May 2018

This time of year, Autumn, is the best time of year. The aches and pains are all less insistent and the air quality problems within the apartment are still able to be kept to a minimum by leaving the front and rear doors open day and night. Its good.

Grown with love in Barbara’s garden

Among all these apartments and apartment dwellers the matter of privacy is dealt with by hanging a split curtain inside of the front screen door. With so much equipment in here now the air quality and “sick house” syndrome are proven poisons. The first year in this place there were less art materials stored here. The apartment was largely closed in so it could be heated. My health declined noticeably and there were days I sat slumped over the desk. What made me aware that it may be partially the result of air-borne toxins was the change in my ability to think and act when I had spent some time outside.

It will be cold. That is the trade-off. The best I can do for heating might be a little bar-heater that I can hover over when I cannot stand the cold any more. The big 1970 Vulcan space heater is my preferred heating unit but while it has never added much to electricity prices before last year the winter bill was six hundred dollars and that is too much.

With the case before the Tribunal in full flight there was never going to be much energy left for other things. An approach was made to the Stardust Circus when it was operating next door to the Bateau Bay Mall. It wasn’t a great approach. I just messaged them through Facebook and I think they misunderstood. The idea I have is not about photographing the circus acts. It is about photographing the machinery at rest and maybe the crews setting up. I am not trying to get stories. I feel an emotional attachment to empty places and resting machinery. I enjoy atmospheric images of ropes against the tent walls and the huge trucks and the scattered tools and things that people use. The photographs may even generate some ink drawings. I will have to try again and see if I can get an appointment for next year. It takes a huge round of ambition for me to even think there might be a next year but that one keeps catching me out.

I gave away a lot of useful and valuable things the first time they said I would die soon. The second time I went and said goodbye and organized insurance and gave away artifacts and didn’t die. Then I came really close. It would take me three days to find the energy to climb over the shower hob for a shower. I haunted that cottage for the first couple of years and while I did my own shopping I was almost carried in and out by my carers. They were palliative care nurses for this period. No one thought I could get up again after that.

The battle to save myself from being homeless left me very tired and a lot of days immediately after it all ended were spent sitting in this chair asleep. Strength came back quickly this time. What I call strength now that I am handicapped anyway.

It seemed important to do something every day so that the creativity suppressing energy of this people-storage complex would not continue to squeeze any more skills or joy out of image making. The large canvases and supports sit about in stacks but the initial small doodles become simple paintings. The beautiful and complex ink drawings I was making last year are impossible. I had a space that was made and kept open with much effort but when the room flooded and so much work was destroyed the space became too unsafe.

These works have been growing out of the small drawings I can manage and they gain in discipline and depth as I do more. They are work intensive for such simple outcomes. They started out being intended for color glazes but I am drawn to the simpler monochrome. I am a black and white artist. I love the shadows and the forms.Color seems to weaken them. That might just mean I don’t have the right combination of colors yet but the latest will be black and white.

I have an indistinct but persistent idea about blending these styles and paint techniques to get a rich final image but the size of this apartment is making it impossible to create  preliminary bodies of work.

I once had a best friend who was an amazing, intelligent and beautiful dog. The thing that hurt me the most in my life was when it became so difficult to live after having that first bad accident I had to leave him with my brother so he wouldn’t get hurt by my declining life. They made him a good life there and the children loved him. I always wondered what breed of dog he was. Today I discovered he was a Swedish Elkhound. Strangely, that discovery, and the revived memory of that wonderful friend is the happiest thing to happen to me in years

This is he. My best friend. I only have tiny images in digital media