The Awful Artful Case Of The Missing Mojo

I’m bored with my landscape impressions, expressions, and abstractions.
My oil paints and canvasses don’t have that tempting siren call they should have.
No need to bind me to a mast with my ears plugged with wax to stop me answering the call to spend my precious time doodling and splurging in my studio.
My brushes and knives sit idle. My turps evaporates alone.

It’s a post-mid-life-crisis… surely that’s what it is – introspective ennui.

The last exhibition was praised by a good number of people, both in words and by a few sales.

Yes, but for me, seeing my paintings hanging together was something of a let-down
– it’s not that they were poor paintings – people assure me that they are good, some “very good”.
It’s just that they made me feel a bit 😑
(flat, bored, disappointed, unsatisfied.)

An experienced artist friend tells me that this is normal. It’s the usual feeling experienced by artists after an exhibition, and it’s good news.

This certainly has been my experience after the few exhibitions in which I have participated.
But “good news”?
Maybe, maybe not.
Perhaps this let-down is the thing that keeps the creative juices flowing.
I hope so.

Really, I want to get on with painting new works, but I just can’t get my mojo working.
The blues are all very well, but I should use the yellows and reds too.

I’m thinking I should explore semi-figurative abstractions more like this one from 2016.

The Mamre Incident’ c 31X24cm (painted surface) – oil on Arches Oil Paper – Ant Fox 2016

… or even like this (but better, of course 🙂 )

Trees and Rocks … from my sketch pad – sometime in the 1970s

Or am I whining about nothing?
Just wasting my time?

A Work In Crisis

I’m feeling the cold this winter.

My studio is very cold, so I haven’t been doing much painting.

But, I am slowly painting second layers over a largish canvas, constructing an abstract landscapey work … as a WIP, it isn’t fit for viewing yet.

For fun, I took some close-ups of portions of the canvas and made them into a digital photo collage … the subject is “from the easel”, but the result is “from the computer”.

“Fragments Of A Work In Crisis”

(digital photo collage of details of an oil painting work possibly in progress)

Pens and Brushes at Noon

It was high noon.
He turned to face me and snarled,
“OK stranger”
“Draw”
… So I did!

I’m taking a brief holiday from oils, canvas, turpentine, wax and all that jazz. I’m thinking back through the years, through the decades, to the time when I first started the art thing as a pleasant diversion. Back then, I had a short love affair with watercolours. So, I have started a little series of ink, watercolour, and acrylic (with water) – “quickies” … these aren’t destined to be masterpieces.

I have decided to use ink with the watercolour because I want the higher contrast and definition that the drawn line gives, rather than the subtlety of traditional wash work.

I coloured the farmscape I’d drawn earlier today. This is a style that many people probably don’t like, and some might say it spoils the drawing … never mind, for what it’s worth here is the finished painting ……

“Farmscape Woodside” ink and watercolour on paper. May 2019.

It’s a sibling of the forest doodle I posted the other day. They might not be great, but they keep me happy. I’ll see how many I can do before the month ends.

My Patto Pic

This photo of me holding a portrait of me by Australian artist Peter Patterson, is accompanied by a pretty poor poem in 6.4.6.4 by me (sorry 😁)

Ant Fox by Patto

Went to the post office
What did I see?
A tube in my post box
Waiting for me.
So I carried it home
Unwrapped it quick
What did I find in there?
A painted page
My portrait by Patto
What a surprise!
Peter Patterson thanks
From old Ant Fox
I’ll frame it for my wall
So it is seen
And admired by all.

Photographic Special Defects

For many years – From about 1969 until the mid 1990s I processed all my own black and white photos.
I toyed with colour processing and printing, but black and white was my passion.
I loved my Pan F and FP4.
I carried my Pentax cameras everywhere.
Occasionally I borrowed a large format camera (including, a couple times, a very nice heavy Linhof plate camera), but essentially I was a 35mm man.
I had access to a real darkroom equipped with a Leitz enlarger.

Joy in the Early 70s

Ah – those were the days!

Now I have no access to a darkroom, and I confess that I lack the spirit and will to set one up.
But nowadays, I have digital photography to amuse me.
I have an iPhone SE, which has a pretty good camera, a Pentax DSLR, and a Sony a6000 mirrorless (a lovely digital camera) … and an iMac computer to play upon.

Digital Sunflower

No, it isn’t the same as the good old film days but it keeps me happy, and some of the images are really very good.
The shooting limitation of film is gone – a two headed coin. With the ability to shoot hundreds of shots in any session we can get a bit careless, but at the same time good old aunty serendipity can present us with one or two sensational shots from all those many.

Digital Landscape

And the processing is so simple.
There are many apps and the like that let a fella like me do all the tweaking and bending and distorting that I would have once upon a time done with double exposures, maskings, chemicals, solarising, and all that fun jazz.

On Reflection, Joy is in Two Minds

Yes, it is cheating. Yes, back in the 70s I would have sneered. But now, I’m a happy wee grey haired digital photoist … having fun with a camera, computer, and cup of tea close at hand.

He’s cracked I tell you!

Who’d have thunk it?