Glorious Descent

Glorious Descent
Acrylic on canvas 60 x 40cm

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I look good in leather

I am like a painting... I realised today, as finally some sentiment and energy started to emerge from a painting that I had been labouring over for some time.

When I paint I rarely paint with a plan or desired image in mind - it starts normally with an idea, a vague impression of a place or sensation that I want to give physicality to. It begins with purely colour and gesture - like sparks from a magic wand I like to paint impulsively. I trust my instinct, I have to, it is my unique asset, but painting purely subjectively all the time can also be an enemy.

The mind has the ability to return to safe areas of knowledge - you can repeat things, make the same mistakes, or labour over a work for the sake of using a brush. One can, as I have realised mistake instinct for complacency and therefore never arrive anywhere new. This is why I have begun to strategise a little in my approach - and I have never done anything that feels more uncomfortable.
I need to trick my brain, just like many an artist turns a painting upside down to see it fresh, for what it is not. I need to challenge my practice and see what can be discovered in parameters.

The reason I liken my personality and behaviours to a painting, is that I know how I work, sometimes I feel like a laboured painting - but a messy surface of paint that doesn't come together. I can spiral downhill and my mind resembles a disgusting palette of orange and violet with jagged yellow stripes - a composition that I just want to abandon, so I can start anew. I can't abandon Madeleine though, I can't rip off her canvas and re stretch a fresh skin, I have to labour with her. Most often she will emerge from the deluge - like my painting started to do in the studio today. But as reality sets in I ponder as to how sustainable it is to let a body become toxic and a mind into dangerous deep waters too often. Perhaps I need strategies too.

In retrospect, I began these strategies a month or so ago, when I took myself for some retail therapy with the strict instruction that I wasn't to buy what I gravitated to in the shop. I wanted to see what would happen if I wore leather, or one of those strappy sexy tops with sequins - who am I in other clothes ? Yes, I know, this sounds superficial, but we all do it - be it in fashion or something else, we do what is comfortable. I am not trying to re invent madeleine, just see her in a different light.

{I'm sorry to report that I couldn't leave the shop with the leather mini skirt - But I did invest in an ironing board and 2 shirts. I think I'll give the crisp pressed look a go.}

Sunday, October 10, 2010

dive with me

The absence of her brings despair. The potency of my dreams has all but left and the imaginary is all but a monotonous black.
But last night I dreamt.

The ocean has returned and I dreamt about the structures within it.
I ran into the surf, down the sandy beach and into the water.
I joined a group of women, treading water at waist height, supporting with their hands a jetty.
With them I bared my part of the weight, balancing the structure, waiting for boats to come and moor. The sun was setting and illuminating the surf as it crashed around us.
A boat appeared on the horizon and needed a jetty. Despite the turbulent ocean we swam our way out to meet the boat. Over the waves we struggled, carrying the wooden structure on our shoulders.
Soon, it was only I left with the jetty, I was weighted by it and there was no boat to be found.
I let the jetty go, it sunk beneath the surface and disappeared.
Alone, way out at sea I decided to dive down below and follow the falling structure.
Inside it I swam, and within its structure I found a reef. Speckled light illuminated life, shadows cast beautiful shapes and there were fish, tiny schools swimming amongst the rafters. I twisted my body and explored the environment with open hungry eyes, looking toward a distant exit of light.

Instructions to view slide shows

In case any potential viewers of my blog would like to see my recently uploaded photo albums, make sure you double click the small slide show images at the bottom of the blog page. This will transfer you to picassa albums and then click full screen view on the left side of the screen to see my work in full screen beauty.
Obviously many won't need to follow these instructions as they will be smart enough to work it out, but I wanted to make sure you all knew that you could view my work on a larger scale.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sculpting Explosions

Why do we only write home when there is happy news ? Why can't we write postcards of woe and misfortune or post facebook pictures of gloominess ? Why don't we give in to the expression of being human ? Instead of putting on a brave face or burying oneself until the storm passes ?

I think about two comments that two different people in my life have made to me about happiness. One being that it is fleeting, so enjoy it while it lasts. Whilst this does inspire one to live for the moment it doesn't necessarily offer any hope for fulfilment or the promise of its return in times of darkness.

The second comment was about happiness as a sustained state of being, it is not something that just arrives one does have to work toward it - but is not fleeting.

I wonder about which state I feel most comfortable with, or which I think is true.
As things in my life continue to combust in more ways than one in front of me I wonder how exactly I can sustain happiness. When I reflect upon the way my mind and spirit responds to my work, art and relationships I wonder exactly how I am to sustain anything. Perhaps capturing a fleeting moment is more realistic.

Whilst I haven't been writing letters home about my struggle with life and worse still haven't even been able to admit it on my blog, I have been sharing words with a few friendly ears. I regret to feel like the melancholic defeatist and will probably put a stop to this soon. But not before I consider the suggestion that a young acquaintance from art school, made to me today: Perhaps I am not an artist.
'If it is not making you happy, if it is a struggle then why push it ? Are you pushing something that doesn't exist ?'A traditional National Art School Education teaches you to dedicated yourself to the studio, a practice that you maintain, through good and bad. I wonder though if this has made me blind ? Are the parts of the world that I consume, the colour, the tastes the paint that I want to mix, the sensations I want to write about just a dangerous addiction, that, like cigarettes create a great head spin but lead to destruction. Is art for me sustainable ? And will it sustain happiness ?

But now that I am so intoxicated, the question begs to be asked: What else ?
I can't for the life of me answer this. I shed more tears imagining a life without paint and plush than I do struggling with the mind games and day to day reality of trying to 'do it'. But if I don't pertain the courage and the dream to live it whole heartedly then I don't believe it is really worth doing.

I return to this state of sustained happiness and thus reflect upon my perception of what happiness is exactly. Perhaps happiness is hardship, woe, laughter and love. It is all beautiful. I think then, about my perception of the explosion in my love, home and art life that is taking place before me and try and imagine it as the explosion of sound that I heard at a Symphony concert tonight. My seat in the audience was an absolute gift, I sat directly opposite the conductor in the choir stalls and watched as he shaped the air in front of us like it was clouds of brightly coloured smoke. A great powerful sea of music that was overwhelming at times was rolled, elevated, softened and propelled by the bare hands of the conductor. Great Jazz classics were being performed in all their splendour and I imagined the engines of the city, the fabulous art movements and the exultation of life in the Cities of the 1920's. This was not pretty music, it stabbed at you and the conductor punched his players with insistent fists to burn their horns and pull their strings tighter and sharper. His eyes were mesmerising, seducing the violins to play languidly between moments. It was raw yet tight, sexy and cold. The orchestra could easily have exploded to the point of destruction but it was mediated with care and vivacious spirit.

Can I colour the smoke of my own explosions ?