Saturday, September 22, 2007

Growth

Sense of Spirituality 2000 Acrylic on board 91x122cm

Through the sliding door, out from our back deck can be seen a few trees along our fence line.
Yesterday I cut two of those trees down with a chainsaw. In the painting above, those trees can be seen, one has yellow flowers the other bluish leaves hanging down. In fact the big gum tree, behind the figures head, was cut down as well, but a few years ago.

I cut quite a few trees down that day and loaded them on the back of the work truck. As I was carrying the limbs to the truck I felt a bit guilty, as if I had done something cruel and heartless to these trees. Their bright green leaves and intricate branch structure looked so full of life, and then wasted as they lay there on the cold aluminum tray. It crossed my mind to glue them back on to the roots, but then I thought about the second life these trees were to have. At the local dump the trees are converted into mulch, then all the dumpers collect the mulch to put back on there gardens.

A few years back this mild guilt feeling would not have crossed my mind. How many of us today feel guilty when using the garden hose or wasting water? The anti-logging campaigns, the climate change, water restrictions, etc. This media pounding seems to have an influence on our thinking. How much? I'm not sure. How much do we know about a given subject? Do we have a sense of something, or do we have a more intimate and well supported knowledge? Can some of our presuppositions be trusted or are we just going along with our chosen peer group?
The figure in the above painting looks at us with a mildly defiant look. But he is contorted, and bulbous, without arms. At the same time he is somewhat comical, and cartoon like before an open door looking out onto a more natural world. Does he know himself or does he just know what he wants to discriminate against?

A few months ago we cut down a large gum tree that was filling our gutters and water tank with leaves. The stump still stands about head height. Yesterday after finishing my killing fields I noticed new growth on the stump. Delicate little leaves and branches sprouting up from this rough sawn hardwood. So after a moment of studying the new growth, I promptly broke them off. Heres a photo of that tree, down and lying in pieces.



Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sunday

Sunday afternoon is a great time to wander down to the studio,
play the guitar, read the Australian, watch Sunday Arts, fiddle
with some paint and pencils, drink coffee, flick through the archives,
put my feet up, see the sun go down, pat the dog, dream a little,
listen to some music, read a book, make some art, and wear daggy clothes.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Links

The Striped Shirt - 2002 - Acrylic on board - 90 x 120 cm

Another odd painting from the abyss.

Which reminds of an artist who kept on saying
abscess instead of abyss.
The sad part was, it was during a lecture, where he was talking on very
weighty stuff in a room full of art students.
Almost as bad as the title of student film I made called Memaroid.
Very messy stuff this art business.

The striped shirt painting has links to different places at different times.

The beak, head man standing like an Egyptian is taken from
a slide of my father pulling down the internal walls
at a farm house at Yeepoon.

The man sitting in the front is one of my brothers.
The photo was taken at night in front of a campfire at Narangba.

The Striped shirt person is my wife. This photo was taken when
she was dressed as a mummy all wrapped up in toilet paper.
At the time we were running a kids holiday program at Cannon Hill.

The man with the camera is myself.
The photo was taken while attending Miami High School.
I took the photo pointing at a mirror, that was in a clothes shop,
at Nobby's Beach.

The upside down, simple man is a reference to the Red Man
series of paintings I did in the early eighties.

The mountains in the window refer to the Glasshouse Mountains.

The window above the door refers to the student house
I lived in at Vulture St East Brisbane.

The meaning I will leave up to you.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Vortex

Twin Vortex Pile Driver

I have no idea what this weird painting is about, yet! Maybe, it's just a collection of vague ideas left over from other works.

Today I had a conversation with another artist out in the car park of where I work. We spoke about artistic habits and career progression. I argued that as an artist, I could choose the task, and produce the result. The challenge is to break away from the preset ideas of career and style development and embrace a broader less restrictive approach to art.Good art I argued, was not just imitation or pretty picture making. For example , if an artist wanted to portray beauty as opposed to pretty and nice, then beauty could be shown to be something quite profound and disturbing.

As an artist your style will develop without conscious effort. Who you are will manifest over time through the various artworks you produce.To predicate style is a sure way to kill motivation and creativity. Style will come of it's own accord. To copy or follow a given style and pretend it is yours is a shallow way of creating and produces lame art. For me art is an extension of my thought life, so I normally try to paint whatever I can with whatever meager ability I have.

By the way I quit my Job last Monday after almost 18 years. The business will be put on the market soon and I need to do a few other things, and enjoy my Long Service funds. Hopefully, I can focus a bit more on the different strands of my art and take up new challenges to produce a bit more. The Twin vortex painting above is one of those strands.

P.S. That is my foot appearing on the bottom right of the painting.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Orange

On Three Trees 1994 73x54cm

Above is an acrylic painting on paper.
Bright colours and stylised scenery.
Black outlines and chunky shapes.
This is as close as I get to Mambo.

Not normally being satisfied with the art of
repeating myself, I did repeat myself.

Below is an acrylic painting on masonite.
Bright colours and stylised scenery.
Black outlines and chunky shapes.
This is as close as I get to Mambo.

Big Orange Tree 1995 136x104cm

The leaves are like clouds, but hanging like
marshmallows on the branches.
Especially like marshmallows that have
been heated in a campfire and begin to slip
down the dirty stick that was found
on the ground in the bush.

Also, the leaves are like birds sitting and watching
as you walk underneath.
Or like banksia cones blended with clouds
and hanging like gum leaves.

The branches are limbs strong and sure
against a symbolic blue sky.
The blue sky being a welcome symbol
through the bush as you clear your
way home.

I spent much of my childhood living on the
edge of an enormous abandoned nursery.
This nursery created by Nobelius was
at the time the largest in the
southern hemisphere. The nursery became
a national park, and until this day, has
a huge variety of trees and bushes.

As a kid, I lived for the bush, spending many
hours with my brothers, cousins and friends
investigating every secret area.

I think the enormous exposure I had as a kid
to the bush has impacted my work in some ways.
When looking at my own work I sometimes
have flashbacks to those glory days.
When we ran free with our mates and dogs and built
cubby huts and got up to all sorts of naughtiness.

I think, that as time goes on, my art will draw more and more,
from the experiences of the past, and create conduits
for the feelings and thoughts that I have today.

These paintings being strong in complimentary
colours work well with 3D glasses.
When Big Orange Tree was put on show,
I provided a pair of 3d glasses for the public to use.

This combination of bush, bright colours, and 3D glasses
has strong connections for me. It reminds me of
the Melbourne show, Luna park, Martin Sharpe, Mambo,
rural Victoria, the sixties and seventies, jeans, skivvies,
tie dyeing, flares, and long hair.

In the Bible the Israelites were told,
"Thou shall not make a graven image"
In this context the warning was against worshiping
an image or idol.
But, also it makes a strong point about the
power of created images and objects.


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All Images Copyright D.Howard 2010