Thursday, 23 October 2008


Picking up from the previous posts: no, I won't now go and do figure drawing for four years. That idea is one of approaching art very differently, it is also about learning/education/knowledge - and different ways of getting somewhere (anywhere?).

There is something in here about pedagogy, art education, traditions, expectations and how these differ of whether one does art as a full-time education at the age of 17 or later on, with later on usually meaning in addition, besides, after work. I think this calls for different approaches to learning and teaching. But, again, another post.

So: I am doing landscapes - in fact, I kept thinking of Casey's post a while back: what is your subject matter? [see link here]

In fact, landscapes matter, they are important. Seashores, moorlands and hills. Oh, and don't forget woodlands and fields. So, nothing trivial. But they are not pastoral, serene, idyllic. I think that is what I was in part trying to get at with the construction of landscape in a few posts back.

It's the kind of stuff that reminds me of several visits I had from German friends years ago, when I was in Scotland 'only for a year'. One of my friends, in fact, loved the idea that it was me who know was in 'her Scotland'.

Her Scotland was a year spent after school somewhere in Aberdeenshire growing organic herbs. Her Scotland were the wild, rugged and yet innocently beautiful landscapes of the Highlands. So, she came to visit. We went up North - Portree in fact, where my flatmate was from and we stayed with his sister. So, we went to the pub, or in fact every pub in Portree. She didn't like it. Not the pub, but the stories people had to tell, the stuff that happened and how suddenly Highland Scotland looked far too much like rural north west Germany: plenty of insiders/outsiders, plenty of alcohol and drugs, plenty of sexism and general boredom.

Where on earth did the beauty go?

Yet, she even liked Glasgow much less. I was staying on the 13th floor of a 1960s high rise flat, now scheduled for demolition in 2011. With friends we argued over how to share the three bedrooms among four of us; the plumbing for the washing machine didn't work with the low water pressure, neither did the shower; the firebrigade came once in a while - either my drunk neighbour had fallen asleep with the grill on, or on a different floor someone was throwing out furniture after setting it alight; the lift wouldn't work when it was stormy - safety mechanism kicked in then.

A shopping centre, somewhere on the outskirts

So: Where on earth did her Scotland go? - And I think my great friends whom I was living with, the balcony and some very nice neighbours didn't make up for it in her mind.

Landscapisms... important to keep that all together when the waves break on the beach in high winds and rain; or even in sunshine.

Ayrshire coast
Waves, somewhere on Ayrshire coast

... On a more practical front I am trying out the no background, different perspectives; also been finding some very good books etc... but let me play with that a little longer while I generally think.

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