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Jolly Man with Flowers

jollyman

A jolly man with flowers. Always an attractive sight.

He walks on clouds and the colours are kept simple.

His clothes are loose and ill fitting. The hat? A bad choice for one who cares about his appearance.

We suspect he does not. Which is fine, it’s a free country.

The flowers, however, are nice. A big bunch of red roses. For you, for me, for anyone viewing the painting. A generous soul no doubt, who gives more than he recieves? We don’t know.

A whole series of these would be nice. One in each room. The Jolly man.

He could be sipping tea in the kitchen.

Reading the paper in the sitting room.

Folding socks in the bedroom.

The colours scheme throughout the series would have to be consistent and the facial feature deliberately vague. In fact, that’s the whole point. It’s meant to be vague.

When paintings are vague, there’s always room for you, the viewer. You read into it what you will. Normally I would say at this point ‘a bit like life really’ but that would be too predictable.  So I won’t.

A jolly man with flowers is a large painting. With a large heart. The perfect Christmas gift.

It’s still available. He’s still holding the flowers. Drop me a line to enquire for further details.

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One Man’s kitsch…

plane and friend

It’s a word I long struggled to spell.

‘Kitsch’

Always putting the ‘c’ before the ‘s’ , never right way round. But now, I am reformed. It will never be a problem again.

My lack of spelling prowess is one of my most endearing qualities, I’m sure you’ll agree.

There is debate as to the word’s origin. Possibly German, in the late 18th century to signify a worthless trinket. Eye candy if you will. Of no real substance.

If you often wonder why certain people call grotesque things art and get paid millions of dollars for the result, you need to first be familiar with this word.

Everything and anything goes in the Art World these days as long as it pushes the boundaries and avoids falling into the category of ‘Kitsch’. That is the greatest insult to these forward thinking avant-garde.

(Unless there are deliberately trying to be kitsch which implies their work is actually not. (metakitsch)

In their eyes my work, my art would be undeniably kitsch. Of no real lasting value, adding nothing new to the ongoing evolving art conversation.

But as Don Draper might say ‘If you don’t like the conversation – change it’

We all have that power.

I take real children’s toys and I paint them, because they hold something magic, and art is a way of capturing magic. Holding unto it and sharing it. If that’s kitsch, all I can say is ‘Guilty as charged’.

The evidence awaits your perusal

I wait in the dock. Kitcsh.

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On Patterns and Cycles

The Muse

Life is full of patterns. This is fortunate because humans love patterns, even predictability, though some would deny this. The more harmonious the better. It ties in with our internal organizing principle of cause and effect.

Patterns are not just confined to works of art, but they exist everywhere. We have an innate ability to find them out and make a value judgment as to where we fit in to the overall schema. A lot of times this isn’t immediately obvious, hence feelings of despondency.

These patterns can be very subjective. Some may see one where others simply can’t. In a way it could be said that gives them an unfair advantage, but who said was life was fair? There are, I’m certain ones you see clearly that could be very blurry for others to even begin to notice.

I think the most obvious example is people who run successful businesses. If everything collapsed for them tomorrow, there is a strong possibility that in five years time, or less, they would be back to their present state, purely because they know it can be done. They’ve done it before.

Patterns are closely tied to cycles, and the nice thing about cycles is that for the most part they are repeatable or they won’t be cycles? They know the process is similar and more importantly they know they can do it.

Good art, even great art is about defining new patterns, arguably. Paradigm shifts in how we view things. Obviously not all art comes up to this standard, that would not be possible and the rate of change unsustainable. But it is good to be aware of these things. Look for them the next time you’re looking at art.

You can even practice now here.

Happy practicing!

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Squares of Colour

imagetest1

It was this time of year that I hung a large painting at home. Three years have passed and it still holds court in the exact same spot.

Turn off the telly, power down the lap tops and let the mobile phones go uncharged and simply look.

The painting is very large, 120 cm by 90? Consisting solely of brightly colour interlinking squares of colour. Angular lines criss-crossing the surface, beginning with a bright yellow and ending in a florescent shade of pink.

Each square centimeter would be worthy of a painting of its own.

That is what I do. I look at the various parts of the work and ponder how each colour interacts with its neighbors and wonder as to the nature of their relationship.

Would that square inch in the top right corner look so good if it was enlarged to a 40 x 40 cm canvas? Or is it totally dependent on what has gone before and after.

Colour can never be seen in isolation. That’s why the furniture in the showrooms look so good and something is lost when you take it home. Pedestrian almost.

Art teaches you things and a good painting never stops giving.

If brightly coloured squares are not your thing, don’t worry. There are equal bright un-square paintings to be had here.

Have a lovely day!

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Ice Cold in Alex

butterflyboy7

War films were big business back in the 1950’s. It was a time for revisiting events from a decade earlier and deciding how they should be interpreted.

‘Ice Cold in Alex’ is one such film. It caught my eye the other day, purely because of the famous Carlsberg ad some years previous. I wanted to know the back story to the advertisement and to the film.

Then of course I wanted to learn about the actors and their subsequent careers.  The film itself appeared to be quite hammy, especially the love interest. Stiff upper lip and general persistence appeared to be the order of the day, with a final conclusion that most of the Germans weren’t a bad lot, really.

When the final credits rolled over a fanfare of triumphant music the two things that struck me most were firstly, the shortness of life. The majority of the actors are now dead, even though the film was only made in 1957. Secondly, art is a means of interpreting life.

Nothing original there really. You could read that in any second rate philosophical diatribe, but this time it was more personal than mere information.  I really understood it.

How this will inform my future paintings remains to be seen. No doubt it will in ways that at the moment I cannot envisage. If I could, there would be no need to paint. Painting is a means of working out and internalizing what we encounter in the outside world.

Not that I can see my art descending into a darker realm. The opposite is actually the case. It’s important to keep reminding ourselves of all that is good and beautiful in life. Hanging a piece of uplifting original art on your wall is the perfect way to achieve this.

Hence, my obligation to direct you to these pieces, particularly at this time of year.

Have a happy Monday!

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Painting as Meditation

woody

A painting can become a meditation. Particularly for me. The meditation could go on for weeks, perhaps even months. How is that even possible?

By a series of fortunate and unfortunate events. I still can’t decide which is which. Disconcerting to say the least.

I could broadly label an unfortunate event being the fact you set out to paint a piece and it doesn’t go to plan. You’ve put a lot of work into it and are reluctant to abandon it.

A fortunate event would be the adoption of the mindset where the outcome doesn’t really matter any more and you lull your conscious mind into a false sense of security and the inner critic slumbers with one eye open.

Then you keep prodding away at the piece with no expectation of outcome or desired reward. You are painting for paintings sake. Just one discordant brush stroke after another to see where they lead you.

I can’t give a cookie cutter answer as to where they lead you. How long is a piece of string? Everything is different on any given day. Perhaps that knowledge is enough and the willingness to give up the attempts to shoe horn a piece into a category.

Sometimes the practice can turn the piece on its head and real, real, progress is made. Other times you were right the first time and should have abandoned the piece months ago. It’s not really for us to decide; only time will tell.

None of it is a waste. I believe that. Little beauties like these are born out of constant practice and dedication to the craft. Beautiful things make beautiful Christmas presents for beautiful people.

As to what is beauty? Well, each of us has to answer that for ourselves.

Have a lovely day.

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Weather Bombs Away!

plane and friend

I never heard the term ‘weather bomb’ before. Well, not until last week, seemingly we are in the middle of one. According to reports it had been drifting towards the country from late last week and now it’s landed. So that explains the extra few hours of rain at night and somewhat stormier winds.

I’m beginning to think however that weather forecasters are beginning to succumb to the need for overtly dramatic language to describe weather.

I can picture them now, gathered around a table in a conference room grumbling as to why their news room colleagues should be the ones getting all the fun with delivering depressing news.

‘We want in!’ one particularly gangly youth in a tweed jacket bangs the table with a carefully moisturized fist and the term ‘weather bomb’ is born. It worked, has the whole country running scared.

The power of words. We have to be careful, how and when we use them. You’d never know who’d be listening.

My words are choice and few. In a world of broken plastic and I don’t just mean over exposed credit cards, you want something that lasts and has permanency. The toys in these paintings were once held in deep love and to some extent they still are, despite the onslaught of the promises of Christmas.

They look beautiful hung in the right corner or wall or hall, and not a scary word in sight. Just up lifting images with promises of big smiles, thankfully unscathed by weather bombs, fictional or otherwise.

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