Saturday, December 22, 2012


Six photos from a set taken at a land clearance site here in Florianopolis.


This is probably my last post before the New Year: Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Departed (2006): review: 2/10

Men, of Irish descent and various ages, behave unspeakably in Boston. The  focus is on two new police recruits: one is commissioned to act as a mole withing a criminal organisation lead by a particularly nasty hoodlum. His bosses are no cute kittens either. In contrast, the only notable woman in the film, a police psychiatrist, is all quite nice however. It`s a pity we couldn't`t spend more time with her instead of those Mick brutes!

The film is very long but despite this length the characters hardly develop at all, and remain completely two-dimensional. There is a good deal of violence, using guns, fists and shoes and pieces of metal.

The film plot is not especially complex, but nonetheless it is hard to follow. The film is not elegantly paced.

The  violence is relentless and boring. Are we supposed to enjoy or endorse the violence? It`s hard to care either way.

I don't sense that Scorcese has the feel for Irish culture, that he has for Italian. There are none of the poetic aspects that can be seen in other Scorcese films which, if also violent, have considerably more artistic and emotional complexity. I don`t understand why the Rolling Stones are playing in much of the film.  The acting is not interesting. This is partly due to the uninterestingness of Wahlberg and Damon, though Nicholsen`s character also lacks richness. Moreover, relations within the film are characterised by obviousness and unsubtlety.

Another Year (2012): review: 6/10

London: a suburban couple nearing retirement entertain friends and family: they are visited by a female alcoholic, brothers, their son and the son`s partner. We see their relationships change over the course of a year.

The film emphasises the importance of blood ties over friendship: this is cruelly illustrated in their unsympathetic treatment of their lonely alchoholic friend Mary when she arrives unexpectedly at their house. She is not really part of the family and her difficulties are coldly treated.

There are many unpleasant aspects to Mike Leigh`s films. One is with the female characters, who seem invariably in stereotypically female  "caring professions"". They are often frumpy, physically unattractive, given to fantasy, anxious, incapable and over-eager to please (here this is illustrated in a plot line about a used car which the unfortunate Mary buys, and which causes her a good degree of nuisance). They are ignorant and speak hideous English. This is conveyed in a mannered style of acting which seems to consist entirely of nervous tics and is grotesque to watch. In this particular film, the female caricature of Mary is contrasted with her opposite: the mother figure and a more emotionally stable black nurse who becomes pregnant.

Leigh`s treatment of vulnerable people is often mocking. There are two scenes in this film in which the characters make sexual advances: both are pitiful, and played in such a way as to invite the condescension of the viewer.

However, despite these moral shortfalls, the film conveys something about the selfish circles of family, and the rejection of outsiders when they place any sort of burden on family: it does so without too much obviousness.

Sleepwalk With Me (2012): review: 7.5/10

New York: an aspiring comedian begins to make sketches based on his indecision about marriage. he becomes increasingly successful as he works better gigs.

 Diverting piece, if occasionally amateurish piece, with something to say about humour as a function of honest confession, and something to say about the way relationships have to move forward towards marriage if they aren't to die, and something to say about building a career.

Creation (2009): review: 6.5/10

Darwin's faith, and that of his wife, become challenged by his conculsions as he works on The Origin of Species in his country home.

He is troubled by sickness and one of his children dies. He is encouraged by friends in the scientific community. His relationship with the Parish Vicar deteriorates.

The directing style is imaginative, but the films themes are probably unfilmable and it drags.

The Words (2012): review: 6/10

New York: How an ambitious writer wrote his first successful book: a fable.

The themes of this book are ambition  theft, anger,  deception, guilt and shame, and at times it conveys these well, especially in themes featuring Irons.

 However, there is something  overly polished about this film, that makes it less enjoyable and spontaneous than one might desire (in other words, there is an excellent budget film noir lurking inside this somewhere).

 Perhaps this  lack of life is partly due to the obvious New York setting, and perhaps it is also to do with the absence of real passion between the couple at the centre of the film- this largely the fault of the bland wife who reminded me of the models used in mail order catalogues to sell hosiery.

Perks of Being a WallFlower (2012): review: 3/10

A young man with literary interests starts high school where, after a humiliating start, he makes some friends and begins his first romantic relationship with a bossy girl, despite a strong attraction to a more charming female member of his set who, alas, seems more interested in men who maltreat her- much like his sister.

The film begins sympathetically enough, but rapidly turns routinous with  stock characters, such as a standard issue flamboyant homosexual and various jocks. The direction is unimaginative and the soundtrack is obvious.

It compares badly to Donnie Darko.

Damsels in Distress (2011): review: 1/10

Three women proffer advice to newcomers in an American campus, running a self-styled Suicide Prevention Centre and trying to initiate a dance craze. There is also a conflict with the campus newspaper`s editor.

With a dead performance from Greta Gerwig as central actor, and a dud script with little plot, the film presents nothing more that a hail of obscure snobberies.

Like many US films, Damsels suffers from a claustrophobic insularity: it is surely pertinent that the villain of the piece is a foreigner, specifically a French sodomite.

I think what made the other Stillman films effective was that excentric and, occasionally snobbish, characters were placed in challenging environments: either abroad as in Barcelona, or in New York. Thus, we could see  them as an outsiders, and feel a certain sympathy for  their individualism. In this film, the outsiders are now insiders: their elitism becomes considerably less likeable as a result.

Wicker Park (2004): review 2/10

Chicago: a man sees a former partner in a cafe and, intrigued, delays an important business trip to China to investigate.

The piece begins well enough, successfully creating suspense, but, gosh!, after that the plot becomes so convoluted it would be quite impossible for any sane person follow it for the rest of the film.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A visit to São Francisco do Sul

São Francisco do Sul, a railway crossing, oil on card, 14 x 9.5 cm

São Francisco do Sul, a yacht, oil on card, 11 x 9 cm

Pictures from a trip up to São Francisco do Sul: the port has a touristic charm, with many well preserved, charmingly painted buildings in various eclectic, quasi Art Noveau or Deco styles.

It also has a pleasingly Waitsian element: great freight trains move continually transporting something or other from a giant and noxious factory , near which are bars with varying degrees of seediness.

Train Song by Tom Waits:

Well I broke down in East St. Louis on the Kansas City line
Drunk up all my money that I borrowed every time
And I fell down at the derby, the night's black as a crow
It was a train that took me away from here
But a train can't bring me home
What made my dreams so hollow was standing at the depot
With a steeple full of swallows that could never ring the bell
And I've come ten thousand miles away, not one thing to show
It was a train that took me away from here
But a train can't bring me home

Friday, December 14, 2012

Nocturne: stardust

Nocturne: stardust, oil on card, 12 x 9.2 cm

Painted on Beiramar Avenue.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Egypt: some decisions

The Rough Guide doesn't include Alexandria among it`s top twenty-eight things not to miss, and its entry for the city is less than positive. I`ve used Rough Guides extensively, in Italy, Chile, Brazil and Tunisia and  although I`d quibble with specific entries on hotels or restaurants, say, I`ve found their recommendations to be prescient. Any romanticism I feel about the idea of visiting the city of Cavafy and Durrell has been tempered, and given the time restrictions on my Egypt trip, the proposed itinerary will be:

Cairo-Luxor-Aswan - possibly Abu Simbel- Cairo

Thus I am following a very standard touristic itinerary, albeit one in which i spend more time than usual in Cairo.
The risk of traveling to a "new" place is that I get sucked into tourist painting- a feeling of obligation to paint what is known or espected, rather than responding to my actual experiences. I think that I became somewhat trapped in the Italian trip by romantic expectations. I hope to avoid this in part by the longer stay in Cairo, and by spending long enough in the other places to overcome the obvious. 

In truth, in planning painting trips, I always get it wrong, as. Surprise, the basis of inspiration, cannot be planned. And expectations distort, as does research, and it is very hard to predict if a place will really lend itself to inspiration or not. tourist sites are often cleaned and ordered to the point of sterility, so that their local character is lost to the demands of a massive international industry.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Nocturne, Beiramar

 Nocturne, Beiramar, oil on card, 11.5 x 14 cm

Inside carrier. The picture should bee greener, but I cannot manage to change it without making the rest of the picture very orange.

It`s so hot now that painting in the the afternoon is uncomfortable. Much better to rest  then and go out in the evenings.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

On Moçambique beach


On Moçambique beach, oil on card, 12 x 14 cm

This is a wonderful beach for painting, often empty of people and with its own peculiar light.


Thursday, December 6, 2012


Papers, oil on card, 13 x 13 cm

A painting of the accumulating papers and junk on my sofa.

I'm attempting to find a way of incorporating the singular strokes of Chinese painting into my work.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The dunes from Joaquina

The dunes from Joaquina, oil on card, 14.5 x 12 cm

This is the size I shall be taking to Egypt. The larger sizes are only sometimes successful. The virtue of these little pochades is surely in the sense of concentration they convey. If I move up to about 18 x 16 cm, say, that feeling of concentration is diffused. The painting is neither intense and  little nor big and  free.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Joaquina, oil on card, 14 x 12 cm    SOLD

Painted from the dunes, looking down. I am not sure if I perfectly captured the way the dunes cut into the vegetation, but I'm happy with the sense of the scale of the place.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Fields on the way to Santo Antonio de Lisboa

Fields on the way to Santo Antonio de Lisboa, oil on card, 12.5 x 15 cm

I'd wanted to stop here for a while but never did. 

I am reverting to a smaller format again. I miss the intensity that comes from working small.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A road in the North of the island

A road in the North of the island, oil on card, 14.5 x 10.5 cm

Very hot, almost unpleasantly so. I am counting off the days until I go to the UK and Egypt: six weeks exactly.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Nocturne, Lagoa, November

Nocturne, Lagoa, November, oil on card, 15 / 12 cm

It has been so hot recently that the only thing I can do some aftenoons is sleep. But the evenings are cooler, so more nocturnes are in order.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Safety Not Guaranteed (20120: review 5.5/ 10

Washington State: two interns, one a shy Asian, the other a female with no discernible character, are taken by a more experienced journalist to research a small advertisement calling for applicants who wish to return to the past in a time machine.

It transpires that all the major figures in the film have suffered some sort of traumatic experience: the film is about how they reappraise their pasts and form new relationships.

It is well paced, carefully made, occasionally witty, and somewhat smug, as these American slacker films tend to be.

Skyfall (2012): review: 2/10

A list of M15 Agents has been stolen: the thief is publishing the names online. Bond returns from a failed mission in Istanbul and is charged with stopping further publication of the names on the list.

The film includes scenes in Istanbul, Shanghai, Macao, London and the Scottish Highlands. The scenes in Istanbul are exciting, the others less so.

There is no new car but there are two attractive women, one Turkish the other English: neither reveal a great deal of flesh. I am not sure why not.

 Bond himself is quite good, gaunt and serious.

Sadly, however, at the centre of the film is an old  fat grey clucking hen, known as Judi Dench. The director, who has preachy inclinations, plainly wanted to turn the picture into a serious film: hence he attempts to cover such themes as remorse, aging, Britain's role in the world; additionally, Bond's character is implicitly psycho-analysed as that of a orphan. It is implied that he may have had homosexual experiences too. Also his enjoyment of alchohol is tut-tutted.

All this sententiousness would be intolerable even if the the film were competently written. It isn't, and moreover it misses the point about Bond totally, notably that we love Bond not because he as touchy-feely liberal values, but because he doesn't.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Boats, Lagoa, 11 am

Boats, Lagoa, 11 am, oil on card, 14.5 / 10.5 cm

Painted at near the moorings in Lagoa. One of a number of yacht paintings I've done- an obvious subject, and for good reasons.

 As so often in painting the secret is knowing how much to say and how much to leave unsaid, so the viewers imagination can play,

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Framed pochades



A model posing as a Cezanne

The sea: Praia Mole

Small Pines

The Dunes

Framed pochade

Heath, near Praia Mocambique, oil on card, 13 x 13 cm 2012   SOLD


Small paintings can be especially effective if hung in clusters: The National Gallery, London has a fine room featuring small Danish, French and German nineteenth century painting.

As will be apparent from the reflections, some of the pictures are glazed. It's unusual to glaze oil paintings but it was thought wise as a protective measure in these cases.

The Dunes was framed so that there is a physical space between it and its box frame: an effect good for contemporary styled locations. An elaborate, gilt framing might, contrariwise, emphasise the 19th century stylistic roots of my work, and suit a more traditionally decorated hanging space.

So the frames we use can emphasise one quality or other of the picture, including interprative elements, and allow it to work more or less sympathetically within a space.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pink Flowers: among recent sales

Pink Flowers, oil on card, 10.9 x 7.9 cm  SOLD

This painting, was sold recently with four others. These can be found using the index work below, "sold".

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Urubici: three more


 Urubici: bright sunshine, oil on card, 18 / 13.8 cm   SOLD

 Urubici, bright sunshine, oil on card, 16 / 14.5 cm

More landscapes from my recent trip.


Think Like a Man (2012): review: 5.5 /10

A number of couples are affected by the advice in a best-selling self-help book. The couples are generally black, loud and middle-class, at least in terms of earnings: there seems to be a mismatch between their incomes and and their cultural level.

This slickly made film is enjoyable, if unsurprising.

Ted (2012): review: 7/10

Suburban Massachussetts: a young man finds a lover: his teddy bear companion is jealous.

Enjoyable, energetic comic piece about male friendship featuring gross-out humour, slapstick, sentimentality, farce.

Darling Companion (2012): review: 3/10

Mountainous middle class Colorado: two couples and the daughter of one sand a a missing dog. The search for the dog provides a vehicle for portraying their relationships.

All the characters in this film are tedious, the women especially so (the film might usefully be shown to young men as a warning of the perils of marriage) and the film takes itself very seriously indeed.  There is one promising scene featuring a goat, but alas this leads nowhere interesting.

2 Days in New York (2012): review: 3/10

A French photographer lives in New York with her black journalist and radio presenter boyfriend. Her relatives come to visit. There are various farcical culture clashes.

This is a Wood Allen style picture, but one lacking the necessary generosity: Delpy is more shrill than witty, and though there are occasional good individual set pieces overall the film stumbles.

Ruby Sparks (20120: review: 5/10

A young, celebrated writer is frustrated in finding love and in his craft: one of his characters comes to life.

The film drags because of Dano's horribly mannered acting, his drippy facial expression, and the poor pacing of the plot which at most merits a film of twenty minutes.

Conviction (2010): review: 5.5/10

In Michigen, a working class mother trains to become a lawyer in order to free her brother, whom she believes has been wrongly convicted for murder.

This is a protracted and earnest picture in which Hilary Swank's unusual lips provide the only light relief.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Urubici: four recent paintings


Urubici, boys playing football, oil on card, 14 / 14 cm

Urubici, ploughed field, oil on card, 12 / 13 cm

I spent the last two days in Urubici, in the mountains. I painted eight pictures, I'll show the rest tomorrow.

Something I like about Urubici is the fact that it has a street life, with children playing football or in groups conversing. I like the people who seem unpretentious and industrious, and are a relief form the people of the island who are rather fond of themselves.I also love the smell of woodsmoke drifting down the town's solitary high street, and I love the towns mysterious setting among woods and surrounded by mountains.

And as a painter Urubici is great for having an especially sharp clear light: you occasionally get that in Florianopolis but it's much less common. 

I guess these are the most German Expressionist influenced pictures I've done for a while. I'm playaing about with new methods: working more quickly, but also discarding more, the idea being to mainting a sense of energy within each picture.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Stories of the Street

 The stories of the street, oil on card, 17 / 15 cm  NOT FOR SALE

A man walking in Santa Monica, oil on card, 14 / 13.5 cm

Two new pictures: I stole the title from Leonard Cohen's famous song from his 1967 album, Songs of Leonard Cohen.

The stories of the street are mine
The Spanish voices laugh
The Cadillacs go creeping down
Through the night and the poison gas
I lean from my window sill
In this old hotel I chose.
Yes, one hand on my suicide
And one hand on the rose.

 Cohen's is one of a number of late 60's street songs: there are also good ones by Springsteen and Dylan.

Santa Monica is not really the place, it's much too prim: I want tenement blocks, grandeur, disorder: Harlem, Glasgow, or even parts of Estreito here, where'll I'll soon go to paint similar.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

My place

My place, oil on card 18 / 15.5 cm 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Suburb (girl on the bridge)

Suburb (girl on the bridge), oil on card, 12 / 14.5 cm

I see someone has built a rudimentary bridge near here, crossing the drainage canal further up: I shall go and explore another time.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Friendly people

This is a sketch illustrating a pair of sculptures I one day wish to construct. 

The two larger figures are about 15 feet high, and to be constructed from a flat material such as steel, if it can be made rigid enough (perhaps it will be necessary to coonstruct them as a sort of steel sandwich, so that each sculpture would consist of two steel flats, joined by a struts).

The two smaller figures are there for scale, and represent real people. They will be painted in bright colours. The figures are designed to be friendly and welcoming.

Monday, November 5, 2012


A sketch of a sculpture soon to be completed with wires and an old picture frame.

The sculpture is Calderish, and its format  is one which I shall be translating for paintings increasingly. That is, a composition which consists of two or possible three planes, very closely placed in relation to each other, and a highly rhythmic relationship between elements, clearly distinguished in bright colours.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I Melt with You (2011): review: 2.5/10

Middle class male friends reunite in a remote house in California to drink, take drugs and bear hug.

This goes on for a considerable amount of time until something, inevitably, goes wrong.

Pretentious picture relieved only by good British punk music and Californian scenery.

Friday, November 2, 2012

To Rome With Love (2012): review 2/10

The stories of various characters in Rome, including a young architect and his older correspondent, a music producer and and opera singer played by Benigni.

It feels as if Allen made up this film as he went along, trusting to fate or depending on cliche to guide him. The pacing is awful, the jokes sink.  Allen himself is irritating, as is Benigni and one leaves the film grateful for the end.

The film fails to celebrate Rome, or even American presumptions about it, as Allen's previous Parisian film managed to do.

People Like Us (2012): review: 1/10

In California, the father of a self regarding young salesman dies. The salesman meets his father's illegitimate daughter and despite already having an attractive partner, becomes emotionally embroiled in her life, and that of her son.

The film degenerates rapidly into a soap opera format, with contrived melodramatic exchanges. The lead exudes self satisfaction, as if he would really prefer to be in an advertisment for hair shampoo. The others actors are not much different. The plot is preposterous. No one can act, and they are all too good-looking.

Utterly phoney: avoid.

Nackt (Naked) (2002): review: 7.5/10

Three discontented young German couples meet at a dinner party where they engage in a peculiar bet.

Imaginatively shot and fast-scripted film about romantic, sexual, and occasionally financial tensions between young Germans, who treat each other with gratuitous unkindness, behaving with distinct shrillness, in accordance with cultural stereotypes.

The Flock (2007): review: 3.5/ 10

An overenthusiastic probation officer, played by Richard "gerbils" Gere, is joined by a young woman, who is shortly to replace him, They pursue sex offenders with surprisingly eccentric tastes in New Mexico. Manichean, he exceeds his remits.

This is a Silence of the Lambs revisit, with a little dash of Dirty Harry thrown in, but one which lacks the interpersonal tensions necessary to animate it. The narrative is not easy to follow either.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Praia Mole, late October

Praia Mole, late October, oil on card, 17 / 15.5 cm

Dense and balmy: maybe the painting is too insistent, I am not sure.

Sometimes the pictures come over in photos in ways that flatter them, this time it isnt the case, the colours are more greenishly delicate, but I cannot easily reproduce that for some reason linked to the limitations of the camera. One of the morals of that is, of course, that art lovers should always be wary of judging pictures from reproductions: the point is obvious,but often, I sense, forgotten by participants in seminars and those writing about art.

I like to sit by the sea, I feel free and expanded. I like how the sea is different in different places, and it so often has a restful effect even if it is, for me,  a vast melancholy element.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Painting in Tuscany; thanks and thoughts


Viareggio, Tuscany, oil on card, 12 x 14.5 cm

Well, that brings to a close my trip.

It was a wonderful trip and I want to thanks everyone who helped me: my parents,the people in Tuscany, Steve in the Beehive Hotel in Rome for restaurant recommendations,  Julie for company over dinner, and to Patrizia in Bari for taking me to Monopoli and buying me beer.

And many thanks to Sarah and Stefano in Tuscany for their hospitality and meals.

Other pleasant encounters were the sweet guy in the Lecce who runs the tourist information for giving me a ride on his scooter with my luggage, pleasant if surely eccentric hotel owners in Orvieto and the Italians in general for being kind and tolerant with ignorant British painter travellers.


From an artistic perspective, one always hopes there is some definitive lesson from a trip, but there rarely is.  There is a fine interview with Chuck Close and he states that all  the ideas he ever got came form the act of painting itself. Which is a way of stating, perhaps, that talking about it isn't that valuable.

 I feel more and more that this travel painting thing is analogous to fishing: you pick your equipment, your reels and hooks and lines, you think about what you want to catch and you go towards the place. And you might be luck you might not. A good number of days are  wasted and a good number of pictures are poor. I never know until some days after which are the good and the bad, and it almost embarrasses me how little I can trust my own immediate judgment.

The best paintings occur when one is in the zone, meaning that in that mindset where one is not really thinking about what one should or should not do but simply fulling engaged with whatever one is engaged with.

You know instinctively when a picture is fake or forced, but I don't know the words to  detail that instinct, and I doubt anyone else does either. Like many artists I spend my time often wanting to be another painter, one whose work I've seen and admire. Fortunately, incompetence or the mere ridiculousness of such an ambition forces me to work in way that is my own.


Next trip: London, Egypt and Scotland in January, if the Egyptians haven´t gone completely kookoo that is, in which case it'll be Jordan.



Friday, October 19, 2012

Painting in Orvieto


Orvieto, looking north, oil on card, 16 / 14 cm

Orvieto- looking West, oil on card, 18 / 16 cm

Orvieto is an amazingly situated city with a stunning Gothic cathedral, all very well preserved or maintained,

I tried to do the sort of tourist painting in the cathedral square that almost seems the raison d'etre for travel, but never really enjoyed it. Better were the fantastic views. The second, Orvieto- looking south is a sort of impressionism which isn't, in truth, really my bag. I'm a much meatier, heavier and more expressionist painter, much more interested in lumpiness than light. I've always felt a little self conscious about this, the heaviness in my pictures. I want to make this more of a virtue as it is in, say, Morandi or Courbet.

I may shift the average scale up a bit in future trips.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Painting in Puglia: Lecce and Bari


Lecce, early evening, oil on card, 11 / 16 cm  NOT FOR SALE

Lecce was too perfumed for the sort of painting I like to do. It felt as every square inch had been combed over, tweaked, by a team of interior designers. The town's plan is labyrinthine, and it is flat and riverless, and has no seafront, which means it lacks vistas and, moreover, becomes claustrophobic and uncomfortable on hot days.

Bari, the town, oil on card, 10.5 / 13 cm  NOT FOR SALE

Bari- the Adriatic, midday, oil on card, 15 / 18 cm   NOT FOR SALE

Bari, was considerably better, more "normal", less airbrushed for tourism. I stayed near the station in the sort of crummy hotel with a strange lift and the view of the backs of buildings, and everything painted brown, the sort of Tom Waitsian place that I like though I am not sure why as they are self-evidently quite grim.

It's nice to walk along the seafront and paint. The people seem friendly and relaxed in Bari. it would be a good place to go if you were sick and just wanted some time to get well and have simple conversations about their dogs or the temperature. There are lots of nice little shops too. Italy doesn't seem to have suffered the corporate colonisation that blighted the UK, homogenizing every high street.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Painting in Rome: from the parks and around the railway station


From v. di Villa Medici, Rome, oil on card, 14 / 11.2 cm

Rome, West from the Garibaldi monument, oil on card, 12 / 15 cm

Parkland in Rome, oil on card, 11.5 / 10 cm

 Temple, Villa Borghese Park, Rome, oil on card, 12.5 x 13 cm

Rome is a pretty great painting city, with architecture whose insistence is sometimes oppressive: seeking respite from this I went along the river and painted the bridges. And I also went to the wonderful parks.

I started to explore the area near the station too. Immediately outside the station is, of course largely devoted to tourism, but move slightly further south and it quickly, magnificently, changes.

There, pitiful shop window displays showing drab and ugly clothes such as a selection of beige underpants of various sizes, each pair strangely stretched in a peculiarly unflattering holder, or some nasty shoes, the dirty take away restaurants and their aging shop signs, and then the men, often immigrants, in short leather jackets simply standing around smoking or sometimes using mobile phones, and the trams and vast nineteenth century blocks in scuffed pastel colours combined to make me feel an incredible nostalgia for some generalised, seedy. ex-communist city in the nineties, St Petersburg, or Warsaw. 

Also, there are non-Italian restaurants there too: something to be grateful for if the unimaginativeness of Italian cuisine starts to pall.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Painting in Rome : buildings


St Peters, Rome, oil on card, 13.5 / 16 cm    SOLD

Behind the Parthenon, Rome, oil on card, 10.5 / 13.7 cm

I'd had the idea of tackling more of the famous buildings but when I got to them felt disagreeable, the declamatory style of architecture and insistent presence of mass tourism combining to persuade me to so see refuge in Rome's wonderful parks and gardens- of which more tomorrow.

This touches on the way that tourism has the effect of so often destroying what it purports to celebrate, ones the sense of private discovery is lost among the hordes, to which I, of course, contribute, while hypocritically deriding.

The value of art is in the revealing of secrets, a butterfly chase: the skill is to capture and preserve an elusive emotion in your aesthetic net. The next major trip is Egypt- almost equally scrutinised, alas.