23 July 2023

Too Sweet!

 Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 20 July 2023, oil on canvas board, 30 x 25 cm

While walking up the sandy path to the dune the other day a few families were coming down the other way towards the parking lot. Pairs of fathers and mothers and a half dozen kids followed them in drips and drabs. The 'caboose' was a pair of very young children holding hands as they made their unhurried way down to their father who was patiently waiting at the end of the path with an armful of beach stuff. The girl maybe three years old and a boy half her age, was nattering away at her companion which reminded me of an old couple. I stopped to let the pair pass by me and then turned around to watch them continue on down to their father. 

"They are as cute as buttons" I thought to myself, then said to him,

"Too sweet!" 

He smiled, and replied,

"Wait till they get home in a half hour,,,, they won't be so sweet!"

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 20 July 2023, oil on canvas board, 30 x 25 cm

It was a wonderful session and I came home with five studies, nice! 

Two of them were dropped on the sand,,, but hey!! Just a corner of each were affected and I will brush them off when the oil has dried, a technique I was forced to learn after a few earlier mishaps. But all is good, no worries, as they say here in Australia.

Some magnificent 'Blooms' and 'Blushes' this past week. I always forget about July being so magnanimously kind to me. Every winter at its apex here in the Southern Hemisphere is pretty generous. 

These are the chilliest sessions of the year and I love them. Never too cold, but a Southerly makes it seem so. My ears have been ringing for the past week, another day in paradise.

14 July 2023

Tourists and paramours

Evening Prayer Brunswick heads, 11 July 2023 oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

As painters and writers, we're not tourists when we look at pictures or when we read books, we investigate like private dicks all the squirrelly squiggles on paper and linen surfaces.

Of course, everyone has an opinion these days about everything including what artists and writers and other creative folks put out for the world to devour, but writers read books differently than tourists just as painters look differently at pictures. It's not a big deal, it's just the way it is. It's a bit like the way a certain mechanic will look at a Porsche type "C" built in the 1950’s which might be parked on a random street somehow. He sees all of it, but through all its details, and all at once.

The lovers of books, paintings, and cars among so many other things have a vested interest in the objects of their desire. Gardners too, don't see just an empty field, they behold a garden. 

Evening Prayer Brunswick heads, 11 July 2023 oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

And so, Art is a formidable love affair. It is not, nor should it be, just a question of liking, preferring, or coveting an art work. It's about a whole world of mystery, craft and obsession, because it's about love. Proust wrote somewhere in Swann's Way 

"We no longer love anyone else when we're in love". 

Maybe in the world of the human heart this makes sense but in the world of art I would  say that a painter might forget everything else when he is working yet still, in his imagination, in the off-hours, he'd be sleeping with Goya's Marquise de la Solana. In fact, everything he's ever seen is at his fingertips and like on his smart phone it can be called up instantaneously. His imagination will relentlessly tempt and taunt him as he looks out for his next conquest.  


10 July 2023

Lost and Found Dept, Magic at Wimbledon and at the beach

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads 12 June 2019 oil on canvas board  30 X 25 cm

Here is an example of how lost one can become while trying to finish a quick picture in one session. I look at this mess at the top and wonder just how I could have ever found an answer for it. 

From this perspective years later, I can see that I had rushed the picture and I was too anxious, but I also threw too much paint at it and I lost the light. It quickly became muddy with enthusiasm.

But what I think saved the picture, (and me also) was that I was working in the middle of its transformative stage, what I call the 'Bloom', when the colours were changing so rapidly that I believed that I was able to jump into this flow as if it were a fast moving river, uncertain to where it would lead me, but sure of finding an answer. This is an artistic process but one with which I am ill-at-ease because basically I'm a control freak. This is essentially at odds with the artistic process and it’s why I love working at dusk; It’s because I'm forced into movement and into aligning myself along Nature's way of thinking, away from my own.

It's not only being in all this movement and (confusion) but also seeing how Nature behaves, while operating in its manner of operation, as Thomas Aquinas had understood it. To this end I am trying to make sense of it in visually formal terms in order to create a coherent image. 

I like how it finished though I have no idea how it happened. It was way back in 2019, and of course the magic of working like this is that it pushes a painter past his/her habitual boundaries without even knowing how it came about. The only reason I'm writing about this episode is because I made a photo of it, not something I habitually do when out at the dunes.   

But it's July after all, so I'm watching Wimbledon, and naturally I correlate all of this picture-making magic to tennis. It's all a battle, with or without an opponent. It's the art of the craft when it is touched by magic. And I what I learn from both tennis and Painting is that the more one practices these art forms the easier it's for magic to make an appearance.   

07 July 2023

insides and out

I have always loved the idea that people can invent ways to express their physical appearance. And though I am not into fashion for myself I really love it for others. I even thought years ago that creative directors of fashion houses and fashion photographers were far more interesting than so many artists, that they had so much more to say than many artists. In many visual ways fashion has eclipsed the Art world. But now, a few decades later the Art world caught up and fashion has become an integral element for so many artists because identity, indeed, gender bending, has changed the world. In pure visual terms, our world today is one big aquarium, everything is fluid including perceptions of sexuality. 

Though I have always been, from a profoundly psychological place, someone who needs to be invisible. I'm someone who eschews black but adores  grey and the key point is this: How we are in the out in the world is our own business, and no one else's. Some people need to be the center of attention while others like me, need the comfort of obscurity. All this stuff goes back to childhood for all of us. 

Life for those of us with a civilised and tolerant sensibility don't worry about what others do with their lives nor how they dress. It's really none of our business. The Right Wing media thinks otherwise, but hey! That's the way it is for now. I don't want to speak of politics though I do believe that even every choice we make in life possesses a political decision, albeit a nano choice most of the time, but a choice nonetheless.

This from an article in the NYT about recent fashion shows in Milan and Paris, I do read and look at most of these articles because they reveal what's going on, and being a painter who loves great colour harmonies, I am fascinated by all of it. 

I didn't always like it when I was younger because I thought it represented the decadent, narcissistic side of humanity, but I opened up to it because much of it is so extraordinary, but also because it has helped nudge our belief system towards a more open society. This is what they used to claim was the purpose of Art.

Anyway, I love the simplicity in these 'get ups', these 'kits' as they call them now in the world of sports. And I love these colours together, they're really great. And these three folks below are just people around the scene, not even models I believe, though probably connected with the shows but no matter. They look wonderful and I nevertheless only always hope that the insides match the out in these matters.