Category Archives: art

The Mood Factor


Dunseverick – watercolour by Ken Riddles 

One of the aspects of art appreciation that is overlooked, is the ‘mood’ aspect.

What ? – Moody landscapes do you mean? 

No. I’m referring to the emotional state of artist and viewers alike.

It is difficult nay, perhaps for some folks, we could say, almost impossible to trace the origins or cause of mood swings.

We enthusiastically buy a piece of art. “Just love it!” Is the exclaimed conclusion when the money has been paid and it hangs on the living room wall.

But a year later they have a bad day and go ‘off-it’ completely, and set about to find a way of ridding themselves of the piece.

What do you mean that never happens? 


I remember sadly, that a friend of mine bought a painting I created,  entitled (I think?) ‘Couple’. It was a semi-abstract of two figures hand in hand.

She bought it for her fiancee, as an engagement present, owned by both as they entered marriage.

Unfortunately she had been duped and the partner wasn’t what he presented himself to be and the marriage ended.

She could no longer appreciate the painting and gave it away. A rather extreme example of how our subjective experiences can turn our emotional appreciation away from a formerly appreciated object.

I’m only too willing to concede also, however, that some pieces of art stay in favour throughout the life of the person who possesses it/them. Their daily experiences – good or bad – high or low – do not affect their intellectual and emotional attachment to the work.

I guess that is the ideal scenario, I’m just not convinced it is always the case.

Everyone likes a change. That’s why we RE-decorate our rooms.

As a painter I have moments of joy over what I have produced but I must confess it is sometimes short lived.

Fortunately there are works I do not want to part with. But not many.

As Christians we are not meant to live by our ‘moods’, as in –  only setting ourselves to please God, when we ‘feel’ like it. But to suggest we are not all subjectively motivated some of the time, would be unrealistic.

However, if The Lord Jesus had acted only on ‘nice or good feelings’, He would never have gone to the cross.

That’s where the will of God ‘kicks in’ for the Christian. Doing things because they are right, not because we feel right.

I certainly do not claim mastery in this sphere – only that The Master (Jesus), provides the help I need.

However in these considerations, and as part of this discussion is about art, we must also allow for the fluctuation of ambiguous artistic feeling. 

When an artist places his next mark on the paper, guided by an inner knowing and decision making mechanism, this can be referred to as ‘intuition’.

Put simply – an example would be – illustrated by the utterance: ‘I feel it needs something red down here…’

What do you mean ‘I feel it needs…?’

Explain that one…

There is no doubt we are all subject to whimsical feelings when it comes to taste. We get tired of always looking at or listening to the same thing. It is just part of human nature.

So I realise when it comes to my own art that those who have purchased or been gifted with my paintings may get tired of them.

The artist shouldn’t get too offended by this.

One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in a Christian’s life is self-control.

Therefore that effects all our decision making. 

In that – we are to know ourselves, and ‘collate’ our thoughts in the Presence of God.

This leads to God’s Peace being arbitrator between what is acceptable and unacceptable (Colossians 3/15).

No Christian gets this correct all of the time, but when we don’t – we run back to God for His understanding forgiveness – He understands that we are sheep that too easily go astray.

So by all means enjoy being a human being – allowed to have likes and dislikes, our own ‘taste’ buds – our individual emotional responses to the sight of the eyes.

But art dealer ‘Joe Bloggs’ having an off-day (or mood swing) and as a result rejecting your art – should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Self-control wins the day as something to aspire to. An emotional roller-coaster life, and – the car gets so out of control it heads for a crash.

Galatians 5/

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

A poem revisited


It’s that girl again

The one who moved in coffee shop circles

The one who tried to write a story

With her feet

And a new seat

At the coffee shop opposite –

Across the street

Whose head-story she would not repeat

As she journeyed in hopeful imagination


Maybe a needy person she would find

And buy them a coffee –

Perhaps an old lady

Fumbling for her money

Spectacles broken

Unable to differentiate

Between her coins

She would step up to fulfil her reason

For crossing the street for that other latte

She determined not to encounter

A nothingness scenario


After all – impulse had driven her here

To the pub with no beer

Silently she sat in another poem

Her thoughts drowned by the passing traffic

[search my post: other poem: ‘Another Coffee’ Sept. 22]

Sparse or crowded?


Well aware that this is an over-simplistic indulgence. It is possible to fit an artist/painter into one of two categories:

The two categories are –

The minimal

And the crowded.

Regardless of their manifesto or school of thought. Regardless of their place on the scale from Photo-realism to abstraction.

Artist’s images are full to capacity and overflowing, or sparse, usually clean and minimal in content.

Have I traced this tendency to be true? Some artists will add and add and add to the image birthed by their brush. Others will study and study and study (studiously consider I mean), before placing any marks at all.

Some must invent. Some must record. The inventors must keep moving the brush and responding to what they have already produced – i.e. the marks they have already made.

The recorders must try each time they start a piece of work – to render it more accurately, ‘realistically’, naturalistically, and so on, – than last time.

Whatever (as they say) floats your boat.

It might be right to say that the ‘man in the street’ normally favours something he doesn’t have to think about – something that is plain to be seen – something that ‘reproduces’ reality.

But of course a painting or photograph can’t reproduce reality. It only imitates it. Three dimensionality (the actual world), will never become two dimensional, (the world of the flat surface).

This is a well worn debate.

The ‘non arty’ person (whatever that means?) –  favours the skill demonstrated in the imitational reproducing of reality – this person favours the recorder-type artist. Whilst usually dismissing the imaginative one – usually with the words ‘I don’t understand this…’

But of course no one can give the exact ‘numbers’ – the percentage preferences of taste in art appreciation, present in the public’s eye.

As there may well be as many folks who love imaginative non-figurative art now, as there are – those who favour the figurative.

Like what you like – be yourself

The sausage tester (‘ancient’ – Photoshop 4) – by KR



The rain was pelting down

Rotten fruit pelted at the performer

The hail was pelting down

As he stood at the corner


The pelting life can be ‘receive’ or ‘throw’

[What life will throw at you 

You just don’t know]

Soaked through or – aim – fire – go

A pelted man ready to fall

Held up by the stocks like a doll


He pelts his radiant defiant smile

At those who are active-pelting

A sarcastic grin – that says you can’t win

I’m here ’til you stop – I will not drop


All pelting must cease and a

new word for pelting must be found –

all pelting must go underground