Sunday 30 May 2021

30 05 2021 b

 These are the two I like - ever-so slightly touched up with luminous paint. Works for me.

Saturday 29 May 2021

30 05 2021

 Bob has taken over all my duties, washing, cooking, shopping - so yesterday really was clear and I managed to fiddle with things and get nowhere. Finished two drawings, destroyed another, painting too over-worked and not good. Time to turn it to the wall and press on. Thought today is ringed with social events - a rarity - and tomorrow with dealing with officialdom involving a trip to Carcassonne. Probably time for reflection.

Friday 28 May 2021

29 05 2021


Not quite there.... nearly. Need to big up the sinister covid - but not a lot. Should be invisible at first viewing.
Pretty insane here with amazon. Trying to get to a mechanism to correct the damaged 2 pages but - not going to itemise the process so far, don't want to think about it. Don't know what to do. Will reflect another time.

Took two clients to the store yesterday and they have chosen 6 pix! Delighted and surprised. They have to send them away so was able to show them Markus's box - clearly a good plan. Which reminds me, need to research the courier to Germany. 

But today, today, today is clear :) Off to studio.

28 05 21

First copy of new book - printing errors!! This image and another has random lines which I quite like and would leave but Gracie who is implicit and of course Roland (who hasn't been told) do not/will not like. So back to Amazon lalala.  [She looks like a migrane sufferer now]

Yesterday, to the gypsum mine by Rouvenac. Wonderfully secret place. Grown over a lot since I was last there - a decade ago - guessing that gypsum pilgrims not  abounding. Blessed yet again with a perfect day. 

Done a few Landscape with Covid drawings/watercolours that I like - will snap later. Loathe to let this weird couple of years go unnoted. 

Wednesday 26 May 2021

27 05 2021

Yesterdays trip was all I wanted.... plus some surprises. Hundreds of photos in great light; if I get the chance will go back to see it in moonlight. 

 Stopped off in Carcassonne on the way back and got four sheets of paper so ready to process and develop ideas. Not today! - which is the pre-planned trip to the old mine in Rouvenac. 

Tuesday 25 May 2021

26 05 2021

 Not going well, too pretty, too much paint, thinking obtuse. Leaving it to dry whilst I head off to the Dolmen des fades.

Monday 24 May 2021

24 05 2021

 Les disparus... needs more attention but can fit it in before the studio wall is crepied.

Found a wonderful paper by one Garrett Olmsted - the iconography of the celtic Veneti - just what I need to take to the dolmen des fades on Weds., perfect timing.

Just what I need to think about today too.

Sunday 23 May 2021

23 05 2021

 Realised that it's no longer the blue that mattered - though perforce that dominates - but Cerunnos who has entered the frame, as it were. 

As a god, it seemed decent to paint him in luminous paint. Which sat sweetly on the paper. I'd already decided to use transparent scarlet ink to control the blue and that worked well. Then -as I'm  also working on a painting that features deer - quickly and un-reflectedly used a brushful of deer-stuff for the shoulders.

Liked it and stopped. Won't know for a few days when everything has dried if the luminous paint actually works. 

The other deer painting is an old one that never really cut the mustard, that I'm trying to make into a post-covid memorial. Hmm.

Saturday 22 May 2021

22 05 2021

Chem trails back and the skies are responding :)

 When there is a good piece of blue paper stretched and ready to go, this is most disconcerting.

Photos do it better than I could.

Thursday 20 May 2021

21 05 2021

Chateau at St Ferriol yesterday. Trying to arrange to go to a megalithic site with Jamsie as guide, since his normal tours are all cancelled after the pandemic...


20 05 2021

 Got this as far as I want to go (Cernuous up a tree)  though its hideously clunky... finished it off with the paint made from soil of Rennes le Chateau which sat well on the various inks under it. Guessing that the linseed will soak through and some of the pigment will crumble but that process may be what the thing needs. 

Pleased when finished so stretched the other piece of blue paper. Thought that I now know it well enough to use in another way -  but find this morning that the chaos in the studio is actually unacceptable, which is remarkable for me. The back wall that was damaged by water ingress, now dried out,  is due to be crepied  and must be accessible. The renewed gallery has also to be attended to, which means clearing some of the archive room. 

Best get on then.

Wednesday 19 May 2021

19 05 2021

Not going to plan... the blue paper either too absorbent  (with walnut ink) or too resistant (with Chinese ink) Have to keep re-introducing chalk and ugh its all got lost. Image caught me in LaValdieu and was both dispassionate and scary but is now persisting in being cute. Other problem is that each layer has to dry so the thing changes and occasionally surprises - like yesterday evening it looked like it had its own functioning life as a tree but by the morning, niet.

Have a RDV to hand over the paintings to go to Munich to be crated by Norbert, they are packed - and my wrists are bandaged, really didn't want anyone else to do that job but, oh la, I've got De Quervains tenosynovitis and this has banged it back in place. Not really a problem, when it was first diagnosed I made and bought bandages that deal with it. It'll pass. 
When the doc in London diagnosed it she was delighted. Of the eight artists in the practice, six had the condition. It was like a certificate of authenticity ( at least as far as she was concerned.)

Yesterday; the spring at La Bauzeille hte., above La Serpent. Very appealing. Booked Gracie for next week, check out the lime mine and mill. There is obviously lime AND iron in the water.


Tuesday 18 May 2021

18 05 2021

 In desperation, started going through the racks and portfolios. Found decent paper with dreadful watercolours that I could use the back of. (Though two I really like; landscape with goats, so they stay.) And also three rolls of various vintage papers! I'd thought they'd been lost in the flood/move/other drama. Lovely to see them and unrolling and re-rolling really grounded me, bizarrely.  Can't face using them (one watermarked 1800) but know they are there.

Bought this stash in Hoylake, Liverpool, from an artstore closing down when I was catching my breath after the complete collapse of my last marriage. Had been wondering if I should change career. Coming across these papers, already vintage, seemed like a sign to continue. 

Also found a couple of sheets of a hand-made rag, nice, but saxe blue. No watermark. Stretched one - soaked - last night and attacked this morning using chalk and walnut ink.

And a roll of mulberry bark paper. Bought that in china town in London some years ago and found it too difficult for the project it had been intended for. Might be useful, its rather lovely and there's a lot of it.

Sunday 16 May 2021

16 05 2021

 The work has backed me into a corner. Went through some of the studies today and they're nice but going nowhere. Lots of rocks; lots of water. 

Remember when I got here - before responsibility for home and family struck - that I'd spend time sitting on a rock in the river, drawing. I knew hardly anyone and my french was slight so it was a focused time. Felt safe on the rock, no-one ever came down to the river there. It was disturbingly tidal on account of the hydro electric dam up stream but I learnt its rythms and timed my trips accordingly. Found one of my favorite fossils there, the one I take travelling when I have to leave these parts. 

Walked there this afternoon in the rain but it was too wet to reach. Slidy muddy wet and my feet were already soaked. Wandered to where the Faby reaches the Aude and spotted some great rocks I'd never clocked before but can't work out how to access them. Pondering this - and how to follow the Faby further - realised I was engaging in pyschogeography, a term and a practice I'd forgotten. Can it be pushed through time as well as distance? 

To follow the Faby will take me to Rouvenac and to cross the bridge there and go uphill will get me to the old lime mill and mine. Will see if Gracie is up for taking me there and from there, the other side of the bank where there is a track (if memory serves) which we can explore. It's tiring, not knowing what I'm looking for; feel the lack of method quite keenly. Pyschogeography for all its fogginess has seemed in the past to be quite rigorous if you are true to it, as the surrealists methods are, as any quest has to be.

Friday 14 May 2021

14 05 2021

 Strange fish head, made up of little fossils... I'm hoping my unconscious is  doing some work because my consciousness is def on holiday. 

On the plus side the saints book all finalised, waiting for the proofs now.

STILL like the last big drawing but no idea where to take it. Perhaps its all stuck there.

No sign of paper arriving from Wales for a few months -the shops will be open here next week so can buy some. Tried to paint - not good. New canvases primed.

Decided (on instruction from Hilary) that bubble wrap is ecologically too awful to wrap paintings in, so will happily go foraging for cardboard instead. Feels like a v good plan. Norbert prepared to build case for all and then have to wait and see if the paintings are being collected or have to be couriered to Munich.

Really want some results. Everything feels inept.

Wednesday 12 May 2021

13 05 2021

 Only interesting drawing from yesterdays crop...  had a watercolour set with me but no brush and discovered that folding and shredding a dried bamboo leaf makes a v useful tool. Not a lot of control but I like that too.

Also discovered that the almond tree I'm attached to is supporting a rogue vine and a ball of mistletoe. (Drawings crap)

AND that the paint I have so laboriously made is only good as a stain. The fillers that are used in bought paint are clearly there for a purpose.

Bauxite uncrushable, can break it down to grit by soaking but impossible to grind.

Today plan to drag Ian in to edit the Saints... needed by end of week, i.e. tomorrow.

12 05 2021

 Art store in Carcassonne partially closed in accordance with govt guidelines as to what is necessary and what not. Got three 80 x 80 cotton canvases. That's it.

Whilst up Mt Marot had a very visceral response to an almond tree. Most surprising. Not blossom, not nut, but the explosion of little pointy leaf. And one tree in particular. Really can't think why this should be and thought to get up there today and check it out, draw it properly. Not sure I can get there though, legs still hurting after last excursion. Better try though - forecast good for this morning, rainy this afto.

Later; looking increasingly unlikely. Have prepared a couple of little canvases with the ground soil of the two mountains.... will perhaps try and work the almond tree onto those. Or /and find a nearer almond tree on the flat.

Monday 10 May 2021

11 05 2021

 Bauxite! I climbed the local mountain yesterday where I knew there was an outcrop, next to an ochre supply. Bauxite is hard, probably tooo hard but the ochre is easy. Comes out a little muddy though so didn't grind a lot. 

The magic of the internet has revealed that my little ship grinder was made in Portugal by a glass pressing process. Its moulded with the initials IVIMA. At a guess it was made as a stopper for a missing pot but with its flat ground base it is a brilliant tool for making paint.

Deviation avenue has sucked me in again.... and today, taking Ian to Cardiology in Carcassonne.  

Sunday 9 May 2021

10 05 2021

 Found a glass stopper - with a flat, ground glass base - that makes a  perfect grinder. Its shaped like a little galleon with an Occitan flag. Cute.

So, grinding on. Bit pointlessly obsessive now. 

Gracie sorting Saints book and has found a good designer to get it on Amazon platform. It seems Amazon best bet and even if a protest vote means we take it to another company, the chances are they use Amazon in their processes. The only problem I had with them over the Stafford book was the friends who didn't want to use Amazon! 

Will be happy to draw a line, hoho, under that lot. In the meantime, expecting to spend some time painting the walls of the gallery in the garden, which was once my perfect gallery and then got annexed by Bob - who has emptied it and returned it to me. Desperate for space to store stuff - plus its possible to open to public. A Good Thing after this lockdown. 

Friday 7 May 2021

07 05 2021

Humberto Maturana, drawn in Vienna in 2003. Another great one, gone. I'm beginning to know more dead people than alive ones. Sooner or later the weight of it all carries one across, perhaps??

Here are a couple of little board pix done in the hills, on which I have tested the paint of the red soil of Rennes le Chateau. It sits well, it has a luminosity - was hoping to develop these two somewhere but they seem complete now and I can't see what can be done to move them on - 

Still grinding away. Need one of those flat bottomed glass grinders, thought I had one but cant find it. Perhaps with the printmaking kit, that's where I last ground inks. Pleasant occupation in these sad days.

Thursday 6 May 2021

06 05 2021

 Day shopping and cooking, lunching, kipping. Studio late and under energized. Ground paint. Painted a bit with it- like the quality, no the quality is crap, the resonance of the paint. Not sure how it will behave long term but if l live longer, will find out.

Bernard has to have more treatment but at least they will treat him so all not lost there.

And today, Humberto Maturana has died. Granted, he was in his '90's but I'm very tearful. End of epoch. He was doing a zoom next week so his death is a shock - was he ill? Obviously thought he'd make it to next week. I have some drawings of him somewhere from Vienna which I'II dig out tomorrow.

Wednesday 5 May 2021

05 05 2021

Some of the LaValdieu drawings...

and the grinding!! I'd forgotten the blessings and the boredom of making paint.  Sieving, cleaning, endless mixing with oil.

 Made a mix - finally - rich enough to use and it was rather nice, just needed more mixing. It's some odd chemical thang that involves turning and turning the mix with a spatula on glass, until the colour deepens and the grit disappears. 

Reflective, of course. The soil was from Rennes le Chateau which claims the red soil is dyed by the blood of Christ. Palaeontologists would have you believe that it was the layer next to the dinosaur swamp in days of yore. Each equally (im)probable IMHO. 

Tuesday 4 May 2021

04 05 2021

 To Lavadieu... rumours of ancient stone carvings and the like. Celtic paths, yup, and a spring - lovely. But any carvings are up on the cliff and electric fenced off for the cattle and horses and anyway beyond me. Got sunburnt, drew, took lots of photos. Gracie came too and we finalised the Saints in Paint book, so its all up to her now. Wipes hands briskly.

Found this mysterious carving on the paved path to the spring, among plates of old stones arranged at the edges - never seen one like this before. Our hosts had never seen it before! Rather disappointed though, had hoped to find the Boudet-noted stash and to be able to see them at night. In the event, night was v dark and v cold and there were no suitable stones. Done some drawing that maybe OK, haven't checked since I got home. Knackered. Unaccustomed exercise and fresh air and spell-binding surroundings. Lots to think about.

Waiting on Bernards tests, results tomorrow will show if the treatment is effective. Also waiting for tomorrow to see if Cen will be able to get some of his pictures here. Candle-lighting time.