Thursday, September 3, 2009

Redeemed by drawing, again.

My current circumstances: grieving the sudden death of my sister Peta, five years younger than me, I have also recently torn a cartilage in my right knee; am ill with a persistent cold and my partner Nicki is absent in the Western Desert. Am currently struggling to make a portrait of Peta, not wanting it to be a photographic cliché but wanting, nevertheless, to make it feel like her. 

Yesterday all of this overwhelmed me. I began to feel intensely pessimistic about the validity of producing paintings and drawings in a world on the brink, quite probably, of environmental catastrophe.

This morning I had an early appointment in Carlton. Afterwards I took coffee at the University Café in Lygon Street. I began to draw the scene in front of me: people sitting in the café terrace, socialising and drinking coffee. Quite soon I am beginning to engage, getting glimpses of their separate Realities. I begin to feel healed by this sense of contact with Life. And, once again, I realize: the proper subject, for me, of Art in out time is: everyday reality. The challenge is to be able to draw or paint even a fragment, freshly experienced, of the awesome and incomprehensible Mystery we call "everyday life".


  1. As one who enjoyed your class, it's great to hear from you this way. Nice to know what you are up to. I'm sure many other of your students will feel the same. Your redemption reminds me of something by Herman Hesse I liked

  2. Uncle, the world needs you more than ever.
    You what you are explaining that sounds intensely familiar to almost every day of my life too.
    Replace "draw" with "sing" or "write" and it cuts close to the bone I've been chewing on all week.
    Blogging, is another form of release and communication.
    Both basic human need's. And your start here encourages al that are numbed daily by an overwhelming apathy and weakness that the everyday media focus upon. Create a new media here....
    The environment is an internal state.
    it is our responsibility to stay positive and flexible as it changes, as it always has for the last 40 million years.

  3. I agree with spender, about the environment being a reflection of an internal state, and that we have to keep clearing 'our own backyard'. The chaos and destruction of the external environment we are part of at this time, is a reflection of how much is in denial, unresolved, and in the dark, in our collective psyche. The best work we can do is keep that clear, "stay positive and flexible", if everyone did that, check out what a very different world it would be, almost instantly! The mind is a powerful tool, it interprets and filters through our perceptions, which are subjective...(remind me I said all of this next time I'm feeling like a victim! lol)
    I love your blog, this is a great vehicle for you to share your beautiful work, and words..

  4. New here. Came from Michael's link.

    At last, a place I can feel at home. Thank you.