Tuesday 31 January 2012

faerie tales 31st Jan

http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/tfm/tfm177.htm for fairys of the Languedoc and
for Melusine (- aka Melusina, perhaps she became la Magdelina, a christian fairy... few similarities, except a woman alone, living in caves by springs. Wonder worker. Though poor old MM doesnt get to perform many wonders, I don't think -suffer, baby)

Elsewhere someone has written that the distinction between the immortality of fairy's of the North and of the South (d'Oil and d'Oc) is one of duration ; a bright spot for the morning:)

Decided that rather than reiterating the Melusine drawing of yesterday I would look for more info. Like the idea of Languedoc faeries. Having had breakfast in front of the computer and ploughed through sites, remembered how I loved fairy stories as a girl - all little girls of my epoch were fed them. More encoded behaviour, tainted by christian mores.

Living in the Languedoc perhaps makes the local ones more *real*, accessible. The stories of the Drac sending precious objects downriver so that the unwary fell in trying to reach them - look no further than the grail hunters hereabouts for signs of people having fallen into another dimension whilst reaching out :)

Still lots of superstition (as it is now called) here. Petes neighbour called him in because he had hung the christmas star in his window the wrong way up, two prongs up, which is a devil-attractor. When the local anti-OGM mob held a mock funeral procession in the market, the old were very upset that they had 'let death into the marketplace'; so much so that I never wear my lovely jumper with the skull and cross bones knitted in when I'm unsure of who will see me. The debate about which way up to hang the horseshoe continues to rage.

Square-eyed now. Think I'II put this lot out of mind and have a go at the yellow king.

Later; didn't. Got caught by books on my way up to the studio.
Marina Warner No Go the Bogey Man;Scaring, Lulling and Making Mock (Chatto and Windus: London,1998)
Kathleen Raglan, Fearless Girls, Wise Women and Beloved Sisters; Heroines in Folktales from Around the World (W.W.Norton: NY,1998)
Edward Lucie-Smith, Symbolist Art (Thames and Hudson,:London,1972)

Warner points out how some female monsters are beyond redemption and I'd put Melusine in this category, since she still flies around howling. Does this affect anything?
Raglan has a complete compendium but NOTHING from France! Guess she doesn't read French cos the tales exist -
E.L-S quotes a critic called Victor Brombert writing on Flauberts' Salammbo; talks of the 'mobilization of life and animation of the inanimate' and ' as a result of this double tendancy.... the distinction between the organic and inorganic vanishes and BEING and BECOMING tend to merge' (p63)
Quotes Gustave Moreau;
One must only love,
dream a little,
and refuse to be satisfied,
under pretext of simplicity,
where a work of the imagination is concerned,

with a simple boring ba-bo-boo

l like the Nabis. Didn't realise they were a *real* group, assumed it was a critics' appellation.

Eyes very hurty. Must rest them. At least this disability prevents scholarship, the curse of the arty classes-

Later still; ignored the yellow king and tucked into Hope. Its useless. Tomorrow will abandon unless something crops up before then. Fear the Melusine drawing above is also useless. Not uncheerful though.

Monday 30 January 2012

jan 30th Monday

Good break, dipping into studio as time allowed and not thinking of anything. Much. So have finished the horsefly fairy, now called Blanquette Nights and started to think about fairies. Female other-world. Hence to Melusine; who has interesting characteristics, which vary from tale to tale. Here's a mix -
1. a product of parental disapproval (disobeyed father, cursed -)
2. married on condition husband allows Saturday night off.
3. Builds castles, towers, keeps, overnight - brings prosperity
4. has children - 10 in one story, all slightly flawed (eg one big tooth)
5. is spied on by husband taking bath; he sees her serpents tails
6. oath broken, she disappears. She can be heard lamenting as she flies around her towers, castles, keeps etc. Also reappears lamenting when one of the family is about to die.
7. has a golden key in her mouth - if this can be reached, she can be 'cured'

Wanted to start painting and couldn't (time, opportunity -) so began a drawing. Like it. Maybe drawing the way forward, cheaper, easier to store, though without frames impossible to display. Hardly an issue at this time.

Off to life drawing now. New male model today

Later; todays new model lovely, hobbitesque; can hold a pose and furthermore, can play pipes at the same time. He played elderflower double pipes, a kudu horn and a bone. He is some species of troubadour and very charming - hes coming back next week. None of the work any good but aspects surely useful.
Afterwards returned to drawing of Melusine and started to labour it so stopped. Established two types of space, the human with the husband, in gold-colour and the faerie, hardly any colour (blue/green/grey/white) except for the key, which is the gold of human-side. Made the bathing cauldron heavy lead with ball-and-claw feet, ringed with lions heads holding rings through which a chain is strung. A spell, patriarchal, no usable feet, chained by the king of beasts.
--As I said, beginning to labour it -

Plan to spend the rest of this evening thinking vaguely about otherworld stuff in this vein. I like the parallel world idea.

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Tues 24th Jan

Drawing yesterday morning- cheering couple of hours in the silent company of friends, scribbling and dabbling away... product clearly indicates my problem. The process has become a facility.

With this new found knowledge, avoided the studio, spend the afternoon preparing for the photographer that comes today to document the work so far. Did sneak in for an hour after dark and finished the horsefly picture, now called Blanquette Nights. It may not be finished but I'm not having anything more to do with it.
The current problem pictures, faux hope and the king, look much better in the twilight. Remembered Klee - I think it was him - writing about the quality of his work emerging in a dark corner of his studio. Perhaps I should re-read, if memory serves, Concerning the Spiritual in Art?
Current plan is to clean up, turn everything to the wall and forget it. Slept well last night with this simple approach. Even considering giving up and finding another outlet for my tatterdemalion psyche. There will be no work today nor tomorrow (off to Toulouse) then probably not for 5 days as Bob is here. Good time to read and inform my views.

Sunday 22 January 2012

sun 22 jan

What if Ive plundered my unconscious totally and there are no more riches there?
What if entering the collective unconscious gives access to you tube videos, facebook, images from Big Brother, celebrity gods that I don't know how to recognise?
- Feel as if I am getting nowhere and wasting my time trying. Things have been bad since before christmas, I think (and could check but don't really want to know, I guess) (or I would)
The methods are moribund, the ideas exhausted, the products mannered or trite.
Been thinking and reading. Perhaps I can feed myself.... certainly no-one else can.

Friday 20 January 2012

Fri 20th Jan

Went to the studio firing on all cylinders, unexpectedly, just after daybreak - changed the horsefly radically, painted out the (very nice) moon and put the spoon in a bottle.
Now, of a sudden, there is an entry for the tocques et clochers art show (an annual event with big prizes, open entry, quality ranging from bad to dreadful; theme, roughly, wine). Ive exhibited there for three or four years now and always my work has looked dreadful in the bad company. I live in hope of making something that will shine as decent. Many of my friends are there; Sami who does meticulously beautiful spirit-women that one would expect to shine, Kat who does lively and well-informed work, Kate who does moody (Morandi only darker)bottles, etc etc. Everyone looks like crap. Weird. Though sometimes the very naif amateurs look ok.
Having established that this is what the painting is for, I couldn't decide if this had been my intention all along and as soon as I'd finished felt sick, violently vomity sick. Wasn't, it passed, but it made me think about commerciality and so on - old fears of purism and livihood battles that you'd think had been dealt with by now. La la.
Need to do some work on the arm, perhaps. Oh and the spoon must dry and get redone very very well. Bubbles???
Otherwise everything too wet to handle and the king picture is bloody dreadful.

Bomberg keeps passing through my mind. I remember reading that he didn't know what to paint and his wife proposed flowers, which lead to that wonderful translucent red series. Its not the flowers though- perhaps the Jewish themes, because of the old testament stuff Im looking at - mainly interested that someone so very capable didnt know what to do.
Cleaning up now, have to do dinner.

Thursday 19 January 2012

19th jan., thurs

Missed yesterday totally. Had to fix lunch then didn't want to budge...read, thought. Ill-disposed to work today, late start -9.30, stayed in bed till after 8.00 feeling dozy and unhappy about work. Have a terrible cough and a woozy head ---- bloody cold looming. Hard to sleep with coughing, kept thinking it was day, always wasn't, when it was I was knackered

Eventually when I got on with it l painted out the red nude - really, I am so not interested in pretty nudes - replaced in sneaky movements (in the course of framing and doing other things) with a king. A nude male on a throne. The emblems of kingship. The obverse of priesthood; temporal authority guided by god, at least that's the sense I'm using it in.

Hit the Hope painting but its too wet to do much with - shaping up though. Pleased by the effects oil paint produces when copied from watercolour - sort of furry, soft, melancholicly heightened.

Took a couple of walks and find I am happy to have a topic that interests me even if its anachronistic and does nothing to further the issues. Though if I cast my mind way way back, perhaps it has a little corner in the 'what is a human' debate. This human king is a tunnel to focus the god and transmit its guidance. Responsible, fearful, authoritative.

Cooking for 9 tomorrow evening- may have to miss the afternoon if not the morning too, see how it goes. Saturday and the weekend complicated. Just as well the work isn't talking to me :)

Tuesday 17 January 2012

17th Jan 2011

Late start, 9.30 - went for a long (cold) walk first, trying to get some order in my head after the weeks' break. Then just painted the painting on the easel until coffee - then went back and carried on til lunch. Its OK, its the horsefly one and I'd left it ready for some glazing. Nicely dry, glazing has worked, daft as all daftness but I rather like it. Has to dry some more now as the spoon needs proper attention and I'm just making it muddy.

Later; worked on the Hope painting, enjoyed it, some nice tricks with paint. No idea whats going on especially as when I left it a deer was looking through a night-time window, sigh - I'm so sodding whimsical.

Cant remember if I wrote that a few days ago I went through a few portfolios of old drawings and they were dreadful crap. Whatever is going on - and who knows what - its a ferk of a lot better than it used to be. This is terribly cheering.

Saturday 14 January 2012

saturday jan 14

Despite the activity in the house have managed the odd stolen hour and find that being able to think as I get on with the things-that-have-to-be-done is quite useful. I keep remembering that monk (Brother Stephen?) at Prinknash, who could only paint for an hour a day. I was appalled but he said he spend the days preparing and considering and that that hour was massively productive, I'm trying to adopt that stance.
The horsefly painting now has a large silver spoon with a reflection of the upside down face of the fairy. It could be worse; I dreamed a whole forest of cutlery.
And I'm trying for a painting of the moon behind it....

Faux Hope undeveloped. Other red nude diabolical. Probably due for scrapping. Primed six little canvases and am drawn to the idea of portraits, still thinking on't.

Tuesday 10 January 2012

tuesday inertia

Jan 10th Tuesday
Misty morning - later the light was wonderful but by then I had scrapped the paint off the tulips canvas (what was I thinking of?) and wandered off. Trying to fix the fire put on the TV and got caught by a German programme with french dubbing on the Voynich MS, an old favorite. All that seems to be new is that the vellum can be dated from 1404 - 1438, pretty precise. They seem to think it was an Edward Kelly forgery but they also suggested it was juvenalia by L de Vinci. sigh. My money is on the wife of Kelly - Ive forgotten her name, Jane? Who started off with Dee and had to be swopped, according to the voices. Reasons: Its girly, its time consuming, the materials are expensive, there is no training nor signs of education but with a strong awareness of what a book *should* be like, etc etc. Its the girlishness really. And she must have been some woman. Didn't not join in at some level (as well as the swopped wife one, natch)

I'm avoiding the studio today. And probably for the next week as Bob is here. I'm banging my head on a brick wall and its time to stop and consider. Except for one of the paintings, the faux Watts Hope, which might have some mileage.

Later; ended up back in studio but only to put some blue next to the horse fly. Such a good colour. So added a bit of landscape. Then went for a walk. Dropped off CV and price list at gallery K ., bumped into friends, wandered in sunshine, ignored the futility of my pursuits.

Monday 9 January 2012

another grey monday

Early start but couldn't do a thing - walked until the sun rose on the sort of grey day that doesnt help painting. Thence to the cafe where OB takes breakfast before going to the MJC to draw, had a coffee with him and listened to his pleasure in Diderot (whom Ive never read). Fabienne, the model, joined us.
Pierre, Judith, Suzie, Didier, Sabine, Kat plus me and OB at the MJC. A comfortable and studious couple of hours. Fabienne is so pretty that the drawings are too - can't be helped - used watercolour and was crashingly disappointed in a block of colour I'd found in the studio that I thought was prussian and turned out to be a gritty and insipid black. Forced me back to pencil.

One image may be useful, dunno. One other I've used as the cover for the papers that have formed my 2011 work diary (Printed off from this site) Not much of it since I started late in the year. Read it and haven't the whit to see patterns or ways forward.

Broke for a long lunch with Annie and Pete then couldn't work, the stuff in the studio seems so piss-poor. Wrote a letter, read a book, played Mahler. Will pull myself together tomorrow. Though today my stomach is churning - hope its just something I ate and not something psychic, sigh.

Sunday 8 January 2012

Sunday 8th Jan 2012

In view of the general futility and so forth, I took the morning off - barely a backward glance. Went to the market, chatted with friends, was relaxed and companionable. Met severally with three other artists - Garth, Jim and Kat - and didn't talk shop. Well, a bit with Garth.

The afternoon was spent painting, hacking away at the weird tulips with a palette knife (what a mess) fiddling with the feet of the horsefly (which I rather like) scrubbing at the violet behind the red nude, deciding that all should be left to dry and not leaving any of it to dry. Annie and Pete came to tea and afterwards I floated back to the studio, imperturbable. Made a steamed ginger and orange marmalade pudding for dinner and have eaten a load of it. Delicious. Beats painting.

Drawing tomorrow.

Saturday 7 January 2012

07 01 2012

----the new paintings are daft, girly, stupid, bad -
am I wasting my time? This afternoon might do better to go for a walk.
*remember Picabia and that dreadful series of adverts he did. Ah, but that was then and that was him...

Later; attacked the pictures with a view to camping up the girly stuff and lo! Black paint and a palette knife took over. Beginning to feel directed by A.N.Other; or undirected to a ridiculous extent.
Took a walk, enjoyed the air, felt more able to take charge. Bought some tulips, of an unnatural colour - puce with a hint of lilac - shoved then in a vase and tried to make attractive. Failed.

What else to do but scatter paint around and then try to make sense of it? It fits my pro-forma; to abolish my taste and follow that of the unconscious. No fun though.

Friday 6 January 2012

fri 6 jan 2012

Started a couple of canvases; no idea whats happening, just painting, both pictures absurdly pretty.
One is a nude on a red blanket, the other a winged figure with horses feet.

Later; and another, a parody of Watts 'Hope'.

Worked fluently tho badly; interrupted by Phillippe; paused for apero and worked much better afterwards:) Can't get away from the idea of the shells collected on New Years Day - beginning to think that I should just paint them and stop trying to find ways of incorporating them. Clear tomorrow.

Thursday 5 January 2012


Evasive action; cleaning, moving furniture, hoovering. Paperwork. Moved all my paintings into storage; don't want to see them.
Clearing the decks.
Jumpy, nervous, frightened.
Options becoming less limited and more attractive - flowers? Self-portrait?
Seeking out the nastiest least compelling drawings; I can explore that.

Discovered - by reading the invoices - that the sales from the art library are all to the same company, in Korea.

Tuesday 3 January 2012

04 01 12

Been looking at drawings and pottering the studio. My mind is blank and my dreams absurd, or at any rate not useful. (voodoo-hexed; excluded from the community; left to be killed. Bright spots include cleaning my teeth in mixed salt and soot which made them froth a bit, reinforcing the view that I was hexed, woke wondering on the ethics of defending myself with an etching needle when I was doomed through the hex and should accept it - how quickly one accepts the prevailing view, doubting ones one reason) Not happy about the canvas ready-to-go, its badly stretched, dont want to re-do it, dont want to re-size it, will try wedges and so on... going to Limoux with Kat this morning so problem deferred.

Monday 2 January 2012

02 01 2011

Back at work, allegedly. Drew this morning, Fabienne modelling; crit followed. Didn't take work to be criticized thinking I'd use what ever I produced since my direction is, hmm, flawed- found that the knowledge that what I made would be viewed was making it all dinky, over reacted, got louche. Didn't get to express what was going wrong for me - that, for instance, the methods for not keeping control have become controlled- that my awareness of the prospective use of the drawing was messing it up in advance. Said I was getting mired in it all which is accurate. (Got enough studies to wallpaper the house, even more probably, and can't find anything to work with.) O-B told me I over worked my paintings and shouldn't. I think I should, kill the good bits at least twice. So that didn't get us very far.
From the others work I learned that it might be good to use an easel, that the work might stand alone, that it might be publishable.
Apropos; fantastic surprise a couple of days ago when the bridgeman arts library put a large sum of money into my bank account as royalty payments - seems they've been selling prints of my food paintings. Totally thrilled - always thought they were posters and intended that they should be sold in repro. Cant see the new stuff working like that though , too over-worked LOL

Afternoon in the studio. The Daniel in smelter painting is terrible and is also inaccurate - I thought Id honestly retold the drawings but in fact I had bent them a tad to fit my idea. Shocked at myself for not knowing. Corrected the figures and then though WHY BOTHER and have turned it to the wall. Sneaking feeling I'm about to do something decorative with it, so wont.

I'm scraping the barrel with a slight notion now. I had thought that to inform myself by responding to a model or idea without having control of the method would open doors - and so it did. Now the door is wide; what next?? Wheres the next way through?
All this supposes that there is somewhere to go, some deeper 'truth' to be learned. Perhaps this is my error.

I have a few clear days. Propose to draw, just things or landscape if weather permits. Just straight drawing. Cleanse the palette.