26 April 2024

Dreyer's English!


This is a book for any writer or reader. As I love books about Grammar I jumped on it without hesitation after hearing an interview on RN with the author who was visiting on a book tour. And it's a cracker, as they say here in Australia. A clever, witty New Yorker, and no surprise, he's an editor at Random House.

It's an incisive book full of all the subtleties of both British English and US English.There are lots of differences and similarities between them, relevant and otherwise. As an American living in Australia it took me a long time to navigate these nuanced distinctions. 
For pedantic types, reading this book will become an obsession. With plenty of humorous anecdotes he goes into all those pesky rules to follow, or not, concerning everything ones needs to know about creating a coherent idea. Are they two ideas or one sentence? Or both? Is "Or both" even a sentence? And, do I have permission to break a rule, if indeed, it is even a rule in the first place? How to use commas, colons, italics, etc, etc... Myself, I'm always returning to older texts, forever culling and rephrasing sentences, nitpicking endlessly over the smallest details in the sentence structure. And personally, I'm perfectly asstounded by all the spelling mistakes I make. 

And for my Francophone friends up North, in the land where Capitol Punishment is dished out (metaphorically,... S.V.P.) to the illiterate barbarians who invade from The US (mostly  Los Angeles), I say, Bonne Lecture! 

24 April 2024

STOP! when the going is good!


Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 19 April, 2024, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

Here are two things from a few nights ago. It's been so rainy that I've not been able to get out very much. Alas,... my spirit goes a little flat without these sessions at the end of the afternoons. But a taste of the winter skies are already present and it's becoming cooler in the evenings though the days are quite mellow yellow. Perfect!

I really like the one above, it borders on the dangerous region of verisimilitude, but Hey! It came out that way, what's a fellow to do? 

It was the first study and I spent more time on it than I usually do. This could be a change for me for the better. I enjoyed it, and it speaks to that particular evening in a specific way which I suppose is the point isn't it? Actually, the point is to have fun, but after that comes the meaning of it all so they say. But I wouldn't do it if I didn't find it fun. I use the word 'fun' as the fun that most children usually have at that period in life. Everything is fun! Or It's a drag! Life was certainly simpler when i was a kid. 

But like for kids, fun implies anything that engages someone of any age, because generally speaking, a child doesn't differentiate between activities the way adults do. Something is either cool (fun) are it isn't, n'est-ce pas?  

The study below came at the end of the session. It was just a sketch of an idea that I loved but I went too far unfortunately. It's OK though, but it isn't the wild, wooly study of feeling that it was after just five minutes! Alas, one day I will learn to just STOP! 

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 19 April 2024, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

16 April 2024

Grace in all forms

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads 10 April 2024, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

I confess that I have an angel whom I call 'Grace' who comes to me at all hours. She's 24/7, like the Police dept, and she's available for a chat or interrogation at any moment of the day. She also comes to me in various disguises, sometimes she's a cat, or a furry dog, a magpie or even a mosquito. She's omniscient, but not an omnivore so there's no problem there. But she's definitely not shy about just showing up whenever I least expect it.

The other evening at the beach she showed up as a magpie, but the day before, as a young bush turkey who hung around me for almost the entire session at the beach. 

But believe me, I'm not the superstitious type, not paranoid nor narcissist (or conspiracist), I'm just a painter who has faith in what the Greek poets used to call the Muses. 

Grace has the voice of Wilma Flintstone, too. When she's judging me with her slightly hoarse voice she's still calm but firm and she can be a little exasperated when I don't pay attention to her messaging. But I trust her, importantly. 

Whatever my mood she will appraise me with an ironic air like I'm six years old and have spilled jam all over my best shirt. She is joyful and full of mirth too, happy but with the mouth from a union guy of the Bronx when needed. But she has a wicked sense of humour too, because I couldn't abide by an angel all stony and cold like in the churches of my youth. Mais non!! But I haven't quite figured all this out yet,,I'm just going with what I understand at the moment.

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads 10 April 2024, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

These two pictures are from a few nights ago. Though I don't generally spend a lot of time on these things, these took about twenty minutes each which is a lot for me. There are a little more developed than usual because I'm piling on pigment in layers and trying new things. 

It was a magnificent 'Bloom' yesterday but it didn't last long. There are nights when it can go on till dark but this week they're not there. It could be the small half moon watching benevolently from high overhead that disturbs the light.  

But to be out again and painting at the beach is a great pleasure and privilege, so Grace reminds after each session. 

"Be Grateful, be graceful" 

She says to me every occasion. These are not admonishments, more like gentle mantras in my ear.

Having this motif so close at hand, one that despite its obvious finite boundaries, is still opening up new avenues for the painter in me. And with Grace so close at hand in my life, I'm able to cruise more easily as a person and painter.