Posts Tagged ‘sketching’

Lachlan Goudie’s thoughts about painting

May 20, 2018

Yesterday evening I watched a programme on cable TV about Van Gogh and was struck by a comment made by the (Glasgwegian) painter Lachlan Goudie. I jotted down what he said on the back of an envelope, to share with you. I may not have this word perfect as a quote but it certainly will give you the gist:

Painting is a difficult, troubling and enormously frustrating activity. Everyday, when I stand in front of my canvas, I will expose the gap between what I want to achieve and what I can achieve. Painting exhausts you if you are doing it as a conviction or a passion. That’s no lie, it’s for real!

In the programme it was explained that Van Gogh was largely self-taught to begin with. He worked from books on technique and so forth. I have sometimes felt that I suffer from autodidactic polymathitis.  I hasten to add that the syndrome does not appear within any scheme of diagnostic categories I have come across, it is merely a term I invented for myself. So, the comments made by Lachlan Goudie about painting can be extended to cover music and prose writing, as well as art, as far as I am concerned. Indeed, I think they apply generally to all acts of creative work.

I say this without any implications of self-aggrandisement since I am highly critical of my own paltry attempts to create works of art, music & songs, and works of fiction. I think that creativity, however small, however modest, contains within it a tendency for the artist/musician/writer to experience bi-polar swings of mood. I hit a down swing over the past few weeks. At such times it is not infrequent to be hit by a block, too. I suppose one  might think of writer’s block as the prototype, but I recently had a sketching block lasting for a month. Fortunately,  this has now been broken. I have three new songs with the sets of lyrics completed in full, yet I have not been able to bring myself to practice them up to performance level. I can’t understand this; it has never happened before in this fashion.

I do sometimes search for evidence that I might be on the right track, whatever that might mean. Perhaps I am looking for a modicum of feedback. Here is the problem. I have maintained a website for many years. Nobody downloads my songs from links I provide on that site; nobody buys my novels or my art books; very few people listen to the live music shows that I play each week, streamed on the Internet. It is true that these are primarily played for people with avatars in the virtual community known as Second Life on the Internet, but I give clear instructions on my website as to how to listen to my stream ‘live’ should anyone who is not in that community wish to do that.  So, basically, I sometimes wonder why I bother. It can’t (given the time and emotional effort required to create and perform all this stuff) be for the joy of knowing that it is widely appreciated. However, I do have a small but loyal group of fans within my Second Life audience and for them I am truly grateful. Without them, I do think I might just quit and settle down to a life of watching soap operas on cable TV channels!

Oh, one more thing. The bipolar down swing curbed my enthusiasm for moving more deeply into the phenomenon of vlogging. I am not saying that I have given it up, but for the time being all is quiet on the vlogging front. Speak to you later, my dear blogophiles.

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Been a bit busy

October 16, 2011

For some reason I seem to have been very busy and have not gotten around to blogging for a week or so; for this I apologise to my regular blogophiles. My autobiography project is at a crucial stage. I have now decided to include approximately 40 original sketches and have about 25 of these done or in the final stages of completion. However, hitherto, I was intending to complete all of the art work digitally, working with a Wacom tablet and stylus. Since starting the course at the Lit & Phil a few weeks ago, I have now revised this strategy and I am wanting to shift into real paper, inks, paints and canvass. Emma Holliday, who runs this class, has been very encouraging in this regard. My friend Tom, who is an ace photographer, is going to help me photograph the items that won’t scan. For example, I am currently working on an acrylic of Cauldwellhall Road in Ipswich, featuring The Lion’s Head pub. I am working on the back side of a piece of hardboard measuring one foot by two foot (in old money). This I have sized with external white emulsion paint. My style is being forced out of the obsessively neat and detailed approach that seems to characterise my watercolours, and I think this is probably a good thing for me.

Speaking of style, I had a great chat with the young woman who works in the music shop opposite the Sunderland Empire theatre. She is Italian and came over to Sunderland to take the applied fine art degree at our university. Anyway, I got chatting to her about some of my drawings and she showed me some of her work and gave me lots of tips, which I shall put into effect in due course.

I have not put many of these sketches up on this blog, since I am saving them for the autobiography which I shall put together in blurb.com. Still, I do have a nice photograph that I took while waiting for a train in Leeds station last weekend when I was going Brighouse in order to visit with my nephew.

Waiting for a train at Leeds station

This will have to suffice for the moment. I shall try to blog again fairly soon to give you an update on what is happening in terms of my music performance (things seem to be ticking over uneventfully in that domain). Speak to you later, my dear blogophiles.