Once I had recovered enough breath to walk further afield, sitting around the trees was still the best feeling. Maybe there is more oxygen in their vicinity. I never really learned to draw or sketch formally. I had a few oil painting lessons from a local learning centre when I was a teenager. This is all entirely self taught. When I look at a blank piece of paper or canvas or wood, my intention is to create a finished piece, not a sketch. However I have made oil paintings from these drawings.
‘A tree beside the dam in the park.’, 8″ X 10″, pencil on paper.
‘The foot of the tree in the park across the road from the centre of the universe.’, 9″ X 12″, pencil on paper.
‘The other side of the foot of the tree in the park across the road from the centre of the universe.’, 9″x12″, pencil on paper.
These drawings were among the first I made following yet another health disaster. Lung disease from living in industrial cities. Doing industrial jobs, I was a sign painter when it was done with paint, also highly toxic, full of lead and every other element of suspicious sources to make real colour that lasts. Forever. That’s what it said anyway. At this point in time I was coping with the 8th time my lung collapsed. Like a balloon popping, you can hear it when it happens. I recovered by sitting on trees and drawing them. The roots mean something to me, the interface to the underworld. The part the tree knows but you don’t. They also look like foothills of mountain ranges like the Himalaya’s which are getting bigger as the glaciers disappear.
Tearing oneself apart from the inside is a difficult concept to portray visually.
This was the third painting I made in that. I was feeling better physically, enough so to stretch a large canvas. In the under painting of acrylic gesso mixed with plaster and semen, I painted an equation, with my blood. In essence it describes the population of the earth at the time I painted this, divided by the claimed wealth of all nations, which then equals the amount you are entitled to. No questions, no legal defence allowed. You are all way over budget. Time to stop. I followed the equation with an acrylic under painting of a nuclear explosion. Which was followed by the self portrait ripping my face off.
I called it tri-polar because I did not agree with my psychiatrist. All you have is on or off, I have an in between which allows me to divert the rage in us all into art. Do you? I think that is how art happens.
I have repainted this image a few times, 5 I think. I have one here in my studio. I will probably paint it again.
‘M-16’, acrylic on paper. 2014. I usually get carried away in my head when I like the image. I can use it then as an icon to represent something else. In this case war. I wonder if its related to the repetitive thinking I have, often. Some thank me for recognizing their value defending us, others see it as something far more troubling. The militarization of everything.
Haunted by Orwell.
This is a digital version I have played with. I would like to get more 3d into the image. When I make this one again I will use plaster instead of paint. Build it onto a sheet of plywood.
An unquiet mind. A long time ago, decades before I was diagnosed as bipolar ( the name seems to shift with the movements of psychiatry) I discovered drawing without thinking helped with the agitation that is ongoing with bipolar disorder. I would liken it to meditation, which I have tried but I prefer the physical act of drawing to contribute to the universe. Not quite doodling though, these usually take a lot of time, my body can be physically exhausted, but my mind will not shut up. For days this can go on, seemingly endless. When I was young, I could put it to use working, but now its just exhausting. The digital work is useful then, I can make an eBook from all the work already in hand. And having an actual hardcover of these works is even better. So much of my work, even now, is very large. Too large for most normal living room walls.
The show is concerning the order and disorder of mental health.
My condition is bi-polar, but I prefer to say I am bi-polar.
This work is all entirely new long after the themes of the show and the work have been decided. The work keeps happening, it keeps changing too. We live in a change machine. Its the second law of thermodynamics. Entropy will always increase