Wednesday, October 28, 2009

merton and prayer

Those are my words on prayer, not Merton's, though he has a lot to say about this.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I think the world needs a lot more daftness but I have associated this quality with Robert Burns before now. As a family, we celebrated his birthday every year when I was growing up.

The best 'Immortal Memory' I heard made a stirring argument for Burns as a proto-feminist.

unidentified defendant

I have to confess that I have not been thinking about the Iranian people and what is happening in Iran so much recently. This changed some when I saw Persepolis last week and again when I read this article in the New York Review of Books, which is really my main news source. The piece is very very good. This is the news.

Again, the question, 3 or 1?, seems appropriate. In the original photo the unidentified defendant looks strikingly slef-assured.

Friday, October 23, 2009

retains a dignity

yorkston festival

I received several James Yorkston albums in the post and they are all I have listened to for the past 2 weeks. Something about his music and his approach to his art that makes me very very happy. In the midst of my not finding a job its good to have the music to go to. Art communicates grace.

More videos here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

gaps between posts

Persepolis | Trailer from Smelly Cat on Vimeo.

We watched Persepolis the other night. Amazing film - incredibly involving and moving. The DVD documentary on adapting Marjane Satrapi's books for the screen (the process took 3 years) was equally involving and I am in awe of Ms. Satrapi's mettle.

Not quite her, but the best of three attempts.

A strange slow start to this week. Some inspiration at the end of last week, thanks to friends, but it has been hard to turn that into focused research, general good humour, or job hits.

Friday, October 16, 2009

words of winter

Bei Ling, who says, "I am one for whom personal freedom is a precondition for survival".


Words of Winter

So far away, so dim
Behind the block of time
Plastered up with illuminating words
Triumphant as a home-coming those crazy crazy days
Days when arms are crossed
So distant that your hands feel tied

Winter restlessness
Winter cannot keep the sunshine over us
You distance yourself from it all
But you still hurry in your steps

Nothing, there's nothing
No visible veins that cannot be severed
No wind sweeping over the roof
No words sought in the desperation
Splashing, hollow sounds rise
Sounds of the human
Sounds of light and dun earth

Quietude of the whole night

[Translated from the Chinese by Wang Rong and Anastasios Kozaitis]

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

the same priest?

3 or 1?
Maybe I need panels.

Monday, October 12, 2009

step by step

Feeling very unimaginative and low today. Here are some fairly random drawings.

In the footsteps of Rene Magritte, this is not Valerie Martin (not that I would really compare myself to Rene Magritte on any level).

I watched 'Rivers and Tides' earlier to try and get a bit more inspired. This is what I took from it, in direct quotes from Andy Goldsworthy.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

the protester speaks

Over the past few days I became a wee bit obsessed with drawing from the photo of John Yoo and protesters that accompanied this NYRB article. (I tried to find the actual picture online but was too overwhelmed by the number of 'john yoo protest' images that come up in a google search. Oh, here it is). Comparison between the smiling Yoo and everyone else in the picture is striking. The article elucidates why Mr. Yoo might be smiling.

These were my notes on the first day I drew Yoo, after I saw the Trumbo doc. I put them here because the contrast between the writer and the lawyer is so pointed.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


The documentary on Dalton Trumbo's life movingly shows him to be someone who was really paying attention. Writing it all down in the very good times and the very bad. His story shows a real commitment to his values. And he seems to have made frequent fun in the very good times and the very bad.

making things

"I love making things. I just love making things.” - Spike Joneze in GQ.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009


These are some of the people who crossed my virtual and printed path yesterday. I was happy encountering all of them.

Job search continues. I have finally accepted that, like Stephen Fry, I am really at my most creative and productive during the earlier hours of my day. Having accepted this, I already feel much better.

Unless I get up and start working on things straight after breakfast (including tea) the day gets away from me. I become lethargic and it all gets a bit sad. This is not to say that I don't get inspired later in the day sometimes. When this does happen, though, it involves some fantastic flight of fancy sprung from the decision to draw, watch a film, go out, read a book, listen to some music, read an article, play some music, call a friend, have a chat, or some other general happy surprise that I don't right now remember. I should probably review these moments and adjust my job search accordingly.

attention to detail

Philippe Sands' NYRB article, which is well worth a look, is here.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

random juxtaposition of words and image

The actual quote from a BBC interview with Quentin Blake (which includes his wonderful illustrations):
Somebody once said to me, You were very shrewd to adopt this style. But of course I didn't adopt the style, it adopted me. I wasn't conscious when I began to draw like that many years ago.

Friday, October 2, 2009

spike and mark

More skateboarding. I have never owned a skateboard and have not been on one in a decade but I love seeing these guys out on the streets.

Skating New York. The nearest I get to this is the run from here to the park.

I found out about Mark Gonzales on Spike Jonze's We Love You So blog, which is a fantastic feast of fun. Great creativity love and tangential movie promotion.

I tried drawing Mr. Jonze again.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

silent light

A truly extraordinary film. For the longest time I found it to be incredibly hard going. Then it all broke open for me. I can not find words to describe it. Transformative. Yes. A spiritual retreat requiring stamina. A lesson about the world - but communicating at a deep deep level. An elemental story that (the biggest surprise for me) turns out to be universal.

I copied the drawing by Riccardo Vecchio from the New Yorker capsule review last year.

This is from Manohla Dargis in the New York Times:
The sun floods the wide sky in “Silent Light” like a beacon, spilling over the austere land and illuminating its pale, pale people as if from within. A fictional story about everyday rapture in an isolated Mennonite community in northern Mexico — and performed by a cast of mostly Mennonite nonprofessionals — the film was written, directed and somehow willed into unlikely existence by the extravagantly talented Carlos Reygadas, whose immersion in this exotic world feels so deep and true that it seems like an act of faith. Mr. Reygadas’s faith may be more rooted in his own gifts than in God, but it’s the sheer intensity of this belief — which he confirms with every camera movement — that invests his film with such feeling.

the art of falling and getting up again

Grandmaster of 108 from Dorottya Mathe on Vimeo.