These are threee drawings of characters who will one day become made into cutouts, and set up as a tableau.
What I really need is a jigsaw and some light hardboard. Then I can cut out profiles to paint with the characters: doing such cutting work in this apartment just isn't feasable. But perhaps it will be some day: what I can do now is store up ideas for that day.
Another option is to use these characters in a painting: though what I like about the idea of having them as cutout two dimensinal "dolls" is the toy-like aspect that they'd have (I am extremely fond of children's toys, and there used to be produced pressed tin soldiers called "flats"; I'm also a big fan of the toy theatre).
I have had these ideas for many years, but often felt deterred not just by lack of a workspace but by my lack of a narrative within which to place my figures. I have decided not to care too much: the narrative can look after itself.
A variety of interlinked characters in LA pass through personal crises.
It is elegantly and assuredly made: Tom Cruise is supurb and the film has definate momentum. However, the characters are not really allowed to breathe freely- they are just puppets, whose purpose is to serve the director's (presumably Christian) moral preconceptons.
The Coen's remake "The Ladykillers", moving it from London to the deep South, whose culture they attempt to satirise.
This could be interesting. It isn't: indeed, this film is a disgrace: the humour is inane, it's very poorly paced and it completely fails to create any dramatic tension. It should be struck from the Coen brother's catalogue.
Oh, and the acting is universally poor too- with a horrible, forced "zaniness" all round.
An island in New Hampshire: for a magazine commission, a photographer visits the site of a murder in the 1900s together with her lover, his brother and new girlfriend.
In the course of her visit, the murder case is examined using flashbacks.
The films falls on its own seriousness, becoming self-important despite the good acting. I suspect the director wished to make a serious film, but did not, in truth, really know what she wished to say. The film is completely without humour- an essential ingredient in all truly serious art, ironically enough.
Contrast with the same director's "Hurt Locker", which is defintely serious, and yet which contains flashes of dark humour. For it is in humour, far more than tragedy that artists shows their ability to relate to their audiences.
Extended satire, using a documentary format, on fashion, flamboyant homosexuality, reality television, celebrity, and conservative American values, with some spontaneous silliness thrown in for the apparant hell of it.
The effect is rather "spattergun", and undirected, but almost always entertaining and often extremely funny.
Though "Bruno", has much of "Borat"'s naivity, he lacks his charm, and the film seems driven by a real anger against contemporary sillinesses.
Curious animated film in which the protagonist meets a run of people who espouse a range of philosophies.
Some may find the film naive and rambling, others might see it as Bergsonian; for me, Linklater manages to convey a incredible enthusiasm for his subject, indeed for life itself; and his film has an endearing American optomism about it.
This is the sister painting to that of two days ago, showing the same street but facing the other direction.
To me, this ´picture is less interesting, either because of the excessive use of black paint to mix the greys- which tends to kill the palette- or perhaps the heavier brushwork or perhaps because of some x-factor related to mood, which here is less delicate somehow. The picture was painted from the car because it threatened to rain: this always, obviously, makes one experience the world less keenly.
The notion of an x-factor in making art is one that is critical in distingusing art from craft: a craft object, to me, being one that is capable of being reproduced; while a successful art object contains always the element of surprise and of individual authorship.
I am glad to have worked here on a wide scale: it will be nice to do a series of the quiet roads round here. They have their subtle differences of mood which are charming to relate.
I had originally intended to title the picture "a boring street". I'd walked past it and thought, how spectacularly dull, I must try to paint it!, but of course as soon as I came here with my easel and started looking the more I found of interest. The little road leads to various research institutes each featuring rather anonymous buildings and, as with many academic institutions, there is a very particular atmosphere of "hush". The road curves round, undulating slightly.
This is one of the oddities of boring things: that is, when you start studying boring things they very quickly stop being boring. Martin Parr's collections of "Boring Photographs" illustrate this very plainly.
There is a tense stillness in paintings by Alfred Sisely, especially apparant in his paintings of floods at Port-Marly. This is one of the most Sisely-ish pictures I've done for a while.
Of the Impressionists, I feel the greatest connexion with Sisely: he isn't syrupy, like Renoir, or heavy like Pissarro, and he doesn't have Monet's inclination towards epiphany (which I don't give two hoots about, not having any mystical instincts whatsoever). His sensibility seems plainly British: phlegmatic and free from melodrama and I love the sense of harmony in his works, which usually are constructed using a simple grid system.
The theme of silence, of boredom is very late nineteenth century: I suppose it relates to the often idle leisure class of the time and its evasion of social responisbilities.
This is the contemporary Brazillian equivalent of those courtyards found in apartment blocks in Paris or Budapest: strange, silent places; half public, half private.
Apartment blocks here usually consist of blocks grouped together which are then enclosed by fencing to create a secure space for cars and occasionally for swimming pools and other residential facilities such as children's climbing frames or tennis courts. There is little that is charming about the architecture, and there are seldom gardens: a very narrow idea of functionality is represented.
I used to enjoy the glimpses of private gardens from suburban trains in London: the gentle private civilization that the orderly street view disguised.
There is a good modernist church here, distantly influence by Corbusier's Ronchamps, I suppose, and I'd originally intended to depict it: instead I give you the curves of the road, the trees and that created by the garage in the distance.
I'll go back and do the church later.
This painting looks very much like 1930's painting to me: a generic sort of forties painting, maybe Edward Hopper, maybe Rex Whistler, maybe Balthus.
He's lost in pleasure, indifferent to society and its conventions.
The finger explores ever deeper, squeezing into his nostril. He sensed a bogie on the wall of that fleshy chamber: it irritated, he felt it protrude, provoctive from the nasal wall, an insolent presence. He tried to blow it out- to no avail!
So he inserted his forefinger into the orifice, speedily locating the offending piece of dried snot: now he must concentrate and, focussing all his mental energies, he carefully twists his fingernail round to catch under an edge of the bogie. Then, patiently, as not to tear it and to recover it in one satisfying piece, he levers the bogie from the nasal wall, prising it gently off with an exquiste sensation that is ever so slightly ticklish.
It is the assured performance of a skilled nosepicker: economical, swift, stylish.
This is a self-portrait showing how I am lying down.
I did this while waiting for my student to show. I have to repress the instinct not to doodle during lessons: the desire is especially strong with beginners who can be very tedious indeed. It's suprising how difficult learning a language is for most people, and it's surprising that people often don't realise how difficult it is, so they start language lessons with incredible optimism. But, unless they are motivated by the possibility of gain- such as the chance to study or work abroad, etc- they usually give up fairly soon on.
Anyway, lack of storage space means that most art I make now has to be small or disposable, which means the doodle is now re-habilitated as an art form for me. The internet has made looking at images, usually diminished and always pixillated, the norm and little works of art seem to suit the scale of the computer screen and its intimacy well.
With the internet much is lost- scale, texture, weight; but some things are gained- concision, accessability, speed. I miss the physicality of big painting, but I cannot add to an already big storage space problem by painting more.
If anyone wants anything of mine from here or my Flickr site then drop me a line: the prices are so low they're almost shameful!