Monthly Archives: April 2016


And of course then there’s SLEEPWALKING.



Deftly reaching for the tissue
The nose blow
not so

Laying back on the wooden chair
Arms in place on wooden arms

Staring out first across the table
Staring out second through the window

Scratch scratch at the beard
Tipping the hat forward

Here come the legs crossed over
onto desktop – shoes muddied

Now the eyes close
The glasses – not needed
set aside

Sigh again
Thus begins the doze

And thus begins the daydream
And thus begins the mixed-up story

Fragments of the days before
Merge in disjointed dissonant visions

As only daydreams can bring
And arrange in no particular order
Producing an impossible history
of what has gone before

It hasn’t gone before
That’s what I mean

Contemplation on awakening
Has reduced the fragments more

As no sense is made out of these
But yet the thought remains

Of how these film clips
have merged by no control

To give any story you like
that defies reality and gravity

I will live to doze another day
By grace I will.


Bus Stop Serenade

this onejpgBus Stop Serenade

The idea of being ‘courted’ by song has somehow fallen into disrepair, has it not?

Courting my wife entailed a walk in the park, sweet words, and a camera, as I took a picture of her. I was hardly able to hold the camera amidst the joy of her acceptance of my wooing words – that – yes indeed from that time forth we would walk together in God’s blessing, and make a life together in covenant partnership.

We then spent a year apart, writing letters (remember those?) to increase our bond of affection. She spent a year on the streets of London helping the street people, while I visited, I think twice. At the end of the year she came to my neck of the woods and we married. (35 years ago) In all of this – I don’t think I sang to her once!

NB: Now if I start singing in the car – she turns the radio on.😪

But to suddenly find a gentleman turning up the volume of his ‘sound box/speaker’ and bursting into song to woo a charming young lady waiting for a bus – well I mean! 😡😎



The Visual and Internal workings of Art Appreciation – or not.

creation 2Being Created (Pure Watercolour)


(The pendulum swings)

The intuitive placement of the next brushstroke calls for a comprehensive awareness of the whole painting as it enters the eye-gate. Regardless of what stage the painting is at.

So it is a placing of the mark while seeing/sensing the whole.

The equivalent in creating a poem I think, is re-reading and re-reading the words of the poem, feeling your way, in light of the next line, you hope to write.

Everyone operates this way. I’m simply pointing it out.

Maybe that would be better in the form of a question – doesn’t everyone work this way?

But when you are aware of working this way, as opposed to it being subconscious – I think it helps to produce more satisfactory work.

This for me is why the ‘raw talent’ aspect of a person’s work (be it in whatever expression of the arts) must be given priority over learnt technique/technical know how. But that might just be ‘my’ school of thought.

To state this again in question form: the ‘debate’ revolves around whether learnt technique, (the technical side of art), is as equally important as inherent intuitive ability?

I don’t think however (as expressed in the question I have just asked) that this discussion will be resolved.🤓

Many who can’t read or write music – as we know – can have the talent of a John Lennon or a Paul McCartney.

Or in painting – someone reputed to be academically inept like [Jackson Pollock or a Henri Rousseau,(?) ] of course have given us something unique and expressive of imaginative prowess.

It is claimed by some commentators regarding certain artists that the pursuit of academic excellence can stifle or rob the artist of his expressive talent, when an acquired pre-occupation with the technical side takes over from their intuition.

But I see this as a pendulum – the pendulum swings in accord with the individual artist’s personality.

If his personality is such, that it demands discipline and perfection, he leans toward the intellect, (skilful reproductive execution). If he has no such need it leans towards emotional expression, (imaginative inventiveness).

Therefore if he is true to his personality, recognises his own tendencies, he is justified in producing the end results, of the kind so produced. It’s usually referred to as an artist’s style.

So the ‘photo realists’ can share a coffee with the ‘expressionists’.

The patient technical perfectionists can ‘rub-off’ on the impatient innovative expressionists and vice versa.

Likewise the non-painting observers and/or musical listeners, will veer towards the appreciation of either personality types and their work, by virtue of their own similar personality preferences and taste. But this is not a dogmatic observation.

On the negative side the foot loose and fancy free ‘expressionist’ can be covering up his lack of skill…

(…but conversely, what if he is skilful, and isn’t covering up any lack of it, but rather trying to – not let it dictate his every move? Picasso maybe?)

Regarding the technically proficient (photo) realist he can be ‘contriving’ imagination, (or contriving to convince he is imaginative, when he isn’t so inclined) exposing that he is a ‘reproducer’ only, and not imaginative or innovative. (Embracing both the skill and the imagination of course might be Dali)(?).

The pendulum will always swing in the artist’s experience of producing art.

Our debate on intuition v technical skill should be good-humoured based on the inconclusiveness of no – one right way.

I find I can appreciate most schools of thought, and appreciate the many variations on this theme, manifest in the work of all kinds of good artists.


However, after having visited a few exhibitions lately I can clearly see that, immediate aesthetic impact, of whatever kind vies with intellectual information communicated by the written word or oral dialogue of/with the artist.

The banal is often placed on the ‘idols altar’ of intellectual elitism and involves the exchange of ideas that (I would affirm) are rarely immediately obvious to the viewer by simply looking at the work, i.e. the accessibility factor.

Conversely sometimes one is pleasantly surprised by where the artist’s thought life will take us. The intellectual journey that they took and that is expressed e.g. in pieces of steel in a structure that sits adjacent to plastic dabbed with paint, may be worth knowing. Or not, as the case may be.

But again, without the communication of explanation through word language, we are left to our own devices and certainly the aesthetic ‘value’ is often neither immediately apparent or appealing, or in fact is completely absent – purposely or not.

It has no appeal other than the de-contextualising of rubbish from its origin (the dump perhaps?) or it’s re-contextualising to produce not the profound but the banal and boring.

The emotional aesthetic is removed. In it’s place is the display of the rubbish of everyday objects, following in the readymade ‘tradition’, or the constructing of purposeless inventions in various materials that are supposed to make us think about, well, – purposeless inventions in various materials, – (or something else perhaps?).

After walking for hours and standing to observe various pieces of art, my resolve to give the pieces the concentration one benevolently would desire to honour the artist with, diminishes with tired legs and feet.

When viewing art then –
If a piece of work has immediate impact through the marrying of the many and varied aesthetic aspects of form, colour, line, etc. etc. – then my tired feet are forgotten and my emotion is refreshed.
With the lack of the aesthetic – instead – giving way to the cerebral –
Unfortunately, if I am to engage with the artist’s psyche and investigate questioningly, the work before my eyes, at that – ‘time to go home’ – time of the day, then I will need to return on another occasion.

One can either be lazy intellectually or as explained, simply tired – and to have to investigate what is written and necessary for cerebral art’s appreciation – is best done after a good nights sleep.

However what I am calling aesthetic art is appreciated intuitively and emotionally. The intellectual aspect may well be present, but that is part two of observation.

We had a mixed menu of viewing on the occasion I am referring to. We viewed the Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, Expressionists etc. Then (in the same venue) we viewed a recent exhibition of younger artists, it was here that my involvement was limited, due to no sense of impact through aesthetic appreciation.

But what the work did bring to mind is the overall condition of the post modern mind. Indeed the thought life of humans on the earth today, is another swinging pendulum from the sublime to the ridiculous. It could be pointed out this is how things have always been.

Well, yes, there is a carnal mind that is at enmity with the creator’s mind.

This brings me to an abrupt end in my sharing through this post. Because I would now need to morph into a post on theology (for want of a better word), in order to continue.

Because of course, the moral state of our world, and its decline, only underlines the earthly sensual and devilish condition that is bound to influence the production of art also, on top of everything else carnal secularism can and does produce.

Suffice to close with this: art will always be questioning, proposing many hypotheses, pendulum swinging on it’s perceived good and bad standards of art.

That is why art is best enjoyed when held loosely, and art finds it’s place of importance in a sober minded appraisal – down the priority list below more important things.

It is not a matter of life and death, only life and death is a matter of life and death.

Pleasant viewing friends.

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

And now for some more music!

My son-in-law owns two businesses. One sends people’s bags etc. to different parts of the world. (‘Send my bag‘ – a great service) And the other sells musical instruments (‘Karacha’) – check them out online.

This particular painting is on loan and is to be viewed in his office. So unless you wish to purchase it, I guess it’s staying there on ‘permanent’ loan😊

The BandThe Band

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.