“Having created a society of unprecedented sophistication, convenience and prosperity, nobody can remember what it was supposed to be for.” (Clifford Longley)

Why write a blog? Artists usually work alone, and it’s not always easy to develop conversation about the experience of making art. Additionally, I’ve found that writing helps to clarify my thoughts about experience. When words take on an objective existence as writing it’s easier to appraise them and test them. Often it is as if I don’t know what I think until I’ve written it. That process is enhanced by the response of others. I hope that you’ll join in the conversation.

Linden Lea

Driving down to Sheffield this morning we listened to the car radio. On Saturday mornings there is one of those “magazine” programmes, baseb mainly around conversation. There is always one slot in which a guest presenter talks about his or her “inheritance tracks”.  This involves naming (and of course playing)  one piece of music “inherited” from the past, and another…

Artistic weather, or artistic climate?

Deciding on the title for a picture is always a pain for me, as regular readers of this blog will remember.  A piece on which I have been working for a little while now has been giving me trouble.  For some reason I don’t really feel that a picture is properly finished until I have decided on a title that…

Fork ‘andles ….

…. or “four candles”, depending upon how you like to hear it.  Surely there can’t be many people in the English-speaking world who are not familiar with that great comedy sketch by Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett (“The Two Ronnies”), first broadcast in 1976.  I was reminded of it today, visiting the garden centre, when having bought four candles, the…

The Night Visitors

I had today a dim recollection that during my childhood an opera entitled The Night Visitors created quite a sensation. Niggling away at the back of my mind (as these things do) I felt compelled to check it out this afternoon.  I was right …. well, almost. What I had in mind, it seems, was Gian Carlo Menotti’s opera Amahl and…

Art and spanakopita

Well: there’s a surprise, although the connection is actually very straightforward when you approach it in the right way.  (Before you switch off, this is not going to be a cookery lesson.) Constantly I find myself surprised by the way in which the art bit of my life does ramify into all kinds of other activities.  Tonight is one of…

Apple and the fall of the human race

We were compelled recently to upgrade our computer to the new Apple High Sierra package.  Today, for the first time, I attempted to use the photo package.  To continue the theological metaphor suggested by the title, by the time I had worked out what was going on I had committed all the the “deadly sins” for which infringement is possible…

Short-sighted science and the folly of the wise

I finished reading recently Robert Gilbert’s book discussing the importance of the idea of “beauty” in science.  As I indicated in an earlier post it was certainly an interesting read, but people working in the “natural sciences” often annoy me by their ignorance of anything in the social sciences.*  At one point he was discussing the work of other writers…

It all comes down to one thing

There are times when the plans and purposes of life are reduced radically to just one thing …. survival.  That has been the story of today.  The snow outside lay overnight, and froze hard.  I had to make a quick raid for supplies first thing this morning, during which it became abundantly clear that I was not going to go anywhere…

“The best things in life are not things.”

According to the British artist Gary Stevens …. and I agree with him wholeheartedly.  I picked up this bit of wisdom yesterday, visiting the current exhibition at the Estorick Collection, in Islington.  It wasn’t my cup of tea, but I went along in the spirit of self-education.  The theme was the group of Italian artists who went under the collective…

Living with the Gods

The current major exhibition at the British Museum in London is entitled “Living with the Gods”.  It certainly is an impressive show, including a tremendous variety of objects from across the centuries and around the world.  It succeds in its primary goal in suggesting that human beings are not just “homo sapiens”but perhaps also “homo religiosus”.  In other words, a…