‘Flowering Skin’

A new day and a new painting for Dark Movements just off the starting blocks. This afternoon I’ve been playing with pattern examining the the shapes made by my dis-articulating Jordan Morley maquettes. I want the figure in the new painting, titled Flowering Skin, to be half in and half out of his jacket. These paper garments have become quite complicated affairs, constructed from shapes that swivel on both fixed and travelling points of attachment, so that by means of sliding bars, they can actually be moved off and away from the maquette bodies they were fitted to.

I like the abstracted flying panels, and don’t worry at all about them conforming to how a three-dimensional textile garment  behaves  when wrapped about a body. Here, positive and negative shapes are what I’m most interested in, and at some level, the fact that all garments can be taken apart and rendered as the templates they’re constructed from. I find that intriguing, like hidden maps of the body.

Right now my drawings for this haven’t come together in the way I want. The segmented figure (see below) is too doll-like, the garment is too well organised, and the kinetic, frenzied dynamic is missing.

I have to get this piece moving. This is not the slumbering Jordan of The Quickening and Yarden. Moreover it’s complicated by the fact that the core element of the painting is to be the skin, and what is flowering on it. The recent tulips from Yarden have set my mind on an outcome that’s quite hard to quarry out of the surrounding rock. But as experience tells me, I don’t do this stuff to have an easy life!

And to get to the destination, I have to dance all around the bushes!

Sometimes to help navigate to the next stage of an idea, I compile a ‘mood-board’ of drawings from my archive to show aspects of what I need. Here are a few that seem to be speaking to me at the moment.

16 thoughts on “‘Flowering Skin’

  1. These last couple of days, as there were no new drawings or new comments, I have been coursing through the different “Topics” in your list, trying to find more about your third drawing (the middle one in your mood board) and see whether the young man protecting his ‘twin’ from above is Gabriel, the Archangel, and whether it is a tree, or one of his wings that one sees on top. And to make sure who the lower ‘twin’ is, whether he is Kevin, or Hervé, or even Francis (I am not a great fan of saint Francis, he seems a bit too good to be true, to me ) and the fish… Is he going to cut the fish’s tail, to feed himself, and put the fish back into the river, to have its tail grow back, and come back again, to have its tail cut again…? Surely that fish should deserve to be made a saint. (I know, I know, the hermit who cut the fish’s tail was not saint Francis… Francis would probably have chosen to diet rather than eat half the fish. Even if he were sure the tail-cutting was not going to inflict pain on the poor fish.)

    I have not yet found all my answers, but I have had a great time looking for them, and finding drawings and paintings I had not seen before.

    So Thank You. Again.

    • Ha ha! So you’ve been busy in my archive!

      The third drawing is a detail from a drawing titled Tobias and the Angel (I think you’d divined the subject from the fish!) and you can find the full picture HERE.

      Or if you click HERE, you can see a large painting I made of the subject, titled The Rapture. In both the drawing and the painting, the dog was modelled by my own Jack!

      • So it was a wing, not a tree, and the Angel protecting the blind Tobias!!!

        Of course. I should have guessed from the fish, but the Archangel has His eyes closed too…

        Thank you ever so much. ( I think I’ll still return to your archive. Remember I am quite a new visitor here, and it is a real Treasure Trove for me; lots and lots of drawings and tales I had not been aware of as yet… )

        And thank you Again.

        • Ha ha! Well I’m glad that I can still surprise you, Maria.

          If I recall correctly, it was not Tobias who was blind, but his father, and Tobias journeys out to find a cure for the blindness. Wonderful story, and I think the only one in the bible in which a dog appears in a positive light. (All other references are negative ones, putting dogs and jackals into the same ‘unclean’ basket.) Interestingly Tobias isn’t aware that his travelling companion is an angel, though in most paintings the angel is splendidly winged, so that viewers may recognise the story.

  2. I just look, and look, and look again at each drawing, at your mood – board, and, wait. I know, at the end, the result will be a revelation, full of beauty and surprise, and unexpected in so many different ways. And that then, looking back, every single bit of every drawing will have it’s story and it’s meaning.
    And meanwhile, I just enjoy the story as it goes, and wait.
    Thank you

  3. Such a struggle, but you will get there, you always do! I just LOVE that 2nd drawing on your mood board….stunning! The other ones are too, but that one particularly hits my heart. Yes and I agree the title is excellentxxL

  4. I am fearful that when I see this painting I will be impaled with want and desire to obtain it. I have gone through a great journey seeing past, present, and future me laid out on the table. A challenge and a gift. I am greatly looking forward to it. Thank you.

    • Mr Morley, I had not expected to find you here in the comment boxes. It’s as though the unicorn has emerged from the shadows at the back of the cave! What a pleasure.

      ‘past, present and future me laid out on the table’. Yes, that must be strange for you. I hadn’t thought. What an interesting journey this is for both of us, though for you it must be the more unusual experience, being at the receiving end of the artist’s interrogatory gaze!

      • It’s not every day we get a 21st century muse dropping in at the Artlog (!), so I would like to extend a warm welcome to Jordan. It’s really good to have you here with us.

        I am not surprised that “Flowering Skin” brought you to the comments section. It’s an intriguing prospect for a painting, even more so when you are the subject! (-:

        I love the sense of transformation and renewal that this collaboration is bringing out in Clive’s work, as he revisits the Mari Lwyd, so it is really interesting to read how it feels from the muse’s point of view.

        “I will not stop singing
        the Muses who set me dancing.”
        ― Anne Carson

  5. I so appreciate you opening the door onto your processes in these posts Clive. It’s so heartening, encouraging and touching to discover that an artist I admire so much goes through similar experiences when creating new work. The mood board idea is a great tip too. Looking at those sketches, your drawing of the human figure is right up there with Keith Vaughan for me, and I can’t say better than that as he’s the tops for me, but you’re giving him a good run for his money mister, awesome stuff, what an archive!

    • Oh Phil, Vaughan!!! That is so sweet of you, though I’m nowhere near as good. He’s a big hero of mine. Thank you.

      Yes, mood boards are useful. They don’t even have to be directly related. Sometimes it’s just a sense of mark-making, or kinetic energy or shape. But it gives you a bit of wind under your wings when you may be feeling your way. I recommend it.

      Sending love in the direction of Berlin!

  6. i’m very excited to know that you’re continuing with those flowers…and that tattooed st. kevin was always a favorite of mine, but the second and third of those drawings on your mood board are a fantastic direction….can’t wait!!!

  7. I like the challenges you set yourself, Clive.

    I must admit I excitedly clicked on the link in my e-mail box, as soon as I saw the title of this post. I am delighted to read that Jordan and his ‘flowering skin’ is now centre stage. This news couldn’t do anything but get my attention!

    I like the gently dis-articulating Jordan in “Yarden”, which fits his dream-like state, so the form he is going to take when wide awake is an intriguing prospect, if the life-force running through the Mari, in your first two paintings, is anything to go by.

    Like Derek Jarman and his garden at Prospect Cottage, I am sure you will manage to eventually grow beautiful blooms, even in a terrain which is currently proving hard to cultivate.(-:

    • Pleased to be getting your attention with a title, Sarah! My plan has worked. I’m feeling my way through this one. I have a little seed of an idea here, a sense of the feel of a painting that I have yet to find. Working my way up to the light!

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