Blackpaint 147


O2 advert

I see in the above advert “Nobbling the broadband niggles”, there is a double lizard thing – one creature with two bodies, I think, which rears up; to me, it looks like the serpent in Hugo Van der Goes’  “Temptation” (the painting in which the snake, or lizard rather, has a woman’s features).  Interesting where ad persons get their inspiration.

Taschen Michelangelo

Revealing close-ups of the Sistine ceiling in this; they show the roughness of the faces and limbs, which look so perfect from a distance.  This sounds wrong, somehow; the roughness is partly a function of the size of the close-ups and probably of the speed which the process of painting in wet plaster demanded.  Bold, accurate strokes, determination and masterly control is what they demonstrate, and the roughness enhances the power and beauty of the images, which to me, in photographs at least,  sometimes look a little too perfect – almost like transfers on  a blue background.

The photo of the seated statue of Moses reminded me of the story of his horns (Michelangelo’s, as well as other artists’ depictions of Moses show him with little horns, like a sheep or a devil).  It’s due to an early mistranslation in the bible, by Jerome – rays of light shining from his face when he came back from talking to God on Mount Sinai, bringing the new tablets,  were translated as horns, apparently.

Figurative painting

Unable to learn my lesson, I have entered again for the Threadneedle prize, which requires artists to produce representations of things which exist in the real, physical world, as opposed to the imagination and vision of the artist.  Leaving aside all the quibbles and queries and niggles that arise from such a stipulation, it’s a real grind.  Your brushstrokes and colours and shapes have to correspond to a reasonable representation of something recognisable as a “thing” – you can’t just let go and make interesting marks on the canvas or whatever.  OK, so you select your image – how are you going to paint it?  photo realism (too long, too hard, boring, unattainable), impressionistic (done to death by many better painters), pseudo-cubist (ditto)…..

I tried to do a page from a catalogue, all glossy and adverty, but I couldn’t do it properly, so I decided to be ironic and do it with big patches of chemical corrosion obscuring parts of it; big black/brown/ochre/green blotches of paint, water poured on and left to settle in puddles, thin black rim to scabrous patches, like acid eating at edges..  I was even making up the rationale in my head; “Lately, I’ve become interested in the idea of change, corruption and degeneration, the process of physical decay on a biological and chemical level, the undermining of the surface gloss…”, and so on, in artspeak.

In the end, I gave up and went with a painting of crumbling flats in dogshit colours and a half-competent charcoal life drawing.  Then, after handing them in, stuck in traffic in the City for 2 hours with the sun beating down and bastards in the inner and outer lanes cutting in, as a result of the closure of the Blackwall Tunnel.  On the late news, the engineer in charge hoped that the closure hadn’t caused any undue disruption.

Listening to “What Made Milwaukee Famous” by Jerry Lee Lewis.

“It’s late, and she is waiting, and I know I should go home,

But every time I start to leave, they play another song;

Then someone buys another round, and when the drinks are free,

What made Milwaukee famous has made a fool out of me.”

Blackpaint

07.06.10

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