A short biography of Victor Linford

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Victor was born 21st of May 1940 in Mile End London as Victor Harrison. Harrison was the name of his adoption father. His natural father was unknown. When his mother left Mr. Harrison, she changed her name to Linford so Victor became Victor Linford-Harrison and later Victor Linford. Victor was sent to the Norwood Home for Jewish Children in 1951. One of his schoolmasters recognized his artistic talent and later Victor was accepted to the Camberwell school of arts and crafts. He received his National diploma in Design in august 1960 with painting as his special subject. After some traveling to Sweden Victor moved to the Netherlands in order to work there, marry and raise a family. After some factory jobs, he succeeded in establishing himself as an artist.

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The first artistic period coincides with Victor’s stay in the local vicarage with his in-laws in Spankeren, a small village near Arnhem. This period started with rather dark drawings and paintings about social issues or even parenthood mixed with commissioned portraits and landscapes. Halfway the sixties Victor, his wife Mienke and son Christiaan moved to an old farmhouse where he built a studio in the stables.

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Meanwhile his work had evolved to rather fantastic landscapes, nudes and vivid (though not always flattering) portraits. Two daughters, Lilian and Victoria were born and Victor diligently worked on his exposure while showing a natural aptitude as a Bon Vivant as well. He exhibited in many galleries in the Netherlands and in 1972 and 1973 traveled to Tel Aviv and Haifa. Also in 1972 he moved to Nijmegen after his divorce. Here the “Nijmegen” period started where his landscapes became even more detailed and impressions of his travels to France were absorbed into his world. In 1974 Hein Steehouwer wrote his book “Meta-Realisten”, launching a group of seven artists as a new painting “popgroup”. Victor was one of this group and there were exhibitions, radio and television broadcasts. Victor worked in Nijmegen and traveled to France for the rest of his career. The paintings became even more detailed and multicoloured. He was working on a commission for a series of zodiac paintings when, at the 6th of December 2002, driving home after a celebratory dinner with Victoria’s family, his hart stopped and the “Victorian era” in the Netherlands ended prematurely.

Christiaan Linford

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The process of painting:Did Rembrandt hit a”Procrastination phase”?

I don’t think so. By most accounts Rembrandt was a pretty effective artist in a time when there wasn’t much room for frivolities. A painting, mostly a portrait was commissioned and the artist was supposed to deliver the goods as ordered. It’s us modern artists who can fret and doodle as our whims dictate.

Sometimes I use the "Phase" to make a small one.

I can use the "Phase" to make a small painting.

Sometimes at the first stages of setting up a painting I will hit some kind of barrier.  I’ll have to decide where certain parts of the composition need to go or where the light needs to come from.  I can sit staring at the canvas for a long time and nothing happens. Well not on the canvas, but the thoughts race through my mind. It will take a while and sometimes it feels like a mild form of stress and I feel guilty for not being able to work effectively. Sometimes I decide it’s better to do something completely different like fixing a car or to go for  a long walk.  Maybe even writing for this weblog. I call this the “procrastination phase” . Only later I realise this phase is an important moment:  I set  the design while I “procrastinate”.  It’s an essential part of my painting process. It’s not procrastination at all! It just looks much like it.

Wikipedia says:

Procrastination is a type of behavior which is characterized by deferment of actions or tasks to a later time. Psychologists often cite procrastination as a mechanism for coping with the anxiety associated with starting or completing any task or decision. [1] Psychology researchers also have three criteria they use to categorize procrastination. For a behavior to be classified as procrastination, it must be counterproductive, needless, and delaying.[2]

For an individual, procrastination may result in stress, a sense of guilt, the loss of personal productivity, the creation of crisis and the disapproval of others for not fulfilling one’s responsibilities or commitments. These combined feelings can promote further procrastination. While it is normal for people to procrastinate to some degree, it becomes a problem when it impedes normal functioning. Chronic procrastination may be a sign of an underlying psychological or physiological disorder.

The process of painting. Was Pablo Picasso wrong?

A quote by Pablo Picasso : “There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.”

So there it is: One of the essential things a painter wants(needs) to achieve: transform a yellow spot into the sun, a blob of paint into a highlight, a set of lines into perspective, smears of blue and white into a dramatic sky. It sounds easy enough and sometimes it even is. But quite often the road to change that spot or line into the building block of your artwork is more of an anxious struggle.

I know, I do it all the time and I’m not often sure of the result until a spectator cries in horror or exclaims praise. The joy of finishing a painting is something I can’t explain. It’s there until I realize that now this project has finished there’s a new challenge coming. I need to start a new painting! I feel really lucky when the notion of a composition has come before I start painting. Sometimes this is followed by a frantic phase to record the composition and it’s basic building blocks on the canvas before I forget or kill it by a new train of thought. After that I can blissfully continue until I hit a snag that I haven’t anticipated. That is, for instance how to transform a specific spot of colour into the object I had envisioned in my compositional dreams.

There used to be a time I could just sit down and the picture would swim in place on my canvas and I would paint through the night to get rid of this torrent of creativity. To be honest these pictures didn’t appeal to many people and after a while they even bothered me, so the stream of feverish dreams stopped to be admitted to canvas. I had thought becoming a painter would be an inevitable destiny, but I just didn’t want to paint the way I had done and I couldn’t see another. So I didn’t paint much for quite some years and went away from art to pursue a business career. That went well and I enjoyed it a lot. Suddenly I found another urge to paint, I saw that I could spend my days painting and it was the right thing to do. And while I did this I found my mind had calmed in such a way that there were no torrents of feverish dreams to paint anymore but dreams I could translate in fantasies. It’s not all easy though. As I said before. And I think old Pablo is right. The hardest thing is to transform that spot into your dream.

Next time: the “procrastination phase”

This "Bibia" is one of the old ones(1978) I do like.

This "Bibia" (1978 )is actually one of the old ones I do like.