BLAUGUSTINE / BACK TO ARCHIVE
July 30, 2006
This is the thought which floated in and out of my head this morning:
What if I suddenly died? Nobody would be able to notify my blog's readers and they'd just think I decided to stop without saying goodbye. Maybe I should leave instructions next to my computer and a mailing list.
I assume everyone has such thoughts without necessarily being a blogger.
I'm trying out a demo version of interesting graphics software called Create by Stone Designs. I can use it for 30 days and then decide if I want to buy. I am not at ease with vector-based drawing (as in Illustrator) and haven't read all the instructions yet so this is a hit-or-miss experiment but I like it. Since I don't yet know how to use the colouring options in Create, I only did the drawing with it then copied to Photoshop and coloured it there. This lost some of the clean sharpness of the vector-drawn lines. I need to do the tutorial before deciding if I need this application. It's compatible with Mac Intel, is more user-friendly and cheaper than Illustrator and offers free upgrades forever.
This image is called Hot Weather or Ancient Egyptian-Inspired Beachwear .
July 29, 2006
ENLIGHTENMENT LITE: Last episode
Can anyone function normally, global boiling on one hand and the tragic news from the Middle East on the other? See this link (thanks to animated stardust) for un-adulterated up to date news of the crisis. And there's this which goes to show that not all Israelis are "solidly behind" their leaders' actions, as the mainstream media would have us believe. And while I'm at it, did you know about Lieutenant Watada's protest against the war in Iraq? I didn't. Thanks to ming for the link. It's such individuals' resistance against the status quo which sets examples of how to shine rays of light into the prevailing darkness.
Here's a distraction from reality, the summing up of my lightweight quest. Take it as a hieroglyphic puzzle in which each viewer is meant to work out a meaning.
UPDATED 31 July : I should have added a prologue to the two panels below. So here goes.
Taking images from my four strips and laying them out like a pictorial language gave me a sense of freedom and adventure: here was a way to see my day's quest without resorting to pages and pages of description, rumination and analysis (my usual writing/thinking mode). Seeing each item isolated from its original context gave it potential new meanings. When I decided to assemble the pieces into a visual construction, just following my instinct of what looks right next to what, this was my En-Lite-Enment: not heavy, not static, but a constantly moving picture. I could work out a story to fit any of the possible assemblages of those pieces and each one would be a mini-satori, a Lite Light. What matters is the process:
a) The Going Out (of your usual way of thinking/seeing).
b) The Collecting of pieces you find along your path.
c) The Work-Play of assembling them in a new way.
July 25, 2006
ENLIGHTENMENT: Part Four
July 24, 2006
ENLIGHTENMENT: Part Three
My minimovie of the view from the fourth level of Tate Modern, tiny people moving in Kandinsky-ish patterns, is on the minimovies page. If you can/can't see it let me know.
July 22, 2006
ENLIGHTENMENT: Part Two
July 20, 2006
WHAT I DID ON THE DAY I WENT TO LOOK FOR ENLIGHTENMENT: Part One
July 18, 2006
ONE OF THOSE DAYS
Do you have days when you wake up and wonder what the hell you're doing with the rest of your life (don't even think about how much of the rest is allotted to you) and then you're doing those habitual things you do, or don't do as the case may be, and then as you're having breakfast or sitting down at your computer or whatever, suddenly you say (all of this is a question but where do I put the question mark?):
"No. Today I am going to think about why I am not happy about what I'm doing or not doing for the rest of my life. I can't stay home to do this because everything here distracts me from thinking about this. So I wil Go Out. I will go somewhere conducive to enlightenment or, at least, thinking about enlightenment. I will take my notebook and my camera just in case."
So that's what I'm doing today. Will report back later.
July 16, 2006
NAIVE ANALYSIS OF WHAT'S WRONG WITH ISRAEL, PALESTINE, THE MIDDLE EAST, THE EAST, THE WEST, THE NORTH, THE SOUTH, THE LEFT, THE RIGHT, THE CENTRE, YOU, ME, US, THEM
ANGER boils and erupts at the top
FEAR shuddering below
LOVE in a prison
(for its own protection, of course).
LOVE struggles to survive the weight of centuries of
that it is too weak, too helpless, too fragile
This blog gives an insider's view of the situation in Israel and it's scary beyond words. A miracle is required to stop the current escalation.
July 14, 2006
ALL MY SELF-PORTRAITS (and their comments) HAVE BEEN MOVED TO THIS NEW SECTION
MY MAC, MY WACOM AND MY MODIGLIANI: Self No.15
I'm not that fond of Modi but it was hard to resist this last fling and besides, he's on show at the Royal Academy at the moment. Haven't been yet but will go. This is positively the last of the self-portrait series - I mean, not necessarily the last self-portrait I'll ever do, but enough already with the marathoning.
July 13, 2006
APOLOGIES TO CEZANNE: Self No. 14
For not being faithful to him.
July 10, 2006
Every time I'm back in Paris I remember my love of painting - not of painted pictures (though that too), but of the act of painting. It reminds me of what it was like when I was a teenager and knew I wanted to be an artist because nothing else was so thrilling as to stand at an easel, colours laid out on the palette, heart pounding, ready to begin a visual dialogue with the subject before me - a person, a landscape, a still-life - whatever was speaking to my senses, demanding a response, challenging me. It truly was love at first sight, the subject and I more and more intimately joined with every attentive glance, every touch of my brush on the canvas. It wasn't Art that I loved, but only this unique joy, the experience of penetrating and being penetrated by something perceived through the eyes and translated by the hand via coloured pigment on a flat surface.
Paris brings this excitment back to me because, of all cities, it is the one which still has a powerful aura of visual artists at work. Even if painting from life is now mainly a pastime for leisure painters or an income for tourist souvenir-producers, while "serious" artists make videos and installations, Paris will probably never lose the imprint of all those intense, inventive eyes and minds and hands which flocked to it at the beginning of the twentieth century and created new ways of looking at nature, "le motif".
It's not the impressionists (or any of the "ists") who most closely express the particular sensations I felt during those periods when I painted from life, but Cezanne and Van Gogh. Neither of them created a school or a movement, even though Cezanne is credited with being the father of cubism and abstraction, and "Van Gogh brushes" are among digital software tools you can use to imitate Vincent's swirly, staccato strokes. Moi, I doubt that Cezanne would have accepted to be associated with abstraction anymore than Vincent would have allowed his name to be taken in vain on software. Cezanne, for whom "le motif" was essential, the source of his visual/intellectual/emotional excitment, the raison d'être of his painting, wrote the following:
"Je ne veux pas avoir raison théoriquement, mais sur nature." (I don't want to be right theoretically, but only based on nature).
I think it was art school and art theories which killed - or temporarily buried - my joy in painting from nature. I lost that innocent joy by becoming more educated, sophisticated, influenced by prevailing currents in art and lacking the confidence to pursue my own "petite sensation", believing that it was superficial: you had to invent something new, something important, not faff around with depicting "reality", representational art was dead, blah blah blah. I should have listened instead to Cezanne. Peter Handke, writing about him, says:
"Avec le temps, son seul problème fut la "réalisation" de l'innocence et de la pureté terrestre: la pomme, le rocher, un visage humain. La réalité, c'est donc l'accès à la forme qui transmet, dans la paix, ce qui est." (In time, his only concern was to "make real" the innocence, the earthy purity of an apple, a rock, a human face. Thus reality is access to form which, in serenity, communicates what is).
The self-portrait marathon is now finished but I'll do a couple more anyhow, one with Cezanne of course. But first some more souvenirs for you: a fishing break on a shady bank near the Pont Neuf and a siesta off the rue de Seine with exhausted tourists on a sweltering day.
Finally back to the boulangerie for more carbohydrates served by the lovely boulangère who would surely have been le modèle for the whole gang - Cezanne, Van Gogh, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Pissaro, Picasso, Matisse, etc.
July 5, 2006
Thanks to your good and powerful vibes and to providence and to that which animates Providence, all is well. My sister is okay now and I'll blog later today. Meanwhile here's breakfast at the boulangerie. The croissant, café au lait and fresh jus d'orange have been consumed, the delicious bread, butter and jam are still there for you.