lundi 15 février 2010

A shield day. The antidote to the black dog.

We call the bright searing blue days here shield days, an admittedly obscure term culled from the Lord of the Rings, riding out. It never fails to work for me.

samedi 6 février 2010

Keith Jarrett, black dog, Phaidon et moi>

Last night I was explaining the black dog to two very articulate french friends with wide ranging interest in the arts. I can't explain the reason for, or the place from which the black dog comes but Keith Jarrett says that he tells his piano students that if they are going to play, they should play like its going to be the last time. That is what I try to think about - make the painting as if it is the last time. Hence I think, the black dog, because as he also says, it is NOT natural to (in his case) sit at a piano,bring no material,clear your mind completely of musical ideas and play something of lasting value.

In my case trying to clear the mind of painterly ideas is mostly too much to achieve and that's when I feel that it should be the last time. But as my friend last night asked, then what? There will, in fact be a last time and not to have made the commitment to try will truly have been a waste.

However, there is something in my head that nags at me - it is there and not there, a call to jump perhaps towards the next place. And I fear it ( I've looked at that word fear hard for a while now , in isolation a word can look strange) and the jumping is the very thing that I take clearing the mind (in Keith Jarrett's case) to mean. Every action, every mark made, is made because I know its history so finding a new mark or gesture is a jump to a place that I have not been before. It's a journey away from the comfortable but predictable architecture of marks.

I was looking for examples of those who have jumped, or stumbled, amongst the plates of Phaidon's Book of Twentieth Century Art and these friends seized upon it and took it away with them as they had never seen it before. How, I wondered later, could they have missed it?