Catalogue published by the Scottish Arts Council, 1977.
A selection of notes amongst the drawings in sketchbooks over the period covered by the works on exhibition.
People contacting like dogs sniffing, walking around each other emotionally, tail wagging to show they won’t bite, growling so that they won’t be bitten.
Layers and layers of defensive covers to keep the real from revealing. What is real, unrevealed? Is it the fear that nothing is beneath?
To make paint or drawing marks in skins and layers to arrange, adjust or agitate in some way that parallels or evokes the verbal stimulus of the mental image of hiding and protecting, but exists first and always as physical object to which the eye responds. The eyes sending nerve messages not localised by the word description of the idea.
«No artist of any art has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists. You cannot value him alone; you must set him for contrast and comparison among the dead.»
T S Eliot
Layers, depths, covering-up, obscuring, becoming just surface – the front presented.
Van Gogh quotes Carlyle: «Blessed is he who has found his work.»
«You have to deduce a person’s real feelings about a thing by a smile she does not know is on her face, by the way bitterness tightens muscles at a mouth’s corner…»
«The unconscious functions satisfactorily only when consciousness fulfils its task to the limits of its capacities.»
«Beautiful is resolution. But the really fruitful, the productive and hence the artistic principle is that which we call reserve … In the intellectual sphere we love it as irony … guided as it is by the surmise that in great matters, matters of humanity, every decision may prove premature; that the real goal to reach is not decision, but harmony, accord. And harmony in a matter of eternal contraries, may lie in infinity; yet that playful reserve called irony carries within itself, as the sustained note carries the resolution.»
At every corner
I meet my father
My age still alive.
«One thing indeed is not to be learned in Scotland and that is the way to be happy.»
R L Stevenson
«Take your delight in momentariness
walk between dark and dark – a shining space
with the grave’s narrowness but not its peace.»
Repetitions, routines, patterns
«Neither man nor nature can exist without a sublime idea.»
«Künstlerschuld : artist guilt»
«It has only been in the last two centuries that the majority of people in civilized countries have claimed the privilege of being individuals, formerly they were slave, peasant, labourer, even artisan, but not person.»
births, love, anger, boredom, death
«The eternal recurrence of the same.»
«You can be in my dream if I can be in yours.»
«…two profoundly different ways of knowing a thing. The first implies that we move around the object, the second that we enter into it.»
Hiding, protecting, covering up, shielding, screening, holding back, fronts, skins, facades, layers, depths.
Was it just confidence that carried so many painters from filled in, tight paint on drawing, to the looser handling growing from the content of the painting idea? Early and late Titian, Rembrandt, Velasquez, Goya and Turner.
Layers built up as a skin, a patina of the experience of making.
«We have art in order not to perish of truth.»