Saturday, October 18, 2008

Flood

Flood at NASA

NASA number 5 is under way and the little characters are almost under water. They are combating a disaster beyond their control, struggling with the forces of nature. One Wisenheimer is trying to measure the depth of the flood. He is in a boat, yet his little comrades who are in a worse predicament are left stranded and ignored - the trickle down effect.

I have always been a fan of films and novels that focused on worldwide disasters. John Wyndham wrote; 'Kraken Wakes' , 'The Day of the Triffids' and 'The Midwich Cuckoos', which was latter filmed as, "The Village of the Damned". And films like; 'The Day the Earth Stood Still', 'When Worlds Collide", or Orson Welles', 'War of the Worlds" - which are all classics in this genre. Also "Crack in the World" was another favourite film of mine - which I watched on B&W TV in the late sixties or early seventies.

Lawrence Daws has a few paintings up his sleeves that focus on things apocalyptic. Little men running from threatening objects in the sky, such as 'The 1913 Mining Disaster'.

Below is a part of silly drawing in my unfinished drawings pile that has connections to some of these concepts - but in a somewhat spoofy way.

One day I will finish all my unfinished drawings - if only I could stop starting new ones. Currently I have twenty or so unfinished songs as well - is it just me or a sign of the times that things seem so fragmented and weary?

One artist I like checking out is David Hockney. The more I read about him or see of his work, the more I think he a thinking and progressive artist. He has a handle on art history that is not a cheeky rebuff to the past but a positive readdress of things learnt by his artistic forbears.

He teeters between great draughtsmanship and oblique expressionism, passing by Picasso with more than a nod. I like his exploration and fascination with the natural world - especially his water works. My unfinished work above is a reference to Hockney - my hastily drawn nude is dipping into a hastily painted pool - below is a bit more of the work.

One day I will finish this work as well ............ that's as long as a menacing object doesn't fall out of the sky and destroy the whole world.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mammon

Webster's dictionary defines 'Mammon' as: 1) the false god of riches and avarice. 2) riches regarded as an object of worship and greedy pursuit; wealth as an evil, more or less personified.

Below is a little painting I did when I was in grade 11 at High School. It's interesting to look back at very old drawings and paintings, to try and catch a glimpse of the person you were. Looking in a diary is a similar experience, but the differences seem to be more obvious. So a painting needs a bit of a second look and a scratch under the surface to reveal a bit more of your historical self.

This very early work focuses on money and attitudes to money, and how this relates to the management of our time and well being. 'The Card Players' with their little piles of money and focused attention have become oblivious to the fifth player - the person with the clock face.
Their arms have become separated from their diminished bodies, as if they are viewing the cards, like viewing television.

I suppose the Sunday School lessons of childhood and conservative family attitude to money, shine through this early art work. To me the message still rings true and is relevant for our times. The opiate of the moment is the odour of burning money, chained to our ankles. Our freedoms are eroded the more materialistic we become - by trading something that is greater for something that is less.

When did art become just another form of entertainment?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Giant

NASA and the Giant 2008

Another NASA painting completed, another banking empire defeated. The NASA series of paintings are to me, becoming a running commentary on the financial woes of our times.

The latest work entitled: 'NASA and the Giant' describes helpless astronauts caught in the grip of a great giant. The giant has a bandaged head, a covered mouth and wears a coat of many colours.

STUDIO 5th October 2008 - Work in progress

Also, I have started another painting based loosely on a drawing that was posted previously below - nudes with halos. This is currently a very rough sketch drawn in ink and acrylic on MDF. I am experimenting with some new paint I bought from a company called Viponds. I am going to build up the work in transparent layers of ochre, umber and white. The ink drawings will be redrawn numerous time in the process, leading to a complex but refined effect - we shall see.

Close up - Nude sitting in Caravan watching TV.

Hopefully, I will start the next NASA painting during the coming week - either 'NASA and the flood' or 'NASA and the lovers' . Although a painting may not change the world, the virtue of art transcends all the trappings that money pretends to succour - fly me to the moon. But sadly, money is also abused in the art world, so that art of the people has become art of the rich. It was said that Ian Fairweather was sent nice new canvas's to paint on, but never really used them for his art - they were used for some other purpose, while he continued to paint on whatever came to hand - sort of poetic justice really.

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All Images Copyright D.Howard 2010