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Art is as much about not looking at things as it is looking.

‘Nature lies’ councils Whistler.

We need occasionally do the opposite of the hard sciences and not look to closely. Instead it might be better to close our eyes slightly and blur our vision. To keep the mystery echoing.

When we examine we eventually find ourselves staring back at us.

Seek the other and respect the journey in that.

If you’re able – paint it. Either way enjoy it from a state of balanced awareness.

From such a place only good can come.

..And sometimes these.


The painting of a landscape

cows grazing1

“The Hills are alive with the sound of music” she sings throwing her hands up in the air and swirling around…over a sharp cliff?

No, there was no cliff, she continued singing and the landscape was magnificent. Memories can be unruly things.

I haven’t seen the film in an age, but I’m reminded of it again looking across the beautiful May landscapes that we are blessed with in this country.


We pay the price in rain and high winds, but then we reap the rewards and those rewards are green.

Fifty shades of Green. Grays are boring; give me green any day of the week.

I wish I was a landscape painter. There would be no end to inspiration.

Your wish is my command.

Sometimes it’s as simple as that. Just paint and see where the image takes you.

Modern landscape abstracts. A criss cross of greens reaching a crescendo. The month of May is that apex especially when the sun is shining and the living is easy.

Enough, there are paintings to be made, and miles to go before we sleep.

Some already complete, admittedly not landscapes. But first we have to make room for the new.

Amen to that.


Retrofit Improvements – Beware


There is a painting of mine I particularly like – of Daffodils.

The vase that holds the flowers is elongated, far from practical but its curves break up the canvas perfectly.

The Daffodil heads peer out of an inordinately small opening. All far from practical. In fact it gives a sense of suffocation.

Still it works. Sometimes the best conceived and brilliantly executed ideas fall through, because they lacked that…that something.

I have a problem however.

I want to make it better.

Well, not so much want as feel I could make it better. Or perhaps just curiosity is driving me.

The colours are mainly derivatives of different hues of yellow. Warm and warmth and all that goes with it.

I want to apply a wash of ivory black. Then rub it off with a damp cloth and see the effect on the flowers.

More definition I’m immediately guessing, and perhaps that ‘pop’ 3D effect?

Who knows? I’ll never do it. After all it could ruin a perfectly good piece that is already framed and hanging on what little wall space I have left.

The only trouble is – There is always a better idea. And this applies to works we formerly had thought were finished.

The mind never stops, but we have to decide when to let it go.

It’s the potential buyer’s duty to take on these, before the artist attempts retrofitted ‘improvements’ which is rarely a good idea. In hindsight.

Friday. Man Friday. Foot prints from a week that was.


Translate please…

I tip my hat

While on a trip to Japan in the early 1980s, the President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, made a pun. After a short hesitation his interpreter translated the witticism into Japanese. The Japanese audience burst into excessive laughter, which later prompted the President to ask the interpreter what exactly he had translated. Was his pun really that humorous? The interpreter admitted that, instead of attempting to translate the pun, he had simply said in Japanese: “the President of the United States has made a pun. Please laugh”.

My only advice is, this fine Thursday morning, if you’ve never seen the film ‘Lost in Translation’, then please do.

Pay particular attention when the photographer is giving instructions to the hapless Bill Murray via the equally unfortunate translator.

It sums up the film.

However, despite remembering that scene I’m not actually laughing at this precise moment. Instead I’m thinking of the universal appeal of art, in particular paintings.

Is Beckmann’s work distinctly Germanic?
Would we guess as to Chagall’s heritage?

I don’t think so. Nothing is lost in translation.

International readers be justly consoled. My paintings fit a myriad of walls, and breaks down a few too.

Self praise is no praise, but I can live with its phantom weight.



Julian Barnes

cranio work


Julian Barnes is a writer I’ve long admired, but boy, is he depressing. At least I find him so.

I didn’t think this was the case until very recently. As recent as this morning actually.

I was listening to a CD of his short stories on my drive to work. (Courtesy of County Library – wonderful place). The sun was shining and the sky was that kind of ice cold crystal blue that bespoke of pureness.

His stories are of the middle classes, in England, but could be anywhere I guess. The pettiness of our concerns and how couples engage in point scoring at the other’s expense. Sometimes, most times, unaware that they are doing so.

Julian Barnes is aware and he’s made a whole career out of his observations.

Listening to the stories – life seemed suddenly small. I seemed small.

When I got out of the car I could feel my shoulder’s hunched slightly.

People I would normally address by their first name and a crack of a smile received a simple ‘Hi’.

I blame Barnes.

That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

It took a good ten minutes of flicking through my collection of Picasso’s still lives before I could feel my mood begin to lighten again.

Such is art, such is life.

I hope my own art is restorative. It restores me at least and I suspect others as well.

For that resource I’m very grateful.

I’m still going to listen to the rest of the short stories. Barnes is just too good an artist to ignore.

This time with a little more self awareness.

To happy Wednesdays!


Jug fell (fortuitously)


Said Jug from previous post fell and had to be patched back up.

Put back together if you will. The pieces didn’t fit. They never do.

But I like this one better.

It was probably the effect I originally intended. Warped, cubist in its yearnings.

Unfortunately or fortunately Picasso didn’t have a free version of Photoshop to manipulate his original images.

But he had his brain and his vision; a potent combination and he sure worked them.

For the rest of us mere mortals – we Photoshop and consider what might have been.

More importantly what could be – next time?

Don’t be constricted by convention, drag the brush backwards down the canvas and take a large masonry brush to the cadmium yellow and crimson red.

You’ll be amazed at the results. If you’re not suitably impressed I would like to suggest hitting the undo button.

But I don’t think one has been invented yet for real life – fortunately (unfortunately?)

If jugs are not your thing – check out here.

And have a lovely Tuesday.




What does one do with large earthen ware jugs?

You fill them with cool clean spring water and go from door to door announcing to the inhabitants their good fortune that you are here.

If you are living in warm climes you’ll probably be welcomed with open arms, dipper at the ready. If you live where it rains regularly, like every other day, you’ll be simply asked

‘What are you doing?’

And told to vacate the doorstep.

Don’t spill the water because the sun will shine again and then – maybe a welcome.

While you’re waiting, leave the jug down and rest.

Leave it in cerulean blue shade and crimson glade sparkle.

Watch the lemon yellow dance with the burnt sienna. Guess as to the water’s temperature while you wait and insist on making things interesting.

Isn’t that what Life is about?

At least you’re in the shade and you have your box of paints. So paint.

Earthen ware water containers have a long and noble history. So I’m led to believe and I must believe since I was compelled to paint one.

I don’t know really why.

All I know is I love Picasso’s still lives and I don’t feel I can paint another figure.

So rest in the shade awhile and sup at your leisure.

Be nourished and have a lovely Monday.


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