Glorious Descent

Glorious Descent
Acrylic on canvas 60 x 40cm

Monday, December 5, 2011

The computer says no and other humiliating moments for which I am to blame

It's lunch time and I have just finished three too many coffees for the day, which I know is not helping my agitation and impatience, but I can't stomach any food, I am trying hard to be productive and feel useful and with that there is no appetite.

Complaint one: it is 10 freakin degrees, Summer ? I returned from the Caribbean why ? My hands are wrapped in fingerless gloves and still freezing, for some one who relies on their hands I feel incapacitated today. I recently pondered in conversation with a musician what would be worse, as a painter - losing sight or hands or in his case, hearing or hands. I figured living with the lustre of the visual world all around with the inability to translate it would be hell, and I would prefer to die. Without eyes there would still be incalculable memories and sensations upon which to paint about and I could still embrace the physicality of painting, even if I couldn't respond to it in the same way.
With further thought, maybe painting blind would rid me of that endless dissatisfaction, I would never see the end product and could potentially be happy.

I have had another fight with the world of IT, Leaving me feeling useless, inept, agitated, stupid, future less, an embarrassment to my generation, the list goes on. And no, I don't want to go to TAFE to learn about admin or computer programs. This is not because I am lazy, but rather I detest the idea that I would have to spend valuable time conforming to a system - a system which continually likes to 'improve', 'upgrade', update, refresh' and essentially outsmart you every few months so as to deliberately make you feel like a fool so that in fact never conform to the system but remain it's victim. The computer continually laughing at you.

I have just spent the last two days, actually the greater part of 5 years, painting and drawing, something I am proud to say I can do and others can't. Something that is indeed a skill, and for the most part of history has been greatly appreciated. I am part of a league of documenters, fiercely passionate creators, drafstman, activists, inventors and agitators. We have painted everything from God to your kid sister, from your wildest dreams to the absence of all measure. I speak of 'us' 'we' with a new found pride and ownership of my identity. Struggling continually with a sense of purpose and reasoning behind this career that I have chosen - or rather has chosen me, I take comradeship and inspiration from my predecessors. For in the face of today, my own reality, I find little to keep me painting. There is no contemporary canon and the ideals and systems that order the world leave little optimism in me.

In this new found world contemporary world of progress and multi tasking I can barely feed myself nor feel like a valued member of society. I know I know, artists have always struggled, the paupers life and all that, and actually I am quite resigned to dealing with this, IF it means I can carry out my practice and hold a position in society of dignity. And yet I don't feel this way. And it is not without trying.

Todays catalyst of artistic self loathing is indeed the computer. The manner in which I need to tailor my life and work into a metal box, that continually flashes 'error'. I have been working on some new projects, paintings from life. I have spent hours in my make shift studio studying the light as it falls on a carton of eggs. In the ridiculous 'summer' temperatures last night I worked until late. Listening to the radio - which in itself is a marvellous education (if you can bear the aussie accent, which in my new pretentious judgement, can not stand since returning to Australia - for example, did you know that half a carrot is the equivalent of one serve of vegetables in a daily requirement of five ?)
Over time I know these paintings will improve, and I am devoted to learning and honing this skill. I am building a world down in that shed, I am giving life and cause to the most mundane of things, when I present them to the world it is with the intention that one can more fully inhabit their environment. I am not just attempting to give my subject credit but working toward the audience too. We all have a role to play in this world and maybe mine is reminding you of the crema on your coffee every morning and how dam sweet it is. Anyway, there a multitude of justifications as to why the artist works, of which i am not particularly focused on right now, but more so that we work, we work hard and we do things of importance.

I am exhausted from focus, so I pick up my violin, shit, my hands are so cold can't keep up with the semi quavers and I am forgetting to slide down to the b flat - argh, this makes me mad. Yet tonight, after I have painted, I will practice again and the music will flow and I will entertain someone.

I have been ranting so much I can't remember how I started.... Ah yes. My point. Getting to it. I can paint, draw, play and cook and yet I can't use a scanner. I can't communicate with the world because the computer says no. I am with little patience, and perhaps this is my problem. BUT, No art pursuit is adequate without its techno equivalent. I have to tailor some document so as to textually justify it, put into a more palatable language - essentially so no one looks at the painting but reads about it. Then I have to document, scan, email and god knows what -which takes hours. And when it all fails I am left feeling so incredibly inept I hate myself.

The life of multi tasking. I am a woman, and quite good at it. There are few strings to my bow. But I never realised I would face such fierce pressure to balance multiple careers the painter, the secretary, the pa, the promoter and then the bread and butter. None of them work without the other. And when you can't get the trifector it is humiliating.

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