These days I’m more interested in art than writing. My days spent sorting through old pieces and assembling these for the discovery that’s in it. They’re so old I’ve long since forgotten how they were originally conceived, so it’s easy to put them together, to create a new form. Some careful juxtapositioning, and a new entity arises. It’s the directness of collage, attention-grabbing, the quality of a jigsaw puzzle in reverse order…
This is the Art Page, an ongoing event that starts at the end and comes back to the beginning which keeps jumping forward every time I add to it. It’s the chronological order created by WordPress and thus I need to be thinking backwards like this, always writing in present time, remembering that the ‘now’ is shifted into the past as soon as I hit Update. With that in mind, I’ll just say briefly that it suits me well, things being as they are, considering this is an attempt to breathe life into that old/young easel-painter-that-was-me long ago and far away in the days of blue jeans dotted and splashed with spots of paint, and bring that being back into the world; a renaissance, a reawakening, revival, rebirth and updated as time goes on.
5 a. b. c. d. & e. Figures in a landscape
Updating this Art page has given me a reason to explore in the ‘old files’ which otherwise would have remained undisturbed. Are there, any evolving forms left unfinished a decade ago? I found this image, almost complete, and these other four – in fact there was a 5th and that’s already on this page, down below here: 9b, IMG_005. It’s a different view, the image is turned anticlockwise. It was originally intended to be a composition of two figures, with a ‘dialogue’ between them. Looking at it now, the dialogue is between three totem-like heads.
The next image (b.) is the original sketch I think. I see it’s made up of four pieces of paper stuck together with scotch tape. I have no memory of doing it, but that’s not important because much of the original has morphed into something else.
In the third picture (c.) there are signs of Photoshop work the head on the left is more totem-like, has a cartoon quality, large eyes, round mouth – could be a circus clown. The figures on the right are less clear, there’s a vertical shape and what looks like a doorway next to that. The composition is held by the black hole in the lower right centre.
The fourth picture (d.) shows the same thing reversed/ inverted in Photoshop. Maybe it was at this stage I started to see the figures more clearly, I don’t remember setting out with the intention of creating heads, they just emerged of their own accord. And from here on I tried to keep in unstated, holding the composition, as far as possible, on the foundation created by the black hole – only now it’s a white hole with left side chopped off in the way Photoshop does. The software is decisive in this way and it’s here that I notice how the lower section, almost at the bottom of the frame, is forming a kind of platform – suggesting a theatrical stage for actors to perform a drama.
The last pic in the series (e.) shows the figures as they are in a Photoshop image and after that the final shown above with white is applied by hand from a bottle of white-out and some acrylic white. The original is approximately A4 size, fits into an A4 frame. I always wanted to enlarge it and bring in some more applied paintwork but never managed to reach that stage seen in the minds eye – when was it never like this? There was one attempt and I have that in a different folder I need to look for…
I have this fascination with enlargements of line drawings, zooming in to an insignificant portion shows its structural qualities. The pencil line becomes a metal rod and the loops are held by welded metal joints, immovable. The whole structure depends on an even distribution of weight and these joints. I like to explore handwriting with a magnifying glass, take photos with my phone camera, zoom in, select and send to Photoshop for some cut and move, reverse, invert the image and find a temporary connection then print out. The image is then on paper so I can use a pencil or pen and white-out liquid. Then scan into its digital form again and do what I can with Photoshop – still learning and trying out different ways to develop the structure. I like to see them as massive things made of heavy metal. Othertimes I could see them as the structure holding colour values superimposed as shapes which agree with particular parts of the structure. The limiting thing about this is that it’s difficult to decide on the perimiters, where the structure ends. I feel it must stand independently on a stable footing and the whole weight of it is steady, held in that position. Or fixed to the frame. Another possibility as yet unexplored is a layered structure, or structures which appear to be behind and there is depth. I’m looking for the best way to do this.
Right now I have a collection of these structures some of which bear similar characteristics and could fit together, appearing behind and in front. The only way of having this done is to project on to a large canvas support and work on the whole thing with acrylic paint.
7 a. & b. Conflict
These two images have evidence of the dialogue between two forms, left and right. The relationship between the forms is conflict, now frozen in a metallic stillness. The upper image shows it has been worked on with pencil on a printout of the original, then scanned and developed with the software tools. In the second image there are some signs that it has been also worked on with pen on printout a number of times but the files created in between were lost in the process.
Looking at the lower image, it’s as if the two forms are fused, locked together in stillness and stand as a 3D sculptured piece. The sharp edged shapes arose from the way I got the software Paint to work, the light shapes indicate the obscured moonlight effect, a sense of space outside.
Since this Art Page has started I find some new life and new light shining on these old objects that have been dormant for ten years. Now I’m trawling through the hundreds of images in All My Files and exporting a few files on to the desktop to see, to meet again like old friends. There are some stirrings of life now that they’re being seen again.
8 a. b. & c. Development of a doodle
Stage 1. (top image) This is the original doodle, I think except that it’s been been worked on with a pencil. I remember it began with a marker pen (quite small) which might have been yellow then I took a photo and changed it to gray tone, worked on the enlarged print-out image with the pencil.
Stage 3. (lower image) The A4 tracing paper sheet scanned, and lines redrawn in places using Photoshop tools, also Fill in gray tones; light, middle, dark. Incomplete, stopped to think about a few things… I’m interested in how the depth illusion occurs with darker tones seemingly behind something standing in front. In the same way, the white seems to create a hole outside of which is the sunlight source. It’s these small discoveries that motivate me to go on with it. This how it is right now and there’s probably some way to go yet, the image tells me when it’s done. I’d like to use colour after I get all the tones done
It’s helpful for me to see the development of the doodle like this because there’s no other easy way of showing all three on the same page. So the post functions for this purpose too. I could of course print out all three and see them in ‘reality’. I will have to do that sometime… at the moment they’re trapped as pixels in digital form inside the computer disc.
9 a. b. & c. Obscured light
The next three were done around the same time. There’s a fascination with a hidden light source; light colours and white are light or reflected light. Returning to Europe in 1994 and everything seemed strangely masked, no sunlight, I felt like there was a light illuminating the interior of my being. I’d see unusual lights in meditation – not the actual light source itself, like the moon is seen behind clouds and about to break through. A wonderful yellow white light, it seemed to me although I don’t think I ever saw it. I’m still looking and that was more than 20 years ago. I’m writing this because it’s an opportunity to find out if anyone reading this has had the same experience. I’ve read in a couple of books the word is ‘nimmita’. A simple explanation for it is the mind having to cope with something it has never had to reference before, in fact no reference at all: a European person comes to Asia for the first time and has to understand a whole set of different rules. The intensity of that maybe shifts the mind out of the way, or nearly but not quite…
The black and white, IMG_00030, above left was developed from a pencil sketch scanned and worked on using Paint software then printed out and the copy worked with ink and pencil, scanned again and developed further using Photoshop. The next one: IMG_0005 lower right is a detail from a larger piece (see above: 5 a. b. c. d. & e. Figures in a landscape). It has the same history except there was a lot of white-out used and it’s got this painted effect. I mislaid the final version, so this image shows how the printer can’t cope with the subtle pixelated areas. I”m still interested in the ‘counter’ shapes, the black/dark toned areas between the shapes of white light.
The dark brown, IMG_001 is a detail from a larger image that is still not finished – maybe I went too far with it. Acryllic and shapes made with masking tape and a craft knive. An endeavour that proved something I’d thought about before but was never able to let go of until I’d done it… exhausting. There are others from the same image on canvas board I’ll post later; the whole thing became dispersed into smaller parts and started to take a new direction I’m posting these images to try to understand better where I can go from here, or maybe these smaller parts are enough and I can move on to other things. It’s a conversation I’m having with myself…
10 a. b. & c. Set of three.
This group is not linked. In no particular order, start at the end and we find our way back to the beginning; edit, delete, consider how best to describe it… Image left IMG_2060, the black and white shown here is one of the early drafts for the idea that brings two forms together, left and right, and the interaction between the two just starts up by itself. There are sketches for this in a file somewhere. It continues to be a dialogue…
Image below right, IMG_1962, detail, unfinished. The stage it’s at right now is like something underwater. The central motif needs to be explored a bit more and I’d like to bring in a slightly green element maybe. I can’t see beyond lines containing form as it stands, a tightness that’s restricting, I’ll come back to it later. It’s the kind of thing I’d like to see on a much larger scale. Somehow I’m not able to do that, it’s a kind of trapped feeling; I try to see it in the mind’s eye but it doesn’t work like that. I’d need to try a sample and see how that looked. Anyway I don’t know if there’s enough lifetime left to do that. Things have to be simple, otherwise it gets to be burdensome. This is how I’m feeling about it now looking back at these old works and the last of the set, below left, IMG_2664, detail, unfinished, is rather a pale thing now, some ten years it’s been lying around in my things and put in with the shipping of goods and chattels from Switzerland to Thailand to Bangladesh, and back to Thailand then to Delhi. I take it out and study different parts of it then put it away again. Too restrictive, the tremendous tightness of form that’s held by line. What to do? It’s like being held captive.
What I’ve learned is that (obvious really) you can’t keep on expecting new life to emerge from something that’s long since past its Best Before date. There’s the attachment to it, this is the thing; the pervading sense of let-it-go, let it fly away, so hard at times. The posts in the blog are all saying the same thing, identify the habitualities, tendencies to stick like glue to something Mind-driven – even though it’s not doing me one bit of good. This last one has to remain as a shadowy entity that can’t stand direct sunlight. I have thought about the stake-through-the-heart option but can’t bring myself to do it. That’s why I’ve left it at the end of this tall column of words. And that’s all there is to say here except thank you for reading, and please come back to this page for regular updates.