29 January 2015

Kehinde Wiley: Chinese master!

Just what this poor world needs: another American artist who hires a crew of Chinese technicians to make sterile illustrations embedded in a syrup of Political-Correctedness... Sacré Bleu! Actually, it reminds me of the Salon of 19th century France, another epoch in art history when large insipid pictures became the more obvious means for inflating one's wealth and sense of culture of the Grand Bourgeoisie. 
(I am thinking of Bouguereau and Ingres, among so many others but at least they did most of their own painting) Ah.... a bad time for painting, it certainly is! 

Yale University seems to be the real culprit (among others) injecting an army of overly-intellectualized, and politically correct MFA's into a culturally-impoverished world, already suffering from too much mechanically unsound spin doctoring.  
Ouch! Sacré Bleu, encore!

Philistines Unite!

27 January 2015

25 January 2015


A shopping list
Of complaints-
The new wife.

18 January 2015

16 January 2015

Boko Haram, beauty of the beast

Such a beautiful image taken by Samuel James for the NYT of a Boko Haram fighter leaves me breathless. The trail of wanton, and ruthless destruction in Nigeria is hard to fathom from this clean and peaceful home near the Pacific ocean. 

12 January 2015

Je suis Charlie, but maybe not too much, really....

It has to be said after all the emotions have died down, that Charlie Hebdo has been a newspaper hated by every Government as well as the Church, Mosque, and Synagogue. I rarely ever bought it myself, but would read it with fascination when I had to wait around the garage for my car to be finished. It was a sort of visual delight found among the usually boring variety of weeklies on a doctor's waiting room table. But it has what the French call 'une gueule' which is to say a 'strong character'. Fantastic graphics, as one can see from these covers.  And wit! What deliciously disturbed interrogations aimed at below our bourgeois belts!

In America, it would have been firebombed years ago by radical Christian fundamentalists,.. or right wing Zionists,.. or Islamists... Somebody like Timothy McVeigh for sure. As we know, many of us living abroad, Americans don't like this sort of ironic humor, c'est franchement trop! 

Charlie Hebdo clearly hated the hypocrisies of religious hierarchy, any religion in fact, and for that, I love them. But they are a French invention, and I cannot believe that they would have been tolerated in more Anglican-Christian cultures like the USA or Australia. Their humor goes back to Moliere after all. 

And, here in Australia, which recently endured its own brush with a kind of political terrorism, one which more closely resembled a fringe lunatic than a trained warrior from Yemen but a murderer nonetheless. And yet, I cannot imagine that Australia would have permitted, nor accepted Charlie Hebdo here any more than in America. Here, Political Correctness grows like weeds.  And, it often drives away any engagement with the dirty, visceral windows through which we still need to look into in order to find the elusive truth separating 'Them from Us', 'Us from Them', whatever these things really are.
As a progressive society (as Australia certainly is) many offensive ideas (to some) are still barred from real public discourse. 

We need to be careful not to hide behind the 'cliché' of free speech while most of us secretly still reserve such politically-correct notions of what we deem appropriate or not in the public domain. What might be hurtful to some or simply funny to others. After all, what others think of me isn't my problem, its their problem. And, ultimately, it is only what I think of me which counts.

The late editors of Charlie Hebdo would have really hated this sort of political correctness. So, yes, maybe 'Je suis Charlie' but maybe not, too.

Tony Abbott, the Prime Minister, said the other night on television that he 'approved' of the newest cover  (out with much fanfare) in France the other day showing Prophet Muhammad, with tears in his eyes, weeping. The caption above read: "Tout est pardonné"
(all is forgiven). The irony of this new cover went completely by the Prime Minister who seemed to take it literally, Ha Ha. 

(On of my favorite covers)

11 January 2015


                                                                    11 January 2015
The frangipani 
Leaving snowflakes
In summer.

08 January 2015


Looking at these awful images of a policeman being executed at close range made me wonder if radical fundamentalism isn't the only killer here.  I wonder if video gaming hasn't contributed in making it so much easier to simply blow 'someone away' with a click of the thumb. Sadly, as the French say, it is an amalgam of two mindless behaviors. But  then,  in fact, these guys are just street criminals and thugs.

Below, Twitter world is ablaze with praise for this murderous act, alas.

from the New York Times
Twitter user who calls himself Abu Obaida al-Libi, borrowing an alias used by militants who have been killed in Libya or Syria, shared a photograph that appeared to show one of the Paris attackers pointing an automatic rifle at a victim, with the hashtag in Arabic, #WeAvengedTheProphet.
In another tweet, the same user hailed “a powerful operation in France” against “a paper known for its abuse of Islam” and said, “The next is worse.”
Many tweets seemed to indicate sympathy for the attack from people who admire the Islamic State extremist group, rather than any knowledge that that group was specifically responsible for the attack. One user seeking to draw a link posted a picture of a man wearing a many-pocketed khaki vest and said, “One of the brothers is wearing the Adnani ammunition vest. You pleased our hearts, one of the attackers is saying ‘God is Great’ (Allahu Akbar) in the middle of Paris.” (Abu Mohammad al-Adnani is an ISIS leader and spokesman who has been photographed in such a vest.)
An account that appeared to support Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula also celebrated the attack, saying that those who insult the Prophet Mohammad deserve death: “Being executed was the light punishment. Next comes eternity in the #Hellfire.”

06 January 2015

Beth Moon

Here are photos by Beth Moon who travels the world searching out the earth's oldest trees.

03 January 2015

Monterosso, Cinque Terre (happy new year part 2)

By the end of a session just before twilight, I had finished a medium sized picture of this peninsular meeting the sea and air. I wasn't happy but suddenly the sun crashed down into the sea, and it seemed like all hell broke loose. The sea had become a violent answer to the sky-shattering sunset above. I had not the time to mix new colors, I used what was left on the palette to almost scrub onto a very small canvas this tremendous display of clouds and sea, in fact. It was a scene for Turner, but I made what I could of it, and have treasured it ever since. I think I made it in 1988 (circa) when I had stopped to pass a few days with Francois De Asis on my way to Siena.  

Received the following from a painter in Paris Juliette Lemontey: