Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Riverbank, blocks

Riverbank, blocks, oil on card, 7 x 8.2 cm

This is the last picture I shall paint from here for a while.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Morning,11am, Riverbank

Morning, 11am, Riverbank, oil on card, 7.9 x 10 cm

Painted among the reeds. I will not do more from this location for a while as I fear repetition, except for one last wider view of the roadbridge and the creek.

In the morning herons gather here in their beautiful white plumage, breakfasting in low tide.


It is lovely to be working in this way, in the "footsteps of giants"; muddy common sense painters like Constable, Ruisdael. Much is made of the importance of artists as radicals, innovators and revolutionaries. But few artists truly posess the nous for originality, so it would surely be better if more emphasis were placed on artists' abilities to follow and celebrate the traditions they are party to.


I came across a blanket among the grasses there, lying on a pile of pages from a promotional fashion catalogue, the faces and bodies of models in mannered poses. To think of those images forming a bed there: something strange and tragic about it: I had broken into another man's privacy.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Riverbank, reflections; Florianopolis; cliche

Riverbank, reflections, oil on canvas, 10 x 9 cm

A beautiful day: the tide doesn't enter here 'till later, so no fishermen today. I stood on the bridge in the sunshine.

At weekends, Florianopolis doesn't get moving until midday at earliest: even a relatively late riser such as I can wander about in relative tranquility in the morning. It's an odd city, provincial in mood, slow moving, with a limited cultural infrastructure.

It is as if it hasn't awoken to the fact that its population has risen now to over 400, 000. At weekends the centre feels very dead, the nocturnal sectors of the population drive in search of fun to Lagoa, or to large, bland shopping centres.


This subject of today's picture is not new, but is it a cliche? Or is it simply the sort of scene that will always appeal to landscapists? To me, a cliche is a catchphrase: it has an glib cleverness about it: I don't think the mere fact of a subject being unoriginal makes it a cliche.

It's often better, in any case not to worry about things being cliches or not, at least until after the picture has been made. That is because, I think, as artists we sometimes have to work ideas through our systems, however uncomortable that makes us feel, or how grotesque the results: we have follow them through to their conclusions, good or bad.

Ergo, we should try to hold off critisising our work until some time after it has been made, or we will never succeed in working our more dubious ideas out of ourselves, and will fail also to liberate the better ones.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sapling on a riverbank; David Sylvian; tourist pictures; getting into my stride

Sapling on a riverbank, oil on card, 7 x 9.4 cm

The creek cuts through from bridge to bridge at the back of Itacorubi, and I've found a little path, much overgrown. I went along it, passing a couple of fishermen. Its a great place to work- tranquil. I might think of myself there working as John Crome, great Norfolk painter of discreet places.

A thread connects all the artwork I've done, regardless of style or medium: the revealing of secrets. Finding and depicting obscure or hidden parts of Florianopolis is a way of revealing secrets, showing an intimate and private relationship with a hidden or un-noticed place. This is a theme that connects many artists I love- photographers such as Atget and painters such as Utrillo or Morandi.

I first became aware of my attraction to this theme through music, specifically songs by John Foxx, or David Sylvian:

Once again I'm hiding in backwaters
Running this way and that
Trying so very hard to please

(beware of hidden snares)

Rushing to bite the hand that feeds me

Running this way and that

(there are always other possibilities)

This way and that

Backwaters, David Sylvian, 1984

Given the themes of secretness, hidden-ness and exploration so animate my work, I wonder if the idea of making the London Tourist paintings, and, in Novemeber, the Italian and Maltese ones is such a good idea? Such pictures of monuments and given views are surely against my every instinct. But perhaps it is good to oppose ones known instincts from time to time.


Above are some pieces of card being prepared for paintings. I'm very happy with this small format, which suits my working speed and also keys nicely into the idea of "revealing secrets", as outlined above.

It took me a couple of years, however, of fairly steady work to get into my stride- to locate myself in the aesthetic- the first little pictures were generally underworked and to my eyes now, sloppily crafted, sometimes painted on badly primed supports.

As I have worked steadily, I've managed to develop critical axioms, and raise the general level of my work. I'd say of every five pictures (a usual week), one is an outright failure, two are mediocre, and two good. Usually in twenty there is one which I love. But I have good patches and bad: now is a good one, though I scarely dare admit that for fear of jinxing it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tree by a riverbank

Tree by a riverbank, oil on card, 7.7 x 5.8 cm

The river, or creek as I call it sometimes, cuts through the back of Itacorubi and Corrego Grande. It's only possible to walk along some bits of it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Creek with a horse

Creek with a horse, oil on card, 7 x 12.5 cm

You can, hopefully, make out the horse to the middle right of the picture, grazing peacefully while in the distance new blocks are being constructed.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Forest, Lagoa

Forest, Lagoa, oil on card, 16 x 8.7 cm

Another wide format piece: there's a bit of Bonnard in here, I guess.

Monday, August 16, 2010

From Here to Eternity (1953): review- 6.5/10

It's the eve of the bombing of Pearl Harbour...!

Mysteriously, Montgomery Clift, a wonderful buglar, maintains his enthusiasm for the US army despite being mercilessly bullied for refusing to participate in boxing matches. He meets a girl who is completely unmemorable but falls for her nevertheless.

Simultaneously, Burt Lancaster starts an affair with his Commanding Officer's wife. Given what a grumpy cow she is and quite how surly he is, the source of their passion is unclear but they roll about in the sea in long swimming trunks while the waves wash over them anyway.

Frank Sinatra wonders about buffoonishly, usually drunk. What he's doing as a private soldier in Hawaii is anyone's guess.

Messy, inconclusive film which tries to say something profound about masculinity and service but which fails- entertainingly enough, it might be said.

The Desert Rats (1953): review- 5.5/10

There is much of potential interest here- the relations between Australian privates and British officers; or the nature of courage; or of leadership; but these themes are passed over too rapidly for them to have much emotional impact.

Ergo, the virtues of the film are mainly in its celebration Allied forces and their sucess in resisting Rommel's forces.

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (2008): review- 5/10

An irreverent English journalist gains employment in a New York magazine.

Rapid, silly, and enjoyable film, but which lacks the satirical bite that is required to make it the intelligent farce that Toby Young's book deserves. This is, I think, because satrire needs more true anger behind it to succeed.

Birdman of Alcatraz (1962): review- 6/10

Well paced story of a convict that takes up bird breeding and becomes an aknowledged expert in the matter.

The film is further animated by an ongoing feud between a prison governor and the hero.

The film is nicely filmed, with very characterisitc tics from the time, and Lancaster is excellent, if unlikely, as the convict, being much too good-looking.

The film attempts, clumsily, to introduce a political message about crime. It argues that the prisoners are somehow victims of society- though the director indeed skirts any examination of the convict's crimes, or his motivations for them, nor those of his co-detainees.

A definate superficiality then, is sustained thoughout; this is particularly apparant in the relations with his mother and also his wife.

Crazy Heart (2009): review- 6/10


Impoverished but charismatic country singing dypsomaniac falls in lurve.

Bridges is good, but lacks shade enough for the role; Maggie Gyllenhaal likewise is bland.

WARNING: Country music, with it's atrocious lyrical and musical cliches, features in many scenes.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Tourist pictures

Sunset, August, Florianópolis, oil on card, 12.5 x 10 cm SOLD

When I lived in London I had the idea of doing a series of tourist pictures.

These pictures would, in part, be a homage to Georges Perec's Bartlebooth, from, Life A USer's Manual , and a homage to the place itself (a slightly ironical homage, given the wryness or uninterest that those who live or have lived in London tend to develop toward the touristic places- a general capital city-dwellers attitude, indeed).

The pictures would feature the obvious places:

Tower of London,
Buckingham Palace,
Tower Bridge
The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
St Paul's Cathedral
Trafalgar Square/ Nelson's Column/ St Martin in the Fields/ National Gallery
Picadilly Circus
Regent's Park
St Jame's Palace
London Eye
British Museum
The Albert Hall

Have I missed anything?

When I lived in London I didn't have the idea of painting little pochades, each taking a few hours at most, so the concept daunted me, and never got off the ground. Now, with this marvellous working process it is all much more of a possibility, so when I am next in London, in July, I shall pursue it. Ten or twelve pictures is about possible in a week isn't it? Depending on the weather, of course.

I reflect also that I don't actually really like painting in public places, because having to chat to others is often annoying, and this is partly why the run of my pictures are of out-of the way places. It is also because the views of historical sights are very often highly familiar, and it's difficult to add anything to them.

Often the idea of a picture is more satisfactory than the reality: you arrive at a spot and it turns out that the view isn't as good as you hoped- traffic or tourists of road signs obscuring the view. So you end up painting something adjacent, looking in the opposite direction, having been unable to match your idealised image to the scene in front.

Highway bridge over the creek

Highway bridge over the creek, oil on card, 11 x 8 cm

In the beackground you can perhaps make out Florianopolis' central hill with it's broadcasting installations. Favela construction, vomit-like, is starting to speckle the hill.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Rooftops, oil on card, 10 x 11.7 cm

This is a sister painting to Grey Day- view from the cemetery, painted just over a week ago (see entry below) and is painted from nearly the same place. The chaos of yards and houses is hard to trace: your best hope is just to give an impression, to fall into the rythm of the place, as I guess Auerbach and Kossof did in London.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Buying work from this site

Most of the pictures on this site are available for purchase.

The small recent pictures (labelled "pochades") are currently priced at 100 Brazillian Reals (57 US $, 43 Euros or 36 UK pounds), and therefore represent excellent value for collectors.

The prices are set low to encourage new buyers and because I believe original art should be accessable to all.


Packing is usually 10 Reals for up to 5 pochades. (5.70 US$, 4.30 Euros, 3.60 UK pounds)

Postage outside Brasil

Fast postal rate is 60 Reals (up to 2 weeks) (34.13 US $, 25, 67 Euros, 21.38 UK pounds)

Cheap and slow is 15 Reals (takes up to a month) (8.53 US$, 6.42 Euros, 5.35 UK pounds)

I reccomend the fast rate of postage. It costs the same to send 5 pictures as it does to send one, so it makes sense to purchase several pictures at the same time.

Postage within Brazil is cheaper, but I do not have the prices to hand.


The total cost of one picture is usually: 100 Brazillian Reals + 10 Reals Packing + 60 Reals postage= 170 Reals ( 96.70 US$, 72.73 Euros, 60.57 UK Pounds) .


In the UK, payment can be by cheque or direct transfer to my UK bank account.

In Brazil, payment can be by cheque or direct transfer to my Brazillian account.

Elsewhere, payment is by SWIFT transfer into a UK account.

Any questions?

Send any enquiries to me at Tadeusz598@yahoo.co.uk or telephone me on 55 48 3223 0461

Laurel Tree

Laurel tree, oil on card, 10 x 12.1 cm

A day of extraordinary beauty, one of those days that is so beautiful that one feels slightly sad.


My picture is similiar in feel to 18th century sketches. I feel that this size is about right for me: smaller is painful, cramped, larger and one loses speed.


When I think of Laurel trees I think of the beautiful painting by Pollaiuolo in London's National Gallery, Apollo and Daphne, quite a bizarre little picture.


Buying Work from this site

Most of the pictures on this site are available for purchase.

The small recent pictures (labelled "pochades") are currently priced at 100 Brazillian Reals (57 US $, 43 Euros or 36 UK pounds), and therefore represent excellent value for collectors.


Packing is usually 10 Reals for up to 5 pochades. (5.70 US$, 4.30 Euros, 3.60 UK pounds)


Fast postal rate is 60 Reals (up to 2 weeks) (34.13 US $, 25, 67 Euros, 21.38 UK pounds)

Cheap and slow is 15 Reals (takes up to a month) (8.53 US$, 6.42 Euros, 5.35 UK pounds)

I reccomend the fast rate of postage.

Friday, August 6, 2010

In a forest

In a forest, 9.3 x 11 cm, oil on card

Paintings like this, of foliage, have virtually become a sub-genre of mine.

Brasil, or at least the island of Santa Catarina, rarely offers the sort of mediated landscapes which are so characteristic of England: meadowland punctuated by copses or small woods, ideal for hunting. Either things are densely wooded here, or they are open. Ergo, the sort of classical landscape where you have clearly defined fore, middle and far distances, is less easy to find in nature.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Little tree, wet day

Little tree, wet day, oil on card, 11 x 13.5 cm

Painted from the car parked in the semi-developed residential area behind Iguatemi Shopping Centre: rain: everything wet:

Midwinter spring is its own season
Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown

T.S. Eliot, from Little Gidding (1942)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ken Park (2002): review- 1.5/10

Adolescents in Visalia CA and their relations with their parents.

Features visceral scenes showing masturbation, oral sex, group sex, masturbatory-asphyxiation, bondage, suicide, murder, scateboards and pustules.

All this might make the film reasonably amusing, but it isn't. It rambles, the characters hardly develop and the relationships between them are rarely interesting .

Sadly, moreover, the actors are too ugly and uncouth for the film to succeed as pornography.

Grand Canyon (1991): review- 3.5/10

Ensemble piece set in LA, featuring blacks of the working classes, various whites -usually wealthy- and the charmless progeny of both races.*

This eliptical fim attempts to make some sort of moral-existential point, but fails: the sort of parables as comprise films such as these demand a dramatic energy that is missing here.

This could be because the script lacks a clear central ethical dilemma, or because the characters are suffocated by a worthiness (suffocated by the sentimental presence of de-liturgicised religion- "spirituality", constantly exhorted by the director to Do
Good) that reduces the scope of choices available to the the characters, sapping their spirits.

Indeed, probably, the only characters in the film who get any real fun out of life are the robbers at the start.

And you always know to be wary when humour is completely absent in a narrative art work; because where humour is absent, mawkishness or moralism enter.

*Quite why do Americans have such atrocious table manners? Could it be the cowboy legacy, when meals were eaten in the dark round a campfire after a hard days droving, and none of your fellows could see how you chewed with your mouth open and waved your fork around like a fly swat?