Saturday, 30 May 2020

Skeletons




working on the edge of bad taste, kitsch, the gothic, and universal symbolism it is good to have antecedents and a tradition of art and print history behind one.....the danse macabre theme began in a Parisian cemetery in the early 1400's and continued across Europe for over 400 years, an inspiration to lead a good life and as a method of social comment for artists/caricaturists like Thomas Rowlandson as in the English Dance of Death 1815.....

Friday, 29 May 2020

more new cuts















Where is the child in all this? - is this a child? a Fool's child? or a child fool? facing a blank future in an immense dark wood, no hands, no arms, no mouth, powerless, but taking it all in??
then bandaged trees: and two more flooding images...

I keep thinking my Fool looks a bit like Frankenstein's monster with all his bandages...
and actually this morning I was reading about Mary Shelley's later book The Last Man  published 1826, about a global plague at the end of the 21st century wiping out all but one man on the planet - how prescient of her - after writing Frankenstein in the year of the great grey winter that followed the eruption and ash-fall across the globe of Mount Tambora in 1816. She then lost her husband Shelley by drowning, two of their three toddlers, the death of Byron from sepsis, and her brother from the cholera pandemic that followed the volcanic eruption, and isolated herself because of all the gossip that surrounded her and her friends, writing her own Journal of Sorrow, not published until 1987.....
Eileen Hunt Botting , has written a book Artificial life after Frankenstein to be published later this year - she writes -
By identifying thus with the plague in her private journal and The Last Man, Shelley confronted the stark fact that humanity is the author of its own disasters, even those that seem purely natural or beyond our control....we are the problem behind and the potential solution to the pandemic....

Her mother Mary Wollstonecraft had written in her journal in 1795 on her intrepid trip to Norway on a mission for her lover Gilbert Imlay..
The view of this wild coast, as we sailed along it, afforded me a continual subject for meditation. I anticipated the future improvement of the world....carried my speculations so far as to advance a million or two of years to the moment when the earth would perhaps be so perfectly cultivated and so completely peopled as to render it necessary to inhabit every spot...pictured the state of man when the earth could no longer support him. Whither was he to feel from universal famine?....and the world appeared a vast prison....
more covid reading indeed.....

Thursday, 28 May 2020

More fools and easing......























More fools from the Fool gets Sick story for the tarot cards.....including on trolleys and queuing in the forest, and the wooden box theme....

An annoying day with broadband dropping in and out all day , but apart from that spent all day cutting, and a really interesting morning of programs on radio 4, including one on medieval marginalia and the imaginative crude and funny images therein and why they might have been created, as acts of turning the world upside down, coping with the tedium of scribes hand-copying manuscripts, cocking a snook at biblical authority
....lovely comments by cartoonist Martin Rowson about why we draw and doodle, presenting a world to ourselves that we might like to live in...
lots of useful stuff about order and disorder next to each other! ...'the process of finding meaning is edifying'...wish I could remember it all but people kept phoning me up ( also with useful info and stuff...) I must listen again....
and they mentioned blemmyae amazingly!! see above....definitely lets hear it for blemmyae...
lots about laughing skeletons too, I must do one in current circumstances, I do have a drawing to hand as it happens, with an egg timer - a good XR icon....used by Rowlandson in cartoons 250 years ago at least.....will photo tomorrow maybe...

I suppose we should be celebrating reductions in lock-down soon but I am going nowhere fast - can't trust this bumbling governments schemes that go off half cock with nothing properly prepared, to say nothing of DC fiasco; I welcome more freedom for the young and fit but personally I will feel less safe now than before - will happily stick to my routines.....
however maybe by the end of the month I should stop blogging daily - I will have done it for two solid months - I will still do it once or twice a week maybe when I have plenty to show and more stuff finished - such a pile of finishing printing and binding mounting up.....

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Back in my own little wood...



...all I see is green out of my window; summer foliage is setting in fast like the sleeping beauty story; gazing out I caught a magpie approaching the hedge looking for eggs in the blackbird and sparrows nests under my nose - was able to clap my hands and scare it away - it retreated to the far tree and skulked and no doubt sulked...
otherwise I have been drawing up blocks all day, apart from back to the graveyard walk, where the geography was completely changed after a day away, with many of the daisies mown closely, (but still plenty left in places) so - surprisingly different yet again and still a delight.....



I even got a blemmyae cut - but it is that wretched pink layered plywood again, very annoying....

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

A trip to the outside world

If listening to news from the outside world has seemed distanced and unreal it is now becoming a complete farce, a daily sit-com evoking horror and grim hilarity in equal portions.
I decided to venture out today on P's monthly trip-round-the-block-to-keep-the-car-going, and to get a glimpse of what it was like around town (quiet) and before venturing down to my studio to look for some prints for someone, armed with gloves, a scarf for emergencies, and large bag for garnered treasures. It was so nice to be back in there, and perfectly secure once I had navigated the high street - and it felt good to break out from our bubble before we get completely stuck in our ways.....adjust my poor longsighted eyes to a farther horizon....

otherwise I was drawing up blocks all day, after a series of debates - wanting to do more, not liking my drawings, do the sets really need more? yes actually the do look livelier and more coherent with the additions this morning, and 22 cards ( the grand arcana) is a good system to adhere to anyway, and some of these ideas MAY work and provide more story etc etc
and anyway any left over can be part of a new set and join a few others discarded along the way as they didn't fit in, good to have a few spares...it is like introducing new puppies or kittens to an existing household of animals - gently gently and be prepared for some spats along the way - it might all settle down...


and it is lovely working upstairs on drawing and cutting in this amazing hot sunny weather.
lovely also to have had some new stuff delivered and not be rubbing out pencil  on old bits of tracing paper  (and re-using rather manky backs of old woodblocks) - a roll of paper too rather than A4 sheets that wasted strips - I am frugal by nature anyway but I use so much paper I owe it to the planet to be economical.



....some roughs printed at the weekend, some of which may end up elsewhere.....the really tarot set maybe, including Fortitude, and the Magician - with all the hands and the rabbit but no hat...

Monday, 25 May 2020

Bank Holiday Blue

Have been drawing all day so it seems a good day to post up a couple of images: my vulture Fool in a tree - and the image which inspired it, which actually which turned up fortuitously while I was riffling through papers - or at least the photocopy I took, as the original is somewhere in a pile waiting to be printed over... Steve Bell nailed his victim perfectly as usual, as today's events have shown in the rose garden....



Sunday, 24 May 2020

Blocks in progress
























Played around with these blocks - might show the prints tomorrow; I like seeing how they look here in close proximity - tho of course in mirror image.
Friends and family want a few separate cards for presents but it is hard to find suitably cheery ones;
yesterday P was muttering about Disasters of War when he saw them all spread out on the table - flattering but I didn't think they were that gloomy, and in fact rather too frivolous at times - I am now plotting a really bleak and sinister set as drypoints in monochrome dark colour, I have been wanting to do some drypoint ones since I saw some old french revolutionary playing cards in Lausanne a few years ago...
hope life and the days are long enough...
meanwhile covid book list update - am enjoying finishing Consolations of the Forest - Alone in a Cabin in the Middle Taiga - Sylvain Tesson - given to me at Christmas with great foresight (premonition?) by a good friend....
Feeling less ache-y today, and after 2 grey windy days staying in my insect bitten/plant lashed ankles are recovering from too much nature, I couldn't believe how many bites and itchy allergic blobs I was developing ...... but I braved a quick spin out tonight and rewarded with a new shimmering haze of ox eye daisies now out in full bloom and the beginnings now of ladies bedstraw, the rain has got new things growing....