Drudgery…

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Brum Infanta, 2020

For reasons that need not detain…it’s been hard going of late.  Hardly anyone mentions it but making work can be drudgery…at least for me.  Not least in these strangest of days – sort of post-lockdown but with many of us still testing the bounds – when motivation is hard to find.  I’m still pushing the Paintings Standing Up but also endeavouring to drag one or two pictures that stubbornly refused to ‘work’ first time around kicking and screaming into satisfactory conclusion.  Easier said than done.

Two things to trail…firstly Enough Is Definitely Enough curated by Andrew Bracey with a piece by myself opens at Pineapple Black in Middlesbrough on Friday 18th September 6 – 9pm alongside other private views at The Auxiliary and Platform A. The show then runs 24 September – 17 October 2020, 10am – 4pm, Thursday to Saturday.   Andrew is also running a fundraiser for a book of the show – why not subscribe?

Secondly my good friends Moira & Allan are running a show – Days Like These – in Lyme Regis this autumn with work by myself, my wife Sarah R Key & Stuart Reid as well as themselves- details here…with more to follow!

 

Cameraderie…

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Enid on the Hi-Line, Acrylic on board, 30 x 30 cm., 2017

Sometimes you’re taken away from painting by other work or chores…or simple fatigue or recreation…but we all need some interaction with family and friends.  As for friendships they often tend to be longstanding, often forged way back.  As one gets older they really do go way, way back.  In this instance we all met – pause for reflection – forty seven years ago.

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Stuart Broad steaming in from the Pavilion End at Trent Bridge, July 2017

It started with a trip to Trent Bridge for the third day of the second Test against South Africa with my pal Allan.  Cricket (along with Snooker I feel) is very much an artists game, something to do with space and time.  And margins too, fine ones that can change the course of a match irrevocably.  Despite England’s increasing forlorn chances of saving the game it was a good day’s outing.  We followed this with an evening in the company of the fine singer songwriter Keith Christmas who played his latest album in its entirety explaining that he had conceived it with the live performance in mind.  I cannot recommend it too highly.

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Keith Christmas at The Musician, Leicester, July 2017

On the way home we got to discussing what makes a great artist (in any form) and Allan repeated a conversation with his own son, Adam (himself a very talented musician) who suggested it was simply intensity.  And I cannot agree more.  Keith has it in spades and I like to think it may be something to do with age – Keith’s latest has some of his best work ever and quite rightly he wants it out there and admired by as many as can experience it.

On Monday last I was away to London to meet up with another pal from the graduating class of 1973 at Falmouth School of Art, Stuart.  We were at Tate Modern to take in the Giacometti show that didn’t disappoint – full of well presented masterpieces.  It was intensity personified – especially as regards the spacial awareness in what constitutes formal integrity.  Over two days that took in a studio visit our conversations ranged widely though several of them were situated in his garden, a relatively small space but full of flower intensity that, to me at least, spills over into his paintings, ostensibly concerned with landscapes (mostly in Dorset & Spain) but just as much focussed on vibrant colour, light and form.

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Our talks about painting were easy and relaxed – 47 years does that! – and some of it homed in on intention and ambition.  What really matters to us is simply what our heart and head says to us in the moment – not all that extraneous matter that creeps in once you start situating the work in any kind of context.  Is that what we mean by intensity?

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Stuart in his studio, July 2017