Monthly Archives: February 2016

The Harmonica Man

(Poem circa 1970)

The Harmonica man is there again
Chewing a bone that the chicken has provided
He, the father of the house of many children
Gives permission and the little ones rise and place their chairs
Appropriately the youngest boy asks if Dad will play?
The Harmonica man smiles, the boy is his favourite
Sunday after tea, six-thirty
The glistening organ – family famous
Is played
The impatient little ones endure.


To Sleep per chance to dream


This title has been somewhat ‘plagiarised’ from the famous bard himself.

There is no ‘menace’ in the title or the painting, as it refers to the simple taking of sleep, perchance to dream.
It was given to a friend with no message intended, but simply as a gift and show of friendship, when they were going through a difficult time.

Good night sleep well.


Temptation (of a youth)

Matthew 4:1
[ Satan Tempts Jesus ] Then Jesus was led
up by the Spirit into the wilderness
to be tempted by the devil.

(of a youth)

I started to walk
Hunched over
Head set
All turmoil within
Proceeded inwardly backwards
as I forward went
To some music place
Some dance hall
Some people to look at
To greet
To get to know

But knowing I had been translated
into another place
Checking back was not an option
Least not to lower nature’s indulgence

Still young.
many a laugh would say

But I knew better
No exchange of dirty water
when you’ve got the clean

I walked all the way
Stood outside the door
Turmoil subsided
Reason and conscience returned
And reality
And with no deception
And feeling good
And glad of victory
And wanting to get back
I went back – to where I now belonged.


I once wrote – in a poem
a line –
about ‘travelling forward and thinking back’
I loved that line
So much so – that I had to slap my own wrists
For getting carried away with it

I once jumped off the back of a bus
and somersaulted in the air
falling on a dirty wet street,
I would have slapped my own wrists
but I was too sore from the fall

I once got a dart in the head.
A school cap saved my life.
But that’s an exaggeration
– I lived to tell the story a million times
my wrists had nothing to do with it.

Another dart – comes to mind
Pleased as punch with their newness I was,
I threw one at a – departing – flat bed lorry
That was the end of that
They were good darts – they stuck well
Takes a flexible wrist to throw darts.

I once ‘speedied’ up a lamp-post
and hung there in space.
Dropping to the ground for the first time.
Good for strengthening the wrists.

I once got repetitive strain injury,
writing poems and other things,
More – other things – than poems
I hasten to add
repetitive strain – included the wrists of course

I should maybe end here
in case you think that my wrists
are in any way superior to yours.
I wouldn’t want you to get
an inferiority complex about your wrist
if you get my gist.

Are you possibly in here somewhere?


Are you possibly in here somewhere?

This could be an individual description of a bunch of folks in a club, workforce, team, reality show et al.

Or it could be the copied and pasted descriptions of characters scattered throughout some fiction novel, cut and pasted onto one page.
Or it could be some kind of general categorisation of people ‘types’.
Or it could be you?

What would be the point of it, if we suddenly heard ourselves described by an unknown stranger who happens to stumble unbeknown to himself, upon an almost perfect description of our internal self, and writes it in blog form?

Would it instruct us, motivate us to move forward, get us into fresh decision making, or discourage us by it’s unplanned accuracy?

And what if part of us resents it?

The guy writing the description, doesn’t know you from Adam and yet he describes you, and unknowingly mentions things you would rather keep personal, or not face up to.

Would it not be ridiculous to get mad at him? He is not addressing you. He doesn’t know you. It’s impossible that he is out to get you. He takes no pleasure in exposing your weakness.

He doesn’t know who he is addressing, how can he have any pre-meditated intentions? He has no idea what applies to whom.

And yet you know he is speaking to you.
He doesn’t know – but you do.
So he can take no responsibility for it, it’s accuracy or otherwise, as he has never met you.

This is rather like how God works – EXCEPT – and it’s a big EXCEPT…

God does know you. The all-seeing eye of His personality looks deep within every human on the face of the planet.
Nothing is hidden from His sight.

Hebrews 4:13
And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

Now, it takes quite a bit of mental adjusting to move from our concept of how WE think God should be, work, or speak – and move into how He has actually chosen to be, work or speak.

We can resent it all we want, and even disagree with how He is – but it isn’t going to change – the way He is.

So we need to internally adjust to the facts, and not expect the God of our imagination to be anything other than the God of our imagination!

With me so far?

Well, there you have it! That’s one reason many miss it!
He isn’t conformed to our way of thinking. But wants us to be conformed to His.
Romans 12:2
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

So initially we can’t prove what is acceptable to Him. Because we want Him to be conformed to what we think. Rather than we – conformed to how He thinks.

A lot of people think God is the figment of an individual’s own personal imagination and therefore He is whatever they imagine or ‘make-up’.

Whereas what I am saying is No – it’s because of what we ‘make up’ in our brains that we are hindered from finding Him.

You and I may think God should be ‘this that or the other’ or should ‘think and act this way, that way, or the other’ in so doing, we fail to realise how He actually does think and work.

Jesus Christ still speaks to His creation. Now think of how your mindset responds to this idea. (?)

You see no evidence that He still speaks, because it doesn’t ‘fit in’ with your present way of thinking and seeing things.

You have opinions on the subject of God. Those opinions, you do not wish to have challenged. They will disturb your safety zone of partial conclusions. But it would be good if you allowed them to be challenged by God’s Word.

Here are those copied and pasted ‘types’. See what you think.
No. 1.
You do not have the time to think of the God question. You are too busy getting on with life, and have no time for anyone preaching the gospel or any other kind of message. You are happy as you are. You love culture and enjoy the things you can see, smell, touch and feel. And so that’s that. You enjoy your job, love your family and your gadgets on which you text, speak, blog, communicate and enjoy entertainment. So thanks – but no thanks. You have no time for ‘religion’.
No. 2.
You are heartbroken, – yet another failed relationship. Yet another person has let you down, hurt you, destroyed the trust you had in them. The pain is real and fresh and it seems like the emotional part of you is seeking to dominate your thought life and actions. You have lost your appetite for things you enjoyed. And right now you don’t want another romantic relationship.
This is now – how many times that this has happened?
“The spiritual side of things? I can’t bring my mind to consider such abstract ‘unrealities’ “.
No. 3.
You have travelled around the world in your head regarding religious/philosophical new age creeds, practices, ways of looking at things. None of it makes sense or fits. From polytheism to monotheism, transcendental ‘mediterranean’ to who knows what…of hodgepodge cult and religious investigation, including some forms of so-called Christianity. And instead, you have settled for four favourite programmes on television, a few pints of beer, and physical exercise to keep you alive ’til you die.
No. 4.
You have a respect for Christianity, because of your upbringing. You liked the order it gave to your life, as you conformed religiously (but not with reality) to the ‘dictates’ of your parents. It was put into you from childhood, and you tried to be submissive. But much as you believe in God you know that the devil also believes in Him. So where to go from here?
‘No I can’t really go down that road again, as it has been fruitless up to now’. So you try to live a moral life, but at present your job and your family take priority (justifiably you think) over any spiritual quest you might have been on, in the past.
No. 5.
For you there are too many unanswered questions. If God is a loving God, why does all the horrible things happen in the world? Some in the name of religion. There are too many contradictions, too much hypocrisy, and you can’t give time to pie in the sky dogmatists who like to preach write or blog about Christianity. There is no God anyway. Prove it, if there is.
I tell you: ‘The fool has said in his heart: There is no God’. But you respond: ‘So now you are calling me a fool?’
No. 6.
You are of an age now where you’ve been there and bought the T shirt on most of these religious explorations, and as far as you are concerned there is a fence you must sit on for the remainder of your days. ‘Trying to make up my mind, but it is so hard to find, so I’m sittin’ on a fence’. Your not anti-God, but you are not all that excited anymore about getting to know Him. You have drifted into no man’s land about the whole deal.

Well that’s my short list of ‘types’, I could go on, but the half dozen is a place to stop.

I started to paste a booklet on a page in my blog. It’s entitled ‘A Time surpassing’. It’s an attempt to put fact and fiction together to speak the truth. The booklet is not up for critical acclaim, not even acceptance in some literary way.

But it tries to plant a seed-thought of possibility in your mind that you might recognise.
It’s in the hope that you might say: ’I’ve had that thought too’, – (as discovered in the character in the story) – and in so doing you might progress from there to seeking and indeed pursuing the truth until you find it. Until it becomes more than a theological opinion. But rather a supernatural encounter with the Living God in the person of Christ.

Throughout my writing on Christianity, I affirm, based on my own experience, that finding Jesus Christ is a reality.
I can’t talk you into that experience. I can hopefully guide you, based on the word of God. But unless you pursue….

So what’s the purpose of this blogging exercise? Well I guess the reason for it is two-fold:
1) to get us to realise that we need to change our way of thinking in order to even begin to search for this experience I’m referring to, and
2) to encourage others to find God’s ordained way of revealing Himself, as they get past their pre-suppositions.

Try searching for information outside of yourself. You will find it in the New King James Version, New Testament of the Holy Bible. Find God’s perspective, way of working, message to you that knocks at the door of your heart and mind, seeking entrance.

Isaiah 55:8
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Cerebral Fingertip Conduiting

the hand that made em is copy

A few thoughts…
We are familiar with the line: ‘The day the music died’.
And periodically many affirm that ‘painting has also died’.

Post-Modernism has been around for a while.

Cerebral Art, has moved to the front of the stage ever since perhaps, Marcel Duchamp abandoned the painterly approach.

When it comes to Modernism and Post-Modernism I suggest it shouldn’t be a case of either/or but elements of both intermingling – in defiance of ‘ism-ism’.

Conceptualism, – as in conceptual art – is like the younger trying to replace the older, but forced to turn to and ask the older – questions it doesn’t know the answer to.

I’m sure if we ask around, some good Art Historians will be able to tell us how seamless or otherwise they reckon the transition ‘tween Modern and Post-Modern has been.

It is possible that good conceptualism could leave us bored with painting, but (I suggest) will not lead us to it’s demise.

The motivation of wanting to create in a fresh way, may cause us to abandon the well-worn paths, and choices, involving ancient means of expression.

But is it not so, that the new path becomes the old path very quickly, and the subsequent new-new path is the old from a different angle?

An offered opinion might be that the arm-hand-fingers
co-ordination is, – if not the only, – then still the best or most direct means of expressing the creativity of the mind. More instant even than the camera, if one is to include the idea of immediate contact with the material, ground, paper or canvas, on which art appears.

The hand of God created.

The hand and eye of the artist is the ‘contact point’ between the internal and the external.

But is there any difference in art making between ‘ready made’ placement and mark making? i.e. is not the placement of the object equally instant in the conceptual ‘construction’?

Yes, but it has not come-out-of the end of the fingertips. The hand simply placed it, unless of course the piece of art includes some kind of hand ‘crafting’, or constructing.

As swimming will always include the backstroke, smiling will always include the lips, sneezing will always include pre-sneeze breathing, the paintbrush will always include the hairs, so, for example, the pencil will always conduit the brain and fingertips for instant expression.

If something doesn’t cease to exist, it will legitimately continue to be used.

I guess it’s constant and perpetual this drawing/painting/sculpting business – as long as fingertips remain.

So the next time you blog, write, draw, paint or sculpt – the brain, eye, arm, hand, fingertips – conduiting – will take place.

I am not negating conceptual art just suggesting that painting will remain as long as man remains.

(I wrote this – musing on the need to re-affirm, and legitimise painting to my own mind, in the light of all the modern means of image making. Having finished writing it, I checked online to see if it is still being debated on the internet elsewhere as an ongoing, discussion. It is – but some are suggesting the discussion is now defunct).😀

Mounting Up

There are a few of my paintings that have a direct spiritual message, but I feel no obligation to paint only ‘spiritual’ art per se.
I express spirituality in what for me is the only legitimate faith context, namely of course, my Christian faith. And I use words.
I can think of possibly four pieces I have painted that express truth directly related to scripture – this is one of them.
It references three scriptural passages: Matthew 5/14. Isaiah 40/30-31 and Isaiah 2/2.

Here I fuse them together – …a city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden…they shall mount up with wings like eagles…the mountain of The Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains…Mounting Up




I was reading recently a short book about a painter named Nat Tate who rounded up and burnt almost his entire output of art works. Four days later he jumped to his death from the Staten Island Ferry.

To have reached that place of suicide, it could be surmised was somehow linked to his abhorrence of the idea of only being a mediocre artist, or so the book would suggest.


As an artist my self-worth is not bound up or dependant on my ability to produce immaculate pieces of art.

As a Christian I am free from a warped sensibility that demands of myself that I achieve through oppressive perfectionism, a standard that I know is beyond me.

My self-acceptance is based on received forgiveness. If Jesus forgives me – then…
Romans 8:33
Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

This gives me the freedom, to not take myself too seriously or to strive after a place of superiority over others in the work I produce.


Romans 12:3
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

This scripture tells me not to think too highly of myself (or too lowly, by virtue of the fact that it doesn’t tell me to do so…) but what it does tell me is to think soberly…

So I try to do this. This also frees me to think of my work in a way that some might consider flippant.
Of course I think I have something unique to offer. But doesn’t everyone?

For me, a painting is successful if I know in myself I have rounded it off in a way that has brought the intuitive balance that my internal perception has been reaching for.

If that makes sense.(?)

I am aware of my limitations technically, and indeed in the traditional sense, harking back to the academic principles of art- making – I’m afraid I fall short, when measured by this yard stick.

I accept that I am a one-trick pony.

As a result of this I hardly ever destroy a piece of work. And as I am the only one on the panel of judges – I rarely censor or dismiss any of my paintings, or disqualify them from inclusion in the exhibition of my internal gallery show.

However the exception proves the rule – and the above painting no longer exists.

I have forgotten exactly what happened to it. Did I paint over it, give it away, leave it with another painting in a house that was demolished many years ago? I don’t know, but it no longer exists.

The painting’s ‘style’ should – look like – the room depicted in it. Half way through decoration. (Notice the scraped wallpapered walls and the distemper colouring that appears revealing the original cheap covering used during the second world war).

But notice also – Sparky! The only pet we had, when I was growing up. Sparky the budgerigar. The best talker in the country. Trained by my dear mother. Speaking out – it’s home address, nursery rhymes, “Where’s Jack today?” And many other repetitions of mum’s voice.

A great little bird – place your lips at the front of the cage against the wire, and Sparky would place it’s beak against your mouth and kiss you while chirping merrily!

Sparky took a growth on it’s beak, and died in my uncle’s hand when he was cutting her nails.

This painting shows Sparky in the act of lip kissing.


But every artist has destroyed pieces of their work at some time. Be cautious about doing so.

I remember being dis-satisfied with one particular watercolour, I took it from the drawing board, and rejected it by folding it up, placing it out of sight in the corner of my workspace.

Many weeks later I pulled it out again and scratched my head in dismay, with regard to why I found it unacceptable. Because now I was quite pleased with it. Unfortunately it had crease
marks ‘ruining’ it.

So my wife came to the rescue and ironed out the marks. I framed it, and it sold in an exhibition I was contributing to.