light is everything – that is – quality of light.

not quantity.

i stayed in a house in paris, montparnasse, briefly. the house had been designed by someone of the bauhaus and they had opened the whole place to light…

having a bath in spring sunlight.

i think it opened my eyes to new possibilities.

again: not quantity.

‘in praise of shadows’ by  jun’ichirō tanizaki. relates the importance of shades in traditional japanese culture. a good (and short) read, flawed i think in that japanese culture – as was – is very much idolised. the beauty of candlelight, the manipulation of design & art to accentuate the beauty and warmth. very passionately written.

i have yet to see a space optimise shadow & there are very few spaces flooded with light.

[The house in paris was a bugger to heat.]


“I must get close to reality. I want it whole. Otherwise I would be doing in my own way

… What I most dislike in the Beaux Arts. I would be getting a preconceived idea in my head and modelling the truth on it, whereas what I really want is to model myself on the truth.”

Paul Cezanne in conversation with Joachim Gasquet (‘Cezanne’ by F. Edgar from the ‘World of Art series’ Thames and Hudson p. 175). My italics.

Disparate polarities in tension.

i think this brings us back to counterpoint:

giacometti really pushes his clay into contrasting shapes – each sculpture vibrates with energy because of the fractious tension of surface mark making.

there is also a remarkable stillness…

this is more difficult to identify… maybe it is down to his many hours of work, of looking & his amazing understanding of earlier forms of art and of mysticism… but also i think his understanding of cezanne.

thse were drawn in the tate modern i was considering using the photographs i took  – but i am not a photographer.  & incidently the light / ambience of the tate is horrible. makes it even harder to see the pieces and there is no way of relaxing into contemplation.

makes it very hard to draw.

no matter what else you might read the sketch below is of a joshua reynolds in the tate britain (!) probably. it maybe someone i dislike equally to sir josh.


zen pupils take a vow that even if they are killed by their teacher, they intend to learn zen.

usually they cut a finger and seal their resolution with blood.
in time the vow has become a mere formality, and for this reason the pupil who died by the hand of ekido was made to appear the martyr.

ekido had become a severe teacher. his pupils feared him.
one of them on duty, striking the gong to tell the time of day, missed his beats when his eye was attracted by a beautiful girl passing the temple gate.

at that moment ekido, who was directly behind him, hit him with a stick

apparently the shock killed him.

the pupils guardian, hearing of the accident, went directly to ekido.

knowing that he was not to blame, he praised the master for his severe teaching.

ekida’s attitude was just the same as if the pupil were still alive.
after this took place, he was able to to produce under his guidance more than ten enlightened successors,

a very unusual number.

[p.69 zen flesh zen bones, transcribed by nyogen senzaki + paul reps, penguin, some slight variation (very minor grammar & lay out) made by myself]

again if there is a reason i should not post this – let me know & i will remove it.


oil paint has an incredible texture & smell… it is the physicality of oil painting that makes it

it can never be truly an image.

an image as in: a form in two dimensions.

the physical properties of oil demand that you use it in particular ways. while apparently fragile – is in fact brilliantly vital and enduring.

the oil above is painted on a piece of board – most of the board i paint on is found on the street or given me by friends / family (ta).

as much as i like painting on canvas stretching canvas is time-consuming & expensive whereas these bits of board are free. some of it has had a life before and i like that – i don’t see it as something inspirational but it is practical. i should probably be getting used to living on stuff i find in the street. 2012 coming up and all that.

a digital image is a digital image of the painting – hopefully there is some communication of the tactile nature of the piece.

but its presence in space is the telling aspect… they need an environ to react against not just presentation.

open studios are coming up: 1st & 2nd & 3rd of october.


LEPIDUS what manner o’ thing is your crocodile?

ANTONY it is shaped, sir, like itself, and it is as broad as it has breadth. it is just so high as it is, and moves with it own organs. it lives by that which nourisheth it, and the elements once out of it, it transmigrates.

LEPIDUS what colour is it of?

ANTONY of it own too.

LEPIDUS ‘tis a strange serpent.

ANTONY ‘tis so; and the tears of it are wet.

from antony an cleopatra by william shakespeare.

my approach to drawing – & therefore painting and sculpture – bares some comparison to counterpoint. or possibly does not.

the rhythms within the drawing jar and these are usually represented by line. the shapes flow and sometimes emerge from the line to fool the eye into trusting the image – hopefully the shapes strike a chord of recognition.

all the tricks of illusion traditionally used to create pictures are subservient to these rules. the picture must create for itself its’ own inner logic.

i think that this is one of the few ways with which i can describe my own approach. a combination of inner tension but essential ‘stillness’. entirely visual not narrative.

the picture is from 2009.