Wednesday 29 February 2012

feb 29th 2012 leap year day

Slept in two hour bursts and was in the studio at dawn - working well, its the lack on canvases that'll stop me but Kat had agreed to take me to Limoux on Friday for more. On the other hand visitors arrive; HelpX Mark on Friday (which means cooking) Roger on Monday, Bob on Weds., Vera and Luc and Jan and Mike Thurs/Fri and for weekend. Not a chance of working. But these new canvases can be easily picked up and put down and drawings can be done continuously - I hope.
Still like them, still enjoying myself, still confident that this is the right direction. Gone from what is human to what is NOT human. Makes sense to me.
Ravenously hungry!

Later; got 11 on the go... several of them very pleasing. Want to use varnishes on them so drying time is an issue - though not really as I have time. In the meantime I can keep drawing until new canvases arrive - perhaps paint over some old ones, hmmmm.

Tuesday 28 February 2012

Tues 28th Feb

Worked till 7.30 last night which cheered me slightly this morning. Instead of being at work at 7.00am I was in the bath - and for an hour. Limbs seizing up. Think its the alternate cold and heat of the weather, other people have the same problem.
Then I took a coffee and interrupted the flow, then another (friends leaving -) Lunched on a bought pie in the studio and have just finished for the day, nearly 8.00pm.
Finished the wretched Melusine. Got half a doz new little ones that IM ENJOYING, little wierd portraits of the mis-born, with references to catholic saints. Flowing like honey. Lovely to feel in touch with something after this long wrestle. Hope its OK, hope it lasts -

Monday 27 February 2012

Mon Feb 27th 2012

Early start to gesso the little canvases. Let the paint try sinking through that lot - primer, gesso, rabbits skin glue and more gesso. Ha!

Funny moment when I was melting the glue yesterday. My double boiler is full of wax and I didnt want to have to melt, empty and clean it, so I arranged a large tin of water containing a small tin holding the soaked rabbits skin. Put it on the hot plate and wandered off. Terrific noise called me back; the arrangement had set up some sort of resonnance that was drumming very loudly and agitating the tin of RS, making me think it was about to explode. In a perfect panic I ran out of the room screaming STOP IT! And it did, immediately. Gave me enough courage to dismantle the arrangement and replace with water in saucepan and metal colander, holding the tin of RS.

Mornings drawing very disjointed owing to a stranger being in the room we use at the MJC. Long and boring story the gist of which is that the room was being used by a medical examiner and for some reason our group had not been told. The local gendarme came and gave us the keys for the downstairs salle and all was rearranged there but it was unsettling. Plus, plus, I had had dreams; more L and BS gist of which being that I can't create except by accident and I have to destroy what I make.

With a head full of this I was careful, trying to 'own' what I was making whilst still having room for accidents - and I stopped immediately I though 'hmm that'll do.' Rather than overworking, aka destroying. Really though I cant see a way through this. Of course I can only create by accident. Of course I must destroy. Whats wrong with that? It upset me very much.

The conclusion of the dreamings had me trying to reach my dear father, he couldn't give me directions on the phone to get to him but I was on the way and kept being stopped; eventually by a fox, a raven and a squirrel. They were patronizing me! The fox was anyway, kept grinning and patting me as one does an animal. The raven and the squirrel just watched but I had the sense that they were sniggering. The superior fox woke me with his patting and laughter.

Sunday 26 February 2012

sun feb 26th

A dozen little canvases now coated in rabbit skin size..... tomorrow can gesso. Trouble with cheap canvases that are allegedly oven-ready is that they are never primed properly and the paint sinks. Despite that I always give two coats of gesso, often have the sense that paint is soaking up - hence the rabbit skin.
Just hope I'm not being too optimistic about this new notion.

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Tues 22 feb

Horror; this should have been before the last entry but I posted it on the wrong blog, ghastly - just hope no-one saw it;

Life drawing yesterday, Fabienne, fun but no-where; then as I was looking through the pictures I saw some of last weeks, which last week I thought were crap and they didn't look bad; looked through some other old ones of the last several weeks and cheered up. On some sort of sliding scale here - from bad to worse or showing improvement, who knows -

Melusine driving me mad. Yesterday realised I didn't like the surface, I'm using paint like soap or something, scrubbing it in, killing it - its too thin, its mean, unpleasant. Fey, iffy, whatever.
Was going to devote today to cleaning the studios as Bob arrives tomorrow so no work for a few days and it would be good to get back fresh, but but but then I have hardly any canvases and really want to repaint Melusines face - the only part of the picture I have liked to date. Shes too forward, I need a recoil there.

" The greatest mystery is not that we have been flung at random between the profusion of matter and the stars, but that within this prison we can draw from ourselves images powerful enough to deny our nothingness." *
In same book there is an account of a pre-columbian kinghood that somewhat fits my yellow king painting - he is tied to the moon, power waxes and wanes with it, is gilded for the peak of it, strangled if there is an eclipse of it -(p.25)

*(Walter Berger, Great-Uncle of Andre Malraux; p.23, Andre Malraux, Antimemoirs, trans Terrance Kilmartin,(Hamish Hamilton:London, 1968))

Feb 22 Weds

King done -
Melusine improved for much fiddling about, have cleaned studio - well, OK, Ive put some brushes in the sink. Thing is, I think the new direction has arrived; could barely sleep for thinking of it. Off to Toulouse now and its possible I cant start work again till Monday but that'll give me time to think things through.
It began in the bar last night with Kat and Karim, when I had a slap of light talking about portraits of fish.
More anon.

Sunday 19 February 2012

sunday 19th Feb

Hardly anytime in the studio - market on a spring morning, friend to tea - but worked late last night and turned enough corners not to feel too angsty. Drawing out a headful of images.

Sara at the fripperie - where I bought a dress this morning- chatting about friends. She said that a mutual friend had cut his hair and I knew that, though I said I didnt know why. She said in English; there doesn't have to be a reason for everything.
Todays mantra. Perhaps tomorrows too.

Changed the Yellow King and got rid of the offending kneecap. In the meantime, found 2 pictures by Picasso - The King and another King, in pencil with nudes in his crown (p.101 Lecaldano, Paolo, The Complete Paintings of Picasso;Blue and Rose Periods (Penguin Books:1968)) Also, another by Francis Newton Souza -The Emperor , 1958 -(p.16 Harrison, Martin Transition; London Art Scene in the Fifties, (Merrell in association with Barbican art: 2002)) All heads, clearly the imperial body is of no interest to others - and Picasso's so similar to his 'clowns' heads as to command attention.

Saturday 18 February 2012

sat feb 18

Finished the Yellow King - at least I thought I did, yesterday, signed and dated, but this morning there is rather an odd problem with his too-yellow knee which looks like a letter being passed between 4 sets of hands. Like the ambiguity; perhaps emphasize? Or change, or leave... dunno.

Determined to finish Melusine very very soon. Another late start because I had a bath - something to do with her tub probably. I could shift the whole scene to my bath tub, with her tails frothing out. But the whole package is so slight - why bother?

Fear the difficulties I'm experiencing are to do with lack of engagement in the process. After all, if that is going well then the who-is-it-for why-am-I-bothering issues just don't arise. Time to focus up then.
Took some walnut ink and red ink to some watercolours and that was good. For the quality of the engagement, not for the result... this game is only measurable by the results, alas. Is there a visible link between the magic of the fluent process and the end product? Sometimes something hard fought and laborious can be as succsefful as the poetic-prayer union.

Friday 17 February 2012

Fri Feb 17th 2012

above: work in progress. Perhaps it should be a triptych.

Spent the last evening reading Art and the Platonic Matrix*, ooh whatagood book but it dosn't help. Nether does Concerning the Spiritual in Art+, actually rather dafter than I'd remembered it. Slept in the bed under the studio last night. Forgotten that its like sleeping on a stone floor and woke - after finally sleeping - feeling as if that wizard (whose name escapes me, Klingsor?) had been beating me all night. Hot bath to start the day.

Later; nearly finished. Not sure I can be bothered with lunch - perhaps a walk in the cold wind, perhaps not -

*Jurgen Lawenz,(Cambridge Scholars, 2011)
+Wassily Kandinsky, trans M.T.H. Sadler,(Dover 1977)

Thursday 16 February 2012

Thurs 16th Feb 2012

Thursday domestic day so not many studio hours - late start after bad night, sat up late drawing and went to bed with the refrain Trinkets for the Rich in my ears. Q. What could be worse than being a maker of trinkets for the rich? A. the rich not wanting to buy them.
There was a time - a brief one - when I thought to paint pictures for my own wall. Nothing Ive done lately I want to hang. Approaching todays work with that idea.
Read Tales of Languedoc from the South of France, Samuel Jacques Brun (Hippocrene Books: NY, 1999) (org. 1899) Charming but no help. Very charming though.

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Weds 15th Feb

Saw the dawn in, light much improved by thaw; skylights clear again. Kicked in on Melusine which has undergone drastic revision and will have to undergo more. Emphasizing the cold white of the fey side with the red/gold human light side. changed the bath, the floor, the hands, the tail. All unresolved.
Spotted the King picture and realised why no-one paints enthroned naked glory - simple. Looks like the throne is a toilet even when it isnt. The stance is a bloke shitting. So found a drawing I liked of the two young Poles and used his leg as a model to kick forward a leg, so the stance looses that pensive-dump look. Then didn't want to not include the young woman (who in the drawing is on his shoulders). Fitted her in to one side. Then in a very vacant nay vacuous space put a study of Maxsense crouching at the feet of the alleged King. Looks as if hes peering up the Kings bum but no big deal - some good bits where he looks like a classic clown so that will stand. Kings hands look like hes manicuring himself, will need to address that. Anyway the brushes are working and Ive only stopped now as I have a headache and have had a few nose bleeds - good range of reds that I used to inform the robe of the husband in Melusine -time for a rest though.

Later; more of the same, enlivened by a visit to Bieke who is here for 10 days. Talked of art... the gist was simply, why do it if a. you have a choice and b. if you don't enjoy it. Feel as if some bastard is turning a screwdriver in my head but this is either the end of the cold or eye strain or both. Im going to make a large plate of food and sit in front of a simple DVD - Morse?Poirrot? and be comforted.
Then I will work out a destination. Either a grant application or an approach to a suitable gallery or some project that will ring-fence and define these activities.

Monday 13 February 2012

monday 13th feb 2011

Monday, so its drawing from the nude... came to in the middle of the session, startled to find that I was actively happy. The work wasn't particularly good though it wasn't laboured. Maxsense was modeling and played for us at the same time, first an indian flute-type, then a huge great double tubed thing bigger than him, then a little three-headed ceramic flute. Was it the music? Nice people there, Judith, Suzie, O-B., and Jim (whilst not-so-nice as he is looking very ill and has bizarre behavior.) Warm too, three fires and Maxsense was allowed to keep his cloak about him on account of the great cold. The siberian weather continues.
I've had lunch and not looked at the drawings. Have to go out this afternoon doing domestix and haven't been in the studio for 5 days. I think that there is something in the drawings that is useable, I think thats why I happy, I found something. Dont yet know what. Will leave it as long as possible in order to be alert to it - or to defer disappointment - or to work out a self-fulfilling programme:)

Have some ideas for Melusine - the floor should be wooden floorboards so I can use the stripes to get a sense of space and the bathtub has to be other than a damn big lump of grey in the middle of the picture. Despite the lions heads and chain, its a nasty big mass. And the rest. Can restart Weds. A week off - not a bad plan.

Wednesday 8 February 2012

Feb 8th, Weds

Had been scheduled to go to Toulouse today to meet Bob. The weather, whilst not as bad as it was, is still too inclement - the idea of a 7 hour wait in freezing temps is daft, though very sad as its his birthday and I would like to be there to meet him.
So probably not much time in the studio today, the guilt need expurgating in housework and cooking. The morning is all. Melusinde might get finished this morning... its getting better but it will never be good.
Dealing with the notion that I'm not a good painter.

Later; rather pleased with myself - not finished but nearly there. It hangs together.
Which is more than I do.

Tuesday 7 February 2012

07 tuesday

Life is not a bundle of laughs. Spent most of yesterday, last night and indeed this morning squeaking psychobabble at myself. Lost motivation probably base line. The why need not concern me here - but its hard when all I want to do is paint and all I DO do is ferk it up.
My interior model of painting and painters comes with failure written through it.
Had been thinking that I should probably settle down with some books and see how other admired artists deal with these things but realise that all my admired artists are dead. This doesn't help, if it just ends in death. -The slippage of models is clear; so?
The failure of the work reflects the lack of clear thinking behind it.
Dave Cooper, tutor at Farnham, advised: Whatever you do, keep making marks. Always thought this sensible approach but now, again, again, the why rears its ugly head.

Monday 6 February 2012

Feb 06 Monday

Snow has covered the skylights and the light in the studio is dim; the artificial light aint good with the painting I'm on (still Melusine)
Despite the cold and the snow, OB managed to get a model -Ian- and there were 4 of us drawing. I lacked focus and eventually decided to use that, doing several quickies without my glasses - far more successful than the rest. Used a 1954 watercolour paper by Hammermuhle which is no longer suited for watercolour, at least the way I use it - started by soaking the paper and then just had wet paper. Remembered the note-taking of the ancients and used it for pencil with just strokes of thin colour to indicate range of tones. That worked.
I have some fabulous and expensive watercolour paper which I am loathe to use and some inept watercolour paper which aint worth using. Lala. Next week will overcome my natural meanness and use the good stuff (depending on model -) Maybe I'II make small pieces of it, though the spirit shrieks in horror at the very idea. Or - and heres a thought - I'II go through the last few months and wash and re-stretch the failures.
Back to the shady cavern that used to be a studio now.

Saturday 4 February 2012

sat 04 feb

Got in a few hours this morning, beginning the Melusine pic. Bit of fun, I thought - carry on, see what happens. Afternoon got rather lost in confusion but did three hours this evening which were a delight. The painting overtook the drawing, became another thing and introduced me to different ideas. Now it seems to me that the central idea is of women's sexuality, concealed and discovered and understood to be revealed. Weird how things emerge. Taking it personally - being discovered, spied on as a young woman, revealing myself to lovers, the fear and trust involved, the horror implicit -not that I'm original in my sexuality but with the good old convent background a lot of repression had to be dealt with over the years. Its a nice vehicle anyway, the subject. Daresay there'll be changes before its finished.
Using the large canvas that I was uneasy about on account of the bad stretching. Because its bad I decided to paint withing the frame so I could cut and restretch if need be. Found that I had framed the drawing I'm using because I'd stretched the paper with passe par-tout and left marks and so drew within that. Nice echo. Crap craftsmanship.

Friday 3 February 2012

feb 3rd 2012

Started a new canvas... this isnt it. This fellow is in the corner of yesterdays painting and I rather like him.

Thursday 2 February 2012

Hope abandoned Feb 02 2012

too wet to photograph but hey, enough - like the ambiguity in her blindfold, is she dreaming these characters or can't she see them and is simply unaware? Is she a Gatekeeper?

Day started with breakfast in cafe with friends, then cleaning the new galerie for the AGM tomorrow night. Madness. Takes half an hour to wash a floor and dust the obvious stuff but it took all morning to achieve nothing but heated french debate with repeats when anyone dropped in, as anyone often did. Eventually just left, giving them Nebuchadnezzar and the Shaman at Nice to cover the sad walls, told them theres more if needed, less is useful. Rest of the day on housework here. With interjections of trying to get the new photos up on the blog. To which I now return... have tomorrow clear for a run at the King.

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Feb 1st 2012

Fairy tale readings have got to me... the Hope painting, instead of having an innocuous deer looking through what might be a window is now peopled with unicorn, minotaur, little people and a Goya bat. Sigh. Daft or what but the brushes are dancing. There is no-one to please but myself though would be somewhat embarrassed if anyone saw it now. Did some work on the king pic., have put it away for attention when dryer.
Late start, even did some housework rather than go to studio. Now late lunch. Looking forward to getting back to work - sandwich and coffee.