28 June 2023

"You is what you was"

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 14 June 2023, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

From the other night came this, the first of three studies. The other two were reasonably sedate compared to this but I do remember feeling that I wanted to let go and really make a mess which seems to go against all of my early infant conditioning. 

"Suck it up!" and "Don't make a mess!", Ha Ha. 

As a Thelonious Monk might have said.

"You is what you was".

I'm not even sure how much truth is in this but it sounds good to me now. How does one know how one really was at the beginning of their own life? Lot's of Guru's pretend to know, but who cares what a guru thinks? 

While painting a picture, who, or what, is really in control? I do know that I am working from both spheres of my head, one side interrupts all the learned ability while the other allows it to make mistakes. That is my limited understanding because like the Guru, I don't really care (thank you for this Melania Trump.) 

In any event, while the animal apparently lives comfortably in the chaos of the Right side of the brain, all the computer controls are on the Left, so they say. So despite being a painter whose work is kind of messy, I've always secretly known that I'm ruled by my Left sphere where despite my messy life, it fights to maintain order and cleanliness. 

Thus, the dilemma, for I do find myself actively striving to return to this small cage inside the right side of my brain because I suspect that that's where the fun is located. I know because I see it in so much creative work everywhere around me.

So I begin to see my poor mind as a circus where in the Left side, a Lion tamer rules with pompous insecurity while using the whip and whatever. In the Right side, the wild lion prowls back and forth, waiting for some release but this comes only when the Lion Tamer lets the lion out for a show. 

In my case, from one of the cheap seats under the tent, I always root for the lion because the Lion Tamer is an uptight old white guy who has never made peace with his own lion within.

But all this is not to say that as a painter I believe that just 'Anything Goes', like in a Cole Porter musical. Mais Non! The lion is a wild beast after all so 'Anything Goes' should be mostly reserved for therapy sessions, not museum collections. 

But that doesn't mean that the lion cannot make great stuff nor is forbidden entrance to the museum. But alas, I fear it's as unlikely as winning the lottery. Don't get me wrong, I'm all in for finding one's own Lion and letting it go free to face down the Lion Tamer, but let's just say that I'm against this kind of Lion Tamer.  

So if some of us really do need to live in the Left side of our brains, why can't we have a really cool guy, a sort of a Bohemian who may look a little wonky but really tells it like it is. For instance, like Kramer from Seinfield. Get rid of the tamer and his costume and just hire Kramer instead. (Ok, maybe not all of Kramer, but parts of him anyway. Maybe mix of Kramer and US House Representative Adam Schiff).

OK some of our readers out of the loop both culturally and politically will miss these portraits, but hey, get a life!

So the picture below, done just after the one above, is an uptight study from the Lion Tamer which seems to demand an ordered, pre-formulated  idea that is both controlled and without risk. 

It's not that I dislike it, it's just not the result I usually look forward to each evening. The one thing I do like in it is the strip of warm grey/green that seems to glide across the sky separating the warmth and the cold colour harmonies just like a referee at a boxing match who keep the fighters apart when they begin hugging one another in the corner. This anodyne layer is what I desire most and it's what I covet and sort of crave to see in any painting. It serves as a transitional space between colours but also a surprise of sorts. 

Every picture teaches something and reveals a lesson for the humble painter. A picture is a kind of ultra-sound into a painters's psyche. In this picture I see the Lion Tamer somewhat firmly in control except for this marvelous stripe that throws a poetic wrench into the mix. Every boring picture can often possess small flashes of visual satisfaction.  

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 14 June 2023, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

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