The judge looked over his spectacles.
“Fox, you are a miserable contemptible grub” he spat.
“There is no point denying your crime – you were caught in action, knife in hand.”
“You have paint on your hands – and this is not the first time!”
“You are a serial knifer of the worse kind – Have you forgotten your grotesque unnatural Silhouette Series?
And try as you may, surely your disgusting obsession with cliff faces cannot be wiped from your warped and wicked mind.”
“Now – look at me, look at me! – today you have crawled out from whatever dark and filthy hole you call home and combined the two crimes – Silhouettes on a Cliff Face”
“Is there no end to your filth!?”
“How do you feel about this, Ant Fox my lad?”
“Are you sorry? Do you regret what you’ve done?”
(A shuffling of feet and clearing of throat).
The old bent artist stammered a reply
– “I don’t regret it yet – it’s a work in progress!”
This is one of the rarest of critters.
It’s a sold paintIng!
Incredible, but true.
I sold this one last year after exhibiting in a small rural gallery.
I liked this one – I hope it’s happy in its new home.
Oil on Canvas, 50X60 cm,
Ant Fox 2017
She – “Is this one of your paintings?”
He – “Yes it is.”
She- “It’s pretty good.”
He – “Oh, thank you.”
She- “When will it be finished?”
He – “Oh … ”
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 –
(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.
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.
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.
… or even like this (but better, of course 🙂 )
Or am I whining about nothing?
Just wasting my time?
You know, it takes a lot less time to take down an art exhibition than it does to hang one.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
But for now now, two months after the hanging,
the A.Fox Collective “Abstracted Landscapes” has left the building.
It was high noon.
He turned to face me and snarled,
… 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 ……
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.
This photo of me holding a portrait of me by Australian artist Peter Patterson, is accompanied by a pretty poor poem in 126.96.36.199 by me (sorry 😁)
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.
Idling away my time rather than cleaning up my workspace in my wee studio.