20 July 2024

Pinkie promise!!


This will be my last post about politics! I promise! Really! A Pinkie promise!!

But, just out of curiosity, I was wondering how many others out there have experienced the following phenomenon this past week which goes like this: How many others, friends and otherwise, have you met in the past few days who regretted Trump survival after the assassination attempt by a lone American with an AK-15 military grade weapon?

Of course, we should be glad that all the news organisations around the world, even the most renegade ones to the left, have showed discipline in their messaging that violence is not an option in America, but just how many people really feel this deeply in their hearts?

What does that say about us? In America, and for many around the globe who believe that Trump is another form of cancer like Hitler, assassination seems appropriate. 

This is an extreme position for extreme circumstances and one that I find dicey, as it raises a host of morally uncomfortable questions for me and maybe you too?

I don't have a concrete response to these nuanced feelings about this event except that I too, need to believe that political violence is a troubling path to a destructive end for America, and/or any country for that matter. 

So for me it's more of a practical solution despite my hesitant mindset and moral weakness. It's about making a wise choice for myself, rather like sticking to a diet by not consuming foods that I know I really want to eat, but at the same time, knowing they're not good for me. More precisely, they're not helpful to my decision to respect the diet I've chosen to follow in the very first place. 

18 July 2024

Trump Squeeze

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 10 June 2024, oil on canvas board, 30 x 25 cm

Will there be a place for poets in a new muscular Conservative America where its leaders have channeled fictional television stars?

While so many of us watch on with horror, the American Experience undergoes a new chapter where the wrench has been turned tighter to the hard right. Where will it end? Can the system withstand another round of a Trump Squeeze on our America?  

Will queer folk be carted off along with the un documented people picking our fruit and vegetables?  and creating Art in an older version of America?

Like most of them, this study from almost a month ago, came quickly. We have had lots of rain for weeks on end, so I've only been out to the beach sporadically. But according to the M├ęteo we seem to have a string of clear, crispy, and cold days ahead of us providing me with many opportunities at the beach.

But the Trump Squeeze pressing America at the moment gives me pause to reflect upon how fragile our system really is in this new world of Reality Television. Maybe it was inevitable that it come to this but nothing is a given. Look at what's happened to the poor people Ukraine. Only eighty years ago it happened in Europe. Ouch.

The Right Wing in America (and elsewhere) is a dangerous Christian Nationalist movement that tolerates little outside of its small-minded boundaries. It's a kind Marxist state itself, and they must know it themselves because they try to hang iton the rest of us in America. It's Trump's favourite grade school antic, accusing his adversaries of the behaviour he is guilty of himself. Ha Ha... I won't bore you anymore with this as most you all know it already. But hey! I get to vent once in a while.

I like the study above very much even if it's not great, it's mine. And in this difficult moment of gaslighting I can at least tell the truth for myself.    

10 July 2024

Inside and out

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads 24 June 2024 oil on canvas board 
30 X 25 cm

Magnificent skies over these weeks! Seas are lovely too! I didn't initially like this study from two weeks ago when I had finished it at the beach but since then I've warmed up to it. As everyone knows, it's never easy to assess one's work just after it's been finished. Best to just stay in the flow, and later see where the river takes us.

It feels like I've spent my entire life trying to adapt myself to what's on the 'paper'; What's in the 'instruction manuel'. What I mean is that I've always been trying to learn certain things in life from the outside, as if looking in, like I need to plug myself into an external power source to charge my learning ability.

Of course, that's how many of us have learned, yet for some reason some of us never found our way back to into that intuitive space held deeply inside us after all our stints at schools and universities.

For example, when I studied piano many, many years ago (as an adult) I spent too much time trying to sort out keys and chords 'on paper', and ditto for the inversions that I dutifully copied out endlessly in order to understand them. Now, yes it's great to do this work up to a certain point, but not if it's at the expense of actually 'playing' the chords and keys to sort out what's going on for the most important audience: My ear! In Jazz, I eventually understood that 'real study' comes from learning hand positions on the piano keys not from figuring them out on 'paper'. In fact most kids have always learned from just playing in a group while driving their neighbours and family crazy until they left home to become rich and famous.

But for the rest us who studied Classical music, we are condemned to a great degree, to learn sheet music the old fashioned way. And yet in previous centuries, what we think of as 'Classical' music today, was usually just always taught orally through improvisation. Lutes, and early guitars, like a Capella, and in cultures like India, where everything was transmitted one to one, either through instruments or like stories and poems, as oral history. 

But anyway, learning to paint cannot be approached any other way than to just paint. One can study colour theory till they're blue in the face, but unless they get messy with colour on a palette they probably won't get very far. 

I recently told my friend, Daniela, who has started painting this year, to make a copy of a Van Gogh to see what she could learn. In today's world, copying a Van Gogh is one of the best ways to learn about colour. 

But Non-Figurative Abstract Painters will hate even just the idea of this because it means getting their hands dirty! Ha Ha. But also, because it will prove to be really difficult, and it might disclose to them just how inept they really are when confronted with the basic craft that makes up Painting; that of colour and drawing. 

So one needs an inside, and outside, to be an artist. Here, for fun, is a magnificent early portrait by Van Gogh, who is a great example of an artist who held onto his intuitive skills whilst at the same time learning the exacting craft of Painting.