Saturday 25 July 2009

Importance of feathered friends

Yawn, hello . . .
Late night last night, BBQ and following mountain of washing up, started watching 'life on Mars' at 12.30am, then to be woken by passing 'alarm cal'l train at 6.30am.
The first thought I had when looking out of the bedroom window this morning was about birds. There was one passing; there always is. A solitary small black shape against the rushing clouds.
Someone asked me at an exhibition recently why I usually include birds in paintings. I couldn't say for sure. Now I can. They are part of our every moment whether it be a manky pigeon in a London square, or a wheeling swift on a summer breeze.

Wednesday 22 July 2009

Mother of all argarves

Amongst forms of procrastination gardening is one of the best.
Our garden is large, and if we (I mostly) gardened in a Southern French style, i.e with attention to the smallest weed, I would have been taken away by persons in white coats some time ago.
Recently, a man came to check the possibly of installing a well in the garden. He looked at the rampaging slope behind the house, with its collection of wild trees engaged in trying to swamp each other and knitted his brows in perplexity and fear.  "Sacré bonhomme, quel travaille . . . merde alors!" He uttered. (Jesus — how much work to do. Shit!)
Yep, no lines of begonias and well behaved fruit trees here, just nature doing its thing with me trying to coax it all into some sort of shape.

These are 'Argarve' cactus, guardians of the house. The mother of them is to the left and was brought back from Portugal by Jean-Paul, one of the previous house owners. She (the cactus) has produced many offspring which have been planted along the drive. Yesterday I started a baby cactus re-location program, which should see the hillside covered with their stripyness in the near future.

Gardening is time consuming but I think for me, like many others, totally essential as part of life. Sometimes I think I would get a lot more done if there was no garden-distraction, but then I would soon be out trawling bits of waste ground to find out who owned them, and planting tomatoes on roundabouts. We used to live in the centre of the town. Above is a photo of our balcony which was in danger of collapse due to weight of plant life . . . it was time to move on.  

Thursday 16 July 2009

Occasionally, its good to be alone.

These are the folks I live with.
I love them . . . and sometimes it's good to have a day on your own: no wet towels on the floor, eat snack lunch at 3.30 in the afternoon, listen to crap records over and over again…
In fact the main reason to have the odd quiet day is to find out where one was in the 'art process'.
It was a useful day, and I think I've worked out where I am heading.

The painting I'm working on currently. The start of a series about train travel, and corresponding to the sketch shown in the previous post.  

Tuesday 14 July 2009

Everyman is a cormorant, sometimes.

I was trying to find an image of the cover of my book, and uploaded this by mistake.
As it's from the inside of the book I'll leave it here.
Its title is above, and the subject concerns those times when we feel that it's all just a bit too much.
When Mark (husband and over-doer) is challenged thus, he reminds me of a cormorant drying its wings — a gesture of hopelessness, a shrugging of the shoulders; not that birds generally have shoulders, and probably not feelings about the impossibility of everything.
Time to stop. Need to watch DVD episode of Life on Mars. We are addicted to it at the moment.

train sketch

Good evening.
Excellent day today: walking, swimming, fruit collecting (small red plums) jam making;
poker playing, and art ideas moving forward.
This is a very bad photo of one of my sketch books. I always carry one, and draw whenever I'm not required to do anything else, usually in places where I'm just waiting — tyre changing garages, doctor's surgery, tax office etc. Train journeys are especially good.
I'm in the middle of a painting currently based on this drawing. A two minute 'moving' sketch of everything passing by the window, somewhere between Toulouse and Carcassonne

Friday 10 July 2009

Inspiration after a day at the coast

close of day

I remember my very good friend Chris Webb (UK photographer) once remarking that it was incredible how your mood can swing from hour to hour. This was just one of those days. Had arrived at total black moldyness at about 3.00, then finally got around to some tentative laying of paint onto wood. Sudden light, all seemed well. Even if its only a small amount of paint in some sort of direction, I must remember to make something every day. Following will (perhaps) be some images of my recent . . . ish work.

Images from Cerbère

How to blog? what to blog?

Hello there.
This is my first blog attempt.
Friday. Market, jobs, blank space to fill, could fill it with more jobs, but could do some painting.
There is a painting I started about a week ago before I got caught up in end of school things. I keep passing it, wondering why no-one has mentioned it. It's obviously very bad, or perhaps, incredibly good. More likely it's just become part of our surroundings. There's also a very blank piece of MDF next to it which could have paint applied to it, I think I might do that in a minute . . . after the washing up, after the dog walk, after any other form of procrastination.
We just had our family holiday in Cerbere (3 days) Wonderful place, full of strange sounds and wildness of coastline. think I might include a few photos if I can figure out how to do it.