16 June 2024

An old road, for old folks



Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 29 April 2024, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

Here are two different kinds of pictures. This one above from April was an experiment of sorts because I had gone out with the idea to just make a few quick studies. When finished on the easel, I rather liked it, it was an image that looked complete in itself after just a quick and spontaneous beginning. It was easy place to stop. 

I put it up on Instagram and to my surprise it was well received, yet the more time I spent time with it, the less I liked it. But a few days later I was able to look at it anew and I saw it differently. Like in early Spring time, I saw sprouts of something new in it. I glimpsed a future, still unknown, and a bit crude even, but possibly a new destination maybe.

I think a painter needs to always ask themselves (but not while working!) whether or not they are on a new trail or just a comfortable footpath. The answer to this can sometimes come as a jolt for someone when they realise that they might just be covering old ground. But hey! It's not the end of the world, it's just an old path, no big deal, enjoy the view, while it lasts. 

But this is an essential spot check, part of an inventory if you like as when the guy from Head Office comes over to inspect once a month to make sure that everyone isn't just goofing off in the smoke room, high on Red Bull.

But the other hand, this painting below is more recent, and as I've already said, the weather has been so dreadful and damp after six months of rain that it is a relief to have stellar skies again. 

But regardless, I recognise that this hasn't put me on a new trail despite its bright colours and somewhat sexy appeal. I mean, I actually love it, yet after spending time with it, it feels already like the past for me. But of course that will not stop me from foraging along this well trodden footpath. Like I said, it's comfortable, and one which I'm familiar with for the time being. Until I make newer trails I'll be exploiting what I know. Unfortunately, it's slow progress for us mortals.    

And Painting, like aging, is a gymnastic  affair, and one needs to stay fit and be nimble if we desire to navigate new trails. And, he or she, who stays fit, will have certainly covered the most ground in this creative life. 


Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 4 June, 2024, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm


09 June 2024

tortoise, not the hare


Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 7 June 2024, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

Finally, the weather has turned and the winter brings a calmer sea often turning pale turquoise then crazy pink in June and July. 

I've had a good week and this one I like particularly because it says what I feel. 

For me, I think the more I paint the easier it becomes to access the bridge to my own emotions.

Let's face it, we all have emotions that sail through us like clouds but to exercise a craft; music, writing, painting, whatever, we develop the means to solidify them and deftly seal them into time for ever. 

As happens often through steady work, large avenues will open up more frequently and they appear to go on endlessly, and like luck, whole vistas of opportunity spring up like giant billboards along the way to beckon us further.

All those visual dreams I've had while walking the twilight beach since first coming here 25 years ago begin to take form. 

Hey! I'm slow! I know that, my path is one of the tortoise not the hare.



04 June 2024

Spartan appeal



Henri Matisse, oil portrait, 1930's? (1869 - 1954)


It's June! Time to fall in love with someone! And how I love this woman! I cannot seem to locate its provenance nor when it was painted but something tells me it was late, perhaps 1930's or 1940's...? 

Henri Matisse was such an innovator, an artist who truly experimented with so many different graphic approaches to representation. I admire him for this even though I might not be crazy about some of his solutions. But I love the many pathways during his artistic lifetime. 

What pulls me into this portrait is the expressive simplicity. The drawing appears to naturally come out of his many austere line drawings made during several decades before his death. I love the Spartan appeal to emotional clarity found in these late portraits. 

The background is a scratchy flat black and reminiscent of a grade school blackboard altered by striking white crosses. The flat portrait seems to stand out by colour alone, the golden head and hair is housed within a wonderful pale broken pink dress. And pink and black are my favourite combinations when paired together one next to the other.

I guess one gets it or they don't. I cannot say anything more about it except that it's the kind of portrait that makes me want to get back to making portraits!