19 August 2021

Sails open up and the groundhog digs in


Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 14 August, 2021, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm


Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 13 August, 2021, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

Here are two things (above) done over the last few days. I loved working them, I was really into something but at the same time I felt that I didn't get it in the end. To my surprise they were well liked by friends on social media. 

This is always interesting because for most of my life I never showed anything for the most part. People love to criticise Instagram and Facebook, but for a painter living far from 'the madding crowd', to reference Thomas Hardy, I marvel continually at being able to post an image made just the day before, an image that will travel with light-speed the world-over. 

But anyway, these two were worked over for almost the whole session, barely an hour or so on successive evenings. One can tell that the weather was a little damp and the haziness brought on a delicious fragmentation of muted colours. I did enjoy myself but I also felt they were taking me on a pleasant side excursion from the actual destination. 

Maybe, it is because I have several different painters inside me. I should be glad for that though even if it poses confusion from time to time. These painterly peregrinations lead me all of the place and remind me of what writers often say:

"What I really want to say is...." 

But as long as one keeps working, one cannot complain. It would be awful to be stuck. And I have often been stuck for long periods at a time. One good thing about ageing is that one cares so much less about so much more. 

Below, are two very different studies, small and worked. And again, they don't quite get there either, but they do reveal another side of my mindset. As I freely admit, I never know what I will do until I actually begin to start painting. It almost always depends on the motif. But in these two, there is already a desire, my grand idea behind the entire series, to reduce this motif to a formal structure unlike the two above where I've freely opened up the sails and surf the waves, spinnakers galore. 

These, on the other hand, lent themselves to more formal simplicity and I suppose that when I sense that happening, I dig in like a groundhog.

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 16 August, 2021, oil on canvas board, 25 X 20 cm

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 16 August, 2021, oil on canvas board, 25 X 20 cm


  1. I like them all! They follow nature with all of those surprises, delights and wonder ... nothing is fixed, because the next day is totally different.

    I agree entirely with your feelings about social media. I have no gallery, few buyers and I find it comforting, wondrous and all in all, a contact with others when I post my paintings. I do need some sort of audience for my work ... don't know if that's a failing, but I don't care too much about that really. I have also discovered such good, inspiring artists on Instagram with whom I can connect ... c'est pas mal!:)