I was finally able to do some painting over Christmas. I have managed to acquire an easel AND oil paints AND turpentine. So I was feeling pretty superheroic. I’m painting this guy (below), because I had an Artistic Vision (while listening to Leonard Cohen, no less) of faces/portraits in darkness and I have all these old sketches I’ve done of my characters over the years and I decided they’d work better as paintings. Besides, whenever I scan them they immediately, bizarrely look crap. They’re not so bad in the flesh; they’ve even been mistaken for real people, because I draw & redraw & observe people’s faces a lot and so I’ve become fairly good with details. But I want them to have more depth, more surface. In short, YAY PAINT YAY.
I’ve only got the lean layer down so far, but I’m probably gonna continue working on it this weekend. We shall be fantabulous. (I tend to talk to whatever portrait I’m working on. It’s a bonding thing, you know?)
I visited Oxford over Christmas. It was lovely. I pranced around the Oxford University Museum Natural History and the Pitt Rivers Museum and ran out of time to go anywhere else. But the Pitt Rivers was fantastic, kind of overlap between a wet dream and a nightmare. Can I please work there? As a cleaner?
I discovered the Ghost Forest Art Project while I was in Oxford.
Ghost Forest is a major art installation consisting of 10 primary rainforest tree stumps which were brought to Europe from a commercially logged forest in Western Africa by the artist Angela Palmer (www.angelaspalmer.com). The work is intended to highlight the alarming depletion of the world’s natural resources, and in particular the continued rate of deforestation. Today, a tropical forest the size of a football pitch is destroyed every four seconds, impacting on climate, biodiversity and the livelihoods of indigenous people. The trees in Ghost Forest — most of which fell naturally in storms — are intended to represent rainforest trees worldwide; the absence of their trunks is presented as a metaphor for the removal of the world’s lungs caused through the loss of our forests.
14 actors acting, by the New York Times.
300 ways of saying “I love you”. (I knew Bird in Dorset. I don’t know where he’s at now. He used to make beautiful handmade books and I hope he still does.)
I am seventy years old. I’ve been married four times and have four kids. I love them all, wives and children each. But I’ve never had the nerve to be honest, either about my homosexuality or the desire to spend time as a woman. Still and all a good life, but less than it could have been. I hope it’s a bit easier to be all of yourself in these times but I’m sure it’s still incredibly daunting to open yourself up to the consequences, both real and perceived, to openly embrace your genders and sexuality. I applaud and envy those of you with that kind of courage— go for it my loves, go for it all.
Lady Natasha Spender remembers Edith Sitwell. This is a couple of years old, and I don’t like the Telegraph very much, but this was a good read. I <3 Edith Sitwell, essentially.
Cheong-ah Hwang is an incredible paper artist. I’m even starting to think that origami could possibly be exciting.
Surinam Insect Metamorphosis. BibliOdyssey is one of my favourite blogs ever. Or favourite.
The art of Daniel Zagorski.
I’m digging the sex positive movement at the moment, because I’ve been reflecting on how, somehow or other, growing up I picked up on the idea that Sex Is Bad and sex education classes refused to mention that sex could ever be fun & were generally rather fuzzy and I ended up learning most of the technical stuff from
porn erotica. Which is, of course, a risky business. So: the Center for Sex Positive Culture, the National Association For Sexual Awareness & Empowerment, and the Onion — Children Exposed To Pornography May Expect Sex To Be Enjoyable.