇪🇸