Beeldbrug episode 4: Elliot and Willem

Image left: Portrait of an artist (painting with two figures), David Hockney, acrylic paint on canvas, 1972. (foto: Artchive
Image right: Dad by the pool, Elliot McDonald, acrylic paint on canvas, 2020.

A pool and a pop of colour

The serenity of ‘Dad by the pool’ by Elliot McDonald spoke to me the first time I saw it when I visited his workspace at the HKU building. His father seems to be sitting rather relaxed at the side of a pool in casual shorts, a bright yellow shirt, some sneakers and sunglasses on. Typical wear for the time, as the photograph was taken around the ‘80s. Just like this painting is of his father, the main source of Elliot’s paintings is people around him. When he creates a new artwork, he works from reference pictures from his own archive or the internet. This archive and research result in pictures like above, or others with a quite quirky twist. The main goal that Elliot has, is to create something of beauty, in the realm of aesthetics, when making a painting: a goal accomplished in my opinion. 

I would like to draw a ‘beeldbrug’ with probably one of the most famous painters of the last century: David Hockney. His painting Portrait of an artist (painting with two figures)      reflects the serenity of Elliot’s painting, and as a bonus it also features a pool. But the comparisons that can be made between the artists are not done yet. Hockney liked to work from photographs while he took residence in California in the 60’s, the place where this painting originates. The figures depicted on the canvas, and other paintings made around the same time, are referential to his own life. His lovers, partners, friends and family can be found on the canvas. Often this period of his career is referred to as the ‘pool paintings.’

The colours of Elliot’s painting may be more muted, but the bright pop of yellow still reminds of the colourful time of the 80’s he is referencing. However, the pallet also made me think about the ‘Haagsche School’, which is known for the beach scenes and pallets based around brown. But in the end the pool, the feeling of both Hockney’s and Elliot’s painting, and the fact that both artists used acrylic paint made the choice clear. ‘Portrait of an artist (painting with two figures)’ was the most expensive artwork of a living artist for a short while, maybe that’s in the future for ‘Dad by the pool’ as well.

Written bij Willem Vos.