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Friday, April 29, 2005

Thumb Time for Galaxy Guide

So here we are again. Media event. Global mutterings. It's the latest and long-planned incarnation of The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy. But as ever here at Wet Canvas Dreams, we're fascinated not by the creation itself, but by the images and progress of the words that describe all things H2G2 in the build up and arrival.

Here then for your galaxian and artistic pleasure, in headlines from around the world, is the month to the launch of Douglas Adams beloved creation:

Hitchhiker film set for take-off
No Panic! as Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Prepares to Premiere in London
Hitchhiker’s movie site takes-off
Buena Vista unveils interactive ad for Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
These ads really are attractions

Dressing down for Hitchhiker's film release
Stars out for Guide to the Galaxy
HHGTTG Premiere!
The H2G2 movie
'Hitchhiker's Guide' finally completes ride to Hollywood
Hitchhiker's blasts off
Expect a long, strange trip

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy get's first bad review
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Movie is Bad...Really Bad
Who is Garth Jennings?
Observer joins Hitchhiker frenzy

BBC to air final 'Hitchhikers' instalment
Douglas Adams wrote, wrote and rewrote
'Hitchhiker' took long way to screen
The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy And God

Famed 'Star Wars' Ewok Voyages To New 'Galaxy'
Galaxy' and Shareable Smart Folders
Davis Plays Marvin The Paranoid Android
US Actor Slater Joins 'Hitchhikers' Radio Cast

Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy game is back
Hitch virtual ride around galaxy
The Hitchhikers Guide to the New Economy
Visions of 42
42 and all that

The Vogons of Hitchhiker's Guide
Hitchhiker’s movie promotes blinkx technology
Steve's an earthling rarity
'Imperfect' effects shine in Hitchhiker's
Hitchhiker's Guide: guess who nose the answers?

Blinkx Introduces Customizable Smart Folders Pioneered by 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the
Go ahead: Grab that galactic 'Guide'
Hitchhiker's Movie is Bad says Adams Biographer
Sci-fi cult classic still evokes ‘sensawunda’

'Hitchhiker's Guide' may leave novices cold
Whimsical 'Hitchhikers Guide' comes in for a landing
Neil Hannon Goes Intergalactic
New Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy game in the works
Hitchhiker's Guide 3D Title In Development

Hitchhiker's journey through the galaxy continues
Marvin the Paranoid Android Speaks!
There are hitches - but it's a blast
Don't Forget Your Dressing Gown

Don't panic - Hitchhiker is back
Don't Panic! Hitchhiker's Guide is back as movie
Hitchhikers Don’t Panic. It’s Finally Here
Don't panic! Here's your guide to 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe'
Don't panic! Although vague disquiet is OK
It's the 1980s, but don't panic
A panic-free guide to 'The Galaxy'

Hertfordshire hitches a ride to a galaxy of Hollywood opportunities
You Might Need A Movie Guide To Navigate This ‘Galaxy'
'Galaxy' is out there
'Hitchhiker's' gets sadly lost
Interplanetary blast
'Hitchhiker' feels like onslaught

Hitchhikers guide to anywhere
'Hitchhiker's Guide' worth taking along
Adams' successors guide `Galaxy' to fortuitous conclusion
Disney considers picking up more Hitchhikers
Disney waters down sci-fi classic, turning radical wit into not-so-deep space

Adams' 'Galaxy' a bit too spacey for average hitchhikers
Hitchhiker's fits the Bill
Martin won't be calling Sylvester Stallone
Hitchhicker's Guide
Islington - the centre of the galaxy

Will you watch Hitchhiker's film?
'Guide' dog
Hitchhiker's galaxy spins on a rare passion
A scientific look at Adams’s theory of everything

Everything for the intergalactic traveller
Hitchhiker's Guide to Life the Universe and Everything
Douglas Adams hitches his last ride
Androids and aliens
Hitchhiker's Guide wanders off course
Minor plot alterations add new element to film's plot
Once more into the hitchhiker's galaxy
Sight gags, good casting and Earth's destruction almost add up to 42

'Hitchhiker' leaves the fun behind
'Hitchhiker's Guide' offers a satirical tour of the universe
Cry, the beloved 'Galaxy'
You'll have to know 'Hitchhiker' to pick it up
Douglas Adams: Master of his universe
Absurdist Sci-Fi Comedy Strictly for Literary Series' Fans
Galactic hitchhiker lost in a time warp

Thumb guys have all the luck
Thumbs out ... and down
Thumb thing's missing
Thumb way up - and out - for the weird 'Hitchhiker'
Two thumbs out
Thumbs up for a ride into madness
A thumbs down for 'Hitchhiker'
Thumbs up for space oddity
Space idiocy
Space Oddity

Mos Def joins Bruce in '16 Blocks'
Catch a ride with this 'Guide to the Galaxy'
Douglas Adams would like it
Hitchhikers guide to shorthand
Guide spawned books, TV series and game
Book’s fans will enjoy ride in ‘Galaxy’
Unless you're a fan, this 'Galaxy' tiresomely twee
Pick up this 'Hitchhiker'

'Guide' fails to take viewers on pleasant trip
Hitchin' a ride
Douglas Adams Remembered By Those Who Knew Him
The return of 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'
It’s Not the Same Galaxy
Change hasn't been for best
Hitchhiker and xXx duke it out for young men
Adams provides answer to life, universe, everything

Hitchhiker's exhibition unveiled
'Hitchhikers' romp without a plot through weird galaxy
'Hitchhiker' Steps Into Big Shoes
Hitchhiker's Guide Amusing, but Shortchanges Douglas Adams

'Hitchhiker' holds wisdom for empires
So long, and thanks for all the wit
Critical Consensus: Long Awaited "Hitchhiker's Guide" Gets Mixed Reaction
Wikipedia = Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy?
BBC Launches Real-Life ‘Hitchhiker‘s Guide‘
Thanks for the Fish

Paul Dorrell advises:

"Use it as a guide for whatever vision burns inside you."

More Headlines


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

So I Painted It

The first time ever I saw her face, I knew. So I painted it.

His picture was in the paper. His mother would be proud. All grown up, and listened to, a long time since he ploughed. His picture was in the paper. So I painted it.

I bought it for the leaves. I knew that it would die. I love them and I water them but then I always get distracted. Before I forgot to water it, its leaves grew big and gorgeous. So I painted it.

She always loved the roses. She sat and watched them every June. It made the perfect house so perfect. So I painted it.

The first time I decided to ignore the Tube, I walked from North to South. I walked everywhere the Tube would have taken me until my feet were sore. I then realized London was joined together. So I painted it.

It hung so heavily and threateningly that I was amazed and relieved it didn't fall when I walked under it. So I painted it.

They talked as they always talked, a conversation being a single thread that seemed to last forever. Until one of them died. So I painted it.

It stuck around all through the week. Views do that kind of thing. It held your gaze from inside from morning until dusk. I drank too much on the last night; I didn't sleep too well. I went outside on the balcony and slowly watched it appear, thinking this would be the last time. So I painted it.

I passed it on the bus every day for seven years. Then they knocked it down to build a better world. So I painted it.

The clouds parted for only two minutes giving me a glimpse of the mountain I wanted all week to see. So I painted it.

The walked and drove so busily, I guess that's what you call a city. In the end I saw no people, only shapes and mostly movement. So I painted it.

The stone I threw over its edge was thrown back up and at me by the wind. So I painted it.

The cloud was in the kitchen on a vacation with no views, until the third day when the cloud left and with the floor still wet, heaven appeared for miles below. So I painted it.

The mist sat on the river as it seemed to every morning, and it left only when the dew left me. So I painted it.

The rest of them were sleeping under a pink sky. Some magical vacations have magical endings. So I went outside and painted it.

I couldn't see her any more. I think it was her choice. All I had left was a feint memory, happy I think. So I painted it.

No longer afraid of flying, I cried when I looked down. Not for what man imposed upon the land but I think for what it imposed upon me. So I painted it.

Her wedding day was perfect. Perfect sunshine and perfect warmth. It was what she wanted it to be. I remembered it so clearly for it was exactly the same, when they buried her estranged husband. It struck me as a horrible journey. So I painted it.

She made me laugh. She made me drinks. She made my day. She made me run for the bus. She had a way about her. So I painted it.

I didn't really like it. Not as cities go. Then I thought that maybe I didn't really like me, as I was in this city. So I painted it.

The falcons drew my attention to it. And so did the boss's dad. It was such a part of his childhood. So I painted it.

The snow was thawing and sliding off the roof. It was the first contrast I saw all day. So I painted it.

She looked at me only once. A cursory glance. In my head I built romance. I might have been wrong, I never saw her again. But I knew I'd never be looked at like that again. So I painted it.

They oohed as one, they aahed as one, they cheered as one, and they loved as one. A primitive kind of family they only wore one color. I had a flag from before I belonged; it didn't really fit. So I painted it.

It was the color of the drainpipe. Or maybe the window sill. Every week I stared at it until the day I said I'd photograph it. It collapsed on its only homeless inhabitant before I arrived with my camera. So I painted it.

Paul Dorrell says:

"Inspiration is largely an inexplicable thing."


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

God is in the MidWest. Or at least in the Details.

Six paintings I painted yesterday. They're not finished of course, but then they never are. There will be twelve paintings in this series whenever I do finish. Twenty-four appealed but then I thought that was just being silly.

Beginning a Painting

Yellow. Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue. That's all I've used. And the white space of the canvases. Representational. Blobby shapes and outlines. Like ghostly landscapes. A hint of a field or a lake. An edge of a cloud. A structure. A wall. Stones. Maybe grasses.

What the Squinting Eye Doesn't See

If you stare at the land in the Midwest, it blurs into a unit of landscape. Lacking the drama of the coasts and the mountains, so much of the colors are demarcated by knowledge. The brain knows the pink flowers of the Eastern Redbud, and the gray-black bark of the Black Walnut and the shape of the wonderful broad leaf of the Ginkgo. Squint your eyes and you lose these small glories. Most MidWesterners tend to never notice the Shagbark Hickory, or at least to not care about a tree of so little ornamental value.

Lost Details

So does the artist paint such landscapes close up, featuring details instead of scenes? The scenes are mostly small hills or flat plains. With a town. A town from a distance is a clump of trees with two or three water towers. That the wind has battered across the plains at 25 miles per hour toward the town, is not evident in the painted scene. Only in the detail can you see the rust on the edge of the shed door. Only in the detail can you see the replicity and pattern of the leaf of the Honeylocust, and recognise its long fruit pods on the ground.

Appreciate the Details

The towns under the trees have courthouses and squares. There are unused rusted old trucks, barns still standing that have no right to be, train stations and forgotten cabooses, and elevators of age and dignity. None of these features of MidWestern landscape can be appreciated in a painted scene. They must be almost touched to see the life that has formed them. For coastal scenes and mountain scenes it is different for there god works on a grand scale with elements as sculpting tools. I drive all over these lands in search of barns, bridges, and grain bins. And then I draw. But when I place these features in a landscape it's as if I never drove at all, and these elements of MidWestern life blur into remembered puntuation.

Justice for the Midwest?

So how does an artist do justice to the landscapes of the MidWest? By not painting them? Or by somehow bringing the details of the life of land to the fore of each scene? You know how you know exactly what you want to convey, exactly what you want to paint, can see exactly how it should look when finished, and yet there you stand by your unmarked canvas, still standing there with your brush in your hand, and your paint on your palette, still standing there not moving? Alone. Again.

Paul Dorrell says:

"Dig on the old architecture, the old barns and farmhouses and train stations. Dig on the small towns, their tranquility and simplicity and on their limitations as well."


Monday, April 25, 2005

EastEnders: Soap as Soap

"It is part of the BBC1's DNA now, it's vital to the channel," says John Yorke, the BBC's Controller of Continuing Drama Series and Head of Independent Drama.

He is speaking of the BBC's erstwhile flagship EastEnders. Over twenty years old and with viewing figures at its peak equalling half the actual population of the UK, it comprises a significant collection of the visual memories of a nation.

Here then is a brief reminder of some of those visual memories from the last two and a half years. In reverse chronological order - for fitting dramatic effect - and accompanied by dates in the British format, here is the soap in headlines:

23.04.2005: 'EastEnders' braced for Grant Mitchell's return
23.04.2005: EastEnders and Corrie lose the health lather league
22.04.2005: Vote for a world free of EastEnders. Vote Burnie
22.04.2005: Getting axed by EastEnders hurt so much I hit the bottle and my weight soared to 17st
21.04.2005: EastEnders' Ryan on 'sexiest' list
19.04.2005: Ross Kemp to reprise EastEnders hardman Grant as Phil returns to Albert Square
18.04.2005: Shane Richie leaving Albert Square
17.04.2005: The ridiculousness of EastEnders
17.04.2005: Shane Richie quitting 'EastEnders'?
16.04.2005: Jake Moon to stay on 'EastEnders'?
14.04.2005: Jodi to swap Chester for Walford
13.04.2005: Letitia Dean returning to 'EastEnders'
08.04.2005: EastEnders' plot to silence critics
04.04.2004: Will's Walford attraction
04.04.2005: EastEnders star Joel Beckett was a terrible sex symbol

31.03.2005: Two Moons prepare to leave Walford
30.03.2005: Eastenders' star's mother dies after tube train fall
29.03.2005: No schedule move for 'EastEnders'
24.03.2005: 'EastEnders' could air in new timeslot
18.03.2005: EastEnders hits record low
17.03.2005: Ex-EastEnders actor sues Sun
14.03.2005: EastEnders is left off 2005 Bafta TV Awards shortlist
02.03.2005: EastEnders ratings near all-time low

25.02.2005: New boss at ailing EastEnders
24.02.2005: Highbrow BBC producer roughs it in East End
22.02.2005: EastEnders: Slaters in Detention
21.02.2005: Den's second demise kills off opposition
19.02.2005: After 20 years, is EastEnders going south?
19.02.2005: Have the EastEnders scriptwriters lost the plot?
19.02.2005: EastEnders 20 years old today
16.02.2005: EastEnders: the soap that just won't wash
15.02.2005: Rick-ay! Albert Square's comin' to Westminster
11.02.2005: Phil ready to settle scores on Albert Square

28.01.2005: Shock exit for EastEnders chief

10.12.2004: Kennedy to star in EastEnders
08.12.2004: Mitchells to return to Albert Square?
01.12.2004: Spencer Moon bids farewell to Albert Square

30.11.2004: Spencer leaves Albert Square
21.11.2004: Simon Fuller Takes EastEnders To The States
17.11.2004: Eastenders Goes Stateside
05.11.2004: Babs back in Albert Square

22.10.2004: EastEnders slump continues
20.10.2004: Office actor moves to Albert Square
20.10.2004: Jessie may never return to Albert Square
19.10.2004: Axed EastEnders actor fights work permit ban
19.10.2005: Sir Michael 'could save' EastEnders
14.10.2004: Ferreiras kicked out of EastEnders

28.09.2004: BBC's Young poised to join Pop Idol firm
28.09.2004: EastEnders not in trouble, says defiant BBC
28.09.2004: Soap star: Mal Young profile
27.09.2004: Massacre in Albert Square
22.09.2004: EastEnders slumps to ratings low
21.09.2004: EastEnders boss quits
21.09.2004: EastEnders chief steps down
10.09.2004: EastEnders viewers want misery, says soap boss
01.09.2004: EastEnders actor blames envy for permit row

27.08.2004: Heggessey blames cast problems for EastEnders slump
11.08.2004: EastEnders scripts stolen

29.07.2004: My soap is crap, admits EastEnders producer

28.06.2004: Emmerdale sets sights on EastEnders
04.06.2004: EastEnders to make US comeback

19.05.2004: BBC board questions EastEnders rape plot

19.02.2004: EastEnders could back Olympic bid

23.01.2004: EastEnders to screen lesbian fling

28.11.2003: Scheming Janine to exit Albert Square

15.10.2003: Dirty Den discusses permanent move to Walford

30.09.2003: EastEnders axe outrages US fans

23.08.2003: BBC should sell off EastEnders, says Sky

26.06.2003: George Michael visits Albert Square
03.06.2003: Asian family enters Albert Square

29.04.2003: EastEnders reaches the eastern bloc

22.03.2003: War a ratings winner - better than EastEnders, say fans

31.01.2003: BBC chastised for EastEnders scenes

21.12.2002: The curse of Albert Square
16.12.2002: EastEnders' Mark to be killed off

21.10.2002: Brits can't name own leader, intimate with EastEnders

Paul Dorrell says:

"Own a TV if you must, just exercise restraint in watching it."


Saturday, April 23, 2005

Portrait of a Great Dane?

-A Great Dane.
-Isn't that a portrait of Stephen and his Great Dane?
-It’s Stephen and his not-so-great Dane.
-You don’t like that kind of dog then?
-I do like that kind of dog.
-So why are you calling it not a Great Dane?
-Because it’s not Great.
-But it’s not subjective; you don’t get to choose whether or not the dog is great.
-Indeed. And I’m not.
-But you’re saying it’s not Great.
-Because it’s not. It just isn’t.

-Are you sure it’s not just a puppy Great Dane?
-That would be a big puppy.
-A great puppy, you might say.
-No, I'd say it's an unnaturally large puppy.
-Well it’s a large breed of dog.
-A fully-grown eight-year old dog.
-That looks like a Great Dane.
-It’s a good Dane, not a Great Dane.
-So that’s a painting of Stephen and his Good Dane?
-As Danes go it strikes me as good.
-Brian Boru was a good Dane.
-No, Brian Boru fought Danes.
-Well, Hans Christian Andersen is a Great Dane.
-But not a very good dog.
-He’s a great dog.
-Isn’t he dead?
-No. Peter got him last year when he got his Spinone.
-Peter has a dog that he calls Hans Christian Andersen?
-Yes, he’s a Great Dane.
-A Deutsche Dogge.
-He’s a German dog?
-Well he’s not Danish.
-Aren't Great Danes Danish?
-Even less than they're great.
-I think Peter got him from Arkansas.
-And what does Peter call his Spinone?
-Michelangelo Buonarroti.

Paul Dorrell says

"The tougher aspects of this life are what cull the good from the mediocre, and the great from the good."


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

MyPyramid MyPortrait

Once upon a time a pyramid meant something. It meant less bricks at the top than at the bottom. That's how you built them. It's what defined them. Try building them a different way and they fall over, or you end up with a tower. Less at the top and more at the bottom. It's what differentiated a two-dimensional representation of a pyramid from your regular every-day triangle. However, this is America in the 21st Century, and nobody can be a loser. Nobody can be at the bottom. Not even a food group. Or a color.

Democracy for Diagrams

So the US Department of Agriculture's new ingenius 'MyPyramid' has all food groups making it to the top. How democratic. If the schematic that is the London Underground Map was designed in this manner we'd have fifteen concentric Circle Lines and nothing else.

The American Dream

Note how the official USDA line has each color starting at the top - rather that the bottom - and then getting fatter as it progresses down. It's the American Dream. What the USDA have actually done isn't a pyramid. They have given us a graphical chart showing proportions, and nothing else. There's nothing wrong with that but it's not a pyramid; it's a pie-chart, or pizza-chart if you like. And that really is perfect for America, the land where you can have your pizza and eat it too.

Figurative Art, not Hard Edge Abstraction

The government's new food MyPyramid features six bands of color that extend vertically from the tip to the base, each representing different food groups. It comes in 12 versions, depending on a your activity level and caloric need. Exercise is stressed by a figure of a person climbing steps to the tip, so alas we are not competing with Ellsworth Kelly and Frank Stella with our hardline color abstraction - but instead we have a touch of Keith Haring's figurative art.

Eating in the Dark

Reportedly many food companies are embracing MyPyramid and plan to put the graphic on the packages of their products. Luckily the official government website has different versions of the graphic for your use, including the very helpful black and white one - where all food groups (bricks?) are created equal. More Rheinhardt than Rothko, it's the thinking man's (and woman's) guide to eating in the dark.

The Colors

Here are those groups by color, with advice on what to eat, based on a 2,000 calorie daily diet, but don't try this at home.

ORANGE: Grains. Used to call them carbs. Eat 6 ounces. Ensure half are whole-grain. Shown as a wide band to show you should eat more. So eat more. Don't have kids who don't eat crusts. Don't have kids.

GREEN: Vegetables. Eat 2 1/2 cups. Eat more dark-green veggies or turn the lights off. Eat more orange ones too. Think Hallowe'en. Another wide band.

RED: Fruit. Eat 2 cups. Any format but that's enough juice. Not quite as wide a band to show you that fruit is much over-rated and often awkward to unwrap.

BLUE: Milk. Drink 3 cups so if you live alone you really don't need home delivery. Try walking to the store. If there's no sidewalk thnk of yourself as Hawkeye The Pathfinder, and then ask your city why. Consume all milk products, with less fat. A wide band. If milk was black, would you drink it, Longrifle?

PURPLE: Meat and beans. Eat 5 1/2 ounces. A meal in itself, but vary it and go lean. Don't just go lean; go camping. Catch a turkey. A narrower band, because we all know you're not going to catch that turkey. In fact we all know that you're not even going to go camping. Just remember, a turkey is for life, not just for Thanksgiving.

YELLOW: Oils. Get most from fish, nuts and vegetable oil. Limit solid fats and salt. Don't choose added sugar. Choose life, choose a job, choose a career, choose a family, choose a big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. In other words, choose your oils carefully. As bands go this one is a thread.

Actually the point of the thing is the prefix, the 'My' - it's meant to be personalized. Throw my age, gender and physical activity at MyPyramid and my figures come out as:

9oz Orange not 6
3 1/2 Cups Green not 2 1/2
2 Cups of Red (the same)
3 cups of Blue (the same)
6 1/2 Purple instead of 5 1/2
8 teaspoons of Yellow

I'm going to paint a self-portrait using those ingredients, but first I'm off to bed, after having some fish oil on a slice of whole-grain toast. With the lights off.

Paul Dorrell cautions:

"Will you suffer? As surely as you eat, drink and breathe."


Friday, April 15, 2005

I'm Not So Keen On People

I don’t really like people. And I stopped painting them closely because they’re stupid. It probably shouldn’t be a factor I know, but hey –I’m only human.

-What are you painting?
-All I can see is brown.
-Well, when you think about it, isn’t everything brown?

  • -Is that supposed to be that over there?
  • -Why don’t you put that tree in it?
  • -My daughter is a great artist.
  • -Did you mean to do that line there like that?

  • -I wish I could paint.
  • -Have you seen that guy who paints planets with car paints?
  • -It must be very relaxing to paint.
  • -It’s very detailed.

-I want to commission you to do me a painting.
-I want it to be dark.
-Very dark.
-I want it to be black.
-I’m happy to do that for you but it would be a lot cheaper if you just painted it yourself.
-Well maybe a little bit of color as well as the black.

  • -My son is very good at drawing pictures.
  • -You’re very like Van Gogh.
  • -Why do you paint pictures like that?
  • -Can you do caricatures?

  • -Why don’t you paint nice pictures?
  • -I wish I had time to paint.
  • -Why don’t you put that dog in it?
  • -Have you heard of Bob Ross?

  • -I used to be very good at art.
  • -Why are you painting the sky brown?
  • -Just as a matter of interest, why are you not including that car in the painting?

-Will you do a portrait of me with my husband? And could you put the kids in it too?
-Sure, but you do realize that the finished painting will be abstract.
-Cool! So we’ll all look colorful like those Van Gogh pictures, or have contorted facial features like our nose viewed from the side when our face is viewed from the front?
-No, you won’t have any facial features, you’ll be pure black, and you’ll look like a bunch of shapes like those Suprematism pictures.

  • -Can I ask you why you’re painting the street brown when it’s a blacktop?
  • -I wish you could see the pictures my wife paints?
  • -Does the smell of the paints not bother you?

  • -Do you mind if I ask you why you’re using that size brush now?
  • -Why don’t you paint real pictures?
  • -I like your work; I think you’d love my wife.

  • -Why are you painting outdoors when all you’re painting is shapes?
  • -Why are you painting that building when the pretty one is over there?
  • -Do you find it therapeutic to paint?

  • -Are you not putting any clouds in?
  • -Do you do portraits?
  • -You know what you should do?

Paul Dorrell says:

Later, when you're more open-minded, qualified opinions about your work will matter, and you'll have to learn to listen to them.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Grundig, Marantz, Aiwa, Sony and Pioneer

Pye was the first brand of music equipment in the home I grew up in. A mono record player. Eventually a grown up, who had forgotten how to listen to music, took pity on those of us who were having to wait half an hour for the record player to warm up before it would work, bought a turntable as a replacement.

A stereo. Three boxes replaced the one. I think it was the touching of the older record player to check the temperature that gave me my love of boxes. And I've been painting them ever since. Especially music systems.

Of course it was the actual boxes themselves I first painted. I didn't like covering them in fancy papers or sticky-back plastic; I liked making them look like paintings. I think I was influenced as a kid by the Bloomsbury crowd but as I didn't own my own house that I could turn into an artwork (earlier attempts when two and three years old were seriously frowned upon by parents who did own the house) I had only my toy box to paint. So I did.


Growing into my teens I drew my mono transistor Grundig radio over and over again. It mesmerized me. In fact that reminds me - I need to draw it again.

Music Systems

Most of the world I see as cuboids, and I'm sorry to say but that excites me. Especially music systems. Don't get me wrong - I like cardboard boxes as much as the next man, but those metal and plastic box shaped things that play music on vinyl, tape, CD, and thin air in the case of a tuner, - perfection. What Cezanne was doing seeing cones and spheres in the world as well as cubes I don't know, for all I can see is cuboids - and none more perfect than those that produce music. The cones and spheres are just slightly malformed cuboids. When you love boxes, you too will see this way.

Tuners, Amplifiers, Speakers and Graphic Equalizers

Maybe it's because they house all these other little cuboid and round shapes with all the buttons and indicators. Maybe it's because they have wires going in, and wires going out, that makes them alive in that Mary Shelley kind of way. Morandi may have painted bottles and glasses and whatever for his entire life, but tuners, amplifiers, speakers, and oh my word, graphic equalizers, is where it's at. How do you explain a love?

Pioneer as Aiwa

In truth I prefer nothing better than a brand new system. Why? Because then you get the cardboard box that houses it also. I paint those boxes still, but I'm long past my Bloomsbury phase. For a long number of years now I paint boxes so they look exactly like they looked before I painted them. I paint the words THIS SIDE UP over the words THIS SIDE UP, and I paint plain brown cardboard ochre with some raw sienna. In more recent years of course boxes have a tendency to come in all kinds of colors with pictures even, so I paint them too. For a while about a decade ago I experimented with painting boxes that had housed Pioneer systems as if they had housed Aiwa systems, but I was the only one who found it funny so I stopped. Not that anybody finds painting them exactly the same as they already are funny - but neither do I, so that's just fine.

Rack Systems and Midis

It's the systems all stacked that I love painting pictures of, ideally not quite square to each other. That's where Midi systems when they came out messed with my head a little. They were just too perfect. Though as still lifes go they were great for their buttons and indicating lights and displays. The bigger rack systems that slotted into units didn't make for great paintings either. And they all tended to be the same brand, all Sony or Sanyo, like a deciduous forest of one tree type.

D-I-Y Systems

Do it yourself systems is what I mostly love to paint. Painting a Nad amplifier sitting on top - though a little bit off, of course - of a Marantz equalizer which in turn is almost square on top of a Sharp tuner and beside them stacked unevenly a Sony CD player underneath a Technica turntable and beside a Bose speaker. Still life. Forget that Dutch nonsense of silver dishes reflecting dead pheasants and skulls. Paint boxes. Paint paintings of boxes and paint the boxes themselves.

Until Death and Beyond

Me, I collect every box I ever see. Well, I don't really - that would make a trip to the grocery store either illegal or impractical - but I do collect a lot. And I never throw one away. I love them. And look at it this way; some people love motorbikes - they may even be rich enough to own more than one, like some people collect mugs - but how many people do you know who when they died got to get buried on a motorbike or in a mug?

Boxes. My art. My life. My death.

Paul Dorrell says:

[no loves] will ever die, since I don't feel that real love ever does, despite the inevitable flaws that those loves may have had.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Pete Doherty & Kate Moss: Part 2

We left Pete and Kate in early February after a whirlwind month of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. Never wanting to rest on our clichés we're now playing catch-up to see if Kate, and Pete especially, are still living the artist’s life. So here now is the most recent breathless month in the life of Doherty and Moss, curfews, water requirements, and basking sharks included.

The art is more in the reporting than the living. Unless of course it’s all true.

Part 1 of this love story is here.

Pete Doherty & Kate Moss: Part 2

Mar 12 Kate Moss pays 1,750 pounds for uneaten meal
Mar 13 Is Kate Moss engaged?

Mar 14 Kate Moss, Pete Doherty to get married
Mar 14 Doherty and Moss to wed
Mar 14 Ex-Libertine Pete Doherty Reportedly Engaged To Model Kate Moss
Mar 14 Kate Moss and Pete Doherty to get married next Month

Mar 15 Pete Doherty vows to marry Kate Moss

Mar 16 Going to strum quietly, Pete?
Mar 16 Doherty Says Moss Agreed to Marry Him

Mar 17 Babyshambles to play London matinee show tomorrow
Mar 17 Pete's in action again
Mar 17 Pete Doherty's impromtu gig

Mar 18 Pete Doherty - He and fammous pals celebrate St Patrick's Day
Mar 18 Pete Doherty And Shane McGowan In St Patrick's Day Performance
Mar 18 Shane'n'Pete show
Mar 18 Babyshambles for Dublin's Ambassador
Mar 18 Babyshambles in Gig Cancellation Shocker!


Mar 20 Doherty collaborates with Ocean Colour Scene
Mar 20 No-Voice Doherty Cancels Koko Gig

Mar 21 Babyshambles Cancel A Weekend Of Gigs
Mar 21 Pete moves into studio to beat curfew

Mar 22 Pete Doherty Relocates To Wales
Mar 22 Strolling Jones gathers Kate Moss
Mar 22 Doherty to bring Babyshambles to Dublin
Mar 22 Pete Doherty - Heading for the hills

Mar 23 Babyshambles Make Live Return To London

Mar 24 Pete Doherty Records
Mar 24 Babyshambles Re-Schedule Koko Date

Mar 25 Kate Moss Dumped Boyfriend After Two Weeks of Dating

Mar 26 Gallagher slams Doherty
Mar 26 A supermodel seal of approval

Mar 29 Babyshambles Reveal Album Recording Going Well
Mar 29 Noel slams Doherty and Embrace

Mar 30 Pete's For Lovers tiff
Mar 30 Babyshambles Album Coming Together

Mar 31 Kate Moss Receiving Fashion Award
Mar 31 Supermodel Kate Moss to be awarded at 2005 CFDA Fashion Awards ceremony

Apr 1 The Others set for ‘Royal’ guerrilla gig?
Apr 1 Pete Doherty swallowed by basking shark
Apr 1 Moss honoured by fashion council

Apr 2 Doherty, like Burns, to raise Ayrshire hackles
Apr 2 Moss to receive fashion influence honour


Apr 4 Kate Moss and Pete Doherty to record duet!
Apr 4 Kate 'too conservative' for fashion bible
Apr 4 Kate Moss To Appear On Babyshambles Album?
Apr 4 Gwen Stefani Beats Kate Moss in Fashion List
Apr 4 Moss and Doherty may duet

Apr 5 Kate Moss to sing for boyfriend's album
Apr 5 What's the deal with Pete Doherty?
Apr 5 Babyshambles 'out of festival picture'
Apr 5 Pete Doherty To Read At Robert Burns Festival
Apr 5 Rolling stones gather no Moss; a Babyshambles does...

Apr 7 Neighbours Stuuned By Kate Moss Water Requirements
Apr 8 Kate Moss' Staggering Water Demands

Apr 9 The Others Better Off Without Pete Doherty

Apr 10 Pete Doherty in the clear
Apr 10 Rocker Pete: I'm kids' idol

Apr 11 Charges against Doherty dropped
Apr 11 Kate Moss' Junkie Boyfriend Escapes Charges
Apr 11 Charges dropped for Libertines star
Apr 11 Charges Against Pete Doherty Dropped Like A Bad Habit

Apr 12 Charges dropped against former Libertines star
Apr 12 Paul Russell: A man of substance abuse
Apr 12 Charges Dropped Against Rock Star Doherty
Apr 12 Charges dropped against Pete Doherty
Apr 12 Singer off the hook
Apr 12 Doherty's charges to be dropped
Apr 12 Doherty's charges dropped
Apr 12 Robbery and blackmail charges dropped against Pete Doherty
Apr 12 Hugh Grant tops most disgraced star poll

Pete and Kate Part 1 is here

Doherty & Moss Part 3 is here

Paul Dorrell says “excessive posturing seems to bear little substance beyond name recognition, money, and some warped idea of celebrity.”


Sunday, April 10, 2005

To Paint Plainly

Being a hair fan I ignored her face after I'd sentenced it to plain-ness, and judged her hair style to be suitably plain. But the color. Yes, the color. Going away from brown towards a soft red. Another frill behind the counter. Like the red napkins under the cakes, and the dangling Coca-Cola ads. She doesn't always keep her hair like that. I wonder what it's like when she goes out. I thought of my cousins. Then I gave her face a retrial.

You Don't Come Here For The Bear Hunting, Do You?

Not plain. I don't know why. There seemed to be something alert there and maybe I thought there shouldn't be if she's an ordinary girl working quietly away at an extraordinary hour. She looks as if she's afraid you're going to complain loudly and aggressively about something, anything, the way travelers do because they're not really travelers. Then she smiles and now she could be enjoying this more than me.

Customer Service

I want to touch her hair where it touches her face. The forehead, the cheeks. Push it back tickling the insides of my fingers. A girlish playful look when she talks. When silent, her upper teeth hang poised for another smile or a polite defense of an unfair complaint. The lady in front of me asked for another egg because that one you're giving me will me cold. I burnt my lips on mine.

Menace With A Spoon

A young overweight man with very short blonde hair sits in the next booth. He tosses sugar lumps high into the air trying to land them in his coffee. He stops when all four lumps have landed in the cup or on the floor. He does it in a way as if to tease the two young girls he sits along from. He then menacingly stirs the successful lumps.


He gets up for food. She sees to somebody else's chips at the far end of the counter. His left hand puts two packets of cookies in his left pocket, while his mouth tells the person waiting for service beside him what he's doing and why. He goes towards the sandwiches loudly and picks up a BLT.
-Have you got any of these without the bacon?
She shakes her head toyfully and brings her upper teeth down to rest on her lower lip. The sandwich unwanted, he pays for just his coffee.

Once Plain

I look away. A boyfriend doesn't look pleased when he sees me seeing his girlfriend putting her hand up her sweatshirt to relieve an itch. My eyes go back to the face I once deemed plain. How do I paint that?

Crystal Clear

Finally it comes to me with total clarity. Abstract. Black with amber.

Paul Dorrell says:

Your job is to be out experiencing the world, and questioning it...

Friday, April 08, 2005

Betting A Woman Can Win The Grand National: Carrie Ford

Judging from the headlines of the last month Carrie Ford certainly lives the life.

And what will Ginger McCain do if Carrie Ford does win?
I'll bare my backside to the wind, and let everyone kick it

But is it art?

Mar 9 Grand Ambition
Mar 13 All-Clear for Ford's Aintree Bid

Mar 22 McCain: 'Women can't win National'
Mar 22 McCain: woman rider can't win National
Mar 22 Forget Mrs Ford, says Ginger
Mar 22 Ginger nuts

Mar 22 Carrie Isn't Gunner Win – Mccain
Mar 22 Amberleigh among 107 still in National
Mar 22 House leads National contenders

Mar 23 Female jockey "cannot win" Grand National
Mar 23 Ford on track for Aintree bid
Mar 23 Carrie can't win – Ginger

Mar 23 National dream is still alive for Ford
Mar 23 Carrie gunning for an Aintree repeat
Mar 23 McCain dismisses Ford Aintree bid

Mar 23 All Systems Go for Gunner's Partner
Mar 23 McCain in sexism row
Mar 23 All systems go for Ford

Mar 23 McCain dismisses Ford Aintree bid
Mar 23 Ford set to partner Gunner

Mar 24 Top trainer writes off female jockey's chances of victory
Mar 24 Pitman firmly behind Ford bid

Mar 26 It's Carrie-on Ginger at Carlisle
Mar 26 Ginger's a ladykiller!
Mar 26 Skilful Carrie able to prove Ginger nuts

Mar 27 Sorry Ginger, this really could be the mother of all Nationals
Mar 28 Ginger snaps back in women jockeys storm
Mar 30 A woman can't win National!

Apr 1 Ford aims to ride mother of all Nationals
Apr 1 Gunner firing ahead of National
Apr 1 The last hurdle

Apr 2 Carrie rises above the jibes
Apr 2 Forest Gunner has weapons to be the big shot at Aintree
Apr 2 Jump the Gunner
Apr 2 Carried away by the National

Apr 3 Mum's the word as Ford takes on National
Apr 3 Method in the National madness

Apr 3 Forest Gunner tipped for National glory
Apr 3 Gunner homes in on top billing at National
Apr 3 Ford forecast as National favourite

Apr 4 Gunner shooting to top of market
Apr 4 Le Coudray the new top-weight
Apr 4 Carrie's Gunner has sights set on favourite's tag

Apr 4 Ford seeks National breakthrough for women
Apr 4 Girl power takes over pre-Aintree

Apr 4 Ford tipped for Aintree triumph
Apr 4 Ginger McCain
Apr 4 Carrie eyes ‘Grand’ history

Apr 5 Grand National Horse-Race Bets to Reach $468 Million
Apr 5 Le Coudray top weight in National
Apr 5 Girl Power Behind Carrie

Apr 5 Hedgehunter Attracts National Money
Apr 5 No shocks as 85 stand in for the National
Apr 5 Bookies fear royal bashing

Apr 5 Aintree delay National start
Apr 5 Amberleigh favourite for National
Apr 5 Ginger prepares for House party

Apr 6 'Gran National' Start for Jockey Carrie
Apr 6 Carrie on target to rewrite history
Apr 6 Can a woman ride National winner?

Apr 6 Odds trimmed over Ladies' Day Aintree bonanza
Apr 6 Ford bid looks Dandy
Apr 6 Millions riding on Ford to be first lady
Apr 6 I'm Gunner be first to win

Apr 6 Doughty Helps Out Gunner Team
Apr 6 Punters eye Ladies' Day Aintree bonanza
Apr 6 Carrie ready to Gun down opposition!
Apr 6 Jockey launches 'Gran National'

Apr 7 Carrie gets set for the National
Apr 7 Hive of activity as Aintree gets ready
Apr 7 Grand National: Cool Carrie in hot seat
Apr 7 Nation prepares for the National

Apr 7 Carrie on teams up for top tips
Apr 7 National promises to be a lively betting heat
Apr 7 'Woman jockey won't win'
Apr 7 Slow going looks a certainty at Aintree

Apr 8 Ford going for National history
Apr 8 Carrie Ford in historic National bid
Apr 8 Carrie gunning for National glory
Apr 8 Mum bids to make history at Aintree

Apr 8 Will Grand National history be made?
Apr 8 Ford aims for first among National women
Apr 8 Carrie can't win – Ginger

Apr 8 Ford eyes historic success
Apr 8 Female jockey "cannot win" Grand National
Apr 8 Ford Out to Rewrite National History
Apr 8 Bookmakers Fear A Costly Carrie-on

Apr 8 Ford happy with National Carrie-on
Apr 8 No surprises in National field
Apr 8 Bookies braced for icy Aintree blast

Apr 8 Trainer causes storm by saying woman jockey won't win Grand National race
Apr 8 Stand can deliver victory in the National
Apr 8 Resolve to make a grey day shine
Apr 8 It Takes Time is well treated

Apr 8 Clan Royal Gives Grand National Royal Wedding Flavour
Apr 8 Jakari has all the right credentials

Apr 8 Royal wedding rivals Grand National on same day, millions to watch both
Apr 8 A mother's day to dream about at Aintree
Apr 8 Bookies brace themselves for Ginger's bottom

Apr 9 Carrie out to rewrite National history
Apr 9 Run Forest run
Apr 9 National punters fall for a favourite woman
Apr 9 Brew ready to cheer breakthrough
Apr 9 Nothing equals the Grand National
Apr 9 Century of celebration seeks happy conclusion
Apr 9 Ford to raise roof on Forest Gunner
Apr 9 Carrie Ford's mission: to be first among equals
Apr 9 Twelve women have ridden in the National, now one could actually win
Apr 9 Nothing equals the Grand National

Paul Dorrell says

For the most part that's what we've become in the arts: a nation of safe, and shallow, bets.


Thursday, April 07, 2005

Losing Sleep & Gaining Insight

So I sit at 2:30 in the morning looking at an empty pad and my pencils while I bite all my best nails trying to slow down the images in my head.

A ford. And to think I mock the city. I was walking to a farm for a party. Well, it used to be a farm. A nice evening in pre-leafy suburbia. Then the converted barn. Were the music not so loud it might have been nice to meet people.

-Excuse me, said the overweight man with lank hair. I started to move. He pushed me and my chair to one side. It was the fastest he moved all evening. A girl I was talking with thought he was going to be sick. Until his wife did exactly the same thing. To Lionel Ritchie's Say You, Say Me they danced to what very clearly was their song.

I was home by midnight having been driven home the long way because I'm too polite to tell people there's a quicker way. Or that I really would rather walk.

The Post Office

Earlier I had walked to the Post Office with a painting all packaged and destined for far away. She was very helpful, considering I didn't know what service in particular I wanted, just that it get there.

-What is it? she asked of the parcel on the scale.
-A Painting.
-You mean we're in the presence of greatness?
-Yes, I confirmed, as I stared at her measuring tape.

Paul Dorrell says:

You may have to burn more midnight oil to stay with it, you may lose weight, you may lose sleep, you may lose a bit of your inner balance, but the struggle will bring out even more insight and, if things go well, better work.


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Where should an Artist Reside?

She sat on the island with her legs folded in front of her. A traffic island in the very center of a suburban nothingness. Cars, a bus, some pedestrians, and more cars. all commuters. Hundreds of them. She was alone on her island. Except for the pigeons. Dozens of them. In her lap was bread. She fed them all equally. Picked out whose turn it was to be fed. Perched on her legs. Her arms. Watching her from the bus made me feel crap. So I got off and walked.
More of a march really. A magpie flew low and slow past me. It showed off its blue and green shiny plumage. Rested on a fence by a Cherry Blossom tree. Made me think the magpie was a guest in a Bonnard painting. I wonder if the bird thought the same of me?

Not My Kind Of Town

Yesterday I walked to the city. One and a half hours. So bloody boring. Probably won't do it again unless they build a new city. Again.

Map of the Human Heart

I think I've finished my map of the MidWest. A road map. Painted from memories of journeys and feelings. No GPS assistance for me. That would be a different kind of map, a scientific mapping of a short-term experience. My map is an expression of a long-term emotional existence. I surprised myself at first. It was what I wanted and going where I wanted it to go. I lost it later though. Shame, 'cause I was damn close. Tried to rescue it but went over the top. Anyway now I know what I want I can try again.

The Need for Wood

Went to the Home Improvements Store at lunch time yesterday. I wanted to look at wood. I didn't want any. It was just the looking at that I wanted. I went and I saw. Different wood. I was happy.

Drawing Conclusions

Walking yesterday I crossed the road and then looked both ways to check that I hadn't been in any danger. Oh the accuracy of hindsight. Small lilac flowers growing out of a stone suburban wall. This side of the road was in shade and anyway the man doing his gardening was too near. I put my sketchpad away.

Paul Dorrell says:

"You should either live where you're inspired, or work where you're inspired".


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

George Caleb Bingham & Some Landscaping Friends

George Caleb Bingham - A kind of history. A kind of style. It's the stillness that warms me. Yes he plays with the light, but not like all those romantic sentimental myth-makers.
Winslow Homer - Workmanlike and truthful? I'm not sure; it's the strong very deliberate compositions he employs together with his ease of execution that keeps me returning to his paintings.

Thomas Eakins - odd combinations of hard-edged naturalism with softer looser elements. Disconcerting.

Eastman Johnson - Paintings more sensuous than Homer but somehow not quite finished.

Albert Pinkham Ryder - Like Turner probably born a century too early.

Ralph Albert Blakelock - Sentimental nostalgia fit only for shadow puppet show backgrounds.

George Inness - Once he got past the romantic stage his tonal work was quite superb.

William Merritt Chase - Artist sees European Impressionism and goes to the beach in America. A shark wouldn't have gone astray.

John Henry Twachtman - I think I would've like to have seen his snow melt.

Julian Alden Weir - Strong compositions influenced by those Japanese prints we all love, with Cezanne's palette painted rather flatly.

Childe Hassam - Camille Pissarro goes to New York.

Robert Henri - Impressionism into Expressionism. Braver renditions of cities than most contemporaries.

John Sloan - Quirky, yet a realist. An American painter.

George Luks - Pushed that paint around like he was really trying to do something. I like that he tried.

William James Glackens - Renoir goes to New York.

Everett Shinn - Verging on Illustration but nice to see the use of line.

Ernest Lawson - Pissarro goes to New York.

Maurice Prendergast - lighter daubings on dark. Post-Impressionism arrives in New York.

George Wesley Bellows - An American paints New York like an American. Finally.

Rockwell Kent - Shape and simplicity. Now we're going somewhere.

Edward Hicks - Whoops, too much simplicity.

Joseph Pickett - Bold and strong.

John Kane - Almost a painter. More natural than Lowry was to attempt later.

Anna May Robertson Moses - I don't like my folk artists to be so nostalgic.

Grant Wood - Wouldn't he? A man with great ideas, and a sister and a dentist.

Paul Dorrell advises you to

Study the traditions and try to learn what they have to teach you


Monday, April 04, 2005

Online Casinos and Poker bring Art to Masses

Earn thousands? For little or no work? Seems perfect for an artist. I think I'll sell my signature. Auction it off. Not the physical signature like an autograph, but the content.

Right now a 31-year-old father of two is selling the naming right of his middle name on eBay. The "Buy It Now" price is $8,000. As of early Monday the high bid is already $2,175. Driven by a dislike of his middle name rather than a desire to make money, Matthew Jean Rouse is letting you pick a new one. For a price.

The winning bidder gets to choose a new middle name for Rouse, who agrees to use his middle name "whenever plausible and not hide it." And his brother is bidding for him to keep his name. If he really doesn't like his middle name shouldn't he be disallowing his brother's participation? Or at least the name that he wants changed?

So why not my signature. Every painting signed not "Gripes" but "Casino-Casino XYZ.com", maybe just for five years and then hold another auction for signing rights.

If you're looking for a new way to generate income easily - with the explosion of the online world come new opportunities. You no longer need tons of cash to reach a large audience. You can paint in your own home and then sign as an advertisment of your choice. Is that branding technically not what Renaissance artists did anyway? And Koons and Hirst today?

There's a lot of it about these days and it's changing what people look like and how they behave. People themselves are becoming the ultimate multimedia tools as advertising harnesses technology.

Last month there was the case of the man who auctioned off his voice on eBay. He sold the rights to what he would shout out every fifteen minutes for a week wherever he was. And a firm that sells things to sooth sore throats (presumably caused by shouting every fifteen minutes for a week) won the auction.

Back in January there was a lot of fuss about the auction for advertising space on somebody's head which netted $37,000, but it was hardly the first bit of selling your body or its functions for advertising.

It was in December of 2003 that the headline "World's First 'Living' Advertisement Makes A Big Splash" appeared but over six months earlier the "World’s first walking, talking 'Human Billboard' captures worldwide attention for C I Host".

For over a year now, the humorously named Cunning Stunts developed a network of students to display brand logos or straplines on their foreheads, but that was two years after Ad tattoos first got under some people's skin.

But don't we all remember the first one? Was it not Golden Palace - as they Raised Funds for Retired Boxers?

And each case creates uproar. Uproar from people wearing clothing with labels and trademarks, carrying bags littered with designs and or text, driving cars with insignia, and driving cattle with branding marks.

Recently TatADS have tried to hook everybody together. Immediately the online gambling community jumps on board. GoldenPalace.com and Absolutepoker.com, two of the largest internet gambling companies in the world, signed on as sponsors for the TatAD Las Vegas launch.

"The Human Billboard” of LivingAdSpace.com, recently seen on Conan O’Brien's show also appeared as a special guest. But then being a living billboard everything he does is making an appearance. He can't use a public urinal without making an appearance.

The average person sees over 500 different ads every day, is the beginning of the justification by TatADS for putting corporations, human advertising space, and tatoo artists together. Personally I love that they champion Tatoo artists and plead that they are not denigrating their art form by getting them to tatoo corporate logos and slogans on people. A movement by the people. Ahhh, that's nice. Last time I looked over a thousand people were happily signed up for branding.

Wouldn't it be so much easier for historians to document my art by brand. Every five years sponsored with the slogan or web address as the signature, thereby making very clear what exactly is my blue period or rose period. Though not blue and rose periods literally, for that would just be silly.

But how would I be treated when I return to my parents? My father carries his lunch to work in plastic bags that he always turns inside out so as to not advertise. And he artfully scrapes beer logos off clocks and other mechanical freebies. Well I reckon selling my signature just means he'd reverse my paintings to the walls of the family home whenever my parents would have guests over to visit. Isn't that so much better than what he might do to me if I walked in to the house with a tatoo on my forehead?

Paul Dorrell states "In my gallery, my artists and I usually split advertising expenses."


Saturday, April 02, 2005

To Paint by a River

Nobody else around. A Belted Kingfisher flew in large circles just over the water. Beside me on the bank a large Canada Goose honked happily. Seconds later the noise bounced off the bridge. The concrete bridge was built in 1927 to replace the old steel toll bridge down nearer the lock where the old toll house is now a restaurant. Across the river were six swans along with some Canada Geese, a heron and some other geese. A six foot high film of mist over the river stretched down to the weir.
It was about six in the morning. People were still asleep in their homes and in their boats. I was hungry. Hadn't eaten for miles, or hours. Checked the local store a few times but it showed no signs of opening.

Painters Meet

I met him four times. The first time he came out of the garden of the big white house with his ladder and painting materials. We said hello and swapped compliments of the morning's weather. By the fourth meeting we were indulging in a fuller conversation and he was finished painting the gable end of the house.

The Weekend Has Gone To The Dogs

By seven the Saturday morning dog walkers were out. Nearly all were elderly men. The dogs were equally old and lifeless.

After The Tree

Having descended the tree shortly after three a.m. I had walked to the bridge. Tried to work out which direction was east before the sun rose. In the dark I no longer had any fear. I knew this part of the country was safe. It had taken me all night to know but I knew now and I was certain. Only three cars were to pass me before I reached the bridge.

Walking in Darkness

I had to cross the road to within touching distance to read the road sign. I would stay on this road. The smells again. The night before I'd been on a track and the smell was so damn obvious. Rabbits. Like when you stick your head in a hutch. I looked at the field beside me. I counted thirty. They seemed to be playing. Then they saw me and stopped. This morning it wasn't rabbits. It was horses and cattle. My sweater was damp through with the dew. A lighter shade of blue in the sky. That's east then.

The Best Kept Town

Lights ahead. A town. Even the police station has a long drive. Might be dark but it was bright enough to see this place was spotless. Surely they didn't need a police station. There's the placque for the town. Current holder of the best kept town of its size in the county. The overhanging town clock said 3:50 a.m. I photographed it. I liked the look of the local Post Office. Still very dark. Keep going. The street lights went on for quite a while, as did the sidewalk.

Towards Sunrise

Cocks were crowing. I could make out the trees and animals in the fields towards the river. Town lights in the distance. A gentle dirty orange blur hung over where I reckoned the city was. Fresh. Peaceful. It was gorgeous. Signs to towns I'd never heard of. You could breathe in the damp grass. Tempted to lie in the field and wait for the sun but already decided I wanted to see sunrise from the bridge.


Is that a weir? Definitely not a waterfall. Possibly a mill? Yes. There it is. Could hear the water but couldn't see it. I was startled by two ducks just below me who squawked very suddenly and flew away after a noisy flutter. Back to the roads. The sun hadn't arrived but the sky was almost totally lit up. There was the ridge on the far side of the river.

Sound of the Suburbs

Picnic Area Ahead, said the sign which announced the town nearest the bridge. I wonder if I could have slept there? Five a.m. The sun was sneaking up but I still couldn't see it. Streets, four-ways, center turning lanes. This is a town. No movement anywhere except for the continuous clattering of birds. I would've woke up in this cacophony. If I was asleep.

Here Comes The Sun

Left for the city. And the bridge. Past the train station. My dad always says that they were called railway stations when he was younger. They still are, of course. Down the road that leads to the main street. Past the horrible pink castle-like house where I'm told I'd like the lady of the house. I like the church. My camera said it wasn't bright enough yet for a photo. Past a couple of duplexes. To the river.

The River

Rested my legs on the bench outside Tom Sawyer's Restaurant. By lying on the picnic table by the river, on my back and then my front, I had dried my sweater.


My hands were too numb to paint. Or sketch.

Paul Dorrell reminds you

you'll have to surmount enormous odds to ever make a comfortable living from your work; you can't walk away from it because it won't let you...