Mute, gagged and caged in this invisible holding pen. My ears ring, my jaw clenches from the howling hollow pressure of it. Silence shrieking in the cavity. Find the valve and release.
Being of an artistic bent is an all consuming plight. No clocking in or out. The preoccupation is constant. That doesn’t always equate with stream lined industriousness. In my case I find it a hindrance to productivity. Not knowing where to start or how to adroitly harness the beast being my greatest obstacles to manifesting that which roars to be born.
The work is in grappling with that and what that involves. I am the work and the work is me. I can’t shut myself off to create instead I have to align myself in a way that the work flows out of me and this is an ongoing and deeply mysterious battle of sorts.
It is a process of breaking down and reassembling continuously. Allowing all things to exist to become the force of creation being always in flux,a part of everything and nothing at once.
It all takes time. The practice of creating is incorporated into the stream. The rewards come in unexpected ways.
Henry Miller put it thus:
“I didn’t lack thoughts nor words nor the power of expression— I lacked something much more important: the lever which would shut off the juice. The bloody machine wouldn’t stop, that was the difficulty. I was not only in the middle of the current but the current was running through me and I had no control over it whatever.”
The photo is of a breakfast painting of Rapperswil in Switzerland where I spent a memorable afternoon in 2013.
Sitting at the table feeling relaxed and amused in the company of my good friend Monica, the remains of a fine feast before us I was inspired and saw in the debris the church tower, clouds and the hill beneath the blue blue sky.
Sketches of Spain.
Postcards that got written only to languish on the fridge door
Awaiting what, divine intervention?
Full of best intentions until the steam runs out.
You’re thought of!
Pangs of distance muted in the echo chamber message side.
More fodder for the procrastinators volumes.
Wish you were here, you get the drift
Probably not or subconscious telepathy I underestimate.
This is something that came out of me in 2013.
2013 began with the following prounoucement in The Sunday Times Style magazine:
It had a ring of prophetic truth to it. Being the slippery fish that I am I took heed of the words. I engineered a road trip through the United States. Something I’d been sitting on since my teens.
I talked my Cousin David into partaking in the venture. The doing of it all unlocked some sort of secret. The realisation that I was making possible something unimaginably cool just by taking steps was almost unnerving. If this was possible then what?
When I asked him initially I was trying out the idea. Could I do something so wild and fun just for the sheer longing of doing it? I sensed it could. Next the question whether I was ready to do try ? Sure as hell I was.
The plan was to meet in New York. Hire a car there and drive it down to New Orleans where we would hang out for a week or so. The car was to be despatched once we hit our destination and both of us had our return flights booked to fly out of New Orleans within hours of each other.
Besides that very little else was planned
The route we opted for took us south west through Virginia, down into the deep south into Tenessee, then Mississippi and finally into Lousiana and New Orleans.
We made four stops and took six days to make the trip.
Our first two stops were motorway stops in Virginia. Longer stops were made in Nashville and in Memphis.
At the time of inception it occurred to me to make a video record of the adventure. It seemed important.
I spent seven months in Malaga last year. While I was there I did a lot of writing and a fair bit of drawing and painting too. Southern Gothic was also painted by myself in this wonderful City. Times were hard and my resourcefulness came into play. I collected boxes and boards to paint on. There were plenty of stores discarding packaging about so I helped myself to what I figured might work. It freed me as there was a steady supply.
Malaga I’ll always remember as the city of palm trees. Giant tall palms stretching up up into the impossibly blue skies above making happy homes for parakeets who nest in them in large numbers. Bright green noisy fellas that are hard to spot but impossible not to hear. I was enchanted by them and through observance noticed that they like to come down and feed from the ground on grass seeds I suspect each afternoon at around 4pm.
Birds and palms played a big part during my Spanish sabbatical and naturally they made their way onto my creations.
This work is a study in oil pastels and acrylics of my back garden. A haven for birds and so a haven for me. I spent hours just sitting and staring out that window feeling grateful. I won’t describe it how it looked as that is what the picture is for.
The strengths in the piece are the contrasting textures and the bright harmonious colours. I took the palette from the natural scene and embellished it with an impressionist splash of fiery red. Perhaps the Andalucian spirit was in me
I see plenty of flaws in it too. The perspective is off. Buildings are things I’ve always struggled with, even in photography I can’t make them look right. That blackbird up on the wall is a bit of a turkey too but for all that it still portrays a little the magical experience of being a Malageno. It has the feeling.