Getting a good morning start…

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I watched Picasso’s Last Stand the other evening…he never got up in the mornings they said.  Me I don’t sleep so well nowadays so now the days are longer I rather enjoy the early start.  As it happens too I’m now using a wall that gets the early morning sun.  Add in listening to A Rainbow In Curved Air (on my original vinyl copy) and it doesn’t get much better.  And it helps with the productivity – in the past two days I finished up three more of the L’Histoire De L’Eau gang.  Here’s Ditties For Her Majesty…referencing the first Elizabeth rather than the current one…

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Ten down in The Water…

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So you like to think you can extract yer digit when required…but then you go somewhere that makes you realise what a hopeless slowcoach you are.  Still here’s Priestly Acoreus, number ten in the water subset of my Landscape & Memory series. What with the first group of eighteen filed away, the eight others of this lot well advanced and fourteen of the eighteen of the final Rock lot underway not so shabby really (after all I only started this particular project a couple years back!).  But of course I had to go and spoil it by visiting the Picasso at Tate Modern…and crossing Millennium Bridge on a fine Spring late afternoon I reflected on how inadequate me and lets face it, most of us are compared to real genius!

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Still getting that feeling…

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Sometimes it just gets going…and what a good thing too, or I doubt I’d bother.  But just occasionally I get started on some new pieces and everything seems to jog along pretty well.  So it is with the Rock pieces, third part of the Landscape & Memory project.

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Of course tomorrow morning it may all turn to dust, that happens just as regularly!

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Still as the light fades (and today was proper Spring until four this afternoon) I’ve these three plus five others that have seemingly got something I can work with.  Tomorrow I’m out and about but it will be interesting to return to the studio first thing just to see how I feel about them…

process

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I’m back working with some serious intent after a dose of ill health – and focussed on completing three bodies of work.  The first of these is getting into the third and final part of the Landscape And Memory project, following on from the wood & water sections its onto rock.  And an opportunity to review the working process.  For the first part I pushed  collaged elements about with pva and acrylic paint across the whole selection of papers (some 21 in total) and then began working up each one, selecting text components as I went.  With the water work I’ve treated them piecemeal, with far fewer collaged elements, and it has been a far tougher ask.  So back to the first way of working in this section.

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It has me thinking over how much process impacts on the making of non-figurative work, something that maybe has a more profound influence on how paintings work out than might be imagined.  How and why we choose elements, especially using collage, is fascinating to me. I try not to analyse it too much though in case I find myself shifting stuff around to ‘fit’ certain kinds of imagery….though hang on don’t these look mountainous!  Just as I’m re-reading material focussed on the peaks of ranges, in the west and the east…and good grief now Schama is talking dragons…obviously I need to exercise caution now…

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Knocked sideways…

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I’ve had quite a time of it recently…several bouts of mystery illness culminating in a nasty flu that still has something of a grip after a week…picked up ironically at our local A&E whilst I was waiting on a family member who was ill at the time!  Best to stay away from hospitals if you can it seems.  Today I’m feeling just a little more human, enough to review progress on the various projects I have on the go (regulars will know I keep far too many differing things in play than is sensible).  Here is the second batch of the L’Histoire De L’Eau pictures – part two of the Landscape & Memory trilogy based very loosely on Schama’s book.  Working with these is a curious process…whilst I have already chosen my eighteen texts some of the individual panels immediately suggest which one should accompany it but others much less so, to the point where some have to undergo drastic reworking to make them applicable.  And of course as each text is taken this gets harder so that eventually (at least with part one, Waldgeschitchen ) I am forced to write out each remaining one and shift them around the panels till I can make it work (or in one or two extreme cases replace them altogether).  I guess some might say – quite reasonably – this seems a cock-a-mamey way of going about things but its my way for better or worse.

Festivities…

IMG_0105in the past comprised a lot more activity and required a good deal more energy.  Nowadays the spaces I have over the festive season allow for greater reflection and the opportunity to catch up on the production of work – in this case Osiris Hailed from what is now – fanfare – L’Histoire de L’Eau – well I gave section one of Landscape and Memory a title in German so now why not French? So I’m now 7 into this second of three sections with 7 or 8 more on the go.  A big push post this holiday season & part two may be cracked.  But of course that leaves an awful lot of other bodies of work up in the air…so I guess I need to get back to full fitness and, crucially, get my work plan back in place…but that sounds ‘orribly like New Year resolutions – and I hate them!

Gratefully…

back at work…though I’m still not entirely well but good enough to give some attention to the various bodies of work I have on the go at present.  I’ve written before of how I’m pathologically incapable of focussing on one thing at a time.  And so I just looked back through these pages to see when I last mentioned the Water series.  These are following on from the Waldgeschitchen series and will comprise the second group of three such works that will make up my musings on Simon Schama’s Landscape & Memory.  It was way back in February – so at this rate of progress this project may outlast its creator!  Still over the past few hours I’ve completed the sixth of this second group of eighteen.

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So I’m trying to ‘put in the hours’ as one of my colleagues used to say to me when I was pressing him about spending more time teaching rather than making – and he was right there really is no substitute for being in the space and getting on with it if you want good outcomes.

It always intrigues me as to how others go about the disciplining of their practice, after all you read often about how, for example, Henry Moore, had a very defined studio routine and how legendary is the amount of time, say, Frank Auerbach spends in his room and it’s easy to see with some artists output that they must have been very focussed and hard working.  Then again we all know those who do rather little but it goes a very long way indeed…

Dither…

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I started the new year (it already seems a lifetime ago) with a plan.  Yesterday I took a look and thought it was going west fast.  It is dither that does for me…take a look at the Very Like Jazz new panels for example.  I’m pretty sure at least half of them are fairly close but I’m dithering over them, fiddling about with the grounds and then taking out a shape here or altering its colour there. So with February being the deadline for four then I need to make some decisions.  But (and its a big one) the ‘plan’ also suggests that by the end of the month I’ll have two Water paintings finished, two Paintings Standing Up resolved, and five Playground Of The Midlands pictures completed.  And that doesn’t include the work that continues on the maps and a couple other things knocking around the studio that haven’t even got to a base camp yet!  I know I could just try working on one thing at a time but that just isn’t my way of rolling…

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So this morning I thought I’d try and get a grip…or at least a foothold.  So back to the Water pictures then – and (I suspect partly as a result of no alcohol and a fairly decent nights sleep) glory be at least two of this series finished.

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These are of course the follow on from Waldgeschichten, the series of eighteen panels that drew upon the Wood section of Simon Schama’s Landscape & Memory.  So that’s all good then…just sixteen more of these to go.  Now what about the Playground of The Midlands series?

Moving Right Along…

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from the installation and opening of All Of My Senses at Harrington Mill (see above) it’s inevitable that I’m thinking what next?  Of course I have a myriad of ongoing other projects (blogs passim) but as its the first outing for the Waldgeschichten one or two useful discussions at the Opening yesterday clarified some thinking for me.  One of the panels that never made it to the wall (there were three others) just didn’t ‘fit’ with the rest…and as a result never had a text intervention appended.  Until yesterday I hadn’t thought about it too much.  But now its clear I was already unconsciously plotting the response to the second section of Schama’s Landscape & Memory…the one on Water.  So today I’m cracking into this.  Early days but I’m really excited at the potential!  Sad really…

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