90 cm x 57 cm
Pastels on paper
“I am a brother to dragons. I am a companion to owls. My skin is black upon me. And my bones are burned with heat.”
Ah my friends, my loving mad friends. I do so hope we all survive.
where my work is concerned. I guess I have found a kind of border between classical and contemporary art… where my work can be placed and sort of almost-ish fit, though it creaks and flakes bright paint as it leans either way.
If it fails to be contemporary high art then tonight I am so moved by how much I care as to have a bit of a scratch.
I know that I will never abandon realist form. I believe, also, that the human figure is what moves us most. Sweetly and with slow sadness. We are all beautiful, the ugliest of us all are a tragedy: in itself forming a terrible kind of beauty by beauty’s absolute absence. If it is created with passion. Passion…
“To mankind, mankind is holy,” said Seneca 2000 years ago, apparently. I just wondered how his slaves felt about that. Hm. And I do have a hard time taking a guy in a toga seriously… a toga implies to most of us that we are at a good party. If an individual presents in a toga I expect that he be holding flat keg beer in a plastic cup and maybe, just maybe, wearing a traffic cone. Togas aside, I do believe that what Seneca said is as true as anything can be to an artist, a nurse. A doctor or one of the few great rulers this world has known. True to me, to my very core, to my heart of hearts.
A sketched line of tension in a raised palm of farewell… (almost alive, so close to alive, so over-full… a story but still.) A pose can hold us or skewer us. A pose can summon a half-remembered perfection of time, so long burned by our lives that we cannot make out the jam on our fingers or the straw at our feet – the shy school-girl’s smile that was a gift to you that you clung to. It can be powerful, it must be, for me. Yes. Deepening and deep – the weighty mass of passion pushing my paints…It is the arc of a cheek in moonlight. It is lips barely parted and breathless. Fingers white and strained but so strong; a delicate pink tongue, barely visible, pressed against small white teeth. It is the perfect knowing eyes that implore our own. For a moment, sometimes, some… times, we share or see into the image’s lust, her bliss, his exultation! It can make us weep make us giggle even make us desire something, crave it ache hurt, lust for it, without knowing what it is that we want. To me, humans are the most beautiful creatures in the universe. And yes, yes well I DO tend to paint women. I believe men are equally beautiful, just err… less interesting to me to look at I suppose… less interesting!
How could there be anything that might so compel us? what could hold the potential within itself… that latent ardor that calls to me, passion that can be turned to a sudden shift in another man’s heart as he sees what I have made (it may oh I want that I want that so.) That I gave my breaking heart to the work he sees, because what I felt broke mine…It is artworks of human form that consistently call our fevered lives; in love gasped or grief breaking.
My skills are won through tens of thousands of hour’s work – with the deep stains that even now mark my hands. My fingers have sometimes been literally scraped to bleeding because I will force and forge meaning and beauty from my hands no matter the cost. It is not a choice. For me there is no such thing as a half-measure or a reconciliation with my need to make things. There is no work of mine without that iron price of time and labor embedded in its colours.
It is a fierce hardness… the weight behind me is something like arcane stone bearing the image of a lover twelve thousand years dead. Nothing of that passion is lost. Now, for me, I am inertia compelled and it has become bloody-minded stubbornness. Somehow I think maybe this is born of existing through what was for many years a coward’s life. A failed life.
I must live with all that I have because living is all that I have. This is what we all know. This is what we have left. It is wonderful! An ocean of choices that can be made beautiful by choosing well. Our time is ours. I will make beautiful things. I will make meaning.
The skills to paint and draw are tools that I have paid for. Something that I love hard. I turn them to the endless wild succession of ideas. I use them. Like nails, like teeth. I will never, and can never stop. I hope so hard that in the swarming seething world I will I may I might one day hold a small hand in mine. To share the wonder within me at the wildness, the strangeness that we exist at all. The stunning miracle of chance that we are. How fiercely, how intensely happy I am that I ever occurred.