14 October 2023

Like a snail, leaving a trace

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 3 October 2023, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

Here are two of four studies made one night over a week ago. It was a good night, sometimes they just roll in on their own. 

Because they are small they might seem somewhat insignificant but it's what I'm doing in this period, so I don't over-think it, I just roll dice each night in front of the motif. What will they bring? Will I win or lose like on the craps table in Vegas? 

Actually, there is no losing in this creative business since I've wised up enough to learn from every picture, and  each failure.

I like these studies more than the other two which I don't include here. I particularly like them because I feel there is a sense of place and time during that unique moment when I alone experienced their fabrication. They are proof of my existence, both physical and spiritual from that space in time. On even my best days I would be hard pressed to show evidence that I existed, but a painted image is surely proof. 

Elevated slightly up on the dunes I see everything going on. I see the last stragglers of the day who walk the beach and at that hour too, are the bathers who arrive to peel off their clothes and run down to the water's edge jumping into the sea with, or without bathing suits. These days I'm distracted by whales that breach, splashing just offshore and close enough for dogs and kids to see. I'm like the good king who looks out with benevolence upon all living things, animate and otherwise.

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 3 October 2023, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

And those who share this stretch of the beach might see the same sky or perhaps even feel the same way about it, but they won't express it the way I can. Though we may share the same exhilaration at this twilight hour, it is only me who will affix it onto permanence with a cheap canvas board from China that I buy by the box loads. And yet we all share in that moment the weathering sky of our own mortality on this day.

I guess what I'm trying to express is that I'm increasingly attentive to the painting session as a specific moment as well as a specific place. 

In my mind I know I can be quite critical of too many paintings (and painters) these days because I feel that in them I don’t connect with that specific moment in place and time, so consequently, I am nowhere. If I can offer anything to anyone, it’s a specific poetry that’s tied to a place and time.

Yes, I too, wish to make pictures that embody a universal aspect of Painting, something that expresses a world bigger than myself, but I've come to understand that the Universal can only manifest itself if it rises up naturally from a specific work of art. 

I wish for a pictures to leave traces of where, and when they were born. If a painter is lucky enough to be original, this will express itself through the picture because like the snail, a painting should leave a trace.

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