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Thursday, 14 March 2013

Biting the Tongue

I've made two comments this evening on the Painters Online blogs, and have then scrubbed both of them, on the grounds that there's no point being wilfully offensive.  Actually, there's probably a LOT of point being wilfully offensive, but I know POL: posting provocative views just upsets people for no great gain.  So I've censored myself.

But here, I can let rip .... one blogger tells us how inspired she is by the Zen practice (or practitioner?) of Wabi Sabi; she's flogging something, or trying to; another goes to town with a screed of psychobabble about meditation, unleashing the hidden power of creativity (this on a site for artists, who, you may feel, have already got into touch with their creative impulses): and she's flogging something too, specifically her holidays in Spain where, for a modest raid on your wallet, she will teach you - armed, as she is, with a polytechnic degree and a teaching certificate - how to relax; although the whole exercise seems calculated to cause her bank manager to slip into blissful contentment rather than anyone  else: apart from herself.

You can base your painting practice on any damn' thing you like: it rarely makes the least difference; we have religious painters, painters who are simply inspired by religion, metaphysical painters, painters inspired by, for all I know, a Plumbing Manual.  What gives you the first push varies from person to person, and has very little relevance or importance.  If you want to wallow in this New Age pile of old socks, you do it.

But it's just a little odd how often those who talk the most vacuous old toss are nearly always insinuating a clutching paw into your pocket at the same time, isn't it?

Painters Online is a site for artists and would-be artists; not a forum for spurious life-coaches flogging continental holidays with a bit of woo thrown in.  But if I said that on POL, I should be a horrid, grumpy old man.  Well, I AM a horrid, grumpy old man: and this sort of festering cobblers makes me even grumpier.  Why do people fall for it ......?

I post below a couple of the very small oil paintings I did in February - 7" by 5", on stretched box canvas,  offers in excess of £50 each cheerfully considered.   You see, I'm after your money too.  But at least I don't dress it up in mother's crumpled old corsets pretending they're a silk gown......

The Utter Silence

Nothing from me since the end of January - appalling.  Why, I ask myself, have I been so uncharacteristically reticent?  Well obviously, sheer idleness explains much of it.  Why blog, or indeed do anything else, if you can stay in bed?  It defies all reason....

But there have been other issues too.  The light has been awful - useless for painting.  I've been cold - well, all right, so have you, but unclenching those little fingers and handling chilly art materials - paint, water, oil - in this freezing little hovel I call home just hasn't appealed.

After a while, though, said fingers begin to itch.  Stray towards brush or pen or pencil .... and even laziness is put to flight.

Just to add to my litany of excuses, though, I've had one or two health problems - principally around the teeth; infected sinuses; lots of antibiotic; and I've got to have a full blood test - phials of the stuff - just over a year after I had my haemorrhage: to see all the blood they put into me has mixed happily with the sludge that was already there, I suppose.

Well go and do it, you say.  Get it all seen to.  Ha!  Easy for you, I reply - but I've got to get to the hospital, and fast - ie, not eat for 12 hours (how ghastly!), and then the dentist is miles away as well, and I don't drive......  I mean, I do prevaricate: I admit it.  I even put off putting things off.  But it's not easy, you know; when one's rich in years but nothing else; has no transport; services miles away....

Granted, this is 95% self-pity.  Say 97%.....  but it does strike me that when people speak so blithely about the efficiencies of centralization of health services, "centres of excellence", and so on, they do overlook the desire of your average patient to be treated near to home.  If you have cancer, you're going to be very likely to be treated at centralized locations, and given that's where the best treatment is that's probably where you're going to want to go.  But we hear on the Patients Council at St Mary's Hospital of people who are given ridiculously early appointments in the morning which, given our inadequate transport links, they've no hope of getting to.

I have many reasons to be grateful to the NHS, but now and then you get the impression that some of those who manage it have cottage-cheese for brains - and fail to take into account the sheer physical difficulty of moving object A, the patient, to location B, the clinic.  Strange how none of the reforms introduced by Lansley and the little Hunt who's taken over from him seem to make the slightest difference to the convenience of the patient, though.