The Artist’s Mindset (or “Mind” Set)

It’s Monday (3pm Adelaide time)
and “Mindset”? … I’m not sure I’ve got one.

Even so, I’ve decided that I have to force some evolution in my artworks … I’m a bit bored with my oil abstractish landscapes (extended post-exhibition blues), so I’m trying to move slightly away from them.

On the weekend, I finished a sort of “Modernist” ish painted sketch on ‘canvas paper’ of people in a gallery with a redhead in the focus area –

The Redhead In The gallery

(I’ve always had this “thing” for redheads with glasses – 45 or so years ago I even married one … she’s a “keeper”). ….. But I digress.

I purchased an A4 pad of Yupo paper on Friday. I’d read about it but never seen the stuff.

After breakfast and before coffee, I sketched some stones on half a sheet (ie A5) using ink and pencil – lovely smooth free surface.

This afternoon I have spent a short (very short) time splodging on it with diluted oils (Prussian Blue, Australian Red-Gold, Raw Umber with AS Medium No 1).

This has been a really quick exercise – a very, very different painting surface that has sparked at least a large fragment of my imagination.
I’m not sure how resilient the painted surface will be once fully dry, but the potential seems great.

Rocky Exercise – ink, pencil and oil on Yupo

This is not a great artwork by any stretch of over active imagination, nor is it meant to be – simply a mini review and potential gathering exercise.

See – I told you I don’t really have a Mindset as such.

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?

THE EXHIBITION THAT WAS

Opening Day – The A.Fox Collective – Amelia, Joy, and Ant.

You know, it takes a lot less time to take down an art exhibition than it does to hang one.

The Slow Hanging


We sold a few pieces, more than enough to cover our direct expenses.
But was there an overall profit?
No, nothing like it.
Of course the experience could be classed as a “profit” even though no money changed hands.
The knowledge that I have sold more paintings in my lifetime than Van Gogh managed has to be priceless!

Gone

We took our time over the deconstruction.
We could have driven there in the morning, taken it down, and driven back that evening, but somehow the overnight stay seemed the better option.

Really Gone

Mind you, it was a fairly expensive option.
The hotel room was comfortable and fairly well appointed, but the price was a bit steep for a room in a small country town.
Yes, the room tariff was less than we paid on our last stay in Sydney, but not all that much less.
In Sydney we stayed on the top floor of a tall hotel in the centre of the city, where we had stunning views of high-rises, sunsets, and the road heading to the harbour.
In our small country town hotel, we were up one flight of stairs with a walkway balcony outside our window and a view of the drive through bottle department.
Still, the bed was comfortable, the food in the dining room was OK (if not wonderful), and the wine was great.

The start-of-winter journey there and back was picturesque, through country we love, tinged the faintest of greens by the breaking of the drought.
The wrapped paintings in the back of the wagon muted road noise and any rattles, and the roads were quiet.

The Skies of Winter
Way Home Tree

It was a good exhibition we are told.
It was fun to set up.
It was a buzz to listen to the praise at the opening.

5 paintings – 3 (centre ones) sold

But … I think I have come to the conclusion that my paintings might be a bit – well … boring.
I’ll work on a new direction for inspiration … perhaps I’ll look back to the 1980s when it almost (almost) felt like I had something.

Me and Two of My Works


But for now now, two months after the hanging,
the A.Fox Collective “Abstracted Landscapes” has left the building. 

The Exhibition That Was

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.