Friday 30 April 2021

30 04 2021

 ha - just when you think its over - computer now given up ghost. Got the finished file onto a stick, so thats safe. The rest, oh la... 

Thursday 29 April 2021

29 04 2021

 The hot breath of hubris... firstly for painting 40 saints, then for making a book of them and thinking it would be easy. Making anything seems to come with a difficult emotional and technical and and price tag.

I thought it would all be finished and NOW IT IS. The texts are done and saved in an accessible file, ready for Gracie. The paintings are photographed and oven-ready (if I can find the stick) (oh shut up)

My plan is to have a kip and wake up with a clear image of the cover.

After that I have to hit the study, the filing and the filth. The loose ends and the threats. 

Tuesday 27 April 2021

27 04 2021

 Daren't do anymore... pushed my luck to get this far. The paper was so terrifying that I had to face it - used materials that had couldn't be corrected. Started with walnut ink - which I made in 2017 - then to silver acrylic. after that, a mix of watercolour and gouache. Bits of brushed-in charcoal. Pleased and happy to stop. 

Monday 26 April 2021

26 04 2021

Philippe very kindly took the morning off to drive me around the Corbieres, to clock the distribution of the red earth and its companion ochers with a view to making paint. He is most knowledgeable.  Had hoped to draw but rain stopped play.


Saturday 24 April 2021

24 04 2021

It is very like saying there's nothing in to drink but Veuve Clicquot - but this handmade J.Whatman made-in- England in 1938 paper is all I have that's suitable for what I'm trying to do. Can't get to a shop that'll sell decent paper until the confinement ends; besides, what am I saving this for?
That said, it terrifies me. So I stretched it yesterday and went out for a coffee. When I got back it had dried in such a way that it had twisted the drawing board and hurled all to the floor. Admittedly the drawing board isn't  wood -that's still under my mattress - but it is v thick acid-free card. Had to re-stretch and clamp. Looked it up (Vintage Papers) and its ideal for large delicate work. It was never going to take charcoal, for sure. Wrong attitude. Can't face the unforgiving nature of ink so it'll have to be pencil.

AND Marcus wants another picture! Off to the stockage to see if I still have the one he wants then to bring it to studio for varnishing. Pretty sure I'd remember if it was sold. 

Thursday 22 April 2021

23 04 2021

 Signs of life: difficult to know where we actually were yesterday - took a known path, left it, got lost  - found some quite mid-blowing rocks (to me anyway, Gracie seemed a little unmoved) and got lost some more. Maybe all a little bit scary. Being lost in the woods, donkeys miles from anywhere.

After that went to the fountain of love on the Sougraine route and up the hill opposite. Found where I had  been taken some 20 years ago but couldn't reach the carvings - too high- the rocks I did get to were the best I could do.

Collected some images that are settled in me now. 

Found a couple of springs and a couple of caves, in short enough material to keep me busy for months. Decided that we would try and get to stay at Lavaldieu and finish up with the rocks there.

In the evening I'd booked myself into a zoom about the Celts on the Open Centre site. I've worked for these people when they came to France on a quest so I knew I wouldn't get anything, erm, how can I put this - rigorous from them. And indeed... lots of images of Victorian fairie paintings and girls with long hair and interwoven scripts. This bit was presented by one Alisair MacIntosh and he suddenly started making sense; fairy stuff represents the imagined world and expresses the profound interconnectivity of life. He is a political environmental activist and turns out to be both effective and a good egg. 

The second part was presented by a wealth manager, coo, called Jeff Gitterman. Not what I was expecting from the Open Centre :) He said that the amazingly rich ignore their kids but their grandchildren hold enormous sway and they are demanding ecological engagement. We must have, we says, heavy carbon taxes. And the chat started rattling on about Systems Thinking - I was amazed. 

Strange day, from heavy loneliness of the ancients to the ruminations of the rich.

Wednesday 21 April 2021

21 04 2021

 Done. I think. Off to the hills tomorrow, clutching Boudets map and hoping for more input.

Tuesday 20 April 2021

20 04 2021

 A hairs breadth from finishing drawing. Want to fiddle with the foreground and trying very hard to prevent myself giving it a lightly-coloured wash. Hands tingling but workable; shoulder sore but bearable.

Stopped mornings work early to go and pose with other friends for Rolands photos - he has some vision of a shared and improbable past - is perhaps making a calendar. That was fun, being told what to do and seeing mates.

Later had another interview about my father. Much as I love talking about him I really shouldn't have let myself be suckered into reading a poem. Can't read them without weeping and sure enough, I wept. Not a pretty twinkly tear but the chocked up snotty stuff. They (being American) thanked me for 'sharing my vulnerability'. Dreadfully draining.

The paper is now looking as if its been flayed. Have to stop soon or it'll go through. Nice surface though, forgotten I'd used wax as a retard before I found the latex and those marks are the ones that actually protect the paper from my heavy-handed abuse.

Monday 19 April 2021

19 04 2021

 Dunno about blood sweat and tears but my hands and shoulders are killing me. A mornings work - finishing off varnishing (v nice, love the way the colours return) - then drawing. Blisters from fingertip latex removal. Eraser just layers the latex. Razor blade ineffective BTW. Sharpened a chisel which actually works v well though has to be continually re-sharpened - the paper is amazing - and  the palm end of the chisel was damaged in such a way that my palms are now cut. Cleaned up - hand-creamed - stinging. Stiff brush to paper and its all getting better.

And I'm stopping the morning slightly early and going for a walk.

The computer has stopped allowing me to download photos, sigh. Another job for Gracie on Weds.

Sunday 18 April 2021

18 04 2021

Source stuff, large drawing - this time, ha! Found the latex which may or may not pay off. Have to get further on with it.

Finished The Wedding. Don't like it but it does everything I wanted it to do and so I'm done. Had been thinking of Hogarth - ooh I love that mans work - and the Marriage a la Mode series but I ain't no genius. I can use paint though :)


Friday 16 April 2021

16 04 2021

Better than it looks... cracking on, rather piecemeal. My brother Mark having heart surgery and my heart is v disturbed, having trouble with it all. But found some varnish - while trying to find latex drawing fluid- so have been able to arrange Marcus' paintings. Amazed at how well they look after being varnished.

 Other excitements; fixative arrived, so double masked to deal with that. Works a treat. The charcoal firmly embedded. Paper more flexible. What magic makes this chemistry possible?

Thursday 15 April 2021

15 04 2021

 It's a busy life...Tris has bought Bobs meds over from London, allelujia, he can now get back into balance with luck. 

I've been trying to source ways of getting some paintings varnished. Varnish shop over 10 kilometers away though I guess I can write myself an exemption in the name of professional practice. Need it done sooner rather than later so they can dry properly in case the lift I'm hoping for to transport them turns up. 

Have booked Gracie for a day to further the Quest. 

Have spent a minor fortune submitting the the RA. Talk about hope springs eternal. Hmm, maybe that's a good name for the source drawings hoho.

Fiddled with the Wedding pic. Nearly nearly nearly there -

Wednesday 14 April 2021

14 04 2021

 Bob much better - have done tax returns - more errands this afternoon but maybe start again tonight. Brain dead.

Tuesday 13 April 2021

13 04 2021

 --- Bob been unwell so donning my nurses uniform again (this is a metaphor. Ain't got one) (Nor any nursing skills)

Between times fiddling with The Wedding. Want it done and a lot lot better - it'll have to wait.

Sunday 11 April 2021

11 04 2021

Finished, to my satisfaction - its always when I give up and think a thing is unresolvable that it slides into place.

Now the weighty matter of fixative is an issue because its surface is well friable. Asked Ole-Bendik's advice. Figured as an artist, chiefly pastels,  of 80 years he'd have a notion and he did. The old ways - milk, hairspray - just make the surface brittle. Buy aerosol tins of fixative, he says, and at our age don't even consider a diffuser.

Can't get to an art shop for at least 3 weeks, assuming lockdown is lifted then. Have been on line and ordered some and will have to work out the thorny issue of drawing boards somehow. Clip to wall? Yeah...

Creatures below causing probs but so nearly there... l think


and here, hahaha, nature echoing art.
Health scare with Bob, continuing. Called emergency services yesterday as his B/P registered a level that google said was life threatening.  Doc on line doubled his heart drugs, wants him kept quiet, doc app tomorrow.

Saturday 10 April 2021

10 04 2021

 Been bashing this thing out between times and overdone it - it'll have to dry some now. Its about marriage or at any rate, contracts - like the renaissance-y like idea but def needs more attention.

Creeping on reluctantly with the texts for the saints. So don't get the point of it all but dear heart Gracie has agreed to pull it all together and get 10 copies made, with print-on-demand options. I had hopes of sending it to cathedrals I had my eye on for little exhibitions and maybe that's the way to go. Can't even remember my last expo!

Clear day ahead, wooopeeee

Thursday 8 April 2021

08 04 2021

 Amazing day. Armed with attestations (exemption-from-lockdown certificates) claiming that we were working - me employing Gracie and me self-employed - since we were slightly over 10 kilometers from base. Doubt that we would have impressed anybody but the plan was to look as if we'd tried and didn't understand what else we could do; can you help, officer? But no sign at all of anyone, let alone officers of the law.

Scrambled through woods and over rocks, searching for old markings. Have to find a decent rock and then gently clean it to see if there are images there. Found several and two of especial interest, I think. Thinking of the images; what with not being an archeologist, I'm hunting images that have a resonance of some sort. Took a compass and found that there is no obvious orientation. Took some (difficult and inept) rubbings. 

So glad Gracie was with me, it was hard to move up and down and indeed along and I was frightened of falling and breaking something. Me, chiefly. And the cuckoos were calling, the sun shone, the forest was coming back to life. Brilliant. 

In the cold light of the evening studio, the painting on the easel looks especially daft. 

Tuesday 6 April 2021

07 04 2021

 Think this is getting overworked.... certainly my shoulders are. Elements are working - will take them into the next drawing. But today painting, better for the body. Tomorrow Gracie and I go hunting petroglyphs. 

06 04 2021

 Charcoal of The Source.... beginings anyway. Naturally I have wrecked my shoulders, now having to work wearing a shawl. Just because I'm old... not fair!

The drawing board being under the mattress to support the back,  I have a large piece of (acid-free) card which is fairly stiff. Bit floppy if I get too enthusiastic. Carries its own calm, I find :)

Monday 5 April 2021

05 04 2021

 Yeah finished! In that brief euphoria... have hung it out to dry. Does the job. And it was getting mixed with the Source stuff, which didn't help, so good its out of the way.

Been doing large drawings. Arms aching, forgotten all that - though on a hand made rag paper with very strong sennelier charcoal, life has been worse.

Thursday 1 April 2021

02 04 2021

 Went to the  source of the Salz yesterday with Gracie - and to hunt some stones - discovered that Boudets map bears little relationship to the land itself, must be an emotional response to the earth. But the source was v moving, the sense of being undisturbed for ever, carving little pools as it tumbles

cut the days explorations short as lockdown is on us again - from tomorrow - hence to art shops in Carcassonne for essential supplies. Finally found some Japanese tissue - 8 euros a sheet oh la. Figure Gracie and I can carry on exploring as work, professional duties, are permitted. May have to create some interesting French paperwork. Will ask at Marie today what is allowed.

Totally wiped out by the source trip. Realise really for the first time how old I am. Should have used some ventalin but it makes me shake, which I really don't like. The air is so pure it feels ridiculous but I don't have the receptors, I suppose.

Back in the studio in the evening was dumbfounded by the flame painting and its resemblance to the source spring, though not the colour obvs.

01 04 2021

 Think the internal figure needs to be stronger - has assumed that the gold oil-stick outline would do the trick and it nearly does, but needs strengthening. Also the blue cyanide needs, um, dressing up? Lots to ponder... but today, off to the hills with Gracie. Allelujia.