‘schedule’ – don’t make me laugh…it’s hardly that. Nonetheless I dug out this series (still another 100 or so in the work pile) a few days back and chose a few I felt were nearing a kind of conclusion if not a proper resolution. And now I’ve done four more to take it to a hundred – a sort of milestone I guess – and all well ahead of the festive season so hence the ‘schedule’ notion albeit only in my head.
It’s difficult to know what constitutes efficiency in the matter of painting. After all a good deal of the ‘magic’ resides in the capture of time. Of course this can be accomplished in a matter of moments (although even the experts in this probably often have longueurs between actions) but for some of us the endless prevarications, adjustments and alterations are very much part of the process. Nonetheless with some pictures it takes me months to sort them out to my satisfaction, perhaps that’s why I have so many on the go at any time. Add to that occasional periods of ill health and the onset of the winter (cold studio, poor light…) and things can take a dickens of a time.
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.
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…
Do you have as untidy a studio as mine? I only ask because I’ve been trying for quite a while now (the very decent Climate Change weather helped…the studio can be perishing in mid-winter) to do some housekeeping. Tucked away in back a bunch of smaller canvases that, for whatever reason, never got fully resolved. Including these two from back in the day…well five years or so ago. Around the time I was working on a bunch of big canvases (well biggish nowadays) that showed at the Carnival Of Monsters in Beeston, Nottingham in 2014. These had started out as the continuation of the Conversation Pieces that in turn began back in the late noughties but altered tack during the painting process erasing the more biomorphic forms with a renewed interest in formalism (albeit of a cranky kind). I say biggish because at 7 by 5 foot they would have been considered fairly tiddly back in the days I was a student at Birmingham where the legacy of John Walker was writ large – literally so!
But alongside the bigger pieces I made these smaller panels, indeed I made several even smaller still. Getting them out suggested they might have made the cut…excepting that they needed a small adjustment here and there which is exactly what they’ve just been given. Are these new completed works to be dated 2014/19 or is that as pretentious as I’ve always thought it to be when seen about the place..?
Nobody much writes about the long slow slog that most painters experience. I know some – Sidney Nolan was one such – can work at a lick to completion. I’m not one. I wrote before the festive season about completing pieces ahead of the break. And naturally enough failed with several I had hoped would now be behind me. Picking up the plot at this distance (an extra two week gap whilst we were in Cornwall) is a bit of a slog.
This has been both studio and living space for the past fortnight. It’s good light, a decent workable wall and a reasonably generous desk. In most respects it works well. There is a sizeable drawback…what the comfy chairs don’t reveal is the view, through the open doorway, and from the window in front of the desk. It looks like this sometimes,
and like this at others…
and has many more moods to show you. Yes I have made some paintings, none fully resolved, but my often glacial progress would be even more dilatory if I ‘worked’ here often. Sadly tomorrow I’m off home to my normal environs!
So it begins…2019 that is and, courtesy of our extended stay here on Cape Cornwall, it will be over before I get going at the pace it’s setting so far. How does time speed up as one ages? Not that I’ve been idle – posting is a bit of a lottery however dependent on a hazy purchased wifi ‘hotspot’ – as these studio images can testify.
And if it all seems a bit glacial that maybe because quite a lot of time is spent keeping our eyes peeled on the Atlantic to catch glimpses of the pod of dolphins that seem to be about these parts of late…and I’m sorry that my mobile isn’t up to giving you the view we’ve seen!