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Circles 248

circles 248


Seventh Sense

The Muse

I had been tackling a large abstract over the long bank holiday weekend.

Huge Masonite board procured, gessoed repeatedly, then more gesso putting off those inevitable first painful strokes.

Kill the whiteness, kill the whiteness!! Arrgh it’s blinding – the whiteness.

I killed the whiteness only to re-introduce it again later. Painting an abstract is like driving without a roadmap, in the dark, backwards down a country lane.

You develop a sixth (or seventh?) sense for what works and what does not.

It’s easier to recognise what does not.

A lot of paint can be spilled in the process of elimination. Listen to that seventh sense; it wants to tell you something.

Remember everything you have learnt and then please be willing to forget it. This is an abstract after all.

The result, almost predictable, but we won’t stop there. This is just the beginning. Toe in the water if you will.

Crocodiles lurk unmoving.

Photos will be posted shortly; meanwhile let’s take a quality trip down memory lane when life was much simpler.

The week is off and running – enjoy.


Crows nesting in an abstract

four crows

A picture attached to an email.

Caption read ‘Crows still throwing sticks into the shed’

I thought by now that the crows would have out grown their need to nest. Already some of their chicks were taking flight from the tallest surrounding tree tops. With varying degrees of success. Surely the mothers have their beaks full with the woes of new parent hood.

Perhaps, the growing stockpile of twigs was for next year?

I clicked ‘view’ on the attached image and it opened sideways.  The buddle of twigs still remained firmly in the centre but now the light was diffuse to the right, ending in brightness. A cross hatch of stray twigs acted as counterpoint.

It was an interesting image, more interesting than originally intended – the simple conveyance of information.

I reckoned if I stared hard enough I would eventually see the visage of some hidden deity but there was more.

It would make a perfect abstract. Is there such a thing. Can such a thing be actually conceived before brush is applied to canvas?

I’ll just have to paint it and see.

Paintings are born in the most mundane and extraordinary places. It’s all in the looking and sometimes the seeing.

Paintings are sold in more pedestrian places such as virtual galleries, but that does not make them any less special.

Happy Friday.





As I drive to work I’m currently listening to a CD.

‘Waiting for Godot’ by Samuel Beckett.

Why? Why would you listen to that?

Because all art is born in contemplation. There can be no art without it.

And say what you like, Beckett breeds contemplation.

Some would complain the play itself is worthless. It goes no where, nothing happens and there is finally no purpose to the thing.

Sounds like making art?

Listen and see. Those words themselves don’t even make sense. Shouldn’t it be more ‘Listen and learn?’

You sound like Pottso now, and that’s not a bad thing.

If you insist on ‘seeing’, there is plenty to view here.



The Cary Grant of Paintings


“Look I probably should have told you this before, but you see.. well.. insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops.”

– Cary Grant as Mortimer Brewster, Arsenic and Old Lace
I’ve never seen this film I have to confess, but anything with Cary Grant I love. He had the likeability factor. That elusive quality which goes beyond the subjective.

Painting can have that too – particularly abstracts.

How could one fall in love with what appears to be an arbitrary mess of criss-cross colours and irredeemable shapes?

But we do!

That’s the innate power of the abstract. It speaks to us on a different level, disarming our prejudices by the simple act of being.

What are the implications for representation art so? Is all lost as the world of art becomes increasingly rarefied?

Far from it. I paint representational and most likely always will. Forever seeking that Cary Grant moment in the work, when it ceases to be a stranger and becomes a valued friend.

Rare, but not impossible.

People love those works, but they have to see them to love them. They have to experience it for themselves. Your word means nothing in this scenario. It’s all about the direct experience.

Voila – here’s the direct experience, or the at least, the next best thing.

Have a lovely Wednesday.


Contemplating Contemplation



Robert Henri, one of my favorite writers on painting said –

‘There can be no art without contemplation’

So why aren’t you painting?

Answer – I’m contemplating.

Same thing in the end. There will be blood. There will be art of some description when the contemplation comes to an end.

Who can say how long that process takes?

Minutes, days, weeks or years.

It’s different for everyone and the sad fact is that there is the length of time does not necessarily guarantee the quality of the resultant art.

Sometimes all it takes is a glance.

Please glance here while you’re contemplating and have a lovely weekend.


Lemon Yellow


On the motorway this morning, driving to work, I passed a flowering crop of grinola.

I couldn’t decide whether it was Lemon or cornflower yellow. I never had much experience of cornflower yellow so I decided lemon yellow suited the bill.

Whatever colour it was I wished I could tube it and squeeze it out when the need arose but no such luck.

You would have to capture the splendid morning sun and surrounding greens that you can only get in Ireland on beautiful late spring mornings.

And I had miles to go, armed only with the memory and the knowledge that this experience of colour will surface again, hopefully when in front of a canvas.

Enjoy these and enjoy your day.

Till tomorrow.


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