The old man wakes way before dawn. He reads for a while. He researches Tang Band full range speaker drivers, but only briefly. The galahs awake in the trees outside. The skies pinken. He watches a bit of the news on ABC 24 using his iPad. He allows his daughter to have first access to the shower so she can spend all the time she needs to get ready to set off for a day at university. While she’s showering he tidies the kitchen a bit whilst looking forward to the warm trickling waters from the shower-head. She finishes in the shower. The sleeping wife springs from the mattress and enters the shower while his back is briefly turned. Oh the cruel irony of it all. Another week starts. Unwashed.
Morning light on my wall – 7.30am. Sky pale blue … grass white … dog unnaturally enthusiastic (and hungry, he claims). Wooly slippers – fingerless gloves … New Guinea mission beanie. Last night meeting hangover – worse than alcohol. A study to write. Hospital to contact. Meet with my colleagues. Pretend to be not confused. Breakfast. Darjeeling in a cup.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.