I’m very proud to announce that my article for the art history journal The Burlington Magazine (August 2017), “Paula Modersohn-Becker’s self-portraits and the influence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti”, was published this month.
Link to the article: http://burlington.org.uk/archive/back-issues/201708
I’ve been working on this project for a number of years and I’m very excited to see it out in print at last. I first came to realise that there was a strong visual link between the work of German artist Paula Modersohn-Becker and the Pre-raphaelite Dante Rossetti while studying for an MPhil at Bristol University. Whilst randomly flicking through a book on symbolism, my eyes came to rest on Rossetti’s “Astarte Syriaca”, and its resemblance to Modersohn-Becker’s “Composition with three female figures, a self-portrait in the middle” was striking. In the article I identify further pairs of connected paintings, and explain how this influence sheds light on the extraordinary work of Modersohn-Becker.
Whilst studying at Bristol, I began to research the depiction of pregnancy in twentieth-century art. Paula Modersohn-Becker was one of a handful of painters and sculptors who combined ideas of biological generation with artistic creation. I continue to research this fruitful field of study, which I believe has provided both male and female artists with a rich source of ideas. Perhaps because of the private nature of pregnancy, it has had less attention than other fields of study. I hope that my work will go some way towards addressing this.
As a mother of three, and as a profession painter myself, I know that pregnancy and having children has influenced my work immensely. Because some of my paintings are so personal, there are quite a few of them that I would not want to sell commercially, but I am aware that this imagery continues to inform my other work.
Pregnancy painting by Rebecca Jelbert (1990s)
I have had some paintings in a an art exhibition in Romsey, Hampshire. The show started at the beginning of June and still has about a week to run until the paintings come down. The setting is wonderful, with a garden surrounding the gallery and a cafe on hand!
Dates: The exhibition ends Wednesday 28th June 2017, at 3pm.
Location: Sir Harold Hilier Gardens, Jermyns Lane, Romsey, Hampshire, SO51 0QA.
I have a selection of larger abstract paintings on canvas, and a few examples of my realistic commission work.
In the exhibition I have also included a few examples of my painted commissions work. Although the examples in the show are acrylic on canvas, I also paint in watercolours.
As yet untitled
I have been finishing off a series of abstract paintings for a summer show in Hampshire – details below. The trouble is, I need to decide on how to title them. Until now they have hung on my walls at home, but for an exhibition they need to be named.
My figurative paintings have simple but descriptive titles that remind me in an instant of the subjects matter, the country etc. But my abstracts do not recall a specific event, person or place. I suppose the technical term for this work is abstract expressionism: I don’t plan them at all, in fact each one is totally spontaneous and at the start I have absolutely no idea what the final painting will look like. The process can take months, even years, but at some point the composition feels balanced, and I know instinctively that it is finished.
For me, my abstracts do evoke an emotional response, but for someone else the same painting would likely induce a different feeling. Colour is so personal and these pictures, all one metre square, are so large that the blocks of paint can really engulf you. I should also say that the interaction of colour and form are really important for me, as is the tactile application of thick paint onto canvas- with both brush and hands!
So how can you distill this difficult-to explain experience into a one or two word title? Perhaps I should fall back on a dominant colour or shape, or even a random word or number? It is a conundrum, but I will have decide very soon.
The exhibition details:
Sir Harold Hillier Gardens
Jermyns Lane, Romsey
Hampshire, SO51 0QA
Friday 9th June – Wednesday 28th June 2017 (10am – 5pm)*
*exhibition closes 3pm on the final day
As yet untitled
Blue Hook/ Two Semicircles – Ahhhhh!
As usual, I will be taking part in the summer art exhibition at Stourhead in Wiltshire, in the lovely First-View Gallery.
The show runs from:
Saturday 3rd June – Sunday 25th June
Spread Eagle Courtyard, Stourton
Wiltshire, BA12 6QE
Tel: 01747 840747
Website for First-View Gallery: http://www.first-view.co.uk
National Trust site: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead
There will be a selection of artwork from over 60 artists, exhibited in the idyllic setting of a the National Trust’s Stourhead house and gardens. This year I am exhibiting a number of my new planet paintings…
In past years, though, I have painted some of the beautiful Stourhead architecture, surrounded by trees and reflected in the still waters of the lake. It really is a stunning place to visit, and very inspiring for gardeners and painters alike!
The final painting
I have just finished painting an acrylic portrait of a dog. Just for fun I took a few photos of the various stages, so you can see how the layers are built up.
In the first picture you can see a little of the original pencil sketch left. At the start I only draw out the bare minimum, and then layer up the paint in thinnish layers. With acrylics you can add quite a bit of water and the washes you can achieve are not dissimilar to watercolour paint.
A first quick wash
This weekend I experimented with a new subject, astronomy. About ten years ago I bought a telescope, and from then on I have found the night sky fascinating.
Here are my first attempts to capture something of the jewel-like quality that these various planets emirate. I’m quite pleased with them – as a starter for ten – so I may well do more!
Ultrasound painting by Rebecca Jelbert, 2017
Ultrasound painting by Rebecca Jelbert, 2017
This weekend I painted the ultrasound portraits of two beautiful babies.
I love painting these type of pictures. They bring together my interest in medicine and biology, and also my passion for portraiture. It is a challenge to strike the right balance between texture and blank space, between anatomical accuracy and abstract movement, but the results can be rewarding.
My teenage son still has his little canvas up in his room, which goes to show that these images are somehow timeless. For me, the ultrasound image is the meeting point of the etherial and the cutting edge. These black and white scans concentrate the mind on composition, tone and movement, and are a complete change from my other work.
And now I am returning to my paints to work on something very different – a large abstract with strong colours. It has been under my bed, unfinished, for many many months but sometimes it can take years to develop a good abstract painting. Back to work.