In praise of…tinkering

IMG_3003

I recently commented upon the sad passing of Thomas Nozkowski.  I’d been resisting the monograph on him produced last year until now (not least as I have several catalogues of his) but this week took delivery of a copy.  If you are unfamiliar with his work you’ll not know of his regular practice of making over his canvas boards through erasure and re-painting.  In John Yau’s excellent essay he quotes the artist saying: “I don’t like tinkering. Whenever I go back to a painting, I try to open up the entire surface – you know, run a wash of colour over it, or I’ll scrape it down, or I’ll rub it off with a rag – so that everything is back in play.”

Now I love his work, and (I hope) in my modest way see him as something of ‘a fellow traveller’ in several respects…but not in the matter of ‘tinkering’…it’s something I absolutely love.  Indeed it goes to the heart of my dabbling!  Paintings can, and usually do, sit around for months, and even occasionally years, in order that small additions, adjustments or obliterations may take place.  It is also the case that, rather more rarely for me, the outcome can be ‘opening up’ the entire surface as well.  But it’s the tinkering that mostly takes centre stage and the very thing I celebrate.  And so it is with these three paintings all ‘in play’ since Easter but not significantly altered – as yet – from their early states…but still likely I think to some jolly tinkering!

 

Advertisements

The text ‘thing’

I can’t really explain why this seems important right now but it does.  So I’m reading a good deal, mainly poetry (of which I have a pretty decent, if rather ancient for the most part, collection).  When a fragment takes my fancy and fits with the emerging form of the painting I’m working on (as usual there are several on the go) then it is plucked from it’s context and put to work around the edges.

Slow Music
Slow Music, acrylic on canvas, 65.5 x 55 cms., September 2019

How the originator might feel I do not know, but for the most part, so far, those chosen have shuffled off this mortal coil.  In Tomas Tranströmer‘s case some four years back but I like to think he wouldn’t have minded too much…

Christmas Comes Early…

lifelife-frontWEB

I’ve said before that I often find lyric music difficult whilst painting…but I just took delivery of the latest Keith Christmas album…so it had to be first up today.  Go to his website and buy a copy!  

In any event I’m now onto finishing the final touches to Petrarch Reads Augustine the last of the Rock Of Ages so its that light headed feeling that sees some optimism in the gloom that I find when I look at what is going on outside my studio!  And to a certain extent that pervades Keith’s latest album too.  With a bunch of tracks celebrating life and relationships and a lighter hand on the tiller of anger and outrage that characterised a deal of the (nonetheless) excellent songs on his last album (Crazy Dancing Days -why not purchase that one too whilst you’re at it).   I’m also having a bit of fun with another of my TFTLR pieces… that lighten up the mood too…

IMG_2752

Thirty days on…

The Mount Of Sands
The Mount Of Sands

from my last post…goodness knows why really.  It does get harder to have much to say other than that ‘events’ sometimes get in the way of the activity of both making and commentating on work.  And does that matter much?  As I get older I’m realising that productivity isn’t the only criterion – though its one I do put some store in.  Hence my desire to see the completion of the Rock Of Ages, the third and final part of the Landscape & Memory trilogy.  So here is the last but two of the eighteen that make up this group.

Domesticity…

IMG_2589

Visiting friends is lovely but visiting friends who’ve bought work is even nicer!  And work takes on another life when seen in a different environment from either studio or gallery.  Especially when it’s a piece on paper exquisitely framed. So it is with Pan Tadeusz here in my pals, Moira & Allan, living room in Dorset.  Pan is one of the Waldgeschichten, the Forest Stories, part one of the three parts that make up Landscape & Memory.  This project is now finally coming to its conclusion, the fourteenth of the eighteen works making up third part Rock of Ages just now resolved to my satisfaction, and joining the other fifty with only four to go.  Given that the early stages of the whole scheme started back in 2014, it’s only been five years in gestation.  That might seem an inordinate amount of time but given my dithering and distraction I reckon half a decade ain’t too bad!

Stephens Climbing Account
Stephen’s Climbing Account, 106 x 93.6 cm., mixed media on paper,July 2019