Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Highway overpass

Highway overpass, oil on card, 11.2 x 9.7 cm

Another painting of the highway, which is probably the finest modern construction here on the island- though given the level of design here that is hardly a great accolade.

I am looking forward to buying a car in August and exploring more thoroughly the inter-urban landscape.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Across the lake from the dunes

Across the lake from the dunes, oil on card, 10 x 13.2 cm

Painted very quickly in Lagoa: there is a play off between speed and accuracy, freshness and finish. Work too fast and you lose finish and accuracy; work too slow and the picture becomes tired.

I'm going to work on some fast pieces, each to take a maximum of twenty minutes. I'll keep the best only. This might be the ideal wat to work in the UK where the weather changes so often.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009): review: 1/10

In New York, a journalist finds great delight in shopping and as a result has a great many credit card debts: she therefore attends a shopaholics anonymous group. Ironically, she is hired to write for a financial magazine: she forms a romantic attachment to her editor.

Inept, graceless romcom with little to reccomend it: the plot rambles hopelessly, and the "comic" scenes have something horribly forced about them. Worse, the central romantic couple make an absurd combination, having zero sexual frisson.

The subsidiary characters seem pointless. The starring actress is two-dimensional: one can feel no pleasure in getting to know her through the film.

Heartbreakers (2001): review: 1/10

A mother-daughter team find rich men to marry and then divorce, thus makng a good living.

A real stinker of a film featuring:

1. a charmless performance from Weaver, who adopts a very unfunny Russian accent for much of the film.

2. a dull and obvious performance from Hackman

3. lifeless dialogue

4. very unattractive characters

5. a meandering plotline whcih completely fails to intreague, having a "make it up as we go along" quality.

It is also considerably overlong, and invites very unflattering comparasions with "Some Like it Hot".

True Grit (2010): review: 7/10

A headstrong girl, having recently lost her father to a thief, hires a marshal to bring him to justice. A second marshal joins them, forming a party spanning three generations They proceed into Indian country to pursue the villain.

Overlong, but with some interesting intergenerational conflicts. As so often, Jeff Bridges overplays his hand.

The Coen's seem to have an ability to make films which mesmerise, usually because of their beauty, but which fade from memory very soon after being watched.

Cherry Blossoms (2008): review: 9.5/10

An elderly German couple travel to visit their children, from whom they have grown distant.

The  film starts off satirically, with scenes illustrating quite starkly the generational gap, and the resentments of their children who respond gracelessly to their parents' presence. It also wittily illustrates the barreness of the husband's life attitudes.

From this point, the film takes a surprising turn, taking us to Japan.

It is impossible for me to describe much more without spoiling enjoyment of the film: let me conclude simply that the director and actors succeed in transforming the tone of the film from a social satire into something altogether more sophisticated: a meditation on grief and death and Japan.

A Perfect World (1993): review: 9/10

Two prisoners escape in Texas, one is much nastier than the other. They kidnap a fatherless boy.

This is a melancholy film notable for combination of two plot elements: the first is the close and sometimes charming realationship that develops between escaped convict and a kidnapped boy which describes tenderly the importance of fathers for boys (especially those, it would appear, forced to suffer the restrictions of a Joehovah's Witness mother).

The second plot element traces the attitudes of macho policemen: these attitudes are set in relief by the presence of Laura Dern as an official seconded to join the all male team by the mayor's office: she is treated unpleasantly by her surly male peers, whose instincts for violent solutions lead to the unnecessary death of their quarry.

Costner is very good: the boy is supurb, as is Dern; Eastwood more formulaic.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mist coming over

Mist coming over, oil on card, 12.5 x 9.5 cm

Painted from Iguatemi shopping centre, a commercial mostrosity built illegally on "preserved" land. Nonetheless, the views are good.


I don't plan to stay in Florianopolis beyond November. For anyone with the least interest in culture it's a  deadzone. It has a culture, meaning, that people have a certain lifestyle, though it isn't an interesting one, consisting as it does with lying on the beach at weekends and driving to shopping centres if the weather is bad. There are some remnants of Catholic and Azorean culture, represented through folk crafts, though these are dying out, being replaced quickly by an uncritical consumerism.

The population contains a significant "arsehole" element, of rich idiots in fourwheel drives whose main purpose in life is to show off.

The landscapes are being ruined because of inadequate planning and the massive surge in population, but for those who enjoy birds, trails and surfing the island remains interesting.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Letters to Juliet (2010): review: 3/10

A girl with unusually large eyes, but who is otherwise quite insipid, works as a fact checker for the New Yorker (she is also a writer but she is too dull to send any of her work out). She has a fiancee whose lips are always oddly shiny, as if permenantly coated in vaseline. He is going to open a restaurant, and is plainly a little obsessed about this. He certainly isn't much interested in his blonde fact-checker, which isn't surprising given her utter dreariness.

They proceed to Tuscany for a sort of pre-maritial holiday where he spends his time in pursuit of fancy food-stuffs, while she meets an elderly woman who is in pursuit of an old flame from the fifties, and whom she decides to assist. She also meets the grandson of the old woman, who is an ill-mannered twerp (he is supposed to be from the snob-British classes but actually he sounds and looks like a German- quite badly cast). Nonetheless, perhaps predictably, they fancy each other though they are too straight and dull to exchange body fluids except for a little saliva on a lawn.

And so on and so forth...

For reasons which I cannot explain, this drivel is somehow watchable despite its manifest absurdity. I guess it's partly just because it doesn't take itself too seriously.

Grandma's Boy (2006): review: 8/10

Having lost his apartment, a 35 year old computer gaming tester moves in with his grandmother and two other enderly women: one senile, the other sexually voracious. Meanwhile, a beautiful woman comes to manage a company project in his workplace: this causes great excitement in the otherwise exclusively male, nerdy office.

The film is very funny. The meeting of the culture of elderly women and nerds is inspired, and handled with wit and warmth.

Teeth (2007): review: 7.5/10

Our heroine has teeth in her vagina: an unpleasant surprise for men who force themselves upon her.

The film is a bizarre mixture of high school drama, b-movie horror and satire and is very effective: there is a marvellous sequence where the heroine takes to promoting chasitity for a religious group.

City Island (2009): review 7/10

A prison guard brings a convict home to live with his family- an ill-mannered, if amusing collection of Italian New Yorkers which includes his sharp tongued wife, his insolent son (who has a fixation with fat women), and  pole-dancing daughter.

This is a very enjoyable, classic screwball comedy, with much fun arising from the characters' various secrets.

The film begins very promisingly, alternatingly surprisingly between black comedy and pathos, and is very well acted, but it loses its sharpness somehow along the way as the plot works towards its conclusions

There are very poor table manners in this film, with much gesticulating with forks and even food being thrown across a dining table.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

From Florianopolis town centre

Road tunnels and slum housing, oil on card, 11.8 x 9.8 cm  SOLD

From the town centre.

I t owes someting to Cezanne again.

Tomorrow I shall, in constrast, take the bus to Santo Amaro da Imperatriz, to paint the grand mountains there: pray for a rainless day.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Two new pictures

A model posing as a Cézanne, oil on card, 11x 11cm   Not For Sale

My workroom

My workroom, oil on card , 9.7 x 12.5 cm

I work here: art things and teaching, and the things I need for the computer plus eating and watching films. Also dressing and listening to music. I don't have a tv.

I do not enormously like the room: it often feels messy because there are too many different functions in the same space.

I prefer to have my tasks and pleasures compartamentalised, so they do not corrupt each other, the money related things rnnng into the creative things and so forth, where everyhing becomes spoiled.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Shadows on garages

Shadows on garages, oil on card, 11 x 9.5 cm

Very hot sun, so bright it's almost unpleasant: walking about in the half finished-ness of Brazil; things jerry-built, lying about.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Day: Guarulhos Airport

Day: Guarulhos Airport, oil on card, 9.3 x 12 cm

The final painting from my Easter trip to the Vale do Paraiba.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A portrait of Larissa

A portrait of Larissa, oil on card, 8.6 x 11.5 cm

A portrait of my charming architect friend in her room in Taubate.
The sort of portraiture that interests me is that which uses, Dutch style, the rooms inhabited by a person as an extended attribute (though my friend is less gloomy and more lively than my depiction might imply): I like portraits by Hammershoi, Whistler and Vermeer.