Wednesday 21 December 2011

dec 22 holidays

Bit of painting - enough to make me know that I'm on a hiding to nowhere.
Hoovered the studio. Cleaned the hen enclosure. Went to a party. Behaved.

Tuesday 20 December 2011


cleaned the oven rather than go to the studio this morning -still, made it by 10.00 and they're ok in the light. Which BTW is still grey, impossible to work in. Nebuchadnzzar and the falling nude - looking like they are done by different people, hmm. Well, the nude has been on the go for months so its bound to be other than N which is mere days.

Working to break the Daniel pictures now - only got a couple of days and would like to see it out and the studio cleaned ready for new year.

Monday 19 December 2011

Monday 19th dec 2011

Being Monday, drawing at the MJC - Ian modeling. Nice, he was good, the room was quiet and companionable. O-B remarked that he felt cheated we weren't working on Boxing Day - he said that his week revolves from Monday to Monday and he has a point. This contact with similarly demented humans is reassuring.

Later: perhaps have finished two pix. Feel jubilant though a touch incredulous. Its too dark - I carried on past sunset since I was working in artificial light anyway but its impossible to read the colour with the same eyes as daylit ones.

Took some shocking liberties with N painting. The grey stones - beautiful perhaps but doing no favour for the figure - I overscrumbled with a mix of translucent terre orange from the new Pueblo range and some magenta, plus a deal of stand oil and damart; outlined the figure. Saw that the eye wasn't led to the lions face (which is the good bit) so took some ultramarine and shiva blue to it, mixed with a luminous green, to make a strong (ish) diagonal under the body. Which lead me to demark the line of the name in blue, drawn into with a Victorian marbling scratcher that belonged to Miss Hatchetts dad. She was 101 when she died ten years ago so its old. Fun to use and think of him (Forest born) and her -
more green around the name, decided not to glaze over the Greek, like the colour too much and the confusion that the two tags has made. Its a name but what does it say??

Longed to sign it and be done!! -Will wait till the cold light of day.

Then suddenly the answer to the falling nude, ex-rape, seemed obvious. An arm, a hand, a head, just lines over the textures; in yellow but I started to fiddle. God knows what colours are there now. But the composition is sorted and the switch of marks, of language, helps the subject. I think. ---Tomorrow.
No idea what to do about the Daniel.

Sunday 18 December 2011

sun 18th dec

Everything I can consider for this Daniel pic has a predictable outcome and I don't like any of them and can't see the point in doing them. Plan today to turn the painting to the wall - with the rest - and set up some still lives. Oh I typed that as 'still lies'... theres a direction:)

Later; -and I carried on, just enjoying the colours. I'm transferring watercolour studies to oil, new to me and interesting. So far I'm replicating the tricks, translucent colours laid over white backgound, and wheres the point in that? Though a little challenge. I've shaped the 2 figures, both of Simon, both loosely notionally Daniel, into furnaces ala Blake though I still can't find my Blake books - found Ackroyds biog, and wheres the point in that??-

What is the contemporary message of Daniel? -Dare to be, to stand alone, to have a vision, to make it known - yeah yeah but every damn rapper in school thinks that. A little picture of two smelting pots with blokes in them isnt going to make the point. And the image is like poorly executed German expressionism. I would like to uncover another meaning and develop that. Loathe to quit on the Daniel dream, I suppose.

Saturday 17 December 2011

December 17th, Sat. 2011

First Daniel dream.
'My name's Dare, d- a -r - e. I'm surprised you haven't heard of me'.

['Dare to be a Daniel' /Dan Dare from the Eagle]
I was holding one new-born child on my hip and supporting another larger one; he arrived holding a girl toddler and used his hip to support my smallest as I lost my grip. Very intimate, very kindly. His touch electric. Woke to the small of very pungent aftershave - not pleasant. Stale. I want to say cheap but what the hell is cheap aftershave? Brut, from my college days, rather off - yes. It was fashionable for the girls in the second year to wear it at Farnham on my pre-dip course. Maybe I'm moving up a level:)

Later; terrible day, the work looked daft and I couldn't settle down. By the end of the day, 7.00 pm, I'd got something but my plan to develop it really wont work, really really. Think I need to stand back and get some ideas in order - or is my approach too intellectual?
-Churva. (apparently Tagalog for whatever)

Other work too dreadful or too wet to work on. Feel wasted and pointless and frustrated.
Light is dreadful the weather is overcast and rainy and snow is threatened. Perhaps I should get into a book and forget it all for a while; only got a few days before I have to go to England for Christmas and then no chance to work for a for'night.

Friday 16 December 2011

fri 16th dec

Pottery yesterday a pleasant interlude - I'm making a maquette for larger sculpture in the sure and certain knowledge it'll never happen, so I can explore some. It did feel like therapy. There was a 14 yr old boy there, tongue tied to the extent that I thought he might not speak french; remembered my 14 yr old self, getting to drawing classes on Saturday mornings with grown-ups, amazed and awash with wonder that they took me seriously, that they knew what to do, that the other (older) students let me drink expresso coffee with them -very paradise.

I painted afterwards in this terrible light, its still grey, I'm just using paint and hoping it'll work. Added damart resin. Will increase with stand oil today, because today is Deal with The Grass day. The story of N makes a big thing about eating grass. And the dew is significant. Spend time this morning looking at dew soaked grass and wondering how to manage it. Here it is rimmed by frost which probably is another issue - worried about breaking up the surface with too many frilly patterns, don't want to loose the simplicity. Tempted to draw the grass over the paint in damart alone so that the varnish just catches the light.

Had another late night and feeling it. The weekend is clear and should see the end of this particular pic.

Later; grass done, now all other values out, hey ho. Think I need to glaze the lettering and also the blocks of the wall. Which means everything has to dry, so have moved pic to other easel in other studio and am preparing to do domestix. Dye hair, wash clothes, defrost dinner. Whatever. I am getting stuff out of this painting, just not enough. Maybe the glazes will do the trick.

Carried on with falling nude, it's affected crap, mercifully brought to a halt by a power cut. No lights. Planning a new pic using one of the Daniel nudes and a line drawing of the girl half of the pair that modeled a few weeks ago - will remember her name -

Thursday 15 December 2011

Thursday dec 15th

Of course I wrote too soon. The daylight flattened and greyed-up the pic. Desperately disappointing. Started at 9.00, broke for coffee, now off to do some pottery at Ediths atelier. Reconnected with the picture easily enough and find myself charmed with the lions head but bovvered by the hand holding fork - have redrawn a few times. Its just a question of not loosing courage now. Painting is such effrontery.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Dec 14th

Frightened to start - didn't get into the studio till 9.30, then cleaned up for an hour. Needed it. Not managed to sweep the floor but can walk over it and the palette was cleaned, the paints replaced -after coffee I began on N and worked right through till 6.00 bar a couple of interruptions.

I hesitate to write this, but its beginning to take shape sweetly. Thinking about backgrounds, decided that all that a background had to do was define a context and since this context is 'eating grass' drew a grassy green line across the bottom of the canvas. Thought that I should write, 'Nebuchadnezzar' under green grass line, did; and was immediately horrified. Either a viewer would recognise him from the substance of the pic., or not know the cultural stuff that would inform her/im in which latter case the name would just confuse. (Usual questions raised; who is it for, is this about info etc etc) anyway it didnt look right. Became an illustration. So I wrote Nebuchadnezzar again, over the Latin letters, in Greek. Pearlised pink mixed with grey and a hint of ultramarine on top of chrome green bright. Don't care if its readable or comprehensible, its looks loverly.

Then able to extend the green to an imaginary horizon, adding on a grey wall behind that which may become the legendary walls. And found that judicious use of pearlised paint gives the effect of being anodized - burnt out of metal. Good trick.
The two faces became an empty-eyed face and a lions mask. Pleased with this accident. Lions the emblem of Babylon. Eagle feathered hair? Shoved in a couple of eagle feathers.

All swam suspiciously well. Problem is that the light was very bad, the sky overcast and grey, I had to use artificial light. Have to wait and see what it actually looks like now.

Ravenously hungry!

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Dec 13th 2011

Pleasant day out, shopping, lunch; all very relaxed and fun.
Then read some more Bible - loads of Nebuchadnezzar -and Kitchen on Daniels language (p.31, D.J. Wiseman, T.C. Mitchell and R. Joyce, W.J. Martin, K.A. Kitchen, Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel, London: Tynedale Press,1965) The author called Daniel wrote in basic West semantic Aramaic, common semantic with Akkadian borrow-words, with bits of old or Imperial Aramaic. And Hebrew. And three words of Greek. And some Persian loans. No wonder he was a good writer, he had the tools. Lots of scholarship in the paper, impressively conducted before computers were easy for the donkey work. But all to date the thing, to slot it into history, to see if Daniel was prophetic or writing with hindsight. Religion really twists the view.

Googled Blakes Nebuchadnezzars. Wish I could find my books, something so neutral about viewing them like this, back lit and untouchable.

Happy to start having a go at the painting though uneasy about the background. Blakes (in the Heaven and Hell engraving anyway) is evasive and who could blame him. Still baffled by the eagles feathers.

Sunday 11 December 2011

12 dec 2011

Nebuchadnezzar a rich seam and identifying the drawing with him seems pretty apposite. According to the KJV, Daniel and his chums are relocated and taken to Babylon by N; he takes all the top brass including the silversmiths and artisans, leaving only the poor to tend the land. Takes the useful, kills the bosses. Daniel is left in the charge of the chief Eunuch with instructions to feed him with the kings meat and wine. Daniel demurs on religious grounds (animals are sacrificed to idols in the course of slaughter - the abattoirs doubled up as temples.) He gets pulses and water and he and his mates grow up well. Pretty smart move; there's a sporting chance the king was being poisoned judging by his subsequent behaviour...
Dreams are very Freudian, it seems to me - edifices being built, collapsing and scattering like seed, phnar phnar, horns with mouths. The first dream is brill because N has allegedly forgotten it. He gets his team of mystics together and demands an interpretation. Great way of getting rid of dead wood:) Daniel dreams it, care of the lord, and interprets it. Shared dreams? The Book of Daniel moves through the personal, 'I, Daniel', to the objective (rather confusingly) which made me remember Jaynes hypothesis on the breakdown of the bicameral mind. The B of D illustrates it beautifully - must check and see if Jaynes uses it at all.
Anyway after telling and interpreting dream one, Daniel is taken up and his Lord declared boss; N forgets this quite quickly and there are repeated proofs that his god is bigger than the others, featuring furnaces and lions dens, repeated forgetfulness. Nice one where at the sound of music everyone has to bow to some other god and Daniel doesn't, but the point is, why?? How mad is N at this point? -Or is it just a Stalinesque tactic?
Final N dream, Daniel is able to explain that N will loose it but it will be alright. So loose it he does, hair like eagles feathers, feet like eagles claws, eating grass like an ox. Two symbols of two evangelists there, perhaps a new thing trying to emerge?
The period of time in which N runs wild is obscure (to me); long enough to grow long toe nails, for the Babylonian hair-do to come adrift. It might not be very long, in short - couple of months? - after which he resumes his role as King of the World. How self-conscious is this holiday? Could be that N used the interpretation to -ahem- turn himself out to pasture, see what goes on in his absence.
So, my drawing shows our king with a fork. Might or might not be aware. Might or might not have a bicameral mind; the two-faced head in the drawing handles this. Might or might not be being poisoned.

Thoroughly enjoyed reading the Bible, the KJV is so sonorous and meant for the voice. I read it out loud to my dog. 'Daniels' writing is wonderful, concise and pithy and packed with info.

Now to read commentaries and Jaynes. Interesting that my culture here in the S of F on the fridges of reason -!- may be returning to the bicameral. What is 'channeling' but hearing voices? Its assumed to be normal here.

Off to life drawing now. I guess I'm channeling ideas, projecting onto a nude. Hmm.

Later; life drawing good though I was set to use watercolour and took no brushes:) One little one in a box set and some fingers - fine.
All the outcomes were of Daniel. Oh one useful Nebuchadnezzar pose.
So most of the afternoon with books, trying to read around him. The commentaries I have are devotional and junk. The histories are slight. 'Nebuchadnezzar's Dictionary' [p.241, Ceram, C.W., trans. EB Garside and Sophie Wilkins,Gods, Graves and Scholars, 2cnd ed., Book Club Associates 1971] shows Alpu, the cuneiform devise for horned cattle/ ox [also p.21, item 16:viii; Kramer, Samuel Noah , History Begins at Sumner: Thames and Hudson, 1958] and Ullu (rejoicing), Ulbu (shout with joy) and Asamu (to be fitting). The latter three have Alpu as the basis of their word, with one character in front; and these three are the same as each other; presumably context makes the difference. This character-in-front is key in the cuneiform for Kirr, smelting furnace and Utunu, the (different) character for oven/ stove. In short, in 6 cuneiform's we have a potted history- ox, rejoicing, shout with joy, to be fitting, smelting furnace, oven/ stove - and I detect a cabbalistic-type joke :) Hope so.

Other interesting bits; Ceram has N live from 1146 - 1123; Keller (p. 276, Keller, Werner, The Bible as History, Hodder and Stoughton 1974) puts him at 605 -562.
Ceram writes of the Dragon of Babylon, Sirrush, as the familiar of Marduck - he has vertical horns and a split tongue.
Keller p.280 finds cuneiform records stored in Berlin about the life of Jehoiachin, deposed king of Judea, living with family and household in N's palace and "eight persons from the land of Judea" given food from the King.

Have looked at all I can find re hairdressing of the epoch.
Probably have enough info for the painting now but want to check out Blake and have a think. Taking tomorrow off to Christmas shop.

Saturday 10 December 2011

Dec 10th 2011

Micheal, German worker, left this morning at 7.00 -I've done hardly any work since he came. Curious appellation, worker - he worked at a snails pace when he worked and I worked flat out producing meals and cleaning. Not doing that again.

Got to studio early for the first time in an age, wonderful sense of freedom and joy; even old work looks good. Hung the new painting- 7 maids - downstairs to dry and in the gloomy light it works well, the modelling on the hill doubles as a wing-thing. In the real light the maidens are cumbersome, louche, inept but really cant think how to change them. So, let well alone. It pleases me.

Drawings, sadly, are not infected. Went through a stack and tried to establish something but have failed. Decided that the drawing-I-like, Nazir on all fours holding a fork, has a tight relationship with the Nebuchadnezzar of Billy Blake- possibly because a. hes on all fours and b. hes eating off the ground. Well, holding a fork. Not the same level of madness. Must look Blakes up - bound to have a copy somewhere. Think that N was the king that captured the Jews and sent them into exile, the Babylonian? Perhaps - and that they recorded this spectacular punishment in their book. To wit, loss of mind and regression to animalism, in terror, enough understanding left to cause mental agony. Alzheimers, total loss of power, hey ho; all loom.

Been taking the ballerinas that you got on cakes when I was a kid, these bought in York, and relocating; nice. Ditto little plastic solders on the heads of ND de Lourdes. Encouraging this playfulness.
Very tempted to paint flowers. There are irises in a spotted vase left from Bobs last visit, yellow tulips in a glass vase from Margaret, anenomies and wild flowers in ink pots... all radiating simple beauty.

Have mapped out the N painting, rather half-heartedly as apart from the drawing there is no info., except internally and Im ill-disposed to trust myself. Had to give up when I cut myself rather deeply on a glass I was hoping would hold a ballerina; blood on her rather good but turps in my cut, ouch! So stopped at 6.30. To my study where couldn't find at least two good Blake books I know I have but have found a Tate Catalogue which has their Blake holdings. Found a Bible, a concordance, a tome on Daniel and the Revelation, and a 1968 pamphlet on 'Some problems in the book of Daniel'. Theres a chapter on the musical instruments in Nebuchadnezzar's orchestra.
Also, thinking about beauty and the call of flowers, found the catalogue of La Beaute, the 2000 expo at Avignon which was the best exhibition I had seen to that point. Maybe still.
So Sunday will be contemplative and peaceful, information gathering.

Found this a while ago in my bedtime reading, spoken by an ex-cultural anthropologist -not an artist -
"One aim of my field is to relativize the images possessed by individuals, discover in these images the factors universal to all human beings, and to feed these universal truths back to those same individuals. As a result of this process, people might be able to belong to something even as they maintain their autonomy." Haruki Murakami, 1Q84, Book one, trans. Jay Rubin [Harvill Secker, London, 2011] p.164

Thursday 8 December 2011

8 dec

No chance to hit the studio - worker still here, stuff has to be done. And this afto instead of locking myself in I accepted a lift to Carcassonne and bought some gamboge and rose madder water colours, expensive and delicious. Keep looking at them. Hmmmm.
All quiet else.
Found my studies for the P de D M and haven't used most of the ideas there. The originals were animals with human attributes and nice details, like the wastebin on the ground next to the roundabout.

Perhaps there is another picture there.
God, I hope not!

Tuesday 6 December 2011

6 dec 2011

Amazingly have finished a picture, I think -despite innumerable interruptions (one of which is happening now)..
The painting of Anubis has changed to a flautist but I'm hoping that it looks like a soldier. At first glance. He has a helmet/hat and is running, carrying a silver stick which might be a gun but is actually a flute. There are figures in the sky - his dead? Or those called to follow the music? And seven stars. The Pleiades; the shapes are the seven maidens.

Tomorrow will tell, its reached its conclusion too quickly and I cant believe its done. Would like to introduce colour to the base - fushia, orange, british racing green. The picture is all ochres and blues, too tasteful by far. Though rose on the thigh helps.

Also worked up the drawing of V., its dreadful. But only playing - will knuckle down to that tomorrow. Interuptions permitting. Became hideously angry today, three times, once per interruption. Feel slightly out of control and very unpleasent.

Monday 5 December 2011

dec 05 2011

Took the P de D M to be exhibited on Saturday night at a little gallery where a friend was launching her CD with a party. Uneasy, of course - it wasn't even dry - but happy that I was surrounded by friends. It looked pasty.

Haven't been able to get to studio, Bob here and now gone, worker still here. Today I go to draw and this afternoon to do a portrait study of a friend who is dreadfully ill.

At least I'm drawing. Feel as if I'm preparing to hibernate. Perhaps its time for dreaming.

Later; drawing done, Simon was the model and rather good too - used watercolors and think I'm trying to explore the medium rather than achieve a work or even store data.
Held a 'crit' afterwards. Laid myself open by taking a nude that I like and is difficult and possibly daft (Nazir with fork) asked for ideas and observations - why do I like it, what is it for. Not much forthcoming; a kind of permission from O-B to regard its two faces, Jim to contextualise.

Drawing V was harder. She is mortally ill, looks beautiful, gaunt, full of life and pain. As I started to draw in my whimsical way, saw that she would have to see it. No idea where she sits on the art spectrum. Started to hit the whimsy into classical shape, drew for a couple of hours as we chatted, realised she really mustn't see what I had done - she must have something glamorous and beautiful and this isn't. Told her she couldnt see it ('ooh vanilla!') that this was a work in progress and it wasn't fair to ask me to show a work-in-progress. Baffled the poor girl with science. She agreed. Now of course I must take the drawing and turn it into something acceptable. Drawing on primed board, I think. Spooky, wistful. What on earth did I think I was doing? Neither of us are pleased by whats happened.

Tuesday 29 November 2011

29th Nov

Actually in studio early this morning, first time for a week - helper in house, takes up time and requires effort. Finished - again - P de Danse M. Signed anyway. Don't actually like it - but if I am true to myself, why should I? A certain amount of rigour - capricious rigour, perhaps- got it to where it is. To make it palatable is not part of my brief.

One quite wonderful thing has happened which has filled me with energy and joy. Email from a woman who bought one of my postcards from the RCA Secret show - and camped out all night in order to get it.

Working on the Anubis picture, destroyed and rebuilt today. Its getting a direction. Bit lost, truth to tell, but a pleasure to put on paint, to be painting. Its all very verby.

Saturday 26 November 2011

Nov 26th

still fiddling. Strong feeling that one radical move will complete into something a lot better - magic wandery. Probabaly time to turn to wall and move on.

Thursday 24 November 2011

24th Nov

---- not set foot in studio all day:) Yesterday uncovered many visual difficulties with Palais de Danse - am making a list of the changes needed, all fiddly. Spent the day putting paint onto the ex-rape, now falling body, picture. Going well. Also cut up, reworked, examined and filed some drawings. Getting ready for the next headache, probably. Have to stretch some canvases - currently have a guest here to help on the land so am tied up. Holiday, in short.

Tuesday 22 November 2011

tues 22 nov

Insurance man dealt with by 9.15, hurrah, so to work - and found I was far more interested in the watercolours of yesterday that getting to grips with the Palais de Danse. Tided, redrew, mounted one, generally pottered; then crept up on the painting and made some changes. Handle on cup changed (shoulda done that ages ago but liked the tension of the previous cumbersome composition) fiddled around; desperate to finish now, its not claiming me anymore. But I don't like the product, don't like to look at it. It doesn't please.
Having lunch now, will go and reconsider ...

Later; dunnit dunnit dunnit, bar a bit of tweeking on the tea cup and maybe a go on the surface of the lake. Leaving it to dry. Tiny tweeks is all thats needed. Honest.
Sat down to look at it just as the light was going and fell sound asleep. When I woke up it was obvious that all that green should be blue - alors, I made a lake. Or a river, dunno. That's stopped the excessively fussy surface, up to a point anyway.
Tidied the skull, that's helped too.
Anyway, dunnit.

Now have to stretch some canvases to get on with developing the new drawings... just as my arm was getting better, sigh. An evening of TV and ironing beckons. Great!

Later still; soup, a glass of wine, a read of a book - struck by how at peace I am, how contented, how happy. No idea if the painting is any good and really don't care. It has passed like a storm.

Monday 21 November 2011

monday 21st nov

Find myself extremely reluctant to go to work, after a long and frustrating weekend off. Realise that -again - I don't know what I'm doing; the painting to make logical sense needs now to have shadows, the fall of light and shadow across the figures as they come out from the cover of the carousel. But what is this picture to do with logic? Am I aping nature? What other purpose is served by faux illusion?? How many metaphors is it useful to mix ---

So, this morning will be spent drawing TWO models. Then I have an appointment re; plumbing in the little house, late afternoon clear. Tomorrow another appointment with the insurance people - afternoon clear - then a clear day followed by the arrival of a garden worker who will be here for three weeks. Have to feed him. Don't know how this will impact on working. Perhaps this explains my reluctance - without the run at it, frustration overwhelms me.

However, did go into the mountains on Saturday and may be able to use some of what I saw in the background of the Palais de Danse painting.

Later; drawing surprisingly helpful. Pavek, the male model, had hands worthy of a Rodin, huge, veined; big frame hung with bulky muscles. Thin long legs, big feet. His partner Micheala, the model of last week, turned into a little shapely young thing in his grasp. Quite unhesitatingly lovely together, clearly in love. I had the wit to use watercolour- alors, too many technical issues to get caught up in something so overtly sentimental. The task of 'doing' something within a time frame, in a place, with particular materials, overrides the analysis. No choices but unconsidered and perforce honest response.
Hindrances afterwards, (all welcome), meant that there was hardly any time in the studio before the light went totally. Knowing that artificial light is death to this picture, stopped... not before shadowing the ballerinas arms, better for the composition, and the inside of the skull, ditto; changing the lettering on 'de danse', fiddling with various issues. Pleased that I wasn't afraid to hack at it.
Got tomorrow afternoon. MUST finish. Its run its course through me.

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Nov 16th

wretchedly sleepless night in the course of which I realised that the green wasn't the problem, the problem was the red of the bishop against it. Now gold, with texture; textured with the yellow nightie of fond memory, using the green flowers embroidered on it - it was in pieces in my ragbag having been worn into the ground. Nice that it should have a swan song as the print on a bishops cope. Cope? Vestment? - Frock.
Many more changes... deaths head has an eyepatch, eases the flow of direction across the space, chair of the Marylin had to be muted, purple frock had to be upped, central chakra had to dissolve. Found a tube of sponge brought back from Martinique with exactly the right mouth to print the lightbulbs. Works OK. Carousel deco nearly finished (trouble with mirrors), have to chrome the rods that hold the dolls, need to make an half ellipse of brighter green outside the carousel.
Has to be left now as tomorrow is domestics followed by three days of Bob and Clare. Will try and get press adjusted in the course of domestic day, there is an idea with paint thick translucent tracing paper and proper heavy printmaking paper I want to try out. Looking forward to the break.
Have left notes on the bits that need fiddling as Ive run out of light and the use of artifical does no favours at this stage.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Nov 15th

Off to Carcassonne for the day. The Carousel has gone till the summer. This toy was in a shop window.
Kat pranged her car and I feel guilty - she drove me to the Cite.
Painting looks like total shite.

Sunday 13 November 2011

Monday Nov 14th 2011

clouds a problem. Lay in bed watching the sky lighten - my picture has to be sunset not sunrise I think - good clouds so took dog for long walk. Very tempting to incorporate the wolves and suchlike that were in the sky but the picture is already too busy. But maybe.

Woke in the night from a dream where the roundabout hen was free and chasing me -!- funny, not a nightmare. Then a voice - I wrote it down - "Worlds with worlds. Held by the breath of God". Cant remember timbre or gender of voice.

Realised that I've never been on a roundabout. Want to know what music they play. The only roundabout from my childhood was in infancy and it was a lampshade that Stafford made me. It was of crinkly stiff translucent pink plastic stuff, perhaps supposed to look like velum? Textured anyway. Inside that were shapes of horses that were attached to a fan that sat over the lightbulb. When the bulb warmed up it turned the fan and the horses revolved.

Since the changes to ballerina and bishop there is too much green at the edges of the painting. Thought for a while about putting in more hens or some horses and now think I shall wait till all the frilly stuff and landscape are finished then put in a brass rail barrier around it. Emphasis on the prison of the world.

Later; took a break to go life drawing and glad of it... new model, Micheala, Czechoslovakian , young, stocky and quite impossibly naked. Perhaps because her hair is cropped. Or because it was her first time. She was good, could hold a pose, didn't do anything tricky but managed to be interesting. Which is more than be said for the product, sadly, though (as is now normal) the last one came off. Lunch now, late, hungry, back to studio anon.

Later still; working under artificial light is bad, the colours are pasty and flat. Reaching a point where the lightbulbs have to go in, ugh, can I print them? Use a sponge to make a shiney round thing? Indeed I can, but not till the sky is done.
Have cleaned palette and brushes and pots and plan to go to Carcassonne tomorrow and look at the carousel there. Celebrating with a glass of wine, time for a break. Cleanse the mind. Its pretty stupid, this whole thing.

Saturday 12 November 2011

Nov 13th 2011

Woke bright and fresh after disturbing dreams (*) and decided to have a bath instead of going straight to the studio - its one thing to be lead by your unconscious, its another to be bullied by it.
l like the letters, the words, in the picture. It makes it like a German woodcut - a devotional instructive piece. Doesn't actually look anything like a German woodcut though I'm tempted to make the letters in the gothic script, to labour the point.
Had to change the ballerina. She was too human and not in the same class of doll as the other figures. Shortened the body, de-frilled the tutu, exposed more of the wheel chair. The patterning on the carousel is perhaps too strong; will complete and then see, perhaps knock back.

Went to the market and Trebha came back with me - wanted to show him the sunset thief (he liked it) and see if he could read the white tiger/shaman picture (he could, exactly) A relief - no changes needed.

Danse Macabre getting rather muddy in parts, will do what can be done this afternoon and then maybe give it a day to dry. Want to finish before Bob and Clare this coming weekend or I'll loose contact. Though this may not be a bad thing, difficult to know.

Later; took most of the afternoon off in the face of lovely weather and gardened. Then dusted and washed. Then realised I was doing displacement and went back to the studio. Did more fiddly bits, trying to find a way to suggest the decoration of the carousel rather than painting the thing properly, as it were. Karim had said -twice in the week- that I'm too intellectual in my work. (His tactic is to spend 20 mins on a painting, work fast and bold.) Me, I think I'm too emotional. Funny that.
But pleased today, content. Only stopped because I was hungry.

* - saw in a Greenwich publicity booklet a new housing estate where they'd used my paintings from the Festival Hall windows as transparent partitions in the site. I was very cross - no creditation, no permission asked, and I didnt like them. [actually in retrospect they were rather good] Rest of the dream going through old papers trying to find photos of the work to claim them and demand they got taken down. A reference to the futility of my occupations... though the dream wandered off, as these things do, and got less bureaucratic. Cant remember how.

Friday 11 November 2011

sat 12th Nov

____ it goes, as they say. I've arranged a high stool and a very low stool and with that and standing I can work across the canvas without too much discomfort; in fact, switching regularly keeps my limbs from seizing. The grey exit box on the side of the central column doesn't work. One thing that does work is doing this writing. Surprisingly helpful to *talk* about whats happening; though does this cause a literariness in the picture?

---amplified that by putting in some writing . The Marylin has Marylin written on her neckline; Bella has Bella written on her saddle; I've written Palais de Dance macabre across the top. Quite like it. In fact, rather enjoying it coming together with the surprises that emerge. The hand of the bishops relationship with the hand of the Marylin was not something I'd expected. The opening out of the picture with the sky and the horizon hanging in surprised me. Enjoyed the blue lines on the teacup. Its slog but not as dull as slog can be - a few more days should see me done.

11 nov friday

Fitful night - this rigid composition disturbs me. Is it just a question of filling in now? yet what else, other than leave it unfinished - or overpaint - God knows why this should make me anxious. Accordingly took a long bath before starting and then carried on till coffee, returned after. Its ok, its coming to life, the colours are dancing bright. Issue with an arm of the ballerina to be addressed; the other figures are working. I'd left a space for another character which was to be death or someone sweeping the carousel and not structured anything there - now find its like a box on the side of the roundabout, dont they have them? Think so - and it serves as looking like a doorway through which all those on the roundabout must pass.
Watched the procession at 11.00 of the ex-combatants and those going to the monument to commemorate the dead of the european wars. They passed the end of the impasse in groups, with the usual martial music of the loudspeaker from the gendarmes car - great procession, danse macabre - a video may have served this idea better than this painting.
Hungry. Thought I was nauseous with all this death stuff but just hunger.Lunch.

Thursday 10 November 2011

nov 10th

Late start, bad painting, the ballerina is too incongruous - she'll have to go, she doesn't share the logic of the other parts. Been 'colouring in'- sky, hills - boring, looks bored.

Later, been working under artificial light which aint good but have resolved the ballerina issue by putting a tea cup in front of her, the sort that wizz round on carousels. This massively upset the composition so have added a scull chalice, also supposed to be able to sit in - which helps sort the problem of the bishops feet in that they are now obscured (hadn't been able to decide on barefoot - which seemed too penitential - or what instead.) General shape now sorted, I think.

All very static - but what else? Do I want illusory movement? Its not very appealing. Really interests me because of this unbidden link with Stafford, with whom I now seem to be having a conversation. His smell has returned, a peppery patchouli smell, lovely - I don't think he ever used anything it was just how he smelt. So now this is art as therapy? Does that matter?
I want to see it finished and see what I think then, so I guess its keep on going. I have several clear days to devote to it... what luxury.

Tuesday 8 November 2011

clear weds

Walking last night, saw what to do about the large canvas. The carousel idea is OK but focus on the inside of the roundabout, the figures, and they should be of the dance macabre tradition. Remembered the poem I wrote as Stafford was dying; 'in the palais-de-dance macabre.'

The most amazing smell walking last night, between sawdust and pine bark resin with a hint of a green plant I don't know the name off - used to grow in front of the cabin on the field. Can still smell it. Thats what gave me the direction for the picture, how weird that it should come through smell - perhaps the other senses are too oppressed.
Cold night, big moon; threat of asteroid passing between it and earth. It didn't. Gave a good sense of space though.
I have a clear day.... start at 8.00am

Later, lunch, 1.30; the painting is pretty well in place, or nearly. I had been thinking that a bishop was essential - they are always featured in dance macabres and I like the idea, as in chess [ - should all the chess pieces be in? they slide in anyway perhaps, will check- ] anyway got the bishop in and then tried to find the poem (palais-de-dance macabre) and can't. I know exactly which notebook its in but can't find it and didn't want to waste too much time looking. Remembered one reason I used that title was that because in the Palais poem people are puppets dangling from life-support strings, drips and so forth; used one of the carousel slots to take a wheelchair plus a stand with drip. Astonished that it immediately housed Stafford - last time I saw him, I guess. Have changed it so its less obvious. Too awful.
The bishop developed the face of Micheal Jackson and Ive changed that too but let the idea stand - in fact dropped using the screaming clown and made the bishop clown-like. Has Chapman brother/Goya overtones which I'II try and loose, if possible. They have rather covered that area though, with their Insult to Injury .
Took coffee with Kat at 10.30 and an American came and joined us at our table. Used her face and sunglasses, T-shirt, for the figure I wanted of a woman, a 'Marylin' which was actually her name. Have developed her t-shirt to represent the chakras. She was called here, she said, by Mary Magdeline - these people are called Magheads here - sweet if looney.
Got one major slot left - that was to have been the screaming clown - plus a space for death or perhaps a woman sweeping. Also there is a hen across the front which needs a child riding it. Using Bella, my fave hen, as a model but lack a child... maybe a miniature adult.
Drink tea, siesta, try again.

Later, dreampt myself to the hospital where I last saw Stafford. Bits of it were shut down, bits of it were going to be closed, like the space where the hyberbaric oxygenating chambers were. No dream, in real life. Creepy. I found a closed off place where no one went, with a functioning bathroom - I used to write there in total calm and safety. What a weird hospital, it had so many levels it was like the human consciousness - coffee at the entrance, doughnuts, a little restaurant oh lots of stuff came back to memory. Canada. Glad I cant find the notebook of poems nor indeed the big book of drawings of his dying. (Put that away somewhere because I didn't want to see it) Came up with a useful figure from my siesta anyway, a ballerina. Tied in with my long friendship with Stafford. The painting is working well though fear it will need children and don't want to do them. Can I propose their absence in some way? Bishop needs one on his shoulder, chicken on his back, ballerina on skirt, Marylin on chair.
Some time tomorrow morning. Out tonight. Bugger, late.

8th November

Drawing yesterday I set up a critique in my head.
It occurred that it might be better to ask the other artists to criticize, like the monthly crit at college. Will ask the others if they'd like it too - easily done, stay after drawing one day, bring work you want to talk about/hear about.
Spoke to Kat and she agreed. Showed her the sunthief and she immediately saw the problem AND the solution - to paint out the reflection of the red sun under the stolen object. Stops it looking like a bottle or a penis or anything other than a disk. Dealt with it this morning and overcame the temptation to carry on fiddling with it - enough, enough. Its done with.

Read this morning; 'I don't have the feeling that I write my books, I have the feeling that my books get written through me... I never had, and still do not have, the perception of feeling my personal identity' . Claude Levi-Strauss. He wasn't mad, I don't think; the sense that you have to fight or accede to something beyond your self is perhaps normal.

Yet the artist (me, actually) needs a huge sense of self to get to the studio, to expose the product to the public, to carry on carrying on - just have to get rid of the sense-of-self to do the actual work. Or is this bollocks?

Afternoon working on what was the rape painting and is now probably a falling nude. Connection made; now I just put paint on. Its sitting well enough though, Ive upped the linseed in the damart/turps mix, try not to think and let the picture make decisions. Tomorrow may have to address it differently. The painting of anubis remains - untouched, can't see what to do with it and it ain't working as it is.

Took a picture to the cafe. They have a couple of truly duff amateur pictures there - duff but unpretentious - I was going to take the sunthief because its so rumbustious but repainted it instead and so took a little landscape. Its a view en route to Campagne. Just the road, a field, some trees, the electric lines and an airoplane trail. A slight work. Luke the proprieteur, who has been asking for a picture for ages, made a good fist of concealing his disappointment. Lucky I'm robust.

Monday 7 November 2011

November 7

The Lautrecs were wonderful - he seems to have never made a duff one, never a fudge. How come? Did he destroy the failures? Or was he just extraordinarily good, graphically? Wonder what would have happened to his work had he lived. Would it have evolved or declined...
Went to draw this morning determined not to self-pastiche. Feel my drawing has become mannered but how else to find direction in a void - without the random marks, the offerings to luck, the opportunities for chance. Intellect fails where dreams allow.
Same model as last week, arrived late, he was uninspired and uninspiring. Did only watercolour, even for the 2 min poses. Results are poor. Maybe something will emerge when the dust settles.
Not set foot in studio. Paperwork is todays price for evasion.

Thursday 3 November 2011

3 nov 2011

So; an hour this morning before very welcome distractions kicked in; 3 hours late afternoon. Im sure there were insights but I forget them. All I remember is that the urge to do something easier is becoming stronger - surely I can find a way to return to the (hard-fought) safety of the food paintings, that people liked, bought, were entertained by?
Finished a landscape which I propose to give to Luke at the cafe. Dreamed a Big Dream; TC and two other esotericisists were talking, asking me to join them, in an hotel, red decor, many roomed etc. Much debate. In the bar found one of my paintings off the wall and almost torn in half. (not a painting I know, between the green (wo)man and a koala bear.)(awful, muddy coloured, dodgy image, bad pic) The landscape I shall offer Luke aint good, but it aint bad and if its destroyed it doesn't matter. Its chief charm is an airplane in the sky, its trails echoing the telegraph lines in the hills. As above, so below.
After all these years, is that all I have to say?
Tomorrow off to Albi to see the works of Goya and T Lautrec. Can only be good.

Wednesday 2 November 2011

2 11 2011

Got a bit of time in this afternoon though wish I hadn't. Photographed some work - looks awful - went through stacks of drawings hoping to find some that might be of use. Didn't. Looked at the paintings in store - they asked for one in the local cafe - nothing, rien, zilch, nada. How come?
And the current paintings seem to have sunk, the colours retreat overnight. Im using gesso and rabbit skin or sometimes one or the other - never had problems like this before.
Hmmm using very little linseed - either turps or nothing or perhaps dissolved damart crystals when it the surface is too overworked. Maybe I'II add more linseed to the process. Could be that the turps is diluting and sinking the pigment.
Still not confronting new canvas.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Tous Saints

Weekend off for Bobs visit. Started again Monday at dawn and reworked the thief's thighs, honed up the arrow. Met the model -Nazir?- for it in the market on Sunday, he was carrying a bag of his drawings framed in little clip frames; started to show me and when I said I couldn't buy any he said they were not for sale, this was his museum. They had real quality - very impressed.
At 10.00 went to life drawing and he was again the model. He worked very hard - excellent model, in total contrast to the hoity-toity disdain he'd offered for the work I'd done of him previously. The very last drawing of the morning worked - its so faint as to be almost invisible, which challenges my notion that its pointless doing things that aren't easily reproducible (like David Jones, though as technology has moved on he can now have his moment) and also picks up on my contrary but also-held notion that art should be furtive to become particular (ref low-tide and underground sculptures of my youth) Ownership starts with discovery. Or vice-versa?
Totally overwhelmed and charmed by my drawing anyway. Long time since this has happened. Don't know if its any use but have been trying to work out why it works for me. Its made of 5 separate elements that hang together, completely by luck - perhaps it works because its like seeing Im capable of being lucky or making myself available to luck. It was 2 hours slog to reach that point, after all. Perhaps its the delicacy I like, since the painting I'm mostly working on is as subtle as a sledgehammer.

Today is Tous Saints and the French will be in graveyards. Would enjoy joining them. Mist just lifting - will see how the morning goes.

Later *finished the thief picture, was very keen to see how it looked outside the studio which is one way of knowing if a thing is ended. Dated 011111 which was a pleasure. Its very loud, very very loud. Need more time around it yet.
Framed the drawing that had so enchanted me - because its so slight I thought I might loose it - used a frame that had a history for me (bought with sweet faded still life for a few quid years ago, because I liked the glass- old and flawed, lovely - left it in junk shop to do proper shopping, came back and someone had broken it. Replaced but of no interest now) Came across the now-framed picture by accident and found it uninteresting. Sigh. How these things tease.
Working on the original picture of the thief, the anubis one - it moves but pedantically. Again, don't know what I'm doing. Same with the nude-over-rape picture. I'm still putting off the big canvas, still unsure about the carousel, seem to have lost the studies for it.
Tomorrow have to chase about dealing with household things so will continue tonight under artificial light.

Thursday 27 October 2011

Thurs 27th oct

wretched night, barely any sleep - less shaky after eating, then able to rather enjoy the dissociative state. The evil dream got explored, got even scarier, got through; an image arrived, done some drawings, may or may not be useful. The dissociative state made it easier to read the sunset thief painting which now carries authority -!- as I understand I have happened across another archetype-ish notion, that of the union of fire and water, (red lion/white eagle) unity of two beings into one, arrow and etc. Chief message learnt from the Crowley pack is that this is arrived at towards the end of the process of transformation and that the real learning begins later (VITRIOL, where the R backwards etc)

So a sense of movement and change. The point of all this is that the psyche has to move to centre stage and believe its self capable of creation and of receiving messages/signs. First sign of success in my experience is loss of humour as humour always undermines authority, even ones own. (The surrealists managed this somehow, allowing their sensitivity a shared role - that must have protected the individual.) Second sign is an inability to perform usual tasks as attention is elsewhere; conversation is hard, routine is disrupted. Fear and anxiety loom here as the real world carries on without you. Thirdly, the signs emerge (perhaps, can be acknowledged) and use can be made of them.
At the end arrives some sort of art work. Pointless, difficult, hurting process.
Later: cheered up. Finished sunthief painting which became quite easy once I knew what it was. May need more work as finished under artificial light and it may not come off - plus some areas a little muddy. The work done though, rest is fiddling.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

26 oct weds

spectacularly bad dream last night- forgotten that this happens when I'm getting somewhere. (giant evil black cat shaking the bed; had to call my dog to get it away; woke screaming)
Only a couple of hours work possible today, intense, locked into the verb painting. Nothing that can be called a product but the process is underway.
Pulled a Crowley Tarot. Got XIV (very funny esp given the nature of the unfinished double Anubis, cauldron, twin et al)
Can't approach the new canvas despite copious notes and previous desire to get it done. Think its been over-researched and practiced, now no point.
I'm frightened to go to bed. Demons are in, as it were. Thinking of changing rooms but the alternatives seem more dangerous for some reason. Off for long walk in the hope that exercise will exorcise. Take tomorrow off, perhaps.

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Tues 25th oct

Seem to have trouble telling the time today. Was in studio 20 to 8., believing it to be 20 to 7 but realising by the light that l'd got it wrong. Subsequently and for no good reason was too early for the bus to Ferrens and then too late for the return trip - though that wasnt my fault, SNCF playing silly buggers.

Lala. Mornings work rather good, just threw myself at the over-painting of the rape and did mindless connection with surface and colour. Ah, painting... one forgets. Great place to visit. No idea what the pic looks like -

Sorted through yesterdays drawings, one I like, two are useful perhaps, which is to say something about them interests me. Rest, dunno, no obvious use for them though some could be developed if I think of it. Look like they were going somewhere before the pose changed. A few days after the event I can generally summon the pose for extra time

Finished at Ferrens though it is possible that yet more of the surface will sink and have to be redone. This is untreated plaster after all. Next rendezvous on Friday when the damage will be clear; Im hoping its advantageous damage.

Monday 24 October 2011

24th Oct Monday

Started early, at sunrise; nice sense of growing with the day. Tided, signed and dated the two finished pix (shaman tiger and prague satyr) Had to move them from the studio to stop myself fiddling with them.
The two-headed dancing sunset thief thing is glorious and totally imponderable. Makes no sense, cant see whats happening, its got issues I can't address. Like, the hands are holding a red thing that echoes (in theory) the red sunset -it casts a red lights under it, as if it were transparent and giving off light, except it doesn't, it looks like some unspecified sexual organ which wasn't the intention. Haven't a clue what to do.
Over-painted a thoroughly nasty painting of a rape that I have been returning to on and off for a while. Discovered that if gave the male aggressor little horns in his hair, he turned into a perfectly safe classical allusion. Take them away and there's a nasty aggressive bit of murder happening. Haven't ever liked it, not happy about exploring it any more, have started copying a drawing on top. The drawing is a crumpled nude, cant remember when I did it or of whom. Its not that good but theres a feel of possible development in it.
Have a large and a small canvas ready to go, leaning against the studio walls. The emerging sunlight cast shadows - on the large, the empty bird feeder, some trees, on the small a drawing of a bird I'd done on the window with hot glue. Enchanting.

Want to copy, tired of inventing. At 10.00 am went to the drawing group where Suzie was modeling. Took watercolour and drew in water, dropping pigment into the wet. One or two work, mostly crap. Not clear (again) about why I do this... the finished, successful drawings are over and no use to me, the bad in-process ones are too bad to use. I suppose that every now and again something comes up. It is a chance for something to surface.

Disquieted when a colleague suddenly put his head by mine as I was working, to offer his comments; lucky I didn't have a knife handy, totally ruined the flow of my concentration. He's a teacher, can't help it probably - but next week (if I go) its against the wall at the end of the room. Remembered all that horror of drawing in public, when you are regarded as a public resource. Another one of the group is working with charcoal pencil which makes the most dreadful scrapping noises. Not only breaks concentration but hurts the face. Hmm, an ex-teacher - is there something to be learnt here??

Tire still flat, pump no good, will walk to Ferrens now in the sunshine and take a bus back. Ian has given me a broken coffee machine with hotplate. Hope to finish up there soon.

Later; walked there, beautiful though cold, dawdled and enjoyed the walk, the river, the sense of moment in arriving at an ancient fort; the chestnut dark squirrels, a heron mounting on a thermal (new one that), looking out for otters but none seen. Got to Ferrens fairly knackered and found his doors locked. Kicked and swore. He appeared; I'd forgotten his doors jam and have to be kicked in. The coffee hotplate worked but not enough, though the bain-marie could be heated on the gas in the kitchen it solidifies too fast. Work ok though and I pulled a few stunts - like, little distant silhouettes in ochre that finish the flow of the swath of the work.

Mis-read the bus timetable home. Realised I was an hour out, didn't want to go back to Ferren, walked to Campagne for the store and /or cafe. Its Monday. Both closed. Too tired to walk back to the road so took the river road back to Esperaza, reflecting on the comfort of putting one foot in front of the other to mindlessness.
Hot soak, dinner, now on second glass of wine. Want another early start tomorrow and a finish to the mural. Took some photos, its OK I think. And anyway, anyway... how seriously do I want to take all this? Learnt a bunch of technical stuff and enjoyed the process. Good. Enough.

Saturday 22 October 2011

22 oct

Think that the tiger-shaman picture is finished though not without problems - I will want to varnish it in a year or so to unite the very patchy surface and some delicate scratching may be lost. Its the delicate scratching that makes it work. Naturally. Perhaps I can varnish some of it. Or more likely, in a year or so, I will have forgotten everything anyway.

Returned to a painting that has been drying, knowing that I knew exactly what to do with it. So obvious it was that I didn't make any notes. Of course it just looked back at me this morning... suspect I reconnected with it though, its allright. Its taken from a drawing of a young man who modeled for the group here, a young man who clearly thought he was wasting his time with us. I enjoyed his disdain - contempt, even - and did some strong images as a result. Decided he looked like Anubis. Began a painting, since abandoned - developed a double image of it on another canvas. Turned into a two headed creature thing coming out of the sea having caught the sunset-reflection. Very difficult, following whim and accident, not knowing whats happening. Way to go yet, as the surface gets more and more matted and unstable. Sigh.

The Prague/satyr painting, on the other hand, is finished. Changed the face, did some overpainting on the horsebody - ooh these new reds!- added horns to rather labour the point of the mythic morphing to civilization, and had enough. It works, it'll do, who cares anyway. Yup! Its that sort of day. I sat down to look at it and FELL ASLEEP in my chair.

Have a new large canvas ready to go, stretched and primed to take some of the studies I made in Nice of the Matisse carousel. Doubting already; seems trite and besides Ive kind-of explored a bit the carousels in the tiger-shaman pic. Damaged my left arm in the stretching - weeks ago, still bad - maybe its that that's holding me back. Or I'm just tired. Managing age is one of the many challenges of being an artist. Sleep on it, perhaps.

Friday 21 October 2011

ferrens mural

Not a brilliant morning. Had to wait for the 11.47 bus and whilst waiting attended to some bits and pieces, one of which involved dealing with a sign that has suddenly and apparently illegally been attached to our garage. This and the fact that the hunt are using our land put me into an unreasonably bad temper. Actually, probably more upset about news of Vivienne's health - not good.

At Ferrens' the work seemed fay, too gutless to be cave painting. More like a fashion advert background. I melted some beeswax and mixed with pigment, found it made a marvelous surface when painted and rubbed on top of the work already there. Not having too much control of the pigment distribution helped. Pausing to mix it in meant the wax solidified, so I didnt, so it was uneven and highly suitable.
But slow. Had to keep returning to the gas stove to heat up the hot water to keep the wax fluent. Thought to try mixing with turps but didnt have any so walked to Campagne and found some white spirit in the shop. That indeed helped by thinning the wax and with the help of warm water under the pan managed a deal.
The architects of Ferrens house -Michel and Simona - arrived and we agreed that the mural should stretch across the wall rather than ceiling to floor, a swathe rather than a whole wall. Well up for this as I hate working without my feet on the ground. They pointed out that the wall looked like three separate pictures and should be united, which I happily set about. Very pleasant working with them, they talk to each other quietly in German and it reminds me of operas, kept expecting the orchestra to break in. Relaxing and attention gathering at the same time.
Acting as a function of wall surface and pigment delivery -the process entirely dictating the image- is very liberating.

Without a hotplate it was all getting hard... went to catch the 2.00 home and got picked up by the Scottish Daves. Will find hotplate and carry on work in the studio.

Later; en route to studio discovered washing line had collapsed and wet sheets lying in grubby drainage ditch. Wondered whether to just go back to bed. Curiosity got the better of me; wanted to see if the prussian would work. It did. Then the caput mortuum had to be reworked and the grass stuff at the bottom. Still not finished, dunno why not, it all seems to work. Have picked out around the head with a razor to revive some lost luminosity.
Reworked the jackdaw of prague painting, the body of the satyr was gross so Ive cut it down, nice, rebuilt the grass to an hysterical luminosity (love lustre pigment) now find the face dosnt fit. Always have to loose that with which you started. Like compromising with the original error until you can see the error and change it.

No sign of a hotplate.

Friday October 21 2011

Back from Amsterdam yesterday morning where I imagined I had resolved a large painting of a white tiger skin clad shaman figure.

-The picture has this figure as the central image, underlined by a caput mortuum line on which sits a silhouette of a stranger, found in a street in Prague. It reminds me of my father as a young man and the moment of discovery was rather special, listening to friends (Art and Allenna and others) talking outside a cafe.
I liked the stripes of the tiger - interfered them with two mosquito's. Flies and blood sucking airborne things, l have studies of them...
The caput mortuum line demanded a balance which arrived easily in a beech branch. Ref my early schooling; the young sculptor discovered in the walled garden, carving a beech trunk blown down in the storm. Who was he?
And the image summoned and threatened by the shaman is the roundabout, symbol of life and its vagaries, drawn from the one outside the museum Matisse in Nice. Poor Matisse, merchandised to death. But the olive grove and the roundabout and the people taking tea were nice.
Thinking that the area under and above the cm line and under the badly resolved tiger needed attention, I considered it all week whilst in Amsterdam. Eventually it seemed that the black and white of the tigerskin could carry another interference in the form of a magpie - which led to the thought of another above the claw, for balance and for luck. Which transmuted during a visit to the Queens Palace into angels in the sky...

Back in the studio it seems I am wrong, this work would simply clutter the picture. All it needs is some prussian around the trees by the carousel.

And today I am working in Campagne-sur-aude at the house of Ferren Macintyre. Last week -before Amsterdam - I started a long-promised mural on the idea of cave paintings. The materials are as authentic as poss., walnut, earth, charcoal, soot, wax etc. The wall is fabulously smooth and most of my endeavors so far involve trying to spot the flaws to get the shape of the emerging animals.

My bike has a flat. I have to wait for the bus happy to walk home but not use my energy beforehand. Also, its really cold. Winter snuck in while I was away.