27 August 2023

Cunning and baffling!

Having COVID in your life is like living with lover who just wants to take you down at any moment and who never wants the best for you. They will always attack your weak spots when you least expect it. 

It’s cunning and baffling.

But my own experience with it after five weeks has now settled into a routine of abuse because she comes round my door everyday and I expect to feel awful by the close of it. By nightfall, when having yielded to her torments I take Advil. 

Of course there are worst things in life than to be in the throws of this daily enigma of assault, there are lots of things, really, like living with any of my last girlfriends. So I don't complain but it is a pain in the neck, literally. 

Somehow, I had imagined I would escape catching it, one of those lucky souls who are supremely healthy and better than everyone else, mais non! 

I have not been out to work for over a month and that is not good for my mental health. I have missed some extraordinary skies too, which compounds my misery. I mean, it could have rained for three of those five weeks at least. But, hey, you can't screw with nature, or your own body for that matter.

But as I've learned in life after so many misadventures, this is but a TODAY problem, not a TOMORROW problem. Today is today while Tomorrow will be tomorrow, so I'll deal with just today, today. And anyway, looking up at such painterly skies, I'm always reminded that there will always be many more tomorrows to come, so just chill, so says my guardian angel whom I call Grace, and has the voice of Wilma Flintstone. Like waves on the Pacific, these evening skies will always keep coming for years and years. "Where's the problem?", she asks?

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 22 July, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

I have done so little recent work but this one is from a month ago almost exactly. Honestly, it feels so long ago that I hardly recognise it. I think I didn't show it beforehand because I wasn't that crazy about it, but here it is anyway. 

And truthfully, I don't really feel much for it, even though I cannot find anything specifically wrong with it. The drawing works, so so, and though the colour is a little 'damp' I cannot fault it too much. 

I often play a game with myself when facing uncertainty and while trying to assess a new study I've done by imagining that it was not done by me, but someone else. Somehow, I look for that space of neutrality where I can play pretend as if I were six years old again. But more about that another time, more to be revealed, as my friends say about this wild exercise that I can't imagine anyone else (actually sane enough) to still be performing this slight of hand for themselves. How many nuts can there be in a bag of coffee anyway?

But it then occurs to me that in this case, like for so much art everywhere, maybe the picture is just not that interesting? Indeed, as I look at it now, I probably think that.

But this question of what is 'interesting' or not in Art, is an extremely important one. It is one of the most essential elements of an art work, after all, who cares if it's any good if it is not interesting? But there is the rub, the really crucial one; It's because it concerns our personal interest, and that is about all we ever have to invest in anything. So when it comes to something like Painting, it's right up there with how we see and find other human beings too. What makes someone interesting? This is a difficult and deeply personal question too. What I think it comes down to in this regard is whether or not the 'person' in question, possesses for us something truly original, whether we like them or not. As the French will often say about someone special (like when the son in Paris introduces his new girlfriend to the parents, and they are consequently asked by their friends about her). 

"Est-ce-qu'elle brille?" ("Is she extraordinary?") 

What they mean is, is she bright, witty, charming, attractive and clever? And b.t.w, none of these adjectives by themselves would define the verb Briller, but taken together in English, they might come close.

There are many 'great' pictures out there in today's world, ones highly esteemed by many in the Museum world, etc, etc, which quite frankly, just bore me to tears. How else can I put it? Even many of my own paintings, they also bore me to death, and mercilessly so, because I'm the author. And they are not unlike boring dates, or spouses even, yet somehow, it's painfully hard to get rid of them.

My criteria for an image (any sort of image, photo, collage, painting, etc, etc) is that they be visually and pictorially interesting. It's completely personnel, but I believe it's the same for everyone else too. We like what we like for a whole world of reasons. If we didn't, we'd be snails, not the people eating them.

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