17 January 2021

the transvestite ball at dusk


Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 14 January, 2021, oil on canvas board,25 X 25 cm

This small study came at the tail end of a session of three pictures the other night. The first two, slightly bigger were OK but it was this one which excited me. I had been ready to pack up when I saw a fleeting image  for this small painting while watching the last of the light over the horizon. I grabbed a small board and made this. It's not that it is even so good but that I really saw some new colour nuances which I wanted to explore. 

Weird things happen at dusk. Colours switch around and can fool you easily. You might be preparing a colour on the palette when suddenly you look back up at the motif and see that it's a different colour altogether. Then you prepare something anew only to see another colour has replaced the first one.

"....that is not this, that is this, that is that...."

Everything is a dance of peachy purple, poppy red yellow, pale yellow grey, everything swirling around in the after-burn of the twilight sky like it's a chorus line of French gals doing the Can-Can on the stage above. I am in the front row looking up, and suddenly, I envision a mad transvestite ball where dancing couples are waltzing above me in a great big hall.

Watching them, I know they are the opposites of what they are, yet when I blink, I see that they are more like they are really not than how they really are. Pretty confusing stuff, and then I am reminded of New York.

I have been to a few drag bars there many years ago, and it's pretty confounding. We both watched spellbound at the nocturnal scene. My friend who took me a few times always advised,

"watch their hands, it's the only tell".

Once, a magnificent black 'woman' in a gold gown stepped out onto a small stage at one point and belted out a lip-synced version of Shirley Bassey's Goldfinger. She brought the house down and blew our minds. I think we were on mushrooms.

And this too, is the mysterious world of Painting where things are fluid, ever transforming themselves, and are never quite what they seem. And when they seem what they are, it isn't always for long.

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