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Thursday, 23 May 2013

God, it's COLD

May 23rd, and it's so cold still I've had the heating on ......  

Anyway: have found a new NHS dentist, just a few miles away from me (Mr Brian D Hamilton, BDS); had my teeth scaled and polished, and a new filling; and some 20 years of dental phobia have been put to flight, because there was no heavy drilling; there was just the one injection, which scarcely hurt at all because it was skilfully administered; and while I have to have further treatment, it has been scheduled at 3 monthly intervals throughout the year.   So I don't have to lie there for half an hour at a time while major reconstruction work is conducted.  

All to the good - and I've been lucky: because the only other dentist offered to me on the NHS was around 13 miles away, and difficult to get to from here (as most places are).  

And in the meantime, the pocket watch I was given on my 21st birthday, some 41 years ago, has been repaired by the splendid Mr Burrage of Ryte Time Watch Repairs, and should arrive back here at the Batcave tomorrow.  While pocket watches are not the splendid things they were before the wrist-watch was introduced, they still have a certain something which the wrist-watch (could I but bear to wear one) lacks: t'is true that I should like a Waltham, or an Elgin, or a Hamilton - encased in rolled gold.  But these are beyond my means: as it is, I have some Russian watches, a German one, and a Swiss Jean Pierre - the youngest of which is around 10 years, the oldest nearer 50 - now, if you were all to go out (don't delay, do it now) and buy a pocket watch, imagine the surge in popularity they would enjoy.  Off you go, then.

Oh, and if anyone would like to give me a Waltham, or Elgin, or Hamilton (or Pathek Phillipe; or Tissot) don't hesitate!  I must have a birthday coming up sooner or later.   So much better with a nice chain, by the way - rolled gold, perhaps; or rose gold ..... Don't stint.  Just not a wristwatch - I hate things that lurk about my wrists as much as I despise ankle-socks; socks must be LONG: knee length; gents underwear must eschew anything hinting of the boxer, or short (one has to think of support, you see, and unsightly bulges - so that you DON'T see), and trousers should ideally fit way above the hip bone (which is just hideously uncomfortable, especially if the hips are beginning to give trouble) in the region of what was once the natural waist: somewhere just below the nipples, for preference.  

Young men may ignore all this: but believe me, lissom youth - your time will come: comfort will one day be your watch-word.   And, if you do not repulse the loathsomely trendy tailor and reject the "slim-fit" suit or shirt, if you do not demand a cut which ensures that there is not a ridiculous flash of shirt between the bottom of your waistcoat the the band of your trousers NOW, you will find that, when you come to the age of seniority and experience and require these things, there will be no one capable of making them.   Oh, and put a TIE on, for God's sake.  

One just loathes a sloven.    Aged watch shown below.  


Friday, 10 May 2013

Eye Off Ball.....

I took a look through my old entries today, in order to find something, and discovered a number of comments I wasn't aware had been made - so will have to check back more often. Apologies that I didn't reply, where replies might have been advisable - there must be a way of receiving notification from Blogger that comments have been made, but I don't at the moment know what it is.  

Similarly, I have no idea what happened to the formatting of the last post, where a gap appears in the last paragraph for no obvious reason.  Can't edit it out, no matter how I try.  

One of the comments referred to a piece on  Bob Ross - and argued that Ross used painting as therapy, and that many of his students then and now do the same; and that it's not reasonable to judge his or their paintings as, eg, landscape painting.  I've summarized the argument a bit without I hope misrepresenting it.  

This is true so far as it goes - and you might also argue that when seeking tuition, you tend to find that which suits the level you wish to reach: so that the student who wants to go on, and delve into the minutiae of technique, colour-mixing and all the rest of it, is not likely to be lingering over, say, Bob Ross, Bill Alexander, or Darryl Crow for long; he/she will leave them behind as not being enough - will go elsewhere because the Bob Ross approach is for hobbyists rather than serious painters (words a problem here: I have nothing against "hobbyists", and don't always go all slack-jawed in amazement at the "serious painter", either).  

I don't think the argument is too sustainable though if you look at what is now the Bob Ross Corporation (TM), its protection of the brand image - eg, by taking anything down from YouTube which shows more that a few minutes worth of Ross's work - or if you look at the mass of equipment available in the BR (and Bill Alexander) method.  It's a big business, and the various "certified Bob Ross instructors" ARE selling what they call painting tuition.  I don't see how the person starting out in oil painting is necessarily going to know that the methods are not at all easily transferable to more straightforward, or traditional, or ultimately far more enjoyable and productive methods.   What I object to is primarily the extreme expense the BR approach entails - I don't think it's fair to those starting out; and I would still warn them that there are better ways: indeed, I think almost any other way is better. 

However, I had an email correspondence a while ago with a Bob Ross instructor named Jason Bowen, who has some work on YouTube: he seems to be a genuine young man, and also made the point that he's not trying to be the next Rembrandt or Van Gogh; he knows his painting is a hobby, and he's trying to give people a sense of achievement - something they've made with their own hands and can take pride in.  I accept that - while reserving the view that even for those who don't have ambitions to stride a bit farther, there are still far more satisfying ways of doing what they want to do.  

But there we are.  Thanks for the posts, and I don't at all object if they disagree with mine - so keep 'em coming. 

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Signs of Spring

I think I've nearly finished this painting - one or two small details to add, but I don't think I need to do (or can do) anything very major with it.  It was surprisingly difficult - you'd think what's the problem?  A big lump of distant rock, a nearer lump of rock, a few tree-tops, a bit of sky - but I got too tight and literal, and to break free of myself I included a promontory that isn't really there and allowed the rock textures to look a bit warmer than they really do - because it kept turning into Gormenghast otherwise!  A grim fortress-like appearance.  

One day, I might do the grim version; probably not in acrylic though, which this is.  30cm by 40cm, on canvas covered board.  It's an impression of Gore Cliff and Blackgang Chine:  there's a holiday-cum-pleasure park at the foot of the cliffs, but you hardly know that at all                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          from the cliff walk, unless you get much nearer to the edge than I ever want to do.