Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thoughts on #metoo

In 2005 I attended a life drawing course in northern NSW.  'Life drawing', for those not familiar with art lingo, is the practice of drawing the naked human figure.  Drawing nudes helps you draw clothed figures with more certainty and art students spend a lot of time in life drawing classes.

This particular 4-day course had two models as subjects, and they modeled together. It is the only time I have had this luxury. They were a couple and stood, sat or lay in loving and gentle poses.  I have seldom seen models with such an admirable ability to be still without apparent stress for long periods. They said they did a lot of yoga to prepare for the course.

The class was for more advanced students and they arrived at the teaching room each day much earlier than the 9am advertised starting time. The teacher of this committed class of about 30 mainly female students was an older English artist who introduced the day by reading us snatches of poetry. We all worked like demons until about 4:30 in the afternoon when everyone was completely exhausted, then we did a show and tell about our work before heading to the local pub. It was a wonderful, creative and inspiring course.

My room was in a local hotel, one of those old style buildings with surrounding veranda. My room opened out onto this veranda and early each morning I went out to the veranda to read relax before the start of class. Our tutor's room lead out onto this veranda as well and he too was an early riser. We would share bits of poetry or discuss politics on the veranda before it was time to leave for class.

One day he asked me it I had noticed anything in particular about the work the class was producing. No, I said, not really. I was probably too involved with my own work. Well look about you, he said, and you will find that only you and one other student are producing work in which the couple looks loving. I did look about me that day and realised that what he said was true. One student was drawing lots of kicking legs, another was painting doll like figures with big eyes. Many were drawing or painting thrashing figures. One woman had announced to the class in general that her figures always looked as if they were in a rape scene. Before the tutor's quiet comment I had not taken much notice but now I realised she was not alone.

The couple hang on my wall. This painting
was produced on the last day of class
in a state of exhaustion. 
56 x 76 cm

Here is one of the many stories appearing that help explain.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Alexander Gavrylyuk in Sydney

Alexander Gavrylyuk plays
The Ukrainian born Australian virtuoso pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk played in Sydney last night. The audience held their breaths as he wrung emotion from Bach, Haydn, Chopin, Scriabin, Rachmaninoff and wildly applauded whenever there was an opportunity. As the man in front of me nodded in time to Rachmaninoff's Preludes I wondered when he had last heard them played so convincingly. 

The little sketch above was made early in the evening and captured Gavrylyuk in one of his seldom upright moments. He danced with, pounded and caressed the piano, often bent so low that he looked as if he might hit his head on the music stand. Whatever his posture, his playing was extraordinary.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Pipe problems

The plumber's mate had to scrabble around in my back garden for some time before he was able to locate the end of the sewer pipe last week. The plumber had been in the day before and jetted away the blockage and now his mate was attempting to find the end of the pipe to feed in an exploratory camera.  When he eventually located the pipe his camera soon found the blockage culprit.

Even a tiny hole is probably enough to encourage a tree to grow into a pipe and my backyard trees have probably been tapping this rich water source for some time judging by the size of the roots in the pipe. The offending pipe is two meters deep so they are going to have to take down the back fence and bring in a big digger. The fence has needed replacement for some time and now the tree-root-problem has forced my hand.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Magazines - fruitless search

Part of the newsagent shop in Frankfurt Railway Station
Another part of the same shop
Every so often I land in a newsagents looking for something to read, something lightish but not silly. I invariably leave empty handed. All the women's magazine fall into the 'silly' category, the computing/gaming magazines are mainly for beginners or only of interest to people with a particular computer model, ditto cars/caravans etc., home renovation magazines and similar are full of glossy photos of interiors that look like upmarket motels, naked ladies and sports are not in my field of interest, business/economics/newsweek etc. still spruik the tired old neo-liberal mindset, health/wellness mags are full fake news and in Australia there is little from foreign countries on the  shelves.

If only there was a magazine shop in the Sydney Railway station like the one in the Frankfurt rail station. (The pictures above show only half the shop.) My wallet would certainly be lighter each time I visited.