Wednesday 30 January 2013

30th Jan Weds 2013

After much despair - actually not despair, fatalistic death-wish self-knowledge resignation, more like - carried on doing stupid copy of lovely Botticelli and fiddling with Fecos pix, plus some other little ones that are even stupider. The boar and the unicorn? Actually that sounds quite good but the picture isn't. 

Went for a walk in the afternoon. This after discovering that I was really really cold. Had put on some clean clothes today and didn't realise that they weren't as warm as the ones Ive left out to wash; Pete called to get the key for some work next door and I complained about the cold which was when he pointed out I didn't have enough on. Remedied and felt much better. Anyway was then too hot when I went walking, it was a lovely day.

So I thought about what was happening...discovered
a. that I enjoy copying things, its a holiday and a pleasure. Yes, I knew this from the food paintings but I'd forgotten.
b. that making things up is a huge effort and if it isn't informed by something I care about its pointless and more to the point, doesn't work.

This little leap made all the difference. Came back to the studio and saw the resemblance of the Boticelli to my old mate John R; will tweak a bit and give as pressie, its very suitable. Good pose for him. So thats not a a waste then and I'm having fun with the glazes.
Saw the main problem with one of the Fecos, slashed at it and within 15 mins it was totally different and finished. LIKE it. Not sure if the other Fecos can follow but its done, it was possible... another couple seem to be nearing their end, hope so though uncertain as to what follows. Have to take stock sometime.

One day at a time will do. Will be interesting to get into the studio tomorrow. Its housework day so only an hour or so available, plus visit to Andree and dinner with friends - day off.

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Tuesday Jan 29th 2013

Another crappy day - haven't touched the Fecos because they are sooooooooo bad, finished this and although it makes me laugh, regret it.Spent the day copying Botticelli's pic of  Thomas Aquinas, WHY?? Found myself drawn to it and considering I'm still thinking of the canon  of the saints seemed not unreasonable - but a whole day copying it?? Thats just the first layer as well, need to spend at least the morning tomorrow if I'm to complete. And since I like it, I will.. Had thought at one time that I'd over paint with a Rorch test image but since the thing is largely black would have to invert and god god, WHY anyway - 
Nasty sense of mounting panic. 
Eating a great deal. Sleeping, at least till 5.00am which is good, can generally get in a bit more and make an easy 7.00am start. Life comfortable and anxiety free.
All the images I'm full -of that would like expression - are disparate. They are incoherent. They belong to a tribe of schoolgirls.

Monday 28 January 2013

Mon Jan 28th

Thank heavens for Mondays - I was saying to Tim in the break at this morning drawing how much I valued the sessions and how good it was to leave the studio. Yes, and join the real world, said Tim. We both looked about and cracked up laughing:)   --- A dozen or so artists with varying levels of rationality, looking at Nessim who is bizarre on every level.
Trying to be patient with N who it transpires is fatally ill. Alas. He wasn't too bad today, he'd been told to behave and apart from an outbreak of giggling toward the end managed fairly well. The drawings were OK - just OK - had thought to use carbons and work blind but couldn't find the box; instead worked carefully. Rather a pleasure, the scratch of a hard pencil on toothy paper... used ink too, not too well, a lot ended on my legs but as my trousers are black it doesn't matter. Just wet.

Have spent the rest of today and the weekend working doggedly on a painting I know to be bad, worthless, without any meaning or interest for me - its horrible, kitch, badly arranged (an image from the carnival, just a carnivaliste - Ive got three on the go)- I'm protesting throughout the process and don't know why I persist except its what I do. On the plus side realised that there is a relationship with St Micheal - well, not really - there's a stick, the carnival baton - and an invisible demon. Tried to find some way of making the demon work; can't. Interested now in taking the cannon of the saints and subjecting them to the same mythos Ive been handling in the classical world. To this end reading Malcom Bull, Gods in the Mirror of Antiquity and its amazing reading though I'm not very far in (small print - shouldn't buy cheap paperbacks, sigh.) Also rather annoyed by it as my hero Lorenzo the M hasn't been getting enough praise, as yet. But I have hopes. That Lorenzo will be lauded and that I'll learn something that will serve as a trigger.

Theres a terrible stillness in me, no energy. Not exactly knackered but sleepwalking. Not enough air in my lungs nor beats in my heart. Another early night?? Think I'II find a DVD and watch something, take my mind off stupid painting. After Ive done another hour or so tonight.

Friday 25 January 2013

Jan 25th Fri

At last, signed and dismissed Circle - terrible pic here, so need a decent camera - but its finished, every bit that troubled me has been laboriously resolved. It lacks lightness of touch, gaiety and unchalky colour, but its finished. I was working on this 25th Nov., according to this blog. Which means over three months.
Also finished another but not so sure. Has got a rabbit, a raven, a deer, and man and a woman but might need a spider. Still thinking.
Crashing on with the 3 or 4 from the carnival. Find Im very interested in St Micheal/George and maybe many other saints - aint they the symbols of achievement, of desire? Did a bit of research, see . Got tomorrow off - having a dinner party and need to shop. Looking forward to it.

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Jan 23rd weds

Great day yesterday and now terrified to go to studio in case it wasn't... light is good, have walked the dog and its past sunrise, nows the time, errr
Started early but broke at 10.30 to get to Quillan and collect new glasses. Can see clearly - mixed blessing :)
Afternoon and evening grafted away. Realised I had a paucity of new ideas and envisioned Salome and St John the B = tete coupe in general - looked up stuff on the net and found this guy, Malczewski, whom I'd never heard of. Great!

Another early night -

Monday 21 January 2013

21st Jan 2013 Monday

Early start so rather than get caught up with painting spent some time on the Ripley Scroll -  - thought it would be good to do an hours drawing before going to draw the nude (Fabienne today). How wrong can you be. Control of brush and pencil evaded me and the opportunity to snatch at mistakes was hard because I was tired and truth to tell, rather bewildered. What am I doing? The things are neither pleasing nor useful nor saleable nor good practice. Been looking through old work lately, portfolios and drawing books - a lifetimes endeavor and the end product -at the end of today anyway - is a bunch of rather kitch painting. Think that's the word but I do hope it isn't.

Lawrenz, in his amazing Art and the Platonic Matrix,  devotes a lot of pages to kitsch. It doesn't, can't occur, when ''the search for meaning outweighs the desire for pleasure' . This pin points rather too exactly my failure. I'm painting, painting, because its a verb; trying not to intellectualise what I'm doing; enjoying it hugely (my days have been a delight).
My father always said I thought too much. It annoyed me greatly; never heard him tell his sons that. He regarded my talent as instinctual - like, females are Other. Dear god, perhaps we are...
Writing this I realise in fact its cyclical. This is a painting-for-pleasure phase, I will stop at some point, understand whats happening and kick it all into shape.
---You have to hang onto some sort of belief, despite the evidence.

Anyway, drawing was rubbish and  I regret not trying harder. With less material and more focus. Used ink, pencils, watercolours - just opportunities for making a mess and fudging errors. In the studio was again determined to finish Circe who was nice and dry for a last assault. Yeah, repainted the damn thing. Now have to sit and look at it again, all over again - but its better than it was.

Got three littles on the go, of Ensor-like Carnivalists except nothing like Ensor, just wearing masks. Trite but not without their own challenges.

Got  some of the physical signs of an attack of uncertainty, depression and inadequacy. The emotions aren't there yet but they loom, as do the strange pains, the weird cramps (tension?) the loitering headaches, the bizarre dreams. Ah me. Wonder what comes first? I mean, the emotion or the pains.Will go back to kitsch and fend off anxiety as long as possible. Decent meal called for. 

Friday 18 January 2013

Fri 18th Jan 2013

Was  determined to finish at least one painting today. Didn't.
Did finish this bowl and now don't like it - managed to break the two little ones that I did like.
Have prepared even more surfaces to paint on.

Thursday 17 January 2013

Jan 17th 2013

Weirdly inconclusive day.
Been getting up before 7.00am and hanging around for the light, lately grey and overcast. Today, knowing its Thursday and thus cleaning day plus french lesson and also expecting a friend's visit, I dawdled. Then got overwrought and rushed to studio, messed about a bit in very good light (sun out).
Next, femme de menage was ill so I didn't have to clean beyond some very basic maintenance  nor did I have to cook us lunch (a loss, but there isn't much to do anyway)
Went out for a coffee and to shop. Carried on working, happily, went OK though various anxieties about the paintings which I'm trying not to articulate on the grounds that this is action, not intellectual stuff. (Compositions iffy.)
French class is really a visit to a french friend.  Did that, fun, planned visit from other french friend and texted him to confirm time. I've got the wrong day. Its tomorrow.
So again in studio where things creep along... bowl and soldier sculptures v successful. Will call them something like dragons teeth, after the teeth that Jason planted that sprung an army. Nearly done with three of them and that's enough. They are VERY delicate. My camera is crap. Need to get them photographed before they fall apart.

Tomorrow now disjointed, invited two friends to lunch in a post drawing fit of euphoria (hyacinths forcing their way up from lilac pot) and of course the friend I was expecting today now comes tomorrow. Lala. How does one focus in the face of a life of activity? 

Wednesday 16 January 2013

jan16th 2013

Its hard, all this; the painting is swimming along and then there came a time when the new canvas's aren't dry and the ones I'm working on are too wet, so I nipped over to Ediths to get some clay (owe her 3 euros, dont forget) and did some splendid broken- bowls- and -soldiers which I love though have failed to photograph properly and may not dry well as I don't know what I'm doing...
anyway, was preparing to draw tonight after dinner and just fell asleep. knackered.

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Jan 15th 2013

Yesterday was totally marvelous, entire day in studio. Trying very hard not to reflect, just paint... and more of the same today. 

Wednesday 9 January 2013

jan 09 2013

Walked myself to exhaustion yesterday - so stupid, seemed a good idea at the time but my muscles have atrophied during the illness and my energy ain't right. Did some insipid drawing en route. And today, nothing but clean studio. Glad to report that I can see the floor in about a third of it. Tomorrow will certainly see that finished.
Iain McD has sent the Bellany catalogue from Edinburgh, what a delight. First saw Bellanys portraits at the National  Portrait Gallery a hundred years ago and simply couldn't believe them; haunted the place, trying to fathom them. How could what looked like a formulaic approach have all the subtly and nuance to make a recognisable portrait? Still enchanted by him. Bought a couple of little prints and then a drawing and now own a painting, all a great pleasure. Wish I could afford another. Another several, actually.

Tonight I shall watch a DVD and get some sleep.

Tuesday 8 January 2013

Tuesday Jan 8th

Messing about with the press - binoculars, don't know why they appeal so much - simple pleasures, self-contained, redolent with potentiality. The original drawing is far more amusing as the shadows have a bunch of activity but have no desire to develop that into monoprint. Had a go at drawing on an etched plate but the pressure is too loose and I can't tighten it. Think the damaged hand doesn't help, lala.
 Like these drawings but doubtful because they are fairly pretty. Maybe they're not.

Time for a walk.

Propose to spend the afto finishing clearing the studio.

I'm an incompetent printmaker and though it has its moments I'II be frustrated soon and want to return to a medium I'm fluent in.

Monday 7 January 2013

mon jan 7th 2013

Wow no post since last year... and no work. Illness and Christmas, illness and no parties, illness and new year. Just about through it all. Only a jumped-up cold that went bronchial. For a while I thought I was drowning and afterwards couldn't stop coughing, vomiting. No fever and good appetite, but sleeping a 14 hour day.Weird. Unpleasant. Better but a bit coughy and still prone to sleeping.

In some of that time realise still in mourning for my father. So then prone to crying. It wasn't a helpful time, sometimes dreams and images appear that can lead the way but this wasn't a useful period. A rest maybe and an acknowledgement of loss.

Couldn't concentrate to read much. Managed the Correspondence of Berthe Morrisot; in 1890; in a letter to her sister Edma, she wrote "...worst of all, I am approaching the end of my life and yet I am still a mere beginner. I feel myself to be of little account and this is not an encouraging thought".  (p.179) She has a horrible time and I found a deal to compare with my miseries, the difficulties and set backs of being an artist. Then at some point she says how her mother thinks she's mad, doesn't like her work, etc etc. Mothers! Mine was the same. Not even disapproval, ignored and dismissed. Wonder if that's the root of the self-limiting issues.

Nearly ready to re-start - cleaning houses and studios in preparation. Etching press set up; some monoprints done, using clear acetone. Quite interesting route as can be placed over drawings and painted on, had fun with drawing and printing binoculars. Still familiarizing myself with the techniques of printing.Sorting out the press, the space. Love the smell....

Drawing this morning, used Chinese ink, ready mixed. Fabienne modeled. Usual suspects drawing, Giles, Jean-Noel, Jim, Olle-B., Kat, a french woman whose name Ive forgotten but is something to do with the Artistes a Suivre. Two hours flew away in seconds, not enough time. Some are usable, I think.

In between trying to clean the studio have dabbled at the circe painting which is a mess but getting some notions. The marriage of symbolism and naturalism is uncomfortable. Need to unify the ideas, never mind the composition.