Good days

“There is no shortage of good days. It is good lives that are hard to come by. A life of good days lived in the senses is not enough. The life of sensation is the life of greed; it requires more and more. The life of the spirit requires less and less; time is ample and its passage sweet. Who would call a day spent reading a good day? But a life spent reading — that is a good life.”

—Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

weekend

I spent last payday’s wages on books…I went a little crazy, online.

I ordered back issues of the literary journal Granta, collected works by Graham Greene and a novel by William Faulkner. I snapped up some short story collections of Latin American writers, in Spanish. I took out two literary magazine subscriptions: Overland, and The Lifted Brow. I impulsively put Taschen’s massive full-colour art books of Egon Schiele and of Peter Beard, in my shopping cart, and paid for them with my eyes half-shut, and without looking at what the total came to. Then I ordered Dan Eldon’s The Journey Is The Destination, because he was influenced by Peter Beard.

Finally, and already made extremely uncomfortable by this binge of book-buying, I threw the last of my sensibility (and money) to the wind and bought the out-of-print, hard-to-find monograph produced in Germany of the works of Expressionist artist Jeanne Mammen. She was an amazing painter, and so little is known of her…apart from this one monograph of her work, there are no books, illustrated or otherwise, about her.

I know what you’re thinking: did I rob a bank…or am I printing the money at home? This sounds like the online shopping spree of a person with lots of disposable income, but I’m actually just a salesgirl in a shop, I work three days a week, and I send a third of my income to help an elderly parent.

The decision to enrich my life with books means that I give up other things. For the last four days I have lived on pots of coffee and boiled spaghetti with salt and garlic—which is the only thing that I have on my boat— because I can’t afford to go grocery shopping for a week or two.

Do I care? Not really. I love elaborate cooking, and among my friends I am known as a bit of a foodie. Just a bit. But I love books. I love them first. I love them more. If I were to be completely practical and honest about things, food is ultimately just fuel for the body to run on. (My foodie friends will have heart attacks when they read this blasphemy). I could have a whole Instagram account dedicated to what I eat, but can I tell the difference between a five dollar meat pie and a 70 dollar three-course dinner, in the…um…at the…end? LOL

Besides, we all eat too much, these days, so that a few days off food won’t hurt. I don’t mind eating salted chickpeas out of the can with a spoon as my one meal of the day, if it’s because I have just bought some fabulous books on art, or literature.

I found that I didn’t really want to eat, these past four days, anyway. I was lost between the pages of my books—some of which have started to arrive from the booksellers—and wasn’t hungry for anything but beautiful prose and inspiration.

 

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Structured Disorder

A sneak peek… WIP for Disorder Gallery

WIP for Disorder Gallery

Work in progress for a group show at Disorder Gallery in Sydney, sometime later this year.

Another two or three planned, after this…not sure what my ‘theme’ is, other than that I have decided to avoid any representational work, for once. That said, this began as a painting of a sleeping cat… 😉

It’s the coffee talking

coffee talking
Bought a jar of fluorescent pink paint, months ago (prompted by a flash of inspiration that I can’t remember, now), and decided to see what it would do as a ground cover. I like the little bits that show through cracks or glow behind layers in the painting—in small amounts and under other, less-bright colours, the hot pink flickers interestingly—though I find the solid parts a bit too strong. Still, it was fun to work with. Not a colour I’ve ever used, so it was different.

I had fun with the woven pattern on the book cover…I don’t actually have a book covered in fabric like this, the original is an ordinary planner, beige,that I use to jot down deadlines, appointments and shopping lists.

The two cups look a bit strange together, especially since they are so different from each other, but I had simply sketched what was in front of me at the time, without thinking about composition or trying to make any sense.

Couldn’t decide, in the end, what the cup of coffee would say, so I left it blank with the idea of filling it in later. Before drawing anything else, I had stuck down a slip of paper from a fortune cookie—“You’ll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind.”—and more words would have been overkill, I think.

Looking at the dark brown speech bubble now, the coffee simply seems to be announcing itself (I drink my coffee strong, black, and unsweetened). I may leave it. It’s just a journal page: something I feel the need to do every few days (really, I’d like to do this daily, but never manage to keep it up) for myself. It fills an inner need to slow down and look intensely at something for a couple of hours.
coffee talking

Qué dificil es hablar el español

I love this.

Music and words by Juan Andrés and Nicolás Ospina of Inténtalo Carito I’ve enjoyed their witty, smart lyrics immensely, and the sense of humor in their videos is endearing. So much that I’ve signed up as a dripfeed patron on their Patreon page

Look like a mermaid…

swear like a sailor…

two-faced cup
Had a quiet day at home, on the boat, yesterday. I took my stash of Posca pens out, thinking I would have a bit of a play in my art journal…but this plain white cup on a kitchen shelf caught my eye, and I wound up painting a mermaid and a sailor on it, instead.

I saw the quote online, on a mass-produced cup, and nearly bought it; but the design was rather poor—no images, only the words in a scribbled font, and they were unreadable amid the expanses of white space—that the whole thing looked skimpy and cheaply made.  I decided I would wait until I found a better one, then forgot all about it until yesterday.

two-faced cup

Few people know that Posca pens can be used on ceramics. Because we sell Posca pens in the shop, I’ve had to download the extensive materials information sheet  from the Posca website for our customers.

Drawings done with these pens can be baked in an oven to make them semi-permanent (the pieces probably wouldn’t hold up to heavy use, and must be washed gently, by hand). I like them much, much better than Sharpies, because the acrylic paint in a Posca pen is opaque, so that they cover with one stroke and I can layer different colours on top of each other.

two-faced cup

I can’t take credit for the sailor, which is not mine…he was from a bit of street art that I spotted in Colombia, over a year ago…

I’m uncomfortable with the fact that I’ve used someone else’s design, but it was the seed idea that got me started in the first place, and I didn’t actually believe I would finish the cup (because I’ve never drawn on a cup before, the surface sloping in funny ways, cleaning up with alcohol and gingerly holding it in some paper towel so as not to get the oil from my fingers on it…it all seemed too hard, I was sure I would fuck up at some point.) It wasn’t until I’d done both sailor and mermaid that I realised the thing was “for real”…that it was good enough to “fix” in an oven and keep.

It’s just for myself, and I won’t be repeating the design again. I would like to use the same quote on a mug for my Society6 shop, but coming up with the entire design from scratch. Someday.

two-faced cup

Collaged journal covers

Water Traffic“Blue Circle Bay”, paper collage, acrylic paint.

The Green Pond“The Green Pond”, paper and fabric collage, acrylic paint.