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May 29, 2007

Back to the Balkans

Whizzing out to Kosovo again today for a few days to sort out locations for this year's Summer School and Festival in Gjakova.

It's a beautiful country, sorrounded by mountains



So, though I've got to get my big standing figures into a show at the end of June, I'm still not painting, and I'm not even Not Painting. [Don't worry, Paula, they'll be ready - though they might be a bit wet.]

Posted by john at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2007

Waiting for the bride

Another wedding yesterday


waiting for the bride, 2007 digital image

Posted by john at 10:26 AM | Comments (1)

May 26, 2007

Moments of Inertia

After ten days filming, with a couple of assistants and 500 pupils and staff Iím suddenly flung into isolation. After days of actively thinking about every minute I find minutes stretching uncontrollably into hours with little or nothing to show for it.


So I sit on the swivel chair holding a couple of weights out at arms length and spin myself round. Pulling the weights in, as I get up speed, I feel that sudden surge of acceleration. Marvellous.

I should be painting.

Posted by john at 11:38 AM | Comments (1)

May 23, 2007

Filming with the fancy camera again

Been away filming for a few days [hence the lack of incisive comment on these pages] down in Letchworth, the first Garden City, doing a documentary about the school that is St Christopher. And very interesting it was too.


Sophie demonstrating the skills needed as lighting assistant.

Posted by john at 11:02 PM | Comments (2)

May 13, 2007

Now you see it, now you don't

Cybernauts who visit this virtual journal regularly will be familiar with me banging on about the fact that we look but we donít see. We look and we recognise, but it goes no further. Which means we can usually avoid being run over by a bus or walking into a lamppost, but itís tricky to draw your best friend's face when youíre looking straight at it.

If you read the next paragraph quickly youíll see how much we see and how much we recognise.

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulacity uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid. It deosnít mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a word are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

[thanks to Richard at St Christopher]

Posted by john at 12:02 AM | Comments (1)

May 12, 2007

Painting when you havenít got time to paint.

Another way into the tricky puzzle of putting paint on panels is to do it when you havenít really got time to do it. This can occur naturally, if you have a day free but have to go out at later, you will spend the entire day pissing about until half an hour before you have to be somewhere else and then, and only then, will you pick up the brushes and start.


This only applies when you are some way into the panel. You canít start a panel like this. But it is possible to force the issue Ė if you have a busy day pick up the brushes just before the dentistís appointment. The work you do in this time will move the piece on a pleasing random way that can be entirely covered up later if necessary, when the anaesthetic has worn off and you stop dribbling.

Posted by john at 04:15 PM | Comments (0)

Bit by dripping bit

Working on the drippy torsos. Dabbling with the form from time to time. Lighting the whites, whitening the blues. It takes a long time, a lot of looking at, a lot of courage, as they stand there in the studio, leaning nonchalantly against the wall, staring at me, daring me Dirty Harry-like to make a move, Punk.




Posted by john at 12:23 AM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2007

I forgot to mention...

Another thing you can do while not painting, is, erÖ painting. Or at least priming. Painting panels white with white primer.


When Iíve got the panel covered in the requisite amount of primer and the brush strokes thereon are to my liking [chaotic not formal] there is usually a deal of paint left lurking in amongst the bristles of the brush. Now, what with primer coming in at around 14 pounds sterling a tin and an inborn feeling that waste is wanton, I usually try and find something upon which to paint out the excess in the brush. For a while it has been upon the old paint trolley that I have thus discharged the surplus. So itís looking smart now:


When I say paint trolley I should really say palette trolley, for it is the vehicle upon which I mix the drippy sticky stuff.

Posted by john at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2007

Where two worlds meet


Posted by john at 08:24 AM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2007

Not Painting

Iíve written before, many times, about the run up to a painting. An act almost, but not entirely, dissimilar to the run up to a crease. Iím talking about the lead time to actually getting the paint on the panel, which is a suspended time, but a real time. I might not be painting, but I am actively not painting.

That is I might spend, say, two days not painting before I start painting and I have to spend this time not painting, which means I canít be doing anything else, like going to Manchester, because then, clearly, Iíd be going to Manchester, I wouldnít be not painting.

Before I start painting I always have to have some time beforehand, time when though Iím not actually painting I am actually not painting. This is why a model not turning up is such a drag as I will have been preparing for a couple of days usually. The time spent not painting is part of the painting Ė a vital part.

This of course puts the price calculations out of the sphere of the normal business model where the hours spent on the work are added up and combined with the cost of materials, rental of the studio, price of fish and such to form a final figure. Itís hard to put a price to the cost of not painting, but believe me it donít come cheap.

drink coffee
tap things
stare at the blank panel
walk about nervously
move furniture
void your bowels
make phone calls
eat biscuits
eat fruit
eat just about anything
check your e-mail
sit in a comfy chair
fall asleep
arrange your brushes
order more paint
check your e-mail again
write your blog

Posted by john at 02:20 PM | Comments (22)