Still life with riot helmets

Cezanne kept a small collection of skulls that he would arrange and re-arrange like a rather confronting bunch of flowers. He would then paint pictures of them.

This memento mori is a collection of helmets used by student protesters during the Japanese university struggles in 1968 and 1969.

There are no angels left in America anymore
They left after the second World War heading west
Stopping briefly in Japan during the ’60s
In Tiananmen Square, during the last decade

They kept heading west to who knows where

What’re they after?
What’re they looking for?
A Messiah who never comes?
A virgin birth?
A perfect drunk?
A sign,
Any kind of sign
Anything that looks slightly out of the ordinary

David Byrne

Memento mori – As I was, so you never shall be

Meditation on a copper urn

As I doubt I will get to see an original painting by Chardin any time in the foreseeable future, I knocked up this copy to appreciate at home.

Robert Hughes said this of an exhibition of Chardin’s work in 1979, on the 200th anniversary of his death:

To see Chardin’s work en masse, in the midst of a period of stuffed with every kind of jerky innovation, narcissistic blurting and trashy “relevance,” is to be reminded that lucidity, deliberation, probity and calm are still the chief virtues of the art of painting.


Chardin got a lot of mileage out of that copper urn … and that spring onion

Amoeboid Whisp

Had to do some painting of the kind I am not so fond of. That is, I painted the bedroom. It seems paint companies employ people to come up with wacky and memorable names for housepaint. Two coats of Mass Destruction later, the walls look fine.

I have mentioned before the benefits of looking closely at children’s marbles. They are a cheap way into the art glass market. This is a close up look at a simple marble with a dramatic white swirly inclusion. I shall call it Amoeboid Whisp.

A tiny cloud at your finger tip

An empty bottle, an empty jar, and a Subaru 360

It is difficult to paint an empty clear glass bottle. That is because there is almost nothing there to paint. You end up painting the reflections and the cap rather than the bottle.

There, but almost not.

This week my hometown of Melbourne broke the world record for the longest lockdown on account of the spicy cough. To fend off the more compelling aspects of cabin fever, I built another tiny model car over the last few weeks. It is a Subaru 360, also known as ‘the ladybug’. Apparently this one came first in the 1964 Japanese Grand Prix, which must have been a very slow, very cute race indeed.

The car is pictured in front of a painting I did of the Morita Shuzo sake brewery in Kurashiki a few years ago. There is more about that here.

Sunset on the Volga or ars moriendi

I was window shopping for Soviet cars on car when I noticed a winsome GAZ Volga. The front seat had apparently been photographed in the late afternoon. It was almost like the car was aware its brand had gone extinct. This is my impression of it, complete with the shadow of a tumbtack holding the canvas to my home made cardboard easel.

“Racing cardboard”: a GAZ Volga contemplates its mortality