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About Me

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I paint, make collages and mixed media work. I write poetry. I reflect on the Tao.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Aphorisms on art and poetry

What I discover is more authentic than anything my mind can devise.

I am a romantic fool throwing poetry against the wind of despair.

I paint. I draw. I collage. I make objects. I write poems. I do these things from my heart and soul.

I make evocations, not abstractions or depictions.

Paint has a physicality which should be celebrated.

Art is what moves the soul. The soul is for the depth of experience enfolded in life.

The dharma of the true artist or poet is to serve and defend the imagination of the soul, the passions of the heart and the sensuosity of things.

Poetry is an act of subversion.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Making art without making art

On my walk to work (yes, I have a full-time non-art job), my eye is captured by men on the scaffold of the building site in town. I miss two sets of lights to cross the road, but I take some photos. Later I process one of them into a black and white shot, emphasizing the horizontal lines cut through with verticals The diagonal line of the crane adds a good contrast to the grid-like effect of the scaffolding.  The little figures add a bit of mystery..

On arriving at the office and before I clock on, I make a watercolour print in a bound sketch book. At some stage of the day some words in connection with the print will come to me and will be added later. (A year later I am still doing this as a morning ritual and meditation; it's become a powerful reminder of my vocation.) 

During my lunch break, I finish shading this drawing for the Twitter #drawingaugust campaign. I'm exploring the use of earth-toned graphite pencils. 

A few days prior, I completed another version using the same three pieces of fruit. I changed the composition, primarily only used one colour for each item of fruit and used smooth card stock rather than pastel paper.

There's also enough time to do an experimental drawing using a reed dipped in ink

Before leaving the office, there is time to dash off a quick colour note in my carry-everywhere sketchbook, using my Koi Watercolour Sketch Box.

That evening I get the chance to do just under an hour’s playing with ink and card stock in my corner of the study.

This is not a schedule, just how it turned out one particular day. Other days, I might also have some waiting time for sketching in. Other days I might take my lunch break in an art gallery or go on a photography or sketching expedition. Some days there will be fewer opportunities, other days more.

Lessons I have learnt:-

Always carry a sketch book. (Having forgotten my own advice on more than one occasion, I now carry the absolute minimalist sketch "book"... a few pieces of cartridge paper folded in my wallet, along with a pencil stub)
 Do what you can, when you can. 
Leave work in progress where you can see it, not locked away in the studio.
Have the attitude of a hunter—be in a state of relaxed alertness, ready to record whatever stimulates your artistic interest.

(slightly edited form the original published in August 2015)

Monday, August 1, 2016

Semi-abstract Seascape Painting: Work in Progress

I painted this semi-abstract seascape on Sunday. I'm now just letting it sit for a while in the studio to see whether I need to enhance it in any way.

I find I work more freely and loosely when I am use my memory as a starting point and then respond to the painting as it develops. I think it helps that I don't use brushes, as these seem to distance me from the act of painting. I use a palette knife to trowel the paint on and then use rags and my fingers to blend and manipulate the paint. I often add highlights with sticks, sponges, credit cards and all sorts of other things. The more tactile the implement, the closer I feel to the painting.