Sunday, April 28, 2013

ponderings of a constrained wild child

A fly creeps across the sliding glass door. What does he think of while walking across a transparent floor ninety degree angle from the earth?

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been working with pencil, felt pen and watercolour pencils-all very nice but very controlled and disciplined. Part of me wants to break away from that and discover my wild child. My wild child is not exceptionally wild. It just has a desire to be less constrained; one willing to walk on transparent floors.

Like last week, I used my  old calendar to find a muse. This time the image of August Macke’s The Turkish Jeweller pulled at me. I like the loose suggestion of shapes, the unworked brushstrokes and the colours. I have no desire to copy the subject matter since I know nothing about Turkish jewellers, but I keep the work by me as a touchstone while I figure out what to do.

I have a decent sized canvas which I painted, didn’t think worth keeping then painted over again. I like working on beat up and used canvases. They are less precious than untouched ones.

A photo I took of my son while visiting Victoria became my subject. This choice has more relevance for me than unknown Turkish jewellers. Progress has been slow since I have a number of mundane chores and other bits of daily living that need doing. At night I work on it for half an hour or so before I get tired. It feels good to have a project on the go however. Nicer to have something on the easel than nothing at all.

I knew nothing of the artist when choosing the image, but noticed on the calendar he did not live very long. August Macke died in 1914 while serving in the First World War. How sad it was that his life was cut short. Yet so many men’s lives were and are cut short by battle and for what? We’ve lost not only artists but thinkers and innovators, men of the land and mechanical world due to the demands and agonies of warfare. 

Are wars the ideas of humanity or an earworm planted by the Universe to alter the course of progression? Most likely the first but I wonder sometimes about the second option.

The Industrial revolution was already occurring prior to the First World War. I am currently reading a book on Mathematics. In the introduction it mentions that computers were an invention born from the need in the Second World War to create and break codes. No other modern invention has so altered the course of progress than the computer. We have become completely reliant upon them to the point that if they disappeared we would have difficulty functioning. If the first and second world wars had not happened, how would our world be today? What kind of world would August Macke have painted if he had lived? 
Perhaps the birth of computers would have occurred regardless of war simply to keep pace with the demands of commerce. That is Western civilization’s idea of progress: the expansion and growth of the populace. I’m not convinced it is the Universe’s idea of progress. I sometimes wonder if the Universe sees us like microorganisms in a compost pile; driven creatures designed to keep feeding until we burn ourselves out with the heat we generate. War, industry and technology are the fuels we consume until they consume us.

Perhaps tonight I’ll light a candle to brighten the darkness. I won’t. I love technology too much.I also listen to the earworm.I need to be more like the fly and find my own walk among the transparent floors.

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