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.