New header for website. Just need to get rid of the white space beneath this animation now.
Well I got rid of the white space and then had it working ok on the banner at the top. It won’t accept a banner wider than 720 pix though, or at least that was the size of the one that worked. To cover the whole page I need 1200 pix though. When I make one that size it won’t run the animation. I must get on the sites to check this out.
Here is the 1200 pix header that works ok:-
What I really want is to get a longer one like this or the slider one:-
to work on the header at full stretch of 1200 across the top of the whole page.
Took Dan here this-evening for sprint practise. This started as an experiment in uploading a video to the blog. (Obviously it links to you tube rather than being embeded in the website blog itself).
The still image link is quite interesting in that I see it as a potential painted image itself. The you tube experiment worked perfectly.
Still image and video sort of correspond with my dreamscape and narrative overlay idea I suppose. So the painting starts to move and as it becomes a video it takes on the story telling aspect mentioned earlier.
I still want to make paintings based around this though. Making a video is too easy. Setting up the creative context for the perfect detail within the tale as required in the kind of painting I mean is much harder.
“Allotment Sheds”: Oil on canvas
60″ x60″: Claytor 1982
Just been rooting through my old paintings for one that fits with this idea. Sheds, gardens, ramshakle structures etc.
The artwork is not really complete for the Aragorn tower dream yet though. I don’t want to create the impression that I am always having these super cathartic dreams that point the way foreward in both my creative and social life. Nevertheless, this was an absolute corker! ………
I’m sure I could do a very telling starter drawing for the idea. I have always been fascinated by barns and structures that serve the countryside and this dream nudges me a bit further and beyond just the stage set of all that.
This dream first needs analysing though. At least to the point where I can begin to outline some kind of narrative.
Keywords here are:-
Freud, tower, (ooher :)), release, responsibility, forgiveness, gardens, families, collapsed, nature, friendship, salvation, build.
I have always been struck by how really good narrative paintings are so nuanced. So that the representation of even the shortest tale can have a myriad different facets, depending on the point where one hitches up to the story.
Dream pictures such as those by Dali on the other hand are kind of fixed perspective illustrations that represent the idea behind the original dream. They might be more inclined to take on the keywords as a starting point and allow what Freud described as “secondary elaboration” to play its part. i.e. Speculation on its message via the complexity of symbolic meaning.
The narrative approach is perhaps more concerned with character and personality as expressed through the realism and staging of a particular point in the tale.
For myself then I do not willingly forgo any of the creative nuences. However, I admire some of the reflective stillness of the Surrealists. Their ability to create a stage set is unquestionable. My allotment piece above is perhaps in that catagory. The Summer aftenoon mood is perfect. Yet I (as the viewer) desire to fall asleep and dream in front of its stage to see what will happen. What are the tales of release and forgiveness that are told like an extra photoshop layer on the surface of my old painting?
So I hope you get the the two main paths that I have outlined here. The stage set and the nuanced narrative.
With a dream gift such as the one described in my previous blog, then maybe the obligation is to bring the two together. Not just the time and place illustration and not just the subjective character reponse in all its subtlety. But an overview containing some kind of real time google earth perspective that shows that ideal moment in perfect detail before allowing us to wake up.
Burnt Tree: Chatsworth Gardens 2016
The great thing about a blog as opposed to Facebook for instance, is it being implicit that a more opinion based diary content is expressed. I feel a bit freer to say whatever is on my mind, rather than tailor it for the limited Facebook audience that I have. In a seeming contradiction, I therefore feel as if my audience is easier to address for being smaller (and at the moment -none existent). Talking to no-one at all (or potentially everyone in the world) via a blog is more liberating than the guaranteed audience of Facebook. For me, Facebook is a bit like a parental filter on what I feel able to say. I incline to get wrapped up in trying to be the correct version of the slightly different person that I am with all my different friends and acquaintances. It is not that it is impossible or unrewarding, it is just that I am struck by the more relaxed nature of the writing when “Facebook approval” is removed, and inspired rather than daunted by the idea of communicating with the “anonymous World”. Another way of putting it is that my idea(s) take priority and once they have formed then the audience will follow. Say something and then see who listens.
With this in mind I am going to describe a dream that I had last night (which is unlikely to reach Facebook) and reflect upon where it came from as well as how I might use such an experience from a creative point of view.
Chatsworth House wrapped in scaffolding July 2016
I was looking out over my back garden which sloped gradually upwards. I became aware of a strange scaffolding like tower in the middle of the garden that I felt responsible for. A couple of families with small children wandered up the slope of the garden past the tower and then out of sight.
I began to feel slightly anxious. Wandering over towards the tower I could see that it needed some renovation work. However I was increasingly concerned that the tower was in too bad a way for me to repair it. I held it by one corner wall and the whole thing seemed in danger of falling; swaying a little. It stayed up at this point though and I looked closer to see a part of the scaffolding with a missing bolt. Had it been sabotaged? What did this mean?
I started looking for a replacement bolt as well as considering some other tasks that needed completing to restore the tower.
At this point I notice the tall Norwegian approaching from behind me to the left. Just before he reaches me, the tower starts to tilt and collapse and then just disappear in an evaporation of dust.
This provokes an overwhelming sense of relief. I am surprised and utterly grateful as I turn and face the tall Norwegian who has become Aragorn from “Lord of the Rings”. He looks at me knowingly and I feel the sense of release that I have always associated with realising that something doesn’t matter. Very close to forgiveness.
I wake up.
A walk in the garden
“The Drummer”: Barry Flanagan
Went on a pleasant walk around Chatsworth today and saw this sculpture. The photo gives a good sense of the scale of the piece. It towers over the public as they walk towards it on the path. It has got to be an almost perfect matching up of artwork and location, with the deeply pagan presence that it creates within the glorious woodland.
Chatsworth contains a lot of semi permanant contemporary sculpture, but this is my favourite. I remember seeing the original exhibition of the first smaller “hare figures” at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1983. Their lyricism and wit were memorable at the time and I remember everyone talking about them. This large scale version uses all that original creative power and makes something more. Something fascinating and broodingly iconic.
Great “rattle along” mystery with good fun protagonist in Flavia. Quite a few books in the series.
I see my Summer stretching before me ….
Finished it now and so here are a few reflections on “The sweetness at the bottom of the pie”.
I guess it always takes a while to settle into a series and get to know its characters and Flavia de Luce is no different.
I see that there are seven books in the series so far and so there is plenty to go at if I completely get the bug.
The stories are set in southern England of the 1950’s. They reflect a time and place that is based on a sort of fantasy version of the “English countryside” that Bradley concocted very effectively, but from afar in Canada without ever visiting for many years.
Here is a link to an interview with Bradley where he speaks briefly of his own time in school.
The story moves along quickly and is satisfying both in terms of plot and characters. A mixture of peril and clever detecting.
I am looking forward to meeting the main characters again in the second novel. The policeman in particular seems to have a lot of potential alongside the eccentric bunch of other players.
So moving on now to:-
Just have a look at these covers to Harper Lee’s Pulitzer prize winning novel “To Kill a Mocking Bird” published in 1960.
Clearly I am going to argue a similarity between the three covers shown here and the ones in the Flavia de Luce books by Alan Bradley. The use of the tree and the silhouettes and the birds, combined with the flat colour is pretty conclusive.
Beyond that. Harper Lee’s novel is set around 1933 to 1935 and so is fifteen years or so earlier than the Flavia de Luce novels. However this descrepency is not so important if we consider the designer of the cover as making a broad “just before and just after the second world war” reference from a stylistic point of view.
So the content is undeniable and the overall aesthetic is pitched in a twenty year window between 1935 and 1955 or so. This “style” of book cover was of course determined largely during that time by the practicalities of the printing process. Full colour litho did not come in for a while after 1960 and can only be seen in the covers of the later editions of “To Kill a Mocking Bird” where photograpy is used.
So that does add an extra poignancy to the covers of Alan Bradley’s books. The artist has clearly gone for the simplicity of technique as a deliberate choice.
Two covers for the fiftieth anniversary edition harking back to the original book covers.
First edition cover
Another more generic reference for these book covers is the railway posters
of the 1930’s and 1940’s. Again done in simple, beautifully drawn and painted flat colour illustrations. slightly more colourful and less moody than the “To Kill a Mocking Bird” covers, but completely evocative of the era either side the 2nd World War.
“What is Stiles saying now: Whistle down the Wind”, Claytor, 1990
I kind of get it when people talk about this, whilst always feeling a little uncomfortable with the idea. Art/Sport; Sport/Art? It is genuinely meant as high praise, but I suppose I don’t really want football to be an ‘Art’ as such because the later means something else to me.
Similarly with martial arts. It is perhaps a little bit closer from a personal, reflective and meditative point of view. -Still no ‘art object’ though.
Art whilst retaining a valuable status, is also seen as notoriously pretentious as a matter of course by many. I don’t go along with this for the most part (because I genuinely tend to enjoy most art I come across). Artistic achievement is consistantly undervalued and misunderstood even when on display in its own arena . This does not mean however that I want to migrate it into the sports stadium and designate any aspect of football as ‘art’ though.
I want to admire a Messi goal differently. It is unnecessary (and pretentious) to describe it as art. Any number of other superlatives suffice in the heat of the moment but lets avoid ‘art’ (and ‘poetry’ while we are at it) ‘cos in many ways Lionel is better than and certainly different from that.