Pausing for breath…

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and reviewing what you (think) you are up to is always a worthwhile activity for me.  I pulled out of the plan-chest  these black and white pastels that have been going on for over a year now today not least as actually making something is quite tough without the opposing thumb.  This was damaged on a screw yesterday whilst hanging ‘The Discipline of Painting’ show and is still quite tender today.  I’m pretty sure it will have hardened off a little by tomorrow as it really is what separates us from the rest of the species…  So today is just looking and pondering – will I make the larger paintings I have been thinking might result from these pastels – or not.  Only time and a little more pondering will tell.

 

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The Analogue/Digital debate…

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is not being conducted by my two grandsons!  But their presence in the household over these past few days has seen us out and about a fair bit (in the case of the above on the pasture at the rear of Sudbury Hall, Derbyshire). So I’ve been using what time has been available to carry on with my pastel details of the virus images.  And this morning (the family having a day out with friends) working up the images to the sounds of Neil Young and his corking early album, After The Gold Rush.

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The making of pictures by hand is often thought of as anachronistic, not least by many in the art world. I take a position alongside artists such as Sean Scully and Jonathan Lasker in thinking that making something by hand is an expression of what it means to be alive…and this quote comes from one of them (I don’t recall which but they both have spoken eloquently on the subject of why paint now?) and expresses my thinking better or at least more succinctly than I can…

” We are all, at present, more divided, less empowered and certainly far less connected to the effects of our world than we should be. It is for this reason that I am deeply involved with the textures of a medium capable of universalising so much lost intimacy”.

And in making these pictures I am listening to the music on a gramophone – ok so at a remove from the actual making of the sounds but a faithful, analogue reproduction.  And this I believe creates an intimacy and a warmth to the sounds that no amount of ones and zeros lined up will ever satisfactorily replace.

 

Out and About…and watching Test Matches…

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I’ve been back a while now but disinclined to post much…today at least I have started in on some new work…and in addition we have been out and about rather a lot.  On top of that there’s the business of the pretty much back to back test matches on the TV.  Whilst we were out yesterday…in Louth, Lincolnshire my wife spotted one of my all time favourite musicians…the legendary Robert Wyatt…making his way through the market.  So this morning the soundtrack to my work on a new pastel was his very sublime Cuckooland album.  It has an elegiac and at times melancholic tone to it but is nonetheless quite exquisite.  I don’t exactly know why but this photo I took at Calke Abbey a few months back seems to capture the mood of it rather well.

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