nakedness – when i first started drawing from life i had a fairly incredulous reaction from mates, mates who found the notion utterly bizarre and not because they felt figurative art no longer had a place in society. no. they were not artists; and have no opinion on contemporary art beyond that which intrudes into their day to day reality because it is mildly annoying / mildly shocking / mildly diverting / erotic. a body stripped bare still inspires awe


“But governments have not responded to the change with any greater urgency about limiting greenhouse emissions,” (Justin) Gillis writes. “To the contrary, their main response has been to plan for exploitation of newly accessible minerals in the Arctic, including drilling for more oil” — that is, to accelerate the catastrophe.

The reaction demonstrates an extraordinary willingness to sacrifice the lives of our children and grandchildren for short-term gain. Or, perhaps, an equally remarkable willingness to shut our eyes so as not to see the impending peril.

Noam Chomsky on climate change.





one of the major problems with narrative is the human capacity to apply two contradicting narratives without indicating that there is contradictions

– or –

the very human capacity to exist with contradictory impulses is resisted  – refused – not acknowledged on a political / psychological / social / cultural level

[in the media, this hegemony; can only function in the one narrative paradigm.]


watercolour on paper, 297 × 420 mm, 2012.
watercolour on paper, 297 × 420 mm, 2012.


and then there is an obvious logic, that once you have created solid parameters, i find words can often be the worse offenders; you are committed. everything after that point is bound by those parameters and the mind to (whatever extent it functions automatically) will use those parameters as reference points. more specifically that the abstract and theoretical can bind the soul. and we waver around these parameters, unable to bring concentrated attention to a task


plus exert. The House of the Dead or Prison Life in Siberia by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

One of my acquaintances enters the barracks. He is a convict of the special section, very good-natured, and gay, far from stupid, and jocular without malice. He is the man who, on my arrival at the convict prison, was looking out for a rich peasant, who spoke so much of his self-respect, and ended by drinking my tea. He was forty years old, had enormous lips, and a fat, fleshy, red nose. He held a balalaika, and struck negligently its strings. He was followed by a little convict, with a large head, whom I knew very little, and to whom no one paid any attention. Now that he was drunk he had attached himself to Vermaloff, and followed him like his shadow, at the same time gesticulating and striking with his fist the wall and the camp-bedsteads. He was almost in tears. Vermaloff did not notice him any more than if he had not existed. The most curious point was that these two men in no way resembled one another, neither by their occupations nor by their disposition. They belonged to different sections, and lived in separate barracks. The little convict was named Bulkin. Vermaloff smiled when he saw me seated by the stove. He stopped at some distance from me, reflected for a moment, tottered, and then came towards me with an affected swagger. Then he swept the strings of his instrument, and sung, or recited, tapping at the same time with his boot on the ground, the following chant:

My darling! With her full, fair face,

Sings like a nightingale;

In her satin dress,

With its brilliant trimming,

She is very fair.

This song excited Bulkin in an extraordinary manner. He agitated his arms, and shrieked out to every one: “He lies, my friends; he lies like a quack doctor. There is not a shadow of truth in what he sings.” “My respects to the venerable Alexander Petrovitch,” said Vermaloff, looking at me with a knowing smile. I fancied even he wished to embrace me. He was drunk. As for the expression, “My respects to the venerable so-and-so,” it is employed by the common people throughout Siberia, even when addressed to a young man of twenty. To call a man old is a sign of respect, and may amount even to flattery. “Well, Vermaloff, how are you?” I replied. “So, so. Nothing to boast of. Those who really enjoy the holiday have been drinking since early morning.” Vermaloff did not speak very distinctly. “He lies; he lies again,” said Bulkin, striking the camp-bedsteads with a sort of despair. One might have sworn that Vermaloff had given his word of honour not to pay any attention to him. That was really the most comic thing about it; for Bulkin had not quitted him for one moment since the morning. Always with him, he quarrelled with Vermaloff about every word; wringing his hands, and striking with his fists against the wall and the camp bedsteads till he made them bleed, he suffered visibly from his conviction that Vermaloff “lied like a quack doctor.” If Bulkin had had hair on his head, he would certainly have torn it in his grief, in his profound mortification. One might have thought that he had made himself responsible for Vermaloff’s actions, and that all Vermaloff’s faults troubled his conscience. The amusing part of it was that Vermaloff continued. “He lies! He lies! He lies!” cried Bulkin. “What can it matter to you?” replied the convicts, with a laugh. “I must tell you, Alexander Petrovitch, that I was very good-looking when I was a young man, and the young girls were very fond of me,” said Vermaloff suddenly. “He lies! He lies!” again interrupted Bulkin, with a groan. The convicts burst into a laugh. “And well I got myself up to please them. I had a red shirt, and broad trousers of cotton velvet. I was happy in those days. I got up when I liked; did whatever I pleased. In fact—-” “He lies,” declared Bulkin.

“I inherited from my father a stone house, two storeys high. Within two years I made away with the two storeys; nothing remained to me but the street door. Well, what of that. Money comes and goes like a bird.”

“He lies!” declared Bulkin, more resolutely than before. “Then when I had spent all, I sent a letter to my relations, that they might send me some money. They said that I had set their will at naught, that I was disrespectful. It is now seven years since I sent off my letter.” “And any answer?” I asked, with a smile. “No,” he replied, also laughing, and almost putting his nose in my face. He then informed me that he had a sweetheart. “You a sweetheart?” “Onufriel said to me the other day: ‘My young woman is marked with small-pox, and as ugly as you like; but she has plenty of dresses, while yours, though she may be pretty, is a beggar.'” “Is that true?” “Certainly, she is a beggar,” he answered. He burst into a laugh, and the others laughed with him. Every one indeed knew that he had a _liaison_ with a beggar woman, to whom he gave ten kopecks every six months. “Well, what do you want with me?” I said to him, wishing at last to get rid of him. He remained silent, and then, looking at me in the most insinuating manner, said: “Could not you let me have enough money to buy half-a-pint? I have drunk nothing but tea the whole day,” he added, as he took from me the money I offered him; “and tea affects me in such a manner that I am afraid of becoming asthmatic. It gives me the wind.” When he took the money I offered him, the despair of Bulkin went beyond all bounds. He gesticulated like a man possessed. “Good people all,” he cried, “the man lies. Everything he says–everything is a lie.” “What can it matter to you?” cried the convicts, astonished at his goings on. “You are possessed.” “I will not allow him to lie,” continued Bulkin, rolling his eyes, and striking his fist with energy on the boards. “He shall not lie.” Every one laughed.

Vermaloff bowed to me after receiving the money, and hastened, with many grimaces, to go to the drink-seller. Then only he noticed Bulkin. “Come!” he said to him, as if the latter were indispensable for the execution of some design. “Idiot!” he added, with contempt, as Bulkin passed before him. But enough about this tumultuous scene, which, at last, came to an end. The convicts went to sleep heavily on their camp-bedsteads. They spoke and raged during their sleep more than on the other nights. Here and there they still continued to play at cards. The festival looked forward to with such impatience was now over, and to-morrow the daily work, the hard labour, will begin again.