Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cardboard fish, realised.

Fish, above, made into cardboard manquettes from the designs of yesterday's doodle.

The figurine is there to show how the pieces might scale as playground sculptures. The clean shapes have something of the quality of tin-plate toys, and the next thing might be to experiment with painting these in the sort of bright patterns that colour such tin-plate toys.

The trick is in treading that line between the mimetic and the fully abstract: if the fish are too realistic, like Britain's toys, then they lack a certain mystery, because they fail to engage the imagination. If they are wholly abstract, they simply become as building blocks, and would inspire only the most imaginative.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Doodle showing fish block sculpture idea

This is a doodle, again made thanks to the longeurs of teaching beginners' English lessons.

It depicts various fancy fish, which have the forms, I now realise, suggestive of pastry-cutters, and a definate de Chirico-esque quality. I suppose their appeal is to do with the way in which something flexible and fluid becomes something rigid and highly geometric.

They would be carved out of hardwood and left to lie about on a coffee table; or they might be very large, also carved from wood, and suitable for a playground or town square. I shall perhaps make some manquettes later tonight from card.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Lady Says No (1952): review: 5/10

Priggish Dorinda Hatch writes a book advising women to abstain from relations with men. David Niven plays the oily journalist whose dubious charms overcome her principles.

Enjoyable because of Niven's charm, with a few good one-liners.

Citizen Ruth (1996): review: 7.5/10

A substance abuser becomes pregnant. She is advised to get an abortion by her attorney and thereby becomes an instrument for a Christian anti-abortion group.

Satirical film which plays itself out by the first hour: in that first hour it is very vivid and amusing, with wonderful acting.

Full Frontal (2002): review 1/10

Actors playing actors in Hollywood, including improvised sections. They are all very full of themselves.

Charmless, pretentious film which confirms that films about actors and film-making are generally to be avoided.

Black Swan (2010): review 9.5/10

A ballerina is chosen to play the lead in Swan's Lake: the film details her inner turbulence, the relations with other members of her company and her mother and with her predatory dance master.

Beautifully shot, superbly acted and intense.

Frailty (2001): review: 7/10

In Texas, a single parent father brings up two boys in Texas where he recieves messages from God demanding that he massacre some people. He co-opts the assistance of his sons: the elder is reluctant.

Lively and well made with good work from all the actors, but perhaps lacking a certain x-factor of humour.

Pochade carriers; Rio Grande do Sul

Above, a collection of pochade carriers which will be used on my trip later this week to Rio Grande do Sul, specifically Porto Alegre, Pelotas and Rio Grande.

As you can see, I shall paint some slightly larger pictures this time.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Annual Review: Flickr, Blogger, Twitter, Facebook, Deviant Art, Saachi online

The ruins of  consciousness, oil on canvas, 80 x 80 cm


There are 454 contacts on Flickr, from 380 a year ago. This remains the best showcase for work, having the  most elegant and easy to use system for downloads. Each picture is shown in 10 groups, which help enormously in showing work to people. The quality of other peoples' artwork on Flickr seems higher than the other image hosting sites.


There are 43 Followers: this time last year there were 8, a notable increase. The indexing system in place has improved my site considerably, making it much easier to use. The addition of film reviews widens the scope of the blog: initially I had reservations about including film reviews, fearing that the blog would thereby lose its focus.

However, I judged that the reviews are a focus for creative ideas and values, and as such have a relevance to my own artmaking, and that, in any case I had already included things on the blog that weren't directly related to my own art.

I tend to think a catholic approach to blogs is better, making them more enjoyable to follow, so long as they remain reasonably consistant.


There are now 51 followers on Twitter from 42 a year ago. I posted links fairly regularly here until about 6 months ago, when I more or less stopped: Twitter did not appear to bring increased traffic, and I find it an annoying site to use.


I began posting paintings on Facebook at the end of March. This is useful as it connects me to my friends and to their friends and so on. I have sold paintings through picture files on Facebook.

Deviant Art

I began posting work here again, though I dislike this site, with it's silly teenargot nomenclature and messy layout. There are now 10 followers. I have showed work in some online groups there.

Saachi online

I began posting work here. I have made 3 contacts since joining in mid- September. There do not appear to be online "groups" within Saaachi online in which to display work. The quality of artwork displayed by other artists is often on Saaachi is shockingly poor.


Of the sites about the best ones remain Flickr, Blogger and Facebook. I shall continue with the others for the time being.


I have been steadily working on small landscapes since February 2010, after a period of quite wide ranging experimentation. There are about 230 of these "postcards". There is a balance to be struck by between following an accepted format, and gaining from the benefits that acrue from exploring a given aesthetic language and becoming overfamiliar with a format.

Boredom is the enemy of art, and it remains to be seen how long I can continue working in Florianopolis on such paintings without becoming tired of it. At such a point it is essential to change artistic course without shame.

Travel is inspirating, and I wish to spend less time in Florianopolis, which is a very limited place, and more in other parts of Brasil and abroad. I will shortly visit the mountains and Rio Grande de Sul, and spend a month in the UK in July. Money -or rather the lack of it- is really what prevents me from travelling more, as I have few responsibilities, no pets, property, houseplants or lovers. I am trying to earn more money teaching and selling paintings: if you like the work here, it is mostly for sale, so please do not hesitate to contact me.

I am also looking for models to sit for portraits, so if you can help, please let me know.


Having no live audience- something I miss from the London River Writers' group and Decongested forums, as well as literary friends there- storywriting has taken a back seat since coming to Brasil. I shall continue to write occasionally, however: there are ideas that can only really be explored in fiction, and I enjoy the interaction of stories and pictures very much



Happy New Year to you all.

Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback, bought art, gave encouragement and ideas.

If you have any suggestions please let me know.


Friday, December 24, 2010

The Beasties


We live in a big place that was once in the country but is now between a ring road and some yellow cul de sacs. But there are still some big old trees to hide us.
Every day I get up at 8.00am. I do that because I've found it best, it makes me feel better, because when you're lying there the beasties come, their antennae can be long and they’ll take advantage of your langour to invade and crawl. But my habits sometimes are broken out of desire for experimentation, or perversity and I'll seek to test the beasties and I lie there half asleep half awake and allow them to get close, some of them red and six-tailed: I want to see how close I can let them come without dread-sickness overwhelming me.

After breakfast I stroll in the garden.I see James in the garden with his stick. He's got a hole, which he's been poking every day now for two months.  "James" we each ask, "may I poke it?". He replies, "no no no! it is my hole!" I can see from the cringing way he speaks that he knows this is selfish.

I do not mind. I have my own bed and a mop which was discarded in the old road leading the the suburb. I have often wondered how it got there, because it is surely useless to mop the street. The mop has limited funcionality, the head is worn and matted and its purpose is more ceremonial, and at times the fancy takes me to stand at the gates bearing it, at attention when guests arrive, like one of the palace guards.

I have also a wardrobe which I can lock and several things within, a good deal of French soap and shoes made of brown calfskin, very soft and tender friends, which I caress before wearing, they are shiny and trustworthy. There are other things too which I might tell you about another time.

After breakfast I may stroll or pay visits. I sense the town is changing, oiks in training shoes with thick soles of coloured plastic and fat laces encroaching from the yellow buildings of the cul de sacs, with their tv culture, their chicken McNuggets, their obesity and bad English. Thus, my ambulations have poignancy: I inspect old fences and the roots of trees, touch the damp leaves of elms and smell moist bark or earth. 

I lunch with the others, it’s just after midday and everyone is animated: even Teresina has awoken and is inspecting her cutlery with extraordinary devotion. I think the beasties then are at their weakest, they can't be seen, they fear the daylight and the our healthy appetites. Neal tells bawdy jokes, everyone laughs; we eat more, greedily slurping bean soup, devouring prawns cooked in garlic butter, rick cakes, a glass of Chablis, then a Graves with the Beef Wellington.

I doze in one of the easy chairs after, or assist Frank with his model Cutty Sark- there is not much I can do to help, in truth, but I sit beside him earnestly sanding the edges of a balsa wood piece. Or I might go and recline in one of the giant sofas, dozing and half reading the newspaper. Or I might lie down, I might lie on my bed and weep helplessly like a girlchild abandoned in a wood, whose mother cannot hear her because of the traffic noise Zoom zoom! from a nearby overpass.

We take tea at 4 o' clock. I'm not having a good time of it and the beasties have been back. No one talks abut the beasties, and it's pretty obvious why, which is that there isn't anything you can do about them anyway, and because, contrary to common understanding- specifically the common understanding of the female mind- talking about things doesn't make them disappear.

Also, when we were taking tea and, somehow, in the conversation, the beasties were mentioned, Evrett became agitated, shaking, in his easy chair and cried. Seeing Evrett cry was not good, it made us all feel ashamed, diminshed.

There are days when it is good to take the bus to another place, only to be there and see things and sense the differences, such as how the air is soft close to the sea, or the business on the supermarket, how the people love to put ready meals in baskets then cars and then to drive slowly in a metal queue with their radios playing to their brick suburbs where they have children and store their cars and x-boxes and wear clothing marked by stripes or slogans.

Today I walk to the town. I go to the butcher, to the fruitier, to man in the antiques shop who is always angry. I go to the library and watch the books being scanned in an out by a woman who is always nervous.

In the evening there might be a meeting in the old ballroom to discuss a programme. Then, under huge cut glass chandeliers we sit on chairs of plastic which can be stacked with a harsh metallic sound. Someone is standing on a dias speaking, Neal is making a braying sound, and James is inspecting his stick. Frank is staring at the walls: I follow his gaze with my eyes: the walls are not still, their surface tone is modulating, changing crisply like thie pixels of a faulty television. I peer more closely, then I can see, it is the beasties, how they are crawling on the walls, their black bodies reflecting the crystal lamplight.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Nine photos celebrating the wonderful interior of Zaha Hadid's Maxxi gallery, in Rome

These photos are of the entrance area; the galleries themselves are less interesting.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Paraguay / Paraguayan, Venezuela / Venezuelan, Argentina / Argentinian: doodles


Three Wise Men

Doodles made in a beginner's English class, details above

While I am doing them I sometimes have the idea of working them up into huge, insane paintings. But to do that would be to miss the point entirely, because the very essence of the doodle is its incidental nature, they way its scratchy amateurishness leads one into the crevasses of a bored mind.

Alfred Kubin and Odilon Redon managed to bridge this gap between doodles (semi-conscious meandering) and finished large scale art piece, but I cannot, either because of some inner rigidity, or because I am not insane enough.

For me, therefore, the doodle must remain an end in itself.

And I cannot sit down and decide to make doodles, as I would a painting- they seem necessarily to be a semi-conscious, nervous response to tedium. It's the tedium (usually of giving English lessons, in the case above teaching the ajectives referring to Latin American states) that lend them the qualities that, at best, animate them.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Slip road near a technological park, Ingleses


Slip road near a technological park, oil on card, 9.4 x 6.8cm

Another painting of a road. One way artists avoid ennui and deal with their fear of repetition is to create series, so that the lack of dissimilarity between works is a point of interest, not of boredom.


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): review: 7.5/10

A foundling, born with the bodily condition of an old man, becomes physically younger as the years pass. He is captivated by a dancer.

This is an elegantly filmed fable with striking effects and much to divert, but little depth, reminiscent of Forest Gump in it's large scale and ingenuity.

The Burning Plain (2008): review: 2.5/10

In New Mexico and Oregon, hanky panky between Mexicans and Americans leads to all sorts of complications.

A film sunk with sincerity: it drags despite good acting. It also has a fussy plot.

Here is an example of how political correctness can afflict an art form: the aim is to teach, not to divert or suprise. Such films are always humourless because the merchants of p.c know that nothing is so threatenening to their moralistic universe as the spontanity of laughter.

 At times this film approached misery porn.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Hillside, oil on card, 14 x 10.2 cm

The of vegetaion is so abundant here that you rarely see the bare bones of the landscape, as in winter in Europe. I mis that austerity sometimes.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Models - modelos - sitters

I'm looking for people to sit for me -male or female, young or old, beautiful or ugly. 

If you can help, please get in touch: Tadeusz- 3223 0461 or email: The poses will be easy and comfortable. I'll pay you 10 Reals an hour.


Procuro modelos de ambas idades (feminino e masculino) com o intuíto de posar para quadros.
Obs: As poses não são nus.

O pagamento será por hora, no valor de R$ 10,00.

Caso haja interesse, favor entrar em contato
no telefone: Tadeusz- 3223 0461 ou email:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sunny afternoon, Corrego Grande

Sunny afternoon, Corrego Grande, oil on card, 9.3 x 6.7 cm

Brazil is amazingly beautiful on days like these.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Rough sea, Priaia Mole

Rough sea, Praia Mole, oil on card, 9.2 x 7 cm

A windy, sometimes wet day: Turner would have been happy. Tomorrow, I shall do another here.


I've been loading the images on Flicker and Facebook at too high a pixellation so that when people click on them they fill the whole of their screens. I'm going to use a much lower hieght-width ratio in future.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sadness is a filling station in Brasil

Sadness is a filling station in Brazil, oil on card, 9.4 x 7.3 cm  SOLD

Tomorrow I shall be back at the sea, weather permitting.

Hunger (2008): review: 7.5/10

In Northern Ireland's H-block prison Bobby Sands, having smeared excrement all over his walls, and refusing to wash, starves himself to death, thereby leaving the moral nullity of the IRA and its servants in no doubt.

Powerful film with strong, disturbing images, but which answers few questions.

The Chronicles of Narnia (2010): The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: review: 7/10

Susan has discovered her sex appeal in the USA and is therefore not invited to Narnia (sex not being Mr Lewis's cup of tea): instead brattish Eustace, a cousin with whom the children are staying, is taken on with Prince Caspian's Voyage.

The effects are supurb, and the children not too obnoxious but the narrative is somewhat episodic: this a fault traslated from the original text.

It is also difficult for the film-makers to figure out quite how moralising to make the films: again, this issues from the books themselves. Aslan, with blow-dry mane, makes his occasional appearances to instruct and reassure, quite why and when is never really explained.

Cabaret (1972): review: 8.5/10

In the 30s, a shy young Englishman goes to Berlin where he meets an exhibitionistic young American actress. Together, they explore sex and the Berlin underworld. Meanwhile, the Nazis are taking over.

Witty, insightful and likeable film with many fine songs and memorable set-pieces.

Frozen River (2008): review: 8/10

In New York state near the Canadian border, a poor white woman and a poor Mohawk woman's paths cross over the matter of a stolen car.

The film is bleakly interesting as a study of poverty and race relations between Native Americans and whites: it is difficult to enjoy, though it is expertly made.

Paranoid Park (2007): review: 7.5/10

A skateboarder goes riding freight trains and causes the death of a railwayman.

A film about remorse and white suburban teen culture. It is shot with great elegance and is often moving.

Rachel Getting Married (2008): review: 8/10

A troubled woman goes from her rehab clinic to participate as a bridesmaid at the wedding of her sister, where she manages to annoy almost everyone.

Shot in pseudo-documentary big brother style, the film includes some dull passages, which help increase it's realism. The film largely concerns the nastiness of women.

The acting is excellent, so much so that the result is sometimes almost embarassing to watch.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The charms of Malta: old shop signs

The charms of Malta include the old-fashioned shop signs that can be seen throughout the island. Here's a  little selection:

Picture for Peter Farall

Picture for Peter Farall, oil on card, 8 x 6.5 cm

Today's picture is dedicated to Peter Farall, who died earlier this week.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Reflections of trees and clouds

Reflections of trees and clouds, oil on card, 8.3 x 9.5 cm

As I paint, a tide fills the creek, wrecking clear images of clouds and trees.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Drainage canal

Drainage canal, oil on card, 11.8 x 9.5 cm

Painted between showers of rain.

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010): review: 1.5/10

In London. an elderly man leaves his wife to date a prostitute of low social origins; his ex-wife consoles herself with the aid of a soothsayer and alchohol. Meanwhile, their daughter and her husband, who are an art dealer and struggling writer respectively, argue and meet others.

The stilted script and wooden acting suggest an utter lack of curiousity about how people truly fuction: as a consequence the film lacks humour or bite.

And Woody Allen's London is, as ever, insipid: completely lacking any of the messiness of the real. Indeed there is something annoying about his parade of expensive places.

Woody Allen's stock themes and devices: older man and younger woman, stuggling writers, the cultured upper middle classes, jazz music and Americans abroad are shuffled together and reproduced with increasing weariness each time he makes a film.

The Rules of Attraction (2002): review: 1.5/10

Various characters, most notably a sensitive girl, a drug dealer and a homosexual cross paths at college.

A mean-spirited and shallow depiction of mostly mean spirited and shallow college students, which is not saved by tricksy editing and camerawork, and which becomes very boring to watch.

A film that fails, primarily, for moral reasons: this is quite unusual.

Bukowski: Born Into This (2003): review: 6.5/10

Documentary tracing Bukowski's life through interviews with him, his publisher, ex-girlfriends and wife.

There are also hagiographic accounts from famous fans such as Tom Waits, Sean Penn, and the appalling self-regarding "Bono".

Ergo, the film functions primarily a celebration of the dissolute writer. However, there is one quite shocking piece of footage where, seated on a sofa beside his wife during an interview, he begins first to insult her, and then to kick her with his feet off the sofa. The films passes quickly from this incident as if it reveals nothing.

This shallowness is mirrored by by the films failure to attempt any critical evaluation of Bukowski's writing.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Camera, modem, 'phone

Camera, modem, 'phone, oil on card, 12 x 10.5cm

Simple still lives of the things around us.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998): review: 2/10

A journalist and a lawyer drive to Las Vegas where they stay in a hotel which is hosting a police conference.

Other people's drug experiences are never interesting or funny: this film spends spends two hours hammering this point home.

Barfly (1987): review: 6/10

A dissolute writer engages in fist-fights and drinks heavily in the bars he frequents in LA. He meets a woman and moves in with her: they drink a lot and hang about bars.

The film begins very slowly but later picks up thanks to Faye Dunaway's charm.

It can be compared to "Factotum": both feature Charles Bukowski's alter ego, Henry Chinaski, and the plotlines are fairly similiar.

However, "Factotum" is more beautifully filmed, showing considerable sensitivity to urban locations and interiors. Moreover, the plot of "Factotum" is much more varied, and Dillon's acting is subtler: heis more convincing as a successful writer than Rourke.

The Social Network (2010): review: 5.5/10

Creepy Harvard Nerds battle it out between themselves and some posh jocks over the provenance of a successful social networking site.

All the characters are unpleasant, shallow, clever, heartless people. They seem to dislike women especially.

It is difficult to care who originated Facebook, which is little different from any of the other social networking sites, and harder still to care about the characters in this film.

Maria's Lovers (1984): review: 5/10

A traumatised veteran returns from a Japanese POW camp to his town in PA, where he marries his long time sweetheart.

As he suffers from erectile disfunction, the marriage is not a great success and everyone goes a little crazy.

This is a depressing film, whose message seems laboured despite the fine acting and interesting scenes of forties life in a Russian-American community.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Clouds above the dunes; buying work from this site

Clouds above the dunes, oil on card, 12.6 x 9.5 cm

Another painting from the dunes near Praia Joaquina.


Please note that information about buying artwork from this site can now be found to the upper right hand side of this page, as can my biographical details.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Urban landscape with water pipes

Urban landscape with water pipes, oil on card, 9.5 x 13.9 cm

There isn't much post-industrial landscape here- a pity as it is very interesting to paint.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

3:10 to Yuma (2007): review: 6/10

A poor, one-legged farmer is hired, among others, to escort a gangster to a prison train: they have some difficulties because of the gangster's extraordinary powers and the persistence of his gang.

Everyone is grumpy except for Russell Crowe who tries to be friendly to the farmer and his son.

The film is nicely shot but goes on and on, becoming enervated, lacking the wit needed to lift it.

Foggy bay

Foggy Bay, oil on card, 11.8 x 9.5 cm

Painted from the technology park: quite Whisterian, much rain.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Balmy day, yellow building, trees and yard

Balmy day, yellow building trees and yard, oil on card, 11.5 x 10cm

Painted near here.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, I shall work at the business park again

Prozac Nation (2001): review: 1.5/10

A clever girl wins a place at Harvard to do journalism.

Unfortunately, her mother irritates her and her parents divorced many years before: these things have somehow made her into a narcissitic little worm, given to depression.

The film illustrates the commonplace that the central character to a film, however wicked, has to have some redeeming characteristics- even Hannibal, in Silence of the Lambs has charisma, wit and a definate sense of style- or the viewer will rapidly lose interest

The Wurtzel character here is merely a capable scribbler- this isn't enough to compensate for her being quite so boring and brattish, and I couldn't get beyond the first half of this one

Night of the Hunter (1955): review: 10/10

A man steals some money and, before he is given the death penalty, tells his young son to keep it hidden and its location secret.

A dishonest preacher, having shared a cell with the thief, knows about the money, but not where it is hidden. On leaving jail the preacher inveigles his way into the thief's widow's life, marrying her, with a view to locating the money.

The film is imaginatively shot and not humourless despite its dark themes. The acting, even of the children, is excellent.

A considerable amount of time is given to the role of women in small town society, and their relations with alternatively charismatic or subservient men. The film also dwells largely on the uses of scripture and of religious values.

Savage Grace (2007): review: 9/10

A wealthy American couple seperate. The wife becomes fixated on her son, the husband steals his girlfriend.

Alas, all these shenanigans end in tears.

This is a marvellous, claustrophobic celebration of an unusual family, brilliantly acted and very tense.