"Hindsight is always twenty-twenty. " Billy Wilder
"Hindsight is an exact science. " Guy Bellamy

24 February 2010

Interactive stationary

My primary school stationary supply consisted of 2 nibs, bottle of ink, 2 pencils, rubber, blotter and 2 ruled exercise books, quite a treasure at a time of rationing. Teaching was totally focused on the 3 R’s .

One exercise book was used for rough work in pencil and the other for finished work in ink. My closest approach to artistic expression was the erratic despatch of inkblots in my good book. The teacher, in her wisdom, circled the blots, like my endless spelling mistakes, in red ink. Although I did not know it at the time, it was my first experience of interactive art!
How I enjoyed tearing up my ‘Hoover drawing’ and then re-assembling the mess with bits of paper, masking tape, paint and what ever was at hand. Re-drawing with charcoal so it yet again resembled the vacuum cleaner. That was just pure, liberating fun! However, in the picture above, do I see the teacher with red ink in hand ready to mark my masterpiece?

22 February 2010

Booze Art

My ever-supporting muse suggested that instead of moping about my De Chirico model flop – my efforts should this weekend instead be concentrated on the photo bottle project. To that end, she had invited a few good friends to dinner – and each guest was to bring an interesting bottle.  A glorious selection of fine and interesting wines arrived, but unfortunately, the actual bottles were not. Something had gone wrong in the translation. Funny isn’t it, the more expensive and/or famous the wine – the plainer the bottle and label. (Penfolds Grange Hermitage must be the ultimate insult in that regard.)

However, I do admire top wine makers. True artisans.  How they can make billions of wild yeast cells dance to their tune whilst I cannot make our domesticated and trusty dog follow a simple verbal command, is still a mystery me. I have my theories, but that’s another story.

In the wee hours, and guests dispatched, I was, animated and stimulated, back in artistic business. Bottles were carefully arranged and the camera given a serious 10 – 20 minutes workout. I went to bed buoyed by the day’s events. However, something must have gone horribly wrong with the camera – the pictures were either totally blurred or there was not a bottle in sight. Had one great picture of the ceiling light, though, perfectly exposed, sharp, and fulfilling all the compositional rules of thirds!

 (To prove I have not completely lost the plot, the accompanying photo is one of my earlier attempts.)

19 February 2010

Mount Everest

Alfred Gregory’s memorial service was held at Mont de Lancey today. I did not know him or his wife, Suzanne very well, but that has not stop me from admiring them both for their total dedication to obtaining the perfect photographic image.

Photographing almost every stage of Sir Hillary’s successful attempt to be the first man to ascend Mount Everest must have been a thrill, but in the back of his mind he must have known that he would not receive the same accolades or recognition bestowed on Sir Hillary. Having seen a large number of Gregory’s outstanding images, I would suggest his efforts on that expedition were equal to his leader. (Long live superbly processed and well-archived films)

Having spent a full days intense effort on constructing my De Chirico model, and with only a pretty modest outcome, I felt humbled by the achievements of my fellow students. That said, I am grateful for the help and encouragement offered. I know that constructing a model is nothing like an ascent on Mount Everest, but still quite taxing. However, my associate on the opposite side of the table encouragingly suggested that every mistake or shortcoming in my artistic life CAN be fixed in Photoshop! Hope she is right.  Stay tuned for my findings.

Please note: should Chisholm TAFE decide to employ a pool of artistically inclined Sherpas, I am ready to hire the lot right here and now to help me complete this project!

16 February 2010

Shrove Tuesday

Cooking pancakes on a charcoal fire at dusk is a very seductive experience. Patience is the key- the batter needs time to ‘swell’ and the charcoal time to develop sufficient heat.  A hot, heavy cast iron pan is the secret to producing thin perfectly cooked crepes. Another triumph tonight! Pancakes are cooked on a stove – crepes on charcoal. Cooking vs culinary passion.

During the last week, I have found, for me, another equally exhilarating use for charcoal  - DRAWING!  It was with some trepidation that the first line was put on paper. The tactile sensation of the charcoal on paper was rather foreign, but pleasing.  The resultant drawing was not! However, after two mornings and five more drawings, David (teacher) assures me that he can see a faint sign of improvement. I will gladly exchange the displayed picture (singed) for a decent bag of charcoal. 

15 February 2010

Curate's Egg

To paraphrase Oscar Wild – to lose one memory-stick may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two seems like carelessness. Net result is that day one’s artistic efforts are gone forever.

There was little else to do other than recreate my earlier attempt. At least the artistic concept was already established, taking some of the pain away. Here is ‘Shapes Mk II’:
To lighten my mood, one of my nearest and dearest on seeing my work expressed: ‘Good in parts, like the curate’s egg’. I remain deflated.

(A nervous young curate ate at his bishop’s breakfast table. Asked by his lordship whether the egg is to his liking, he is terrified to say that it is bad and stammers out that, ‘ Parts of it are excellent!’)

13 February 2010

Me - an artist (?)

I have embarked on a course of interactive digital media, which is proving to be quite a personal challenge. Having spent the best part of my life in ‘left-brain’ activities, now quite suddenly having to fire up the ‘right-brain’ to peak capacity causes sporadic cerebral meltdowns. The neural pathways have atrophied to the stage where the creative juices are only flowing at a snails pace. Despite an exhaustive Google search – no simple remedy or cure has been found to reverse the hapless state of my ‘right-brain’ neurons.   

In class, David Salter (teacher) suggested we should call ourselves ARTISTS rather than mere STUDENTS.  I proudly announced my new title to my nearest and dearest on arriving home that evening – causing much amusement and hilarity. ‘Bullshit artist’ maybe, but for them to see me as an artist was stretching the imagination too far. My title will remain as student for the time being.

However, by the cracking pace set by David Trout (teacher / mentor / guru) my creative abilities will be sufficiently elevated by years end to make them understand that my artistic endeavours have some merit and that I have not simply been spending my time away from home in a ‘sheltered workshop’. Watch this space, as this blog will be my surreptitious media for reporting my progress.