Defiance, oil on canvas, 46 x 46 cm
Update: OK, here is the coloured version, just finished (1.00pm Sunday 23rd), sporting my yellow painting jacket. I've now popped the exploratory sketch that was here down at the end of this post. Thank you everybody for the wonderful comments you have left. They are what makes this blog so rich and rewarding for me.
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well, i just got back from a few days in melbourne (have posted some pics in my photo blog the crystal cornea) and dying to get back out into the studio to continue work on my latest. The very day i left i was working on this preliminary sketch in charcoal and acrylic.
the theme continues to be the emotions around aging, around growing old, about the loss of physical and mental powers, the loss of social status, the increasing incidence of serious illness, the ever increasing likelihood of death.
Although these are self-portraits, this work is not actually about me. As i explained at the very start of this blog, i am using self-portraiture chiefly because the model is always available, will do whatever i ask of him, and won't complain about how bad i make him look.
Yes i draw on my own emotions to fuel the energy of my brush, but this work is not 'confessional'. I am not simply indulging myself in some solipsistic fugue. Rather, i am trying to make more universalistic statements. This Masters project is as much sociological commentary as it is psychological exploration - or will increasingly become so over the coming year.
I am trying to articulate states of feeling that many people know but can't own up to because society maintains a conspiracy of silence about them. We shunt the old and terminally ill into institutions - out of sight, out of mind - while we young ones get on with making and spending money as if getting and spending could never come to end, or could ever be an end in itself.
i had been exploring feelings of horror and terror at the realization of mortality, not simply the intellectual acknowledgement of one's own mortality, but the feeling deep in one's bones, one's gut, that one, me, you, will cease to be. I am now trying to move on from that to other feelings. And the one i am working on now is stoic defiance. Keep away disease. Keep away death. The finger in the dyke. Except i'm too old to trust in failing dykes.
a detail of brushwork from Defiance