People are crazy and times are strange I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range I used to care, but things have changed
So his Royal Bobness fetched up in Nottingham for the first time (I think) since 1966…opening up his set with these particularly pertinent lyrics – at least for yours truly. Maybe (mostly) its a consequence of my age but they seem to sum up our ridiculous and crazy world. How we can be sleep walking towards totalitarianism across the western world I really don’t know – just shows how seventy plus years of stability makes people (or rather a lot of them) complacent I guess. We can only hope that once things start getting seriously askew they may wake up.
And Bob has also changed everything, not least the tempo, tone and even the melodies of some of his best known songs alongside those many more recent and less well known ditties (a solid bunch off the Tempest album). But it was a decent show, house lights down on the dot of eight pm. and an hour and forty minutes of non-stop boogie, hard rock and some alarming crooning! But Bob always goes his own way and as one of these standards said ‘Why Try To Change Me Now’? So I kind of appreciate this bobbing and weaving to keep the audiences guessing.
I’m flitting between bodies of work in my painting too. As is by now well known to any followers of these ramblings I don’t do a ‘signature’ style but address each set of pictures in whatever manner seems to me to suit the occasion. Its especially messy right now. In one corner sits the canvas pieces for the Lavanderia series, in another the lumps and bumps of my Paintings Standing Up. Over on one wall another in the extending series of Very Like Jazz whilst right here is another of the twenty five or so small oils in the Charnwood series Playground Of The Midlands. Up on the balcony are the Water paintings (the second part of the Wood, Water & Rock pictures that take their cue from Schama’s Landscape & Memory). And somewhere at the back a small panel collection provisionally titled The Rigged Deck. Of course there’s also the painting of maps, the Wonky Geometries and the RagBags that just chug along forever. So who am I to call the world crazy!
Fifteen works on paper, 94 x 107 cm., Acrylic on paper, collage…all in progress but clearly an upside to the digital age is that its a very simple matter to be able to review where the whole shebang is on screen. And its a strange thing (that I know several others have observed) that looking at these things on screen as well as in the flesh is quite helpful to thinking through where they need to go next.
More of the work as it progresses…or so one hopes…and turned, as seems fit, to landscape format. And I swear its a fact as these images loaded iTunes put Wild Wood by Paul Weller into my headphones….so thats now the title of the series too…
And I say, “Climbing forever trying”
You’re gonna find your way out
Of the wild wild wood
Say that, you’re gonna find your way out
Of the wild wild wood, of the wild wild wood
Yesterday I starting thinking about woodland again…or rather I began with forests. My first impulse was to reread the Wood section of Landscape & Memory, that I first encountered on my Masters course in Photography and that begins with a visit to Białowieża Forest where Schama discusses the Lithuanian Bison. Google tells me that from landfall at the Hook of Holland I can drive there in under fourteen hours…so naturally on this first day of 2016 it seems a breeze! However practicalities soon crowd in and I set my immediate sights on a ‘forest’ nearer to home…so much so that I can see home (more or less) from one of its better known vantage points. We are nestling somewhere to the left of those cooling towers you can (just) see in the far distance above.
Ok so its not quite the ancient forest that Bialowieza is but a remnant of, except that in a way its maybe even older…after all the Charnwood Forest rocks are 600 million years old and the habitation of them (and the accompanying acculturation) is around maybe 5 or 6 thousand years (or one hundredth thousand of that time!).
Anyway my interest as a painter is in the spirit or ambience of the place and, here and there, the woodland closes in to give at least a momentary sense of what such places must have felt like many hundreds and thousands of years back. Although I’m sure that in the picture above there are invasive species lurking as is often the case in the UK.
Whichever way I cut it….a good three hours strolling around my local forest is probably better for me and the planet than a fourteen hour drive across Northern Europe!