Friday, May 3, 2019

Casting off moorings.

I had spent a little less than a month working on portraits, drawn or painted from photos, and then, unannounced, this face emerged.

He stares out of the page, an unsettling presence.

There are stories to imagine, none to tell.

Well as far as I am concerned he was a piece of recreation.

I simply played with colours and forms until it said stop.

I stopped to contemplate what he or it might mean for future acts.

I find working purposefully, in a concentrated manner on study , on technique, tiring but valuable.  I realise that this will be a constant source of frustration but also a challenge and a potential source of satisfaction.

I am not really sure how the idea of completing 30 portraits came about, it just did.


It is this path which arouses my curiosity, which begs me to retrace my steps.  

Taking bearings.

Why, I ask myself, does one image attract at a particular moment? 

There are people who have an eye that I treasure.

There are people who have a way with words that inspire.

There are those photos that come back to me that I go to search for years after.

What determines this toing and froing from, repetitive technical exercise to recreation?

Instinctively, intrinscially motivated moments of studied effort, concentration, intermingle with instintively motivated moments of freely formed, instinctive creativity.

The monster can't appear without the work on portraiture, the monster can't appear without the freedom to create.

Mapping not tracing.

Mapping most often involves taking knowledge of the lines of others inorder to trace one's own steps....

I suppose what I find so wrong about much of classical education is that teachers don't wait for students to naturally and instinctively search for answers, for mastery, to their own personal questions, to map out their own personal paths.

Most of the time creativity is not called for, only unthinking tracing.

I find myself taking screen shots of the artwork of others, as reference, as inspiration.

I find myself watching documentaries retracing the artistic paths of others. 

Moments of serenity, moments of despair....

I think again how objects, images, memories become markers on our maps, moorings for our lives.

I think again how motifs model meaning.

I think about the challenges to accepted motifs and the creation of new forms of art.

I think of how loss of attachment, mooring, meaning, leads us to fearful despair, confusion or outrage.







Tides, waves, lunar movements...

I leave people and portraits and find refuge in landscape.



As I draw, I branch off, my eye drawn around the room.

I glance over at my bookcase and see the  mountaineering section, the aikido section, the Stanislavski and Chekov books on acting, the various tomes concerning educational  research from the past ten years.  Each section represents moments, hours, years of attention, enthusiasm, passion, and its waning.

There are seasons, tides, reverberations, which somehow connect in my thoughts, memories, writing, drawing, painting....

Living for many years on the coast, moving backwards and forwards between two countries separated by the sea, looking at photos from series of annual trips across the channel, the sea is a constant motif in my existence.

“There were profound reasons for his attachment to the sea: he loved it because as a hardworking artist he needed rest, needed to escape from the demanding complexity of phenomena and lie hidden on the bosom of the simple and tremendous; because of a forbidden longing deep within him that ran quite contrary to his life's task and was for that very reason seductive, a longing for the unarticulated and immeasurable, for eternity, for nothingness. To rest in the arms of perfection is the desire of any man intent upon creating excellence; and is not nothingness a form of perfection?” 
― Thomas Mann, Death in Venice and Other Tales













Casting off moorings.

Strangely, time appears for this work, when time before appeared absent.

How is it that after so many years, I find this time to paint? 

Maybe, I have cast off those moorings that were holding me back.


I find a poem on the Mooring image from Wendy Taleo. It finds its place somehow here.


I don't really know why it is that I am pausing here to write a few notes in this "ship's log". 

I had become fed up with words.

They appear here to punctuate the flow.





















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