Monday, 26 December 2011

Pigeons, or Doves - painting in anger.


Mickey Raymond, 81, mover and shaker at Colefax and Fowler lives in stately home style in a spacious bungalow in Tangier's Marshan, the plateau west of the Casbah, the hill before the Old Mountain where it gets truly Surrey-like, beyond and above which are the palaces of the King of Morocco, the Saudis and the Emir of Kuwait, and those of their wives.
The Marshan is a district of faded grand residences, one-time legations, a football stadium, hospitals, schools and the King's Tangier town house or 'office', where York Castle crumbles, the Phoenicians entombed their dead and the hip hang-out Cafe Hagh tumbles down the shady northern cliffs facing Tarifa and Spain.
Mickey's bungalow is at the eastern city end as the hill plateaus out and Tangier reestablishes back into more hectic hilly familiarity. He is hedged between a print works and an apartment block but once inside you'd not know. His seclusion is absolute, the calm disturbed by a grandfather clock and a visual assault of furniture, furnishings, pictures, murals, and objets d'art, that should but fail to preclude elegance.
Each piece and every detailing, kitschy or fine as maybe, stands alone on examination.
High windows open onto a shady and entwining garden that utterly deceives in belying its tininess.
How such a densely arrayed mish-mash fails to be the mad grotto of an eccentric is Mickey's miracle.
It is the canny gaps between the pieces that form and define Mickey's gift, and it is on two such gaps that I've been invited to paint.
I think, 'Is this wise?' On Mickey's part, wise, to crowd the space further. Wise of him to ask me, wise of me to contemplate the task and agree.
Mickey is not a scary man. Generously hospitable and urbane, he is shruggingly tolerant as you have to be to live in Tangier, but in truth he scares me a little. He is of the suave, alert, well educated, society-monied establishment that I am not. Colefax and Fowler, designers to an age and class that may have a resonance in the dreams of my parents and grandparents, are unknown to me. He refers to places I know only on the map and to folk, nay, personalities I don't know of at all. If he's testing me I'm failing but what the heck, money isn't involved and they're his doors that he wants me to adorn.
Mickey doesn't know I haven't picked up a paintbrush in anger for two years.
I tell my friends, and they tell me 'You can do this'. I have brushes, packed in a reflex for a journey that had no painting intent, and the same friends supply me with the rest of the kit.
Crowded and surrounded at Mickey's I blunder around trying to water colour wash with acrylic on a vertical surface. Astonishingly this works although it is not a recommended method and had no right to work at all. I always was a crap painter. I know nothing about and mistrust acrylic paint, I know nothing about painting opaquely impasto, or on panels, or vertically, but in two sessions and two entertaining lunches cooked and served by sweet smiling Fatima, Mickey is pleased as punch and I'm astounded.
The work is done, and now I see what he wanted and why. Freshly painted they may be, but the new panels sit in the overall scheme as if meant to be there all the time.
We are more relaxed now, both more confident and Mickey Raymond isn't finished yet.
A Noel Coward CD plays through a happy third session while we ponder the angle of light and nuances of green for trompe d'oeil roundels.
Fatima pats me lightly on the back as she serves us lunch, approvingly I believe, and drinking a lovely Moroccan wine I marvel at what has happened here.
Before I'd moistened a brush, Mickey Raymond saw it all.

Fatima M2

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

re-title  'the last days' banner

I am leaving
I’ve no evidence that anyone visited my page - ever.
No more shall I be listed re-titled in oblivion - a paying but spurious ‘inventory’ item. I won’t be there should anyone be looking.

What did I expect?
Did I expect gallery curators, lovers of the arts, investors, art-consultants and critics to review my re-titled oeuvre and be wowed, wooed, and clattering my cyber door-knocker?
Yes, I suppose I did.

This, as I was aware of at the outset, is a quite unrealistic hope.
Equally unrealistically, I’d hope to win the lottery by purchasing a ticket. I may as well have expended 2 years-worth of re-title fees in buying lottery tickets and might have reaped more reward.
It’s a hoping conceivability.

Am I bitter?
No, but I’m leaving re-title and separations are never straightforward.
De-re-titling my cyber facade is no simple matter. The logo and link is bedded in this blog, my website and across my social networks.
Each one must go.

I wonder, while I paid for the listing, ‘whether more people linked to through me than the other way around.’
Well, bitter-me!

until 15 September . . . banner

Monday, 9 May 2011

Shooting Out the Lights

A various party had been invited to meet the new couple: the old aristocracy was represented by Lord and Lady Pentreath; the old gentry by young Mr and Mrs Fitzadam of the Worcestershire branch of the Fitzadams; politics and the public good, as specialized in the cider interest, by Mr Fenn, member for West Orchards, accompanied by his two daughters; Lady Mallinger's family, by her brother, Mr Raymond, and his wife; the useful bachelor element by Mr Slinker, the eminent counsel, and by Mr Vandernoodt, whose acquaintance Sir Hugo had found pleasant enough at Leubronn to be adopted in England. Daniel Deronda, George Eliot.

I like lists . . . but not the Rich List which I've mislaid that shows an increase of billionaires on the previous year. Ms Spec Savers is well on the way, or may be one, and 'Ma'am, can you see well enough to buy a painting?' The billionaire abundance seems paradoxical as if money itself huddles for warmth against the financial chill.
Tweeters and bloggers have been busy with insurrection, revolution and billionairedom but insurgents, counter-insurgents and the Newly Very Rich don't move in my circles.
Scarlet is right, it has been quiet on some blogfronts. I had thought that it was me having a phase of non-virtual busy-ness aka disenchantment with virtuality, and whilst I'm not throwing off the shackles of petro-colonialism or making mega-dosh, it has been a busy year. Busy seeing money scuttle away to safety, busier still being broke and far too busy to be blogging-around what with all the news we've been having.
Our newly adopted good Arabs have been tweeting and blogging like demons and getting killed for their pains, biting the bad Arabs in the bum, most of whom we or our once favourite enemies the USSR have been supporting, arming and trading with quite happily for decades, and other naughty naughty Arabs are biting us (for supporting, arming and trading with our nurtured, nay newly abandoned and re-defined bad Arabs) and are getting killed as well. None killed get a trial. Bum biters got killed and to hang with due process.
We've had the wedding which went according to sun shinny plan. Crowds crowded and the perfect girl next door got her prince while we look at those next door to us and wonder.
AV, that electoral reform that was sham reform bit the dust. To give credit where credit is due, to Mr Clegg, there is no further electoral reform in the offing.

Not reforming, not quite revolting yet and not rich, tweet, back to the blogging, back to lists.

I prefer lists like Eliot's above, and Fitzgerald's Nick's list of Gatsby's house party guests. (abridged)

From East Egg, then, came the Chester Beckers and the Leeches, and Doctor Webster Civet, who was drowned last summer up in Maine. And the Hornbeams and the Willie Voltaires, and a whole clan named Blackbuck. And the Ismays and the Chrysties ( or rather Hubert Auerbach and Mr Chrystie's wife ), and Edgar Beaver, whose hair they say, turned cotton-white one winter afternoon for no good reason at all.
Clarence Endive was from East Egg, as I remember. From farther out on the Island came the Cheadles and the O.R.P.Schraeders, and the Stonewall Jackson Abrams of Georgia, and the Fishguards and the Ripley Snells. The Dancies came, too, and S.B.Whitebait, who was well over sixty, and Maurice A. Flink, and the Hammerheads, and Beluga the tobacco importer, and Beluga's girls.
From West Egg came the Poles and the Mulreadys and Cecil Roebuck and Cecil Schoen and Gulick the State senator and Newton Orchid, who controlled Films Par Excellence.
A man named Klipspringer was there so often and so long that he became known as 'the boarder' - I doubt if he had any other home. Also from New York were the Chromes and the Backyssons and the Dennickers and Russel Betty and the Corrigans and the Kellehers and the Dewars and the Scullys and S.W. Belcher and the Smirkes and the young Quinns, divorced now, and Henry L. Palmetto, who killed himself by jumping in front of a subway train in Times Square.

Go Henry. Another tick off the list.