08 October 2021

IKEA and a bachelor life in Australia


Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 5 October 2021, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 5 October 2021, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

Here are two old pictures which I re-worked a few nights ago at the beach. I had brought them there to see if I could 'make something of them'. I didn't want to 'repair' them in the studio because I needed the beach, the sea, and the sky, something to cling onto with colour and light even if to wasn't the same. And also I knew I would have a palette already made, wet and messy; a painter's dream.

I have been organising all these paintings, (the entire  lot), over the past week because they had not been properly filed chronologically. In fact, not just my kitchen but the entire house has become a flop house for these things. I had chosen to store them here in the house because it is cleaner and receives warmth in the winter months preventing mildew which is a huge problem in this humid climate. The separate studio is problematic in this regard.

Over four + years, these studies have been filling up the IKEA bookshelves in my living room. But before they get there, they need to dry so they lay in shoe racks in my kitchen where the sun pours forth in all seasons. Then due to laziness on my part they begin to inhabit every horizontal surface available until it drives me crazy enough to put them away every so often. I make so many of them most weeks they seem to multiply like mice. So I needed to gradually displace the books with the paintings in the IKEA shelves in the living room. Though the books are not happy with this arrangement the paintings decidedly are. What can you do? It isn't difficult to understand why I am a bachelor. 

Thus, having re-organised all the paintings, needless to say, I Have found many, (many older ones from 2017 and 2018 in particular) that are inferior for a variety of reasons. Mostly though, because they are just not very good! they are not 'realised', is one way I can describe it. They might be undeveloped, or the sea is wrong, or the sky is all wrong, or the light has been pushed into a dark cave; any number of reasons really. When paintings don't work, they don't for any number of reasons which a discerning eye can readily see. But when paintings work, they work for a multitude of often discreet and subtle reasons which may not be visible to many outside of the world of Painting.

In this case of doing so many each week they just feel like 'exercises' and I probably should not really share them to polite society. Of course, the problem is that I make a lot of these paintings as exercises. There are certainly over a thousand by now but I haven't yet counted them all.

So the point is that I don't go out to the beach most evenings to make masterpieces but to just paint. Luckily though, they are sometimes masterpieces, small and compact but it's rare. I go out there to feel the wind, watch the waves, see what the sky is doing and I mix a palette. That part of it is pretty simple and quite agreeable. The work too, can be simple and agreeable most of the time except when it isn't. 

Yesterday, I thought to put a few of these into the boot of the car with the idea of taking them to the beach. I figured that I could work as usual on some new ones, then at the end when I had a palette full of colours I could put the pictures up to see what I could add, 'correct them', investigate possibilities.

These two above, are the first two 'trials' and I was quite happily surprised by what it felt like to come back into a dry painting with fresh new oils. They are not great by any means but they open up something a new avenue for me. Painters like that.

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