And on…

with the Wonky Geo‘s…numbers 147 through 151.  By my reckoning 29 to make up the arbitrary 180 in the series (each box holds 45 comfortably and I’ve only four boxes of the required size).

Be glad to get these done and dusted now…

Wonky Geometry (cont.)

 

WG140
Wonky Geometry No. 140, 27 x 27 cm., oil, acrylic & pencil on paper, May 2020

It’s the series that keeps on giving…but I am bringing it to an end.  It was always going to be tough figuring it out.  But the fact of fitting 45 into each box (and only being four such) suggests 180 is it.  The pile of potential pieces keeps going so now some thought will have to go into what to do with the seventy or more pieces that will be ‘remaindered’!

WG145
Wonky Geometry No. 145, acrylic on paper, June 2020

 

 

Happy Day…

WG129
No. 129

The sun has made a welcome return and…ta da! I’ve filled Box Three of my Wonky Geometry series.  I’m happy about this on two counts – as not only does it mean only one to go (admittedly an arbitrary self-imposed diktat) but also it’s been (with five other items) on my annual targets for work production for the year.  Perhaps lockdown will see me complete all five this year (rather than has habitually been the case several being rolled over to the following year).  Then again maybe at some point we may be allowed out again!

WG135
No. 135 – ‘Tin Hat & feather’

 

Unknown Genre…

WG127
Wonky Geometry No. 127, 27 x 27 cm, Oil & acrylic on paper, 2020

I first came across Billy Jenkins as part of Burlesque, a band playing support to the Kursaal Flyers.  They were the most anarchic and surprising rock act I’d ever seen, and Billy was the focus of the most bizarre aspects of a fairly weird outfit!  Sadly neither of their albums could properly capture the live act.  But some years later I came across his early jazz recordings, the first I purchased wasUncommerciality vol. 1and I became an occasional follower though being both busy and out of London observed live performances were very few.  No matter…Billy’s work has always been brilliant, full of character and joy, sometimes more ‘difficult’ for some but never dull or unforgettable.  I’ve been catching up with the more recent stuff over the past few days including those episodes of The Billy Jenkins Listening Club I hadn’t got round to.  These ‘snapcasts’ are excellent giving both a flavour of the man and the music.  I also went online to pick up his most recent outing Ghost Music by BUYING IT.  I say this loudly as I’m firmly of the view that artists should be properly paid for their work!  I don’t know Billy personally of course but I’m pretty sure he’d like (or maybe it was his doing) that when I put the downloads into iTunes his album came up as ‘Unknown Genre’.  Magnificent!  I’m thinking my artwork (if it ever sees the light of day again, postviral) should be tagged with the same epithet!

WG124
Wonky Geometry No. 124, 27 x 27 cm, Oil & acrylic on paper, 2020

“He always maintained that you’ve got to be able to play straight to really play wonky”

Beowulf “Wulfie” Mayfield, discussing Billy Jenkins musical philosophy in Episode Six, Series Two of The Billy Jenkins Listening Club

I blame Shakespeare…

IMG_7607

Have you noticed something with all the commentators and interviewees on the telly during this awful ‘lockdown’?  It struck me a few days back that nearly all these middle class people (and generally all those featured ‘at home’ are so) have virtually no original art on their walls.  In fact most seem to have some spectacularly awful stuff hanging in their homes.  It reminded me of something a Scandinavian gallerist said to me forty or so years back that whilst his clients in Sweden would spend a lot on a painting and little on the sofa in front of it, the British, he opined, went the other way (mind I guess Ikea was mostly operating at home back then?!) and so he was glad to be over there and not here and suggested I joined him if I wanted success as a painter…

And in turn I recall a British artist (I think it might have been Scully or Hodgkin) once saying that we were a literary nation not a visual one…and hence the remark about the Bard.  No matter…keep yer eyes peeled on the walls behind whichever ‘expert’ or interviewer pops up on screen – you’ll see what I mean!

Like quite a few other painters I know this ‘self isolation’ is just studio time by other means but I’m also glad that (for those of us hereabouts) the weather has been kind in these first few days (see above).  But I’m also very aware of the massive debt we owe to all those keeping the world going and to those much less fortunate in their accommodation arrangements (or worse still without any).  Making work keeps one sane methinks – and I am so grateful to be able to do it.

WG126
Wonky Geometry No. 126, 27 x 27 cm., 26th March 2020

 

Resolution…

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I imagine that for the ‘strivers’ this is around the time that New Year resolutions start to get irksome.  They would for me if I were the sort to pose myself tough ambitions of that kind.  As it is I’m simply resolved to get some things ‘resolved’ this year.  So no new projects, no purchases of fresh timber, new canvas or paints and – especially – no new ‘ideas’!  Of course what I call ‘ideas’ is a rather grand term for what are just notions that mostly go out the window I start working on them.

So instead I’ve made an inventory of all the various half baked things on the go at the moment.  I say inventory but really I’ve just had a mooch about the studio and dragged out everything that’s sitting there.  And set about deciding what might be potentially be ‘resolved’, whether that’s a bit of ‘tickling up’, more radical surgery or being put out of its misery.  It includes the growing mountain of paper works, offcuts of full sheets, each boxed up at various sizes, of which the biggest is the Wonky Geometry series at 27 x 27 cm.  This constitutes 112 pieces to date, the last six of which are shown above, the result of a few days of ‘resolution’.

 

Ahead of schedule

WG98
Wonky Geometry No. 97, mixed media on paper, 27 x 27 cm. Nov. 2019

‘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.

WG100
Wonky Geometry No. 100, mixed media on paper, 27 x 27 cm. Nov. 2019

Finding a Black Box…

001
No. 1

When a plane goes down, mercifully rarely, the first thing that happens is a search for the Black Box.  Hopefully it tells investigators what happened, and how.  So this group of little sketches, doodles, scribbles, or whatever is part of the record of the larger, more carefully considered and constructed works. The Black Box sits somewhere between the Wonky Geometry series and three even smaller boxes of even more provisional pieces.

002
No. 2

I enjoy these a lot.  First it helps avoid waste – I can’t abide waste – by using papers from projects that failed and using up paint that would otherwise be discarded (not into the watercourse though!).  Alongside that it’s an activity that can carry on alongside the reflection, the mulling over, of what to do next on the more substantive works. No time now for idle hands. And finally there’s the freedom to play around – to not be too serious.

003
No. 3

As yet I’ve no idea how many will be made, as with the Wonky Geo‘s these come off a large pile of sheets cut to the size in a rotation as my fancy takes me and are numbered on what I consider completion.

Year End…

I Give You The Morning
I Give You The Morning, Oil on linen, 15 x 15 cm., Nov. 2018

Nothing concentrates my mind like the impending end of the year.  I know its foolish of me but the wholly artificial milestone of the 31st December tipping into January 1st has me frantically endeavouring to tidy up production of work. Given my equally absurd penchant for multiple objectives for my work in the form of various ‘series’ or ‘projects’ this is, as one might imagine, something of a tyranny.  So I have three more of the Coastal Banners to complete – will they get resolved?  I’m revisiting a host of the Playground Of The Midlands canvases to see if I can put more of them properly to bed.  A number of Very Like Jazz follow ups are assuming a more prominent place in the pantheon of T2R2  (those that require resolution) not least because Better Git It In Your Soul is, courtesy of the energetic and exceptionally talented and generous Robert Priseman (who has done so much for Contemporary British Painting) is on tour again in 2019.  So I’m thinking this strand of my work that has been quietly bubbling under for the past year needs more of an outing. 

Made in Britain

And of course I’m heavily into part three of the Landscape & Memory project – Rock – that I’d dearly like to have fully completed by the time the clock ticks over again into 2020 but at my rate of prevarication means quite a lot of cogitation as well as more painting (though mercifully all of them are in play now).  Of course I have all those small things that bump along more or less all the time.  The Wonky Geo series, now heading north of 60 in total, a set of little abstract landscapy things as yet untitled (and unseen) and two more tiny boxes full of half baked and half realised workouts…oh…and the glacial progress of the i series as above.  And just to top it off there’s a host of Paintings Standing Up, experiments in three dimensions, that I cannot for the life of me decide are worthwhile pursuing or not.  Yep nothing fogs the mind like the impending Year End!