Monthly Archives: April 2016

Master in the Thicket

Master in the Thicket copyMaster in the Thicket (Watercolour/acrylic on paper)


The sky’s the limit

theatre copy enhancedTheatre

In a day of explosive image making. When the sky’s the limit.

When “let me enhance that for you sir.” in graphics is the order of the day.
“Oh sir – did I mention it will take a few moments to try the 5,000 different ways we can change the image?”

In such a day of digital/visual/image-making revolution, when we are all subject to image overload.

Who needs… (who would be fool enough to try of course in the first place) … an LSD trip to be confronted with a smorgasbord of images, colours, transformations, nuances – all to do with the production of images, all such ‘menus’ are available at the touch of the mouse.

So let’s steady ourselves, hold on to something, lest we fall over, drunk on a gluttonous in-your-face plethora of colours, shapes, patterns, tones, and decoration.
Step back and take it a step at a time.

This illustration (above), created from my place of intuition, was done on cheap paper with pencil, pen, and coloured pencils, not of the most sophisticated kind.

In the course of transferring the photo of the drawing to my computer, I decided to play around a little with the image using gimp. As I began to do what I don’t do very often, I was reminded of how I could change the image a million times. (I know you told me a million times not to exaggerate).
NB: (By the way – I ended up actually doing next to nothing digitally – to the image.)

I guess because the ‘sky’s the limit now’ – the credit we give to the artist (at the end of the day) when so many options are available – is to applaud or otherwise his choice of will – expressed in what notes he plays on the piano of his palette, digitally or otherwise.

But with a few mouse moves back – you can see a completely different image that you (the ‘audience’) might have preferred.

It’s that simple now – just a few edit enhancement choices back and you might prefer that image than the one he finally decided on.

I will have to walk away now and let these considerations, simmer, because it does challenge us in that, – certain questions arise.

Examples – 1) in light of the profusion of digital enhancements available – does this not mean that those who claim to have no artistic ability whatsoever, are now equipped digitally ‘pixelatedly’ (like the new word?) – to play around and stumble on a good image?

2) is this not a good thing, releasing the artist in all, even those who do not consider themselves to have any ability?

However does it not come back to a previous discussion in one of my posts – dealing with – Skill v Intuitive Ability. Reproduction v Imagination?

I guess we are in the arena of letting others decide the fate of our pieces of art – and if the emotion is stirred aesthetically in someone – well it makes it doubly worthwhile, hopefully having been pleased with the work ourselves and enhancing the life of someone else.

Some folks really appreciate the photographic image, and the photographic image as done in paint.

They usually aren’t the least bit concerned about the mental processes some, if not most artists engage in when they think about art making. They have no concern about the why or the wherefore of art ‘philosophy’.

For them it looks like the place they went to, on holiday, and that’s all they need. Because they love the place, therefore they love that the painting replicates on a flat surface their fond memories.

That’s it. Intellectual surmising ends there.

Well reluctantly I find myself saying: – “everyone to their own”.

The Old Clock

20160409_092121This sketch was drawn by a young teenager probably no more than sixteen years of age.

It captures the character of an old clock that sat on the marble mantelpiece of what (in those days) we referred to as ‘the Parlour’.

Objects of this nature implant by their representative quality emotional associations that abide deep in the heart.

In our youth we are, as they rightly say, most impressionable. So that in later life – sounds, smells, sights, tastes, and scenarios of various kinds, stir within us emotions that transport us by association into the past.

This is (as I see it) the fresh virgin hand of youth, that has no concern with technical ability, but simply depicts spontaneously what is before the eyes, unconscious of any need for perfect representation – rather simply an honest one. (But not even conscious of that)

To the left is the broken arm of a long gone statuette that, along with another, garrisoned either side of the clock on the same mantelpiece.

How we forget where such objects that appear and disappear with the march of time – have gone.

The clock is adorned by a Beatle hat (as we called it) that I wore then with youthful ‘coolness’. This must have been a great (sic) stroke of creative genius, that I had at the time, to place it over the clock.

And to the right is an attempt at drawing the key that wound the clock up (just enough to show it is there).

Many blissful hours were spent in the parlour, with the floor covered in toys, engaged in flights of fancy and visits to other lands through journeys of the imagination.

Now, at times, I try to paint memories rather than ‘from memory’, usually something emotionally associative, with the memory, hopefully comes out in the piece of art, without topographical perfection.

But I don’t think I could now equal what this sketch does for me in taking me back.

‘Way back’.

The Big Hitter


big hitter croppedThe Big Hitter


(Dose of self-esteem)

Insecure – no confidence here
ground open up –

swallow –
so I can disappear

Inner yearnings not understood.
Acceptance – perhaps –
would bring good cheer?

Wanting to score – accomplish the goal

Be admired – or just be good at…
In the crowd

soon to be in

the ‘in-crowd’
At a

later date

unexpected moment of fame
Came through the game

Picture the schoolyard
with pupils all around
and at the bases

We called it ‘rounders’

by it’s proper name

There I stood
bat in hand

My turn

First time ever.

Here comes the ball

Whack! upwards, way upwards
High – far – gone

At last a pedestal
It was me – it is I – did you see?
Admiration – laughter – incredulity

Again new ball produced
Here comes the new ball…

Whack! upwards, way upwards
High – far – gone
Two balls lost in distant field

Step up to the winner’s podium
Feel good factor

Much needed dose of self-esteem

Fad, Fashion or more?

moonSun Down or Moon Rise?

Latest fashion. Latest fad. In art, in music, in clothes, in decor, in drama, in television, in sport – IN LIFE.

With the latest change in taste comes a rearrangement of the numbers in the pop charts of life.

What is cool today is not tomorrow.

What sells well today, is forgotten in a years time.

Whims and fancies determine relative values, and categorise and label the ‘boxes’ in which we keep our material possessions. In vogue today – old fashioned tomorrow.

Even ‘old-fashioned’ is a label that is old-fashioned.

To help us maintain the value of things, however, that will take us past the censorship of up-to-date appeal, there is a certain perennial scaffolding that is put in place.

This means the objets d’art (arresting the term to include everything) are somehow kept clear of needing to be presently popular. They are free from pop culture’s verdict based on a particular day or season. (e.g. Mona Lisa)

So votes don’t count, present-day popular cultural choices don’t effect these ‘pieces’ that were themselves, once, present-day popular cultural choices.

The museum’s mothball the art treasures of the past and of course they carry astronomical price tags to affirm that though these treasures are not in vogue – longevity determines that we must remember to value them.

In music for instance – we all know that most ‘have their day’ and the trick is to know how to stay in the public eye as popular as ever.

There’s the debate of course, over whether talent or promotional expertise determines sales and popularity of given artists.

There’s a saying:
‘Never mind the quality…feel the width’. [once a sit-com] – also: (Phrase used to persuade you that quantity is more important than quality. Originated from unscrupulous London backstreet tailors palming you off with cheap material instead of the good stuff for your suit)

Or as I’m using (arresting) it: ‘Never mind the quality feel the ‘width’,” the ‘width’ being the metaphor for the promotional side and the ‘quality’ – the talent. So that makes it: ‘never mind the talent’ , ’feel the promotion’.

The older one gets of course, the less, – what is popular with the many, – comes into consideration, when determining our subjective choice of what is quality, talent, or originality.

However, we all surely, do tire of the same thing.
We need something new, something fresh.

Until 10 years later we suddenly warm again to what has been done in the past, and it becomes ‘new’ again.

We have had the cultural break from it and are ready again to look and listen, put on, re-visit, and so on, what has gone before.

However ‘Fashion’ must have nothing to do with the serious choices we have to make in the context of life and death.

What is presently popular as a philosophy or belief system if it determines where our heart is, will have disastrous results in the long term, if chosen whimsically.

Smoking was once in vogue, popular – the ‘thing’ to do. It serves well as an illustration and proof of what I am saying: popular but deadly.

Life is not a whim – a fad or a fashion – it involves serious quality choices we must make.

And although we are, and because we are – a vapour appearing for a moment, we cannot be swayed by the crowd of popular opinion that is based on fanciful thinking.

James 4:14 (KJV Bible)
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.