31 July 2019

Point of No Return

CreditInGestalt/Michael Ehritt; Lutz Fleischer

Love this painting, unusually light-hearted for German painting.

from the New York Times  
  • July 24, 2019

The show, running through Nov. 3 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Leipzig, is just a few hundred yards from the church where activists began regularly gathering in 1989 to push for change in the stifling, authoritarian East Germany, officially known as the German Democratic Republic, or G.D.R.

The exhibition, “Point of No Return,” is billed as the biggest so far of East German art, featuring 300 works by more than 100 artists, including dissidents who defied the communist regime and established figures who taught in its institutions.

Credit                             Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Paul Kaiser, one of the curators of “Point of No Return,” said that “30 years after the fall of the wall, the process of categorizing East German art within the Pan-German context is still conflict-ridden and incomplete.” The exhibition was “a further step in synthesizing the history of East German art into German art history,” he added, and in countering its “politicization and devaluation.”

29 July 2019

the holy whale!

i-phone photo of the beast in question

This twilight sky has become my 'Moby Dick, My white whale', 'My dearest holy grail'. I am not sure how it happened but it has evolved slowly over time. 

I have always loved being anywhere by the sea at that hour when dusk seeps into the night. The hour of the wolf, some call it. And, it is not always the same everywhere in the world; similar, but not at all the same.

So thus, on a dune on an eastern point of Australia I find myself painting this motif in order to explore the faintest possibility of success. And though I know it is illusionary I have come to accept  its divine impossibility. Unlike the tortured Captain Ahab scouring the seas in a grumpy state for his Moby Dick, I gingerly maintain my patient vigil from a small dune for I know that each session brings me closer to thee.

more to be revealed

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 28 July, 2019, oil on canvas board, 25 X 30 cm.

26 July 2019

first drafts

at the very beginning

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads,  19 July, 2019, oil on canvas board, 30 X 40 cm

The top image is taken from the easel after the first strokes have been articulated  after mixing a palette. The second is the finished result.

After that, I have no idea where I am going. only It is the colours on the palette, and a vague sense of a drawing prompt my intuition. The sense of joy is in the 'not knowing'.

Sometimes, I wish I could simply keep these canvas boards like that; to hold those first strokes in their very sober, almost zen-like state. But I lack the right amount of chutzpah.

I don't put them aside them though, I jump into the canvas board with the appetite of a mad man. What I leave is a study of what was. They are both real and unreal, like the Art I like.

24 July 2019

large paintings

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 28 April, 2019, oil on canvas board, 30 X 40 cm

This was done back in April, and it is one which has inspired larger versions in the studio since then. It is very difficult to 'reproduce' a picture away from the original motif. There are so many considerations, one of which is the sheer amount of paint involved as the image scales up from 30 X 40 cm to 150 X 150 cm. And the cost of paint here in Australia is stratospheric. But also,  questions abound; principally, why bother? It is true that the 'studies' done from a small rise on a dune behind the beach have a raw and often rich sense of spontaneity, but they still remain small pictures. And, I love large paintings in my own home or anywhere, ones which sit quietly on the wall without much fanfare or need to make a point. I love a painting which continually asks questions but do not answer them but nor do they feel like images which resemble a banal decoration which feed boredom from overexposure. For me, I yearn always for a painting (large or small) which still possesses a life of its own, a spontaneous touch, and one which can be lived with day in and day out. That is why I have paintings around my home, done by me and others.

22 July 2019

fading quickly

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 19 July, 2019, oil on canvas board, 25 X 20 cm

After making a larger study of this motif, the sky was still pulsating with light so I grabbed a smaller board from my pack, and jumped into it. My palette was barely visible but I knew where the messy colours were placed. The light was fading quickly but a moon was sitting somewhere. Happily, this came easily. 

21 July 2019

Rothko and me

Evening Prayer Brunswick heads, 29 June 2019, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

Several people have recently remarked that my pictures resemble those of Mark Rothko. I was a bit surprised as he has never figured into my educational sensibilities. So I went to look at his work on Google. Of course, I was familiar with some of work over so many visits to museums around the world but I have never been so attracted to it. Online however, I found several images which I liked very much, but maybe that is because they felt to me like landscapes with a discernible horizon. These pictures of mine were made from a motif in front of Nature. I believe that Rothko’s were done in a studio in New York. So, I am now interested in what he was thinking about, what moved him; what inspired him to paint his pictures? I ordered this book with a sexy cover (below), in hopes that it will answer some of these questions. All I know about this poor guy is that he killed himself. Most original artists are to a great degree un-conformist, and sometimes just plain weird. I know, because I have been told the latter about myself. More to be revealed.

18 July 2019

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 17 July, 2019

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 17 July, 2019, oil on canvas board, 30 X 40

After two years of working from this twilight motif I begin to know it, feel it, and worship it. It is is not curse like Ahab's pursuit for his white whale, but a kind of divine, benign, and sensual puzzle. It beckons me further and further into its secret labyrinth  of misty colours each night. Will I ever arrive? Certainly not, but I am getting closer, somewhere.

I often wonder to myself that I just might be the wealthiest soul on earth. For each night, as I set up a palette to work, I am given another chance to paint this gift, this perfect horizon which has been offered up to everyone on the beach here. But I, like Prometheus, get to steal it from the Gods each night. 

17 July 2019

Truth in Nature

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 27 May, 2019, oil on canvas board, 30 X 40 cm

"Truth is in Nature, and I shall prove it."
Paul C├ęzanne 

16 July 2019

Morrandi defies chaos

In this time of worldly angst it is reassuring to me that Giorgio Morrandi painted this gentle picture in 1942, at the height of World War Two, in his home town of Bologna Italy. It is from his garden I believe. Art is the solution against cruelty, and it outlives the chaos of man's greed and ignorance