You said in your letter to write about what I’m painting now. You were maybe sitting in a virtual world taking pictures of your self there at the time. You’d found a room with the ripped wallpaper and the old oriental carpet like my real time room for painting portraits and perhaps your avatar was dressed in the half wolf persona you wear sometimes. From what you send me. You said you were thinking of taking your meat time persona in there, into the virtual, a little cut and paste, a little interweave, you had to figure out the parameters. I was tickled at your using a virtual place and your entity in there as a artist/photographer’s model. I said “The implications are smart, there’s a nice science fiction edge to it, the mundane process of taking snaps also strips off the mystique of the medium… I can see it kind of ease people into talk about meat and virtual time etc., yap that’s entirely familiar to you and I maybe. Most of the population hears babel from an impenetrable world.
We were talking about having your shows in places in virtual worlds, shows of work from outside, and about us using ourselves as subject matter. Like Robert Lowell did in his poetry I’m thinking but I’m no Robert Lowell. You said “Maybe it’s all a big stroke off, I guess that’s a natural part of it. I meant more that I use myself as a subject. I tried to explain this one time in film school and people just didn’t get it: It’s certainly an ego stroke, or perhaps more aptly an ego builder for me, but also if some of the things I’m doing might come off as exploitive, I’d rather be exploiting myself, if that makes sense. I figure I shouldn’t ask anyone else to do what I wouldn’t be willing to, barring inability.”
Me, I’m painting portraits of course. I tend to forget painting anything else though it isn’t even a year I said this is what I do, portraits of people, this is the persona. I hardly think beyond the physical attraction. The addictive gloat.
This pictures maybe going well but there’s a heavy, raw bodily sadness to making it and to lookin at it, I never felt the melancholy like. Comes with the kit, at least this time with mine. Heavy but not while I actually paint. I try not to stop. I’m full of the wolf and the last wasted moon then. I didn’t get to run. Avid for flesh, for no words, for no word processing. Vivid company here when it comes. Then the dirty cups and spoons. The surprising silence it all comes to.
I’m runnin a bath and stripping off while I’m painting the pattern on the blanket over a big leg and if I get the pattern right there’s a big leg too. Something I hanker over like an animal set in the bourgie paradigm of parlor decoration and oil paint. Set in a lot of paradigms and shrugging off each as a poor fit. I got a letter on facebook from a young and distant cousin. He said growing up baptist in this little town he always felt like he was being watched, on display. Jaysus missing nothing with his helpers licking ice-cream and never missing a beat either, main street Friday night. This cousin’s a musician, a performer. If you can’entirely conform you can at least entertain mebbe. A lot of my family performs, though when we were kids the constant refrain every time you opened your mouths was “Don’t be bold”.
3 thoughts on “what I’m painting now…monday, february first 2010”
Rocky we miss your male nudes in Peterborough, we went to see the work in Lakefield but your paintings were gone… we are searching for you…some people have said you are north…..
Reading these entries and viewing this made me oddly shy and sent me to a place I rarely revisit…a lifetime ago when I worked the other side of both camera and easel…for over twenty years I made a half-decent living travelling the Toronto, Montreal, New York circuit and even now, stumble upon photos from that era and wonder, who the hell is that?
Fondest memories are ones concerning the Ontario Art Gallery, or working exclusively as a designer’s model (for an up and coming designer who got himself badly messed up with various substances, went out one night, stepped off a curb and was never seen again…)or, being a live mannequin. It occurs to me as I write this – my favourite gigs were as inanimate types…I quickly learned to hate high fashion, or haute couture, and all it represented – but stayed in the business, go figure. Loved photography and some types of TV – guess because I could be someone else for awhile…funny how your picture, which is beyond amazing by the way, and the esoteric comments that followed it, engendered these memories of mine.
Alright – enough of that – now about your painting. I think I may have to slide on over to your blog to talk about that; I need to go some fairly raw places and besides, you wrote to me on that crazy social network I think so I should take a look at that and do something about it too. Later.
Fresh painting, Rocky. It makes me work how you made the marks, I want to make them, can feel in my body how you might have made them. There is boldness, tentativeness, a certain energy sometimes nervously applied. This painting is a song of engagement and is beautiful in a sense i might want to experience and re-experience over and over again. It is a song in minor key, one to which i am particularly attuned to on an emotional scale. Give me the emotionally visceral stuff, any time – and you did with this one. So glad you ignored the stricture, “don’t be bold”. G