Sunday 21 November 2004

I don't know why I say goodbye, I say hello.....

Beyond Lemba (work in progress)(oil on board) Posted by Hello

I've come to a realisation recently that I'm overextending myself. I've added so many things into my life in the last year that they're causing conflict and chaos. Something has to give, if only for a while.

When I started blogging, it was with the (unexpressed) intention of posting something every day. Clearly that's fallen by the wayside. My other activities have meant that I couldn't channel my mind into writing mode to enable me to keep up the output. I don't want the blog to become a chore.

So for a while at least, I think I need to put Boogie Street on hold. I thank all those who've shown a surprising interest in what goes on at Stately Zip Mansion and hope to throw open the doors again in the near future.

See you in the blogs!

Thursday 18 November 2004

A Good Egg of a Day

The People Show will be looking for entries in the New Year, so I decided to press on today. Instead of fannying around with some of the small pieces which glare at me in the studio from time to time, I made a decision to do two new paintings for the Show.

Despite the handicap of an obviously off-square canvas, I managed to get something involving the rigid grid-like structure of the Tyne Bridge off to a good start. The top two thirds of the 24 x 24 ins square canvas is taken up with the mass of the end of the Bridge, reminding me a little of Franz Kline. Behind are the cool planes of what I used to think of as the Black Stump until it was clad in some greyish stuff last year, and the pier of one of the Bridge supports.

The bottom third of the painting consists of runners in the Great North Run. A return to an old friend.

I like the way the composition divides into a calm cool grid played off against the energy of runners in reds, ochres, yellows.

Later, I went into town for an hour or two. Picked up some olives and sour cream and spoached around the HMV store.

Back home, I whipped up some chicken with wild mushrooms. Too much chicken, not enough olives. Too much cream. Too rich. Would have been fine for two, but Patsy123's away looking after her mum who's had a fall.

After dinner I made a first acquaintance with Philip Glass's Symphony No.2 and Symphony No.3 which I'd picked up at HMV. Great stuff. I've never thought of Philip Glass as being impressionistic, but there were moments there when I found myself thinking restless sea pictures (indeed, Rebecca came to mind) and steam locomotives.

And then it was time to delve further into Chuck Palahniuk's Diary. A very strange and disturbing novel, and certainly engrossing. And hey! It's about an artist.

When they were in school, Peter used to say that everything you do is a self-portrait. It might look like Saint George and
the Dragon or The Rape of the Sabine Women, but the angle you use, the lighting, the composition, the technique, they're all you. Even the reason why you chose the scene, it's you. You are every color and brushstroke.

Peter used to say, "The only thing an artist can do is describe his own face."

You're doomed to being you.

This, he says, leaves us free to draw anything, since we're only drawing ourselves.

Your handwriting. The way you walk. Which china pattern you choose. It's all giving you away. Everything you do shows your hand.

Everything is a self-portrait.

It's been an unusual day when I haven't felt any real pressure. When everything - even the not terribly successful chicken and wild mushrooms - felt right. Not often I can say that.

And so, on that rather comforting note, to bed.

Wednesday 17 November 2004

Mark my words.....

Into the Depths (oil on canvas, 36 x 36 ins) Posted by Hello

This is one of the reasons I've been quiet. Getting pictures ready for another exhibition. This time it's the Gallery Friends Show, with a theme of "art from words" to try to get the more conservative members to think outside the box.

Won't work, of course. Last year we used an "art from art" theme and still got the usual watercolours of bunches of flowers, allegedly based on some obscure Dutch work. This year they'll be on even safer ground, what with the availability of Wordsworth's daffs and the like.

Not that I can honestly say my entries are actually based on literature. The picture above was done a couple of years ago and was based on a shelled building in Cyprus. I've simply hung an Orpheus & Eurydice tag on it.

No photographs of the other two yet. The second one was another 36 x 36 ins unfinished work called Woman in a Garden. Patsy123 helped out by finding a couple of verses from a D H Lawrence poem called Snap-Dragon and I reworked the woman. I'm still not sure about it, but it's been accepted, so I'll think again when it comes back (I regard these Friends' shows as a chance to show slightly unusual work, knowing it won't sell. It's the watercolour bunches of flowers that always sell.)

The last one is very much an oddity. It's 24 x 24 ins and based on Siri Hustvedt's
The Blindfold. It started out as something out of die Neue Sachlichkeit but I was uncomfortable with the way the two figures were not contained within the picture area. I got rid of the subsidiary figure and it started to look like a mid-period Paula Rego. Then it simply took on a life of its own and became what it is now. Very strange.

Thursday 11 November 2004

Moveable Feast

Have you decided what day to celebrate Christmas Day yet? I haven't made up my mind which of the days in the Christmas Day period to make my own personal Christmas Day; a day that suits my own circumstances, not one forced on me by something as meaningless as a date on a calendar.

Last Friday was Guy Fawkes' Night, right? Or Bonfire Night as my calendar calls it, so as to ensure that children everywhere can go untroubled by the historical origins of the celebration.

As it happens, Patsy123 and I had a really good night watching the Council firework display in Saltwell Park. The crowds were well-behaved, the weather quite clement and there was plenty of ooing and ahing to make the night a success.

But some people evidently don't see any need to join in such communal tomfoolery. They had their displays on the Wednesday before. Others chose Thursday, while still others went for Saturday or Sunday and even Monday.

And I'm not talking about the odd rocket or banger. I mean big displays lasting ten minutes or more. From my living room window, I've been able to watch Guy Fawkes Night being celebrated every night for the best part of a week.

So why stick to December 25th for your Christmas Day? As it happens, the 25th falls on a Saturday, but that might not be convenient for you or your family. Why not have your own individual Christmas Day on the Thursday beforehand, or perhaps later, on Tuesday 28th?

This is the 21st Century, for godsake. Let's not be hidebound by tradition and calendars. You have nothing to lose but your sense of any kind of community. Maybe that crazy old bat Thatcher was right and there is no society

[That was an Old Fart Rant on behalf of the Christmas Party]

Monday 8 November 2004

Opportunity Knocks Again

An Angry Buzzing (oil on canvas, 36 x 36 ins) Posted by Hello

Where does the time go? Things have happened but gone unreported on Boogie Street, like the Crete trip and the walk up on Simonside. I'll have to try to get to them.

Meanwhile, the time today was spent initially on tidying the place up in anticipation of the arrival of the Two Ladies from Harrogate. They're opening a gallery there and having seen the work at the Big Gallery in Newcastle, wanted to take a look at some more of my work.

We had a good afternoon together, chatting about stuff, and eventually they left with eleven of my pictures, including the one above, to show at their inaugural exhibition.

Who said there isn't a god? (Note to self: it was you, but others got there before you.)

Monday 1 November 2004

"[Mr Zip] paints the town"

[Mr Zip] and his Great North Run painting Posted by Hello

According to the Evening Chronicle of Saturday October 30th, "Eight scenes of Newcastle by artist [Mr Zip] are on display and up for sale at a city gallery." It goes on to say that the "oil paintings of streets around the city have been on display ..... since September 10 and are proving popular with visitors."

The gallery manager was quoted as saying that they'd had some of Mr Zip's work on display before "and it went down very well."

"They are all up for sale from between £650 and £1600."

Mr Zip said, "They are all of streets in Newcastle, like Blackett Street and Newgate Street."

"I am particularly interested in the effect of light on those streets, especially on wet days."

In addition to reproducing "The Burning Bush" they also showed a copy of this one:

The Sage, Gateshead (oil on canvas, 24x24 ins) Posted by Hello