Sep 4

The beauty of imperfection

The Beauty of Imperfection. I learnt something today. Every day is a school day, but suddenly it made sense - of what I try to do. It is something that gets lost in the glossy slick of cool art that spreads like a contagion: photo-based, photo-shopped, photo-realist, minimalism, film/video, conceptual and/or installations, not excluding all that relies on novelty. It might or might not be art, but is it enough just to say ‘contemporary’ or ‘original’? as justification; art with a shiny face, which values presentation and technique more than substance; or just a show that relies on cleverness and trumpets this.

There is so much trickery, and, yes, it is often very good (all the best tricks are of course or they wouldn’t be tricks) - it is how tricksy folk manipulate us.

I saw the French film about Pierre-Auguste Renoir last night, and although I thought it lost its way and got stuck with his son Jean's love affair with the old painter's model, Renoir said a thing which stuck with me: "Art is about making something with your hands that lasts for ever."

So, what was it that made such sublime sense...

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Jul 25

Art Trek, Watts & Holl

ART TREK in North Devon and my own to see GF WATTS, MARY SETON WATTS & FRANK HOLL in Surrey. As mentioned on the Home Page under "News", Art Trek was, for me, if not a 'wash-out' then a 'scorch-out' (if there can be such a thing). My fortnight of inactivity coincided with two big W's: Wimbledon Finals on the first weekend and with what people continually told me was "Beach Weather" for the second and in fact everything in between; I regularly recorded temperatures of 33 degrees Celsius.

Apart from friends, neighbours (the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive) and personal invites, I had precisely five (5) visitors over the ten days I was open, and one of those was a passer-by, so really only four from official Art Trek effort. Perhaps I should increase this by two, for literally two minutes after arriving home from my own mini trek (see below), two more stalwarts turned up knocking on my door, having failed to notice my time was through. 'Stalwarts' because they successfully navigated their way to the house from a closed and locked studio which must have looked decidedly unwelcoming. No matter, Brian & Janet and myself trudged back to the studio, and I think they enjoyed their visit, even though the place looked neglected. [There are those who say it always looks neglected but in fact this is just an inevitable consequence of what I laughingly call my working practice.]

As a footnote, I did actually sell two paintings, but not unfortunately technically to Art Trekkers.

The reason I was not open for the third week was due to personal commitments, which involved driving an exceedingly luxurious car all the way to Norfolk for friends, staying there for a couple of nights, then returning in another large car - luxurious on the inside but with recent exterior battle wounds which included the plastic bumper thing which holds the number plate (cars no longer have bumpers but you know what I mean) being tied on with string.

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Jun 15

Speed and Complexity.

Speed and Complexity. Despite the misunderstandings I seemed to create with my last posting, I refuse to be intimidated! So you may notice a subtle variation, namely, me trying to be clearer and more explicit in my attempts to ponder on the second branch of that same plank (OK, so planks don’t have branches but they do kind of come from them, don't they?).

Anyway, if my final remarks last time didn’t convince, I wonder if this entry will succeed any better. Can we establish that when I talk of speed, I mean the manner of attack within producing a work, and not the overall time it takes to complete it: more like the pulse or tempo within a piece of music.

If we think of great painters who worked quickly and directly (and the ones that leap to mind are the Impressionists), because of ever-changing climatic conditions and all the other variables beyond our control, which all plein air painters face, they had little choice... (click "Read more")

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May 11

Speed and Quality.

Speed and Quality. There are surely too many examples to cite which could prove or, indeed, confound the idea that speed = the inspired red-hot-heat of creativity or, conversely, speed = suffused high-minded contemplative reflective craftsmanship. I used to think that the reason I painted too slowly was not the latter of those two equations, but rather that I was stumbling around in the dark seeking excellence without knowing how to get to it directly.

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Mar 1

Exhibition ends

The 11th Open Exhibition at the North Devon Museum is ending; tomorrow is the last day I think. For those unable to attend, or just didn't want to, here are a few shots of the overall display.

Open Exhibition, North Devon Museum

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