Thursday 30 October 2014


Trip to the mountains mixed.... the house, the man (Jean-Pierre) the region, the animals, all wonderful. Acrylics fun but crap -l have no instinct for landscape. They may look better when I shed this cold, streaming and snorting after a cold night and yesterday trapped in the back of a car all day, hateful. My friends pissed off with me. Tomorrow brother in law arrives, everything ready. Now bed and asprin, with luck this will pass quickly.
 The floors - and walls - were marble. The floor stones polished by centuries of use

 From the terrace - not great weather -

Little deer -

Salamander that lives under the entrance

some of one of the kitchens

and below, Jean-Pierre.

It will be difficult NOT to make something out of all this, especially given the alchemical imagery that abounded ('Ma grand-mere est une sorcier')

Monday 27 October 2014


Drew (Frederik) for two hours, standing up (me, not her -) using oil pastels and large cartridge paper. It was joyful and fun and my energy was strong - reminded of my student days when it was all possible, when problems have solutions.
Then thought, problems still have solutions. There are solutions. Whats this need to get the RIGHT solution? A question answered honestly is resolved. The right question is the thing really and Im very good at those...

The change has been entirely brought about by medicine which has bought my blood pressure down to merely high levels. Feel light and airy and capable. Can't remember when I last felt this well, certainly a couple of years ago if not longer. Determined to hang on to this new personna:) (Little voice whisphers; spes pathetica)

Off tomorrow with Kat and Margaret to paint in the mountains. We overnight with a friend of Kats, who feeds us, lets us use his estate to wander and paint on. There are deer. Couldn't quite work out how to approach this - fond though I am of landscape - then remembered the box of acrylics that Harry had packed for me from Simons estate. Plus I have a bunch of canvas boards bought a while ago with another project in mind, with a couple of small canvases.

Haven't used acrylics since 1969. Didnt like them, never went back to them, took all my friends' oils as they changed over. Delighted to have a new challenge so simply arrived at.


 Hokusai, who at 75 added a postscript to the first printing of his “One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji”:
“From the time that I was 6 years old I had the mania of drawing the form of objects. As I came to be 50 I had published an infinity of designs; but all that I have produced before the age of 70 is not worth being counted. It is at the age of 73 that I have somewhat begun to understand the structure of true nature, of animals and grasses, and trees and birds, and fishes and insects; consequently at 80 years of age I shall have made still more progress; at 90 I hope to have penetrated into the mystery of things; at 100 years of age I should have reached decidedly a marvelous degree, and when I shall be 110, all that I do, every point and every line, shall be instinct with life — and I ask all those who shall live as long as I do to see if I have not kept my word.”
Hokusai died in 1849 in his late 80s, by all reports still far from satisfied with his work then in progress.

Monday 20 October 2014

20th 10 2014 Monday

No work done at all - skipped this mornings drawing session to go to the doctor. My general mardiness is rooted in dangerously high blood pressure. Given the fact of my brothers death not so long ago of fundamentally the same thing, Im taking the tablets. Which make me feel marvellous, so far - though its only 12 hours since Ive taken one so theres time for developments.
Been thinking. Will have to change my life a lot if I dont want a stroke - which I don't.

Friday 17 October 2014

17th Oct Friday 2014

Yesterday a lost cause with ringing head and exhaustion - did the domestics and the necessary and went to bed thinking I might die. Frightful night. This morning decided I was ill and made the mistake of checking my bloodpressure. Its huge, danger hypertension level according to the booklet that comes with the kit. Knowing this dosent make it easeier. Gone back to bed and will wait for it all to pass. Thinking no clearer, work still terrible.

Wednesday 15 October 2014

15th Oct 2014 weds

Can usually rely on a weds., its a clear day following a studio day following drawing day- but apart from a bit of uncertain fiddly painting I've only managed to clean the studio. A bit. The bit that was vital in order to carry on.
That aside, I've phoned Bob and Hilary in England (help me not to be locked into myself) walked in the sunshine (its hot), shopped, cooked, siesta'd (from which I woke with start at someone in my dream calling, ARTIE OLDIE) and now think I will bake a cake. Certainly will cook.
Tomorrow is domestic day which is as well. I just don't know how to proceed. Hopeless. I am not enjoying this. So whats it for?

Tuesday 14 October 2014

tues 14th Oct 2014

Drawing yesterday, decided that it wasnt worth the candle and to give up. I'd got white paper and a drawing pen thing - a relic of Simon - no chance of anything other than simple mark-making. I ended up cross-hatching, for ferks sake. Miserable.
Spent time in the afternoon on Skype with Toby C., who is a wise man nowadays and helped a great deal. We have a deal in common, being self-motivated, un valued and poor. Though I think Tobes is rather famous which I think would be nice.
When I looked again at the drawings they were still crap - ! - but honest enough. Rediscover the basics, I guess, though I'd rather not bother.
Suddenly able to paint this morning though not particularly well. This series, the inherited ones, are VANITAS. Maybe find a way to incorporate skulls. Certainly got the egg-timer things, whatertheycalled, sand glasses?
Phone call from the organisers of Aa S which was flattering - and a secret so probably not for blogging in case anyone is actually looking. Cheered me up.
And an afternoon with Philippe who says the way through this tristesse is to use the objects so that they continue being a part of the world and cease to be relics. Fair point.
...Up again against the probable fact that Im just not good enough. Does anyone ever get through that, except the natural born genius?

Wednesday 8 October 2014


" I see craftsmanship not as an ability to plan campaigns but being able to jump the right way in all the unguessable emergencies of writing. "
Denise Levertov; LRB 25.sept 2014 p 35

Monday 6 October 2014

06102014 Monday

Been not-able to set up the next pix - actually set up 2 but not enough interested in them to actually start painting. So thats OK; no queues of dealers waiting to take them away.
The last few days were spent setting up, sitting or taking down the Arthe group show at Magrie. Once a year Magrie (population 7) opens its garages and stuffs them full of art. Theres a catalogue and a brass band and prizes - no judging system - pays yer money (20e), joins in. Good principle though rather alarmingly it seems to be carte blanche for the indifferent and frilly to flaunt themselves. But then our group, despite the jumble sale appearance, was rather good. Kat won the graphics prize and rightly so.
To be honest I didnt really look at anyone elses work, was either busy or on my way out.
So this being Monday the group met this morning and there was a strong sense of solidarity. When I told Bob he said that was because we'd been away on a team building exercise [dear god.]

Ran a happy internal dialogue. Been thinking that Ive so successfully dissolved my facility that what remains is doodles, or what David Jones would call the self-expression of the young women, ahhhgh. I do hope he wouldnt hate me.
 Anyway as I was working I thought, what are the rules? And realised that the rules become evident. They are strict and unchangeable and not knowable until the mark is being made. This gave me great courage.

Then realised that any fluctuation in concentration means loosing the knowledge. So, for instance, a moments pause to think, oh thats a good bit, and the whole thing is lost. The rules are no longer clear. The link has to be re-made. The internal logic re activated.

This is why the work is patchy.

Certainly was patchy today. Maxsense was modelling and very well, mercifully he left his flutes at home. Im guessing someone had a word with him. He worked hard and kept - comparatively - still. His body is rather disproportionate, his legs seem too short for his bodys' length, which made the tempation to correct very difficult to resist.

But hey. Im taking it easy. Got too much work and no passion. It can all wait.

Wednesday 1 October 2014

1st Oct 2014

Finished! I'd like to say Im zipping through this series but the next is hard to even arrange - tierd, I think. Anyway, grant grandpapas humidor and Staffords last box of Coronas. Next is going to be complicated....