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.