Friday 31 January 2014

jan 31st Friday 2014

NO SLEEP god know why. No alcohol drunk last night, nice cup of nuit calme tea; normally the smell sends me to sleep. Drifted off till 1.00 am and that was it. Read most of the night. Now cross-eyed with weariness but afraid to sleep in case the same thing happens tonight.
Of course spending the evening drawing was probably a mistake. It makes me hyper aware, alert. And happy, unwilling to stop. Joyful pencil dancing.
Today hate the T of the G - horrible picture - and screwed up the deux tetes by messing with the background. May have reclaimed that but still looks weird. Off to gesso now but, hmm, I guess a couple of hours wouldn't hurt zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Later; something of a non-day as I zombie'd about... think Im about to call it quits on the deux tetes, below, have gessoed 4 good sized canvases ready for another day and want to draw again all night if need be.

Thursday 30 January 2014

30th jan 2014 thursday

As luck would have it my femme de menage is away so the house remains unclean and I had the greater part of the day in the studio. Thinking she'd be arriving at 10.00 I started work at 7.00, hoping for a few hours... various interruptions but a good run, till 6.30 this evening in fact.
Not taken any snaps but I think the T of the G s finished - want another look tomorrow. Changed the colour of the train, fiddled with the lights and the figures. Nasty feeling that the central area is missing something vital but don't know what. Would like to hang it somewhere where I can see it but its too big - can maybe hang on my staircase outside the studio but still wouldn't get to see it. The composition is strange but acceptable, to me at anyrate.
The deux tetes coupes is also finished, except  for some background work but the thing has to dry a bit before that can be done.
Last night had  a half bottle of wine, a good meal, a couple of mindless DVD's, cup of nuit calme tea and an asprin. Slept for two solid hours! Thereafter the night as patchy and dream ridden as ever, dammit. But feel refreshed today. Think thats because difficult bits are over (probably)
Tomorrow will be priming, I have some canvases but they need gessoing.

Wednesday 29 January 2014

29th jan weds 2014

 Its my own fault for thinking this'd be easy :(
Bad night. Not drinking is continuing to take its toll of me - no sleep.
Will therefore have at least two glasses of wine with dinner and see what happens then.
Fiddling with image actually a pleasure - eyeballs up, eyeballs down, lala - but alas, one of last nights difficulties is a painful shoulder that woke me and despite hot showers etc has continued to bedevil the day. Working makes it worse.
Took a midday break and found the RA catalogue of the Russia show some years back (I never saw it, Bob bought the catalogue when he went)  Fabulous paintings though nothing leads me anywhere as yet. Will finish reading tonight. Lovely to see some Matisse I didn't know and the Felix someone portrait of Vincents - cant believe Ive never seen that before, lovely.
May have to return to the T of the G son, not looking forward to that. Have to scrape a load off and see  what I can do with it then. Tomorrow mercifully buy with cleaning and so forth so a pox on art.

Tuesday 28 January 2014

28th jan tuesday

so it goes... huge fun though bits baffling. Is this a Salome, a Judith? Is it a revenge killing? Would she ever look triumphant? etc etc. One thing that occurred as I fiddled with the cloak - chisel brush, nice range of marks - is that if the cloak were the right blue we'd be dealing with the BVM - so is the woman with a head in her hands the antithesis of the Madonna and child? The murderess and victim? Revenger and  evil do-oer? Wanted to gold leaf the background to big up this BVM aspect but have repainted since taking the last photo - its now sort of putty and working pictorially. Used buff on top of wet rose on top of wet cobalt blue, each with a slightly different viscosity (I'm on stand oil and damart/turps mix, probably too oily already)
Tried to change the green but curiously anything other than this turns the whole thing sentimental. Should probably knock the yellow head wear back in favour of the ochre of the original conception but like it too much at the mo.
Knackered. Have to stand to paint this and done a whole day, minus a half-an-hour walk and lunch - plus coffee break. At this rate I'II be finished before the end of the week - that would be a treat. Wish it was bigger though.

Monday 27 January 2014

27 jan monday

life-drawing well attended; new girl (forgotten name) Sabrina, Didier, Jean-Noel, Kat, Aileen, Roger, O-B, french woman whose name I can never remember - with me, thats 10. Clare was the model.Silence intense, as if we were creating it -
terrific sense of  affection for these people.
Drawings terrible. Since Clare was modelling last week and all was dreadful, l took a little notebook and just drew lots as fast as l could, hoping to learn from looking and really not attending to product. Wish l knew what l was aiming at. All l know is what it is not.
It occurs to me that life drawing must be anthropomorphising the model, for what can we know of another except by self-projection? It may be time to start drawing upside down or one of those tricks... that might do it. It would break the habits of the hand that have to be overcome drawing by drawing.
In the meantime, haunting by  a half-glimpst painting that I want to re-create. Watched ZORRO, a childhood favorite, re-coloured and jiggered with into french, on TV last night. There was a scene where Zorro and his rival in love were jammed on a sofa flanking the girl. Just above her head was a large painting, kind of pueblo version of an El Greco, in chunky ochers and rather nasty sage green, a woman swathed in fabric looking over her shoulder, her hand raised and holding something. That's it. Done some drawing but think it should be followed into paint to see why its so compelling.
The tumbling nude on vellum done, though, alas, far from finished. The situation l place it in is next.
LATER; attacked the painting of the woman looking over her shoulder. So far, she is holding the severed head of a man. Its a very rich image - Holophernes, John the Baptist - but that's not the good bit, the good bit is the woman - who is shocked and thrilled by the head she is both clasping to her and supporting. Very engaged with it.  Must must must try not to overwork :)

Sunday 26 January 2014

jan 26 sunday 2014

yesterday almost completely lost. In putting the painting out of mind l seem to have dismissed my 'self' too - the day sat in an armchair watching tv, snoozing, eating constantly, cleaning, ironing. Couldnt focus on anything for long. Couldn't read. Walked -briefly - in the pouring rain.
Did get a little way on with the nude-on-vellum. The technique is working and the drawing appropriate. Slept in 15 min bursts till the early hours, then woke to recognise how deeply asleep l was... feel better today, have energy and vision.

Friday 24 January 2014

jan 24th 2014 Friday

Not a lot going on in the studio, spent yesterday reaching a point where I could hoover the floor - hasn't been done for a couple of years - even cleaned up cobwebs off the roof, feeling guilty. Dali recommends using them in the painting.
Now the place is too big to enter.
My head is full of rubbish:) Real, proper nonsense. Decided to remove all remembrance of the T of the G from my brain as much as I could and succeeded. The void is filled with meaningless babble. (really. Chants of names of people Ive forgotten, self-castigation epithets, bits of horrid songs. Often out loud)

In the meantime in studio 2, have nearly finished the head of the household god (below) I've been fiddling with for years and started the vellum drawing - coated it in clay slip, drawn in charcoal and will scratch the image in. Plan to wash off clay and charcoal and work with the scratches. Nice; skin, earth, burnt tree - water - we'll see how it pans out.

The ignored painting, meantime, will also be scraped. There's too much paint on it. Will scratch some off. But only when bone dry. A while off.

Wednesday 22 January 2014

22 02 2014

studio such a mess that it was becoming impossible to work. And the painting too tacky - viscous, I mean  - to work on. So spent afternoon tidying and cleaning brushes and putting paint away and generally feeling hard-done-by. Something radically wrong with the picture. sigh.

Tuesday 21 January 2014

21 01 2014 tuesday

 Terrible photo (I hope) but getting there. Took out loads of layers I liked. The train has to be black, it seems; l needed a dense black so mixed rose quinacridone and prussian with ivory black, just the job. Then had a brief walk to think about balancing the lower picture and hit on the mix of caput mortem, voilet and white I used to love. Again had to lose layers so resisting the temptation to wash it over what was there and protect  it, I palette knifed it on over the scraffito, bravely. Those artists whose work has been materialising - Duffy, Sutherland, Piper - abandoned.Still the blue foreground has to be down toned - viridian glaze? - and the sky. Black. I suppose all the light and colourful layers I'm drowning add something to the finish.

Phographing and assessing is my Flaubertian Gueulier, without the volume.

Monday 20 January 2014

20 01 2014 monday

Theres a really good article in the LRB by one Paul Grimstad which l took to Carcassonne with me on Saturday. The picture was too wet to work on so I bunked off, with nothing much in mind; Carca was hideous with sales and the insane laughter of the young. Skulked under the walls of the cite. Favorite cafes closed for January, ditto galleries. Had to wait 4 hours for the return train so fairly bored. Having the article gave me something to think about.
It was a review of a book called Flaubert's 'Gueuloir': On 'Madame Bovary' and 'Salammbo" by Micheal Fried. Flaubert devised a method of bellowing his writing in order to perfect it, this being the Gueulor of the title. But it isn't that that was interesting so much as his observations about intent and accident. Im not going to rewrite the article here - what I personally found was that writers too are concerned with access to the unconscious and its use - automatic writing and controlled writing, how they inform and provoke each other. Don't know why I hadn't thought of it before, especially as I'm not unfamiliar with the writings of the surrealists. Obscurely cheering.
Note; re-read I and Thou, Buber's brillo book. Relevant here.
And funnily enough I'm currently re-reading Salammbo or would be had I not got bored and distracted. Will return to it after the Austin Osmund Spare memoir by Gary Sargeant that superseded it; which is also getting somewhat dull. It wanders about, referring to other artists that Sargeant had known. All a little low key though with a certain sad charm.
Back to Carca... it was dark of course when the 7.08 train arrived and I was an hour early for it. Which gave me time to look and make notes on the lights and the trains, the better to inform the current picture. Couldn't have been better if I'd planned it. (Except for the crowds of insane young, of course.)
So the picture grows and darkens and must one day get finished. 'It is never finished; there is always something to be done over' as Flaubert remarks. La la. I'm enjoying it, for a novelty.
Also found a clamp that holds the two canvases together -
Today's drawing, however, was a misery. New model Clare is vast and round and pin-headed, beautiful but could do nothing with her.

Friday 17 January 2014

17th Jan 2014 Friday

2 good days including a moment when I realised I was on the home stretch - way to go yet but getting there.

Need to start thinking of the next now (other then the parchment piece which is still terrifying me )

Monday 13 January 2014

Monday 13th Jan 2014

V early start - grey rainy day, great light. Wanted to stay in studio but its Monday and life drawing. Fabienne modelling. Got caught up in appearances again. Difficult not to with her, shes so pretty and present.
Your vulgarity flawless is but you are the slave of appearances...  knackered already, lunch and rest and have another go. One of this mornings studies may well fit the T of the G; hope so.

later; Dreadful pains in shoulder stopped play. Its now gone 5.00and Ive taken an aspirin. Dinner out; will rest up till then.  Which is by way of avoiding the fact that its a terrible painting and a wasted afternoon.

Sunday 12 January 2014

12th jan sun 2014

Brilliant day. Opened studio door and closed it, pronto. Spent morning at the market, buying flowers and 2 ludicrous pairs of trousers, meeting  mates. Once home Ferren MacIntyre dropped round; we talked about the subconscious and dreams and how they tell you things you cannot know, though really he just wanted to find a charity that neutered cats - we did cover a lot of other ground. After I fried a lunch, Andy and Louise and their baby James came round and we had tea and that was fun too though hard to chatter with a toddler about. Did some pottering. Then cooked, opened wine, watched DVD's of the Big Bang ( xmas pressie from Bob) and my dog Lily got a bone wedged in her mouth. She let me into her mouth but the bone was jammed, I couldn't shift it. Rang Ian who cycled round immediately and between us we got it out, both bitten and bloodied though not badly.  Phew. Drank to it all.
Very pleased with myself for keeping out of arts way.

Saturday 11 January 2014

11 01 2014 sat

v early start - too early, now 11.00ish and I'm a wreck. Been for a pre-dawn walk and just now a walk walk, trying to clear the turps and the ideas.
The thing is cluttered, being made of several paintings that don't join up. I'm about to paint out the middle ground. The other thing is that the foreground figures have become Raul Duffy's which whilst an interesting pleasure is not necessarily what Im after. Erase erase.
Later: totally overtaken by Duffy - my attempts to change just dig me in deeper. Found out how he did thing anyway Most interesting. Remembering now the three days I spent at his exhibition at The Musee Paul Valery at Sete. Stayed  in a cheap hotel so I could be the first in each morning - not that it was ever crowded - but I got a full hour alone everyday, except for the guards that followed me around. Drew loads. I guess it took root. When this is done might take the bus to Perpignon and have a look at what they have there... in the meantime, hey la.carry on. Has to dry a bit now so have cleaned palette and am eating out tonight, will take it easy tomorrow.

Thursday 9 January 2014

9th jan., thursday

Hardly any time at work today - morning cleaning, afternoon in Carcassonne buying more paint, good thinking time. Think I should junk big picture. Think I should carve into the vellum with a serious sharp point. Want to understand how I will hang the vellum too -
Time something just went right.
Tomorrow morning out, tomorrow afternoon a friend is visiting. Maybe all will be clear by the weekend.

Wednesday 8 January 2014

8th jan weds

decent nights sleep - starting at 9.30 - woke aching (day sitting in a car-) but aware that the picture is absurdly straightforward. Rather banal distopia balanced with prelapsarian innocence. Just have to hope that the actual work will become more interesting than that.
Realised also that the block was caused by wanting to use the wrong drawing. So; changed drawings and presently charmed by the idea of using the preferred drawing in silver ink on the parchement Margaret gave me which is now properly stretched. That delight awaits me... at the moment the drawings I am using are being mischievous, they are like low-life forms coming out of the river.
Lunch time and attention to garage storage now.

Tuesday 7 January 2014

o7 o1 2o14 Tues

Lovely day; spent a couple of hundred euros on paint, yeah - got the irridescent pebeo XL in the sales, 7 euros a pop. Fear it will soon disappear as some of the stores have stopped carrying it so plan to get what l can when l can - love the translucent colours and the hysterical brightness of the shiny ones. May go back Thursday if Andree will take me and get a shed load more.
Margaret took me today - we went to the expo at the Maison des Memoires and lo! A woodcut, very simple, yelling for attention that turned out to be by Miro. Voila; a bad snap hastily done.
What is it - and at what point in the process does it occur - that makes a few simple marks thrum with life?
Went to the Musee des beaux arts too, it was awful.
Bought lefranc and b gesso, lots of sennelier white, hahnemuhle block of watercolour paper. Tomorrow is clear to slash and burn worrying canvas of T of the G. Have also changed position of my bed so dreams cant get me. Hopefully.

Monday 6 January 2014

07 jan tues 2014

was woken by a girls voice whispering outside my door: This way, come on in, its easy, the door's open...
switched on the light and no-one there; my dog continued to snore.
Why would a burglar speak English?
Next disturbance a huge black figure and a freezing draught as it opened the door.

06 01b 2014 monday

difficult... happy drawing, this being monday, though Ceri who was modelling made rather heavy weather of it. Not fluid; not graceful; not comfortable. But solid and textured - just her poses were rather resentful. Not to moan, got some things I may use but nothing for the T of the G picture which is causing problems.
During the drawing I was rather delighting in feeling 'self-authenticated'; I'm doing this after a million years experience and therefore its OK. I can call myself artist. 51 year since I got my first oils! Ferkkinhell. Drawing practice dates from that first experience with a pencil, well remembered, aged 4... 60 years this year.
Im assuming I know how to do it and can ontologically validate myself.
Which doesnt help paint something that wont be painted. Its OK, the stuff Ive done, now I have to proceed with the hallucinatory figures before I can do the rest and the ones I WANT to use are the WRONG ONES.
Wrestled with the issue over the weekend and today and am taking tomorrow off.

Saturday 4 January 2014

4th Jan Sat 2014

Its going really slowly, I can't think why... first layer nearly finished but thats all and its not THAT big. Painting in two halves so have to shift easels about but all manageable.
Very odd dream last night, still thinking about it. An elderly Indian in a three-piece tweed suit, silverygrey with shot green, his long thick grey white hair tied into a bun at the nape of his neck; he put his hand on my shoulder so that I was encouraged to straighten up and stand next to him, at the back of a crowd where something I couldn't see was happening up front; it was a short ceremony of some sort that I was expected to respect. The group nearest us came back with him to my studio (a studio anyway, not one I know) where I was given a baby to look after. It was a weird thing, not right, not-quite human. I liked it though and played with it when it suddenly exploded. The people that were there had been expecting this and cleaned it up really fast, apologising for the mess.

Friday 3 January 2014

3rd Jan Friday 2014

- two days fleshing in the Twilight... its a funny business but despite my attitude I find the matter engages, entraps me. Masking tape and filling gaps is as soulless as painting gets but the nature of the thing I'm pretending to make demands that I consider it wholly as I do it- not explaining this well. Interesting though. Not a phenomenon Ive observed before but then  rarely just slap on paint for the sake of it.
Direction getting clearer though baffling. Want two luminous figures in the foreground, outside of all the action - prelapsarian - has envisaged a couple of Hindu like deities with that hysterical colouring but want to use my own studies. A drawing of Marie tumbling is obvious and whilst searching for a companion, as fun and as frivolous, found the recent drawing of Atmo and Aileen which she styled Adam and Eve. But its too earnest.
Anyway, lunchtime.

Wednesday 1 January 2014

01 01 2014 Weds

Entire day spend cleaning the studio, organising and editing drawings, generally getting tidy. Large Twilight of the Gods getting a bit of attention as I go along. Can SEE it finished - whats the point of the enactment? Been in my head too long. Currently feel I should map it out and then ferk it up. Which is probably what'll happen anyway.