A new fairy

Naked fairy on a geranium leaf
Here is a drawing of a fairy I did recently. I used pencil and turpentine on stretched paper prepared with wallpaper paste.

You have to use methods like that to make images of fairies because even with modern digital cameras you still can't photograph them very easily.

If you want to buy this drawing, please click through to my web site.


On having no name

Alice in the forest where things have no names
A little link to a painting I did a few years ago, Alice in the forest where things have no names.

There is an ancient belief that the name of a thing contains its essence, and hence to name something is to have power over it.

Maybe this was once true of the mythical language that existed before the fall of Babylon. Maybe there is still power in the words of a poet or orator. But ordinary words are not the things they point to, and names are not the things named.


Narrow Gate Press

Narrow Gate Press

This is my new venture: the publication of a book of poems - the lifetime best poems of my late friend David Henschel.

To read some of the poems and follow the progress of the book please go to the Narrow Gate Press blog.

From time to time I shall also post there about the ups and downs of becoming a publisher using print-on-demand technology.


And now for something completely different

Enough of this philosophical ratiocination, I hear you cry! Where are the mermaids and fairies of former times? You will be happy to learn that I have created a new page for the mermaids, with suitable health and safety information in case you should meet one.


thoughts, feelings, poetry and myth

A poet who disregards myth altogether will need to find something bigger than his own thoughts and feelings to transform his verse - from the Tilt your head blog.

The 'Tilt Your Head' blogger I think is pointing to the idea that if we decide not to appeal to myth then to be effective artists we need to be larger than our usual selves. Perhaps we should need to have enough being to create a myth. This is no small aim.

From J. S. Bach on continuo playing: It should make a euphonious harmony for the glory of God and the permitted delectation of the mind; and like all music its finis and final cause should never be anything else but the glory of God and the recreation of the mind. When this is not heeded, there really is no music, but a hellish howl and clatter.

Karl Popper: I suggest that Bach wished to exclude from the final cause of music the making of a noise for the greater glory of the musician.


Determinism and free will 4

I have been reading 'The Concept of Mind' by Gilbert Ryle.

Although I think the problem of the false dichotomy between determinism and free will is adequately dealt with in my previous posts, this gives the option of another way of looking at it.

If a person decides they are going to do something, or desires something, then the actions they take to do that thing or to achieve that aim will be determined by the interaction of the environment and their efforts. So the whole thing is, in that sense, determined.

That doesn't alter the fact that the person is doing what they want. The apparent contradiction between determinism and free will appears to be due to a misunderstanding or misapplication of the term 'free will.' 


Is art bourgeois?

In a comment on my blog post Art theory and my art theory rant Paul Bolton writes: 

My disagreement with the stuckists stems from the approach to art as an invention. But an invention that stems from bourgeois ideologies.


New poetry from Narrow Gate Press

Do you like poems that speak to the mind as well as the heart?

My latest venture is the publication of a book of poems by my late friend and former teacher David Henschel. I only knew of these poems after he died.

Listen, be glad, 
but turn and sleep again 
until the swords and songs both say 
‘now peace is in awakening.’

I have created a separate blog for these poems. I shall post a full poem monthly on that blog, with weekly thoughts on short extracts.


Talk to the prawn - 2

I realised yesterday that talking to a prawn might not be as crazy as first seems. Or alternatively it is, and we all are.

I was thinking a particularly loud thought, as one might do sometimes while communing with nature in the smallest room, or while driving a familiar piece of road. Suddenly a word popped out of my mouth unbidden. The word was part of a sentence in my totally useless and automatic thought process at that time.

When we are children we tend to recognise that people who talk to themselves are nuts. They generally are and are usually adults. When we have something to say as children, we tend to say it. As we grow up we have more and more thoughts that we don't say, and we start talking to ourselves internally. This is laughingly known as thought and supposedly is what distinguishes us from lower forms of life.

Nowadays of course it is much harder to spot nutters, as we all have mobile phones, so people can and do walk about talking to themselves with their heads on one side all the time paying scant attention to external reality.

Given that this is going on anyway, why not talk to a prawn? At least the prawn is out there in the real world, albeit the prawn is non-English speaking and actually dead. Nevertheless it is a step up from talking to oneself.

I suspect if we all had a plastic prawn (a real one might smell after a bit) in our bathrooms so that we could go in there and talk to it when we wanted to have a random thought, we should be embarrassed at how mundane most of our thoughts are.

I look forward to hearing from anyone who thinks I've got this all wrong.


Art theory

Some while ago I wrote a rant on art theory. E.J emails me that my essay is flawed.

E.J says that If someone thinks a trash bin full of garbage is more interesting than a Rembrandt, that is their view and they must have reasons for it. He goes on to say that Your assertion that he is wrong to feel that way and that you could walk up to him and say, "Wrong! Change how you feel and your experiences!" is crazy. He also says that we should not enlist a tyranny of the majority to decide on what is considered good and what is considered bad.

As to the first point, I acknowledge it. If someone gets enjoyment from a rubbish bag (whether displayed as art or otherwise) then so be it. Foxes do.

As to the second point, I don't think I wrote anything resembling it.

Regarding the accusation that I wish to enlist a tyranny of the majority, I do not. All tyrannies are to be avoided.

The question with any piece of art is, what is its aim? If its aim is to amuse foxes, then we can judge that piece of art by how successful it is at attracting foxes. If its aim is pleasant decoration, then so be it. If its aim is to induce nausea, or the self-aggrandisement of the artist, then again it may be successful by either of these criteria. And if its aim is to enlarge our humanity and our sense of beauty, then the artist must strive for that.


Hung parliament - talk to the prawn

A little anecdote I feel should not be entirely lost in the fading memory of time: Round the corner from the Cheese Shop in Greenwich, London, is a small shop selling excellent fresh fish. On the day of the election results my informant who works in the Cheese Shop observed a man outside, evidently the worse for drink, come round the corner from the fish shop and, taking a large prawn from a bag, held it in front of him. Staring into its beady black eyes he intoned: "It's a hung parliament! A hung parliament!" Just thought people should know.