Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Artist Was Bored No 849

The act of painting, for me at least, tends towards the mindless, an opportunity to switch my mind off, to stop thinking, and simply to drift away into a state of trance and meditation like a hallucinogene on Mantra. With Mahler in the background and tea on the desk, the hand moves the digital paintbrush pixel by pixel through maximum zoom, and the picture emerges without planning or reflection. Not always, of course, and not in the beginning stages, but once the broad structure of the thing is determined and all that remains is the execution. But sometimes the mind is blank from the outset, while the need for that stillness which the act of painting induces is constant. So I dreamed up the series of pictures which I have called "The Artist Was Bored", and of which this is deceitfully described as No 849, because that makes it sound much grander.

The original, of which this is only a fragment, is "The Wave" by Katsushika Hokusai. I am sure you knew that; or at least the last name, if not the first, which I confess I had to look up in order to pretend that I knew it here. Hokusai's original is mostly blue inside the wave and a rather cloudy grey outside it, with Mount Fuji in the centre, but distantly, coloured and shaped in such a way that it becomes a facet of the ocean too. Mine is a post global warming wave, in which the sky is blue because it is rejoicing at the end of Mankind, in which the green Earth has been eaten up by the monster Water, and the blood of Mankind is slowly being spat out. Or maybe it isn't. Maybe they were just the colours to which my mood of calm and balance took me, the colours of boredom.

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