the first post not the last post

by martin davis artist

Without looking back over my blogging activity levels of last year I think I know myself sufficiently well to sense that they were “mixed”. I have never been the sort of communicator in any medium who can communicate regularly, or even as some do every day, about something I care enough about or know enough about. I would rather have something to say first even if that means I am less often in evidence – quite a reasonable trade-off in my view.

I hope those of you who read my stuff (occasionally) already appreciate that fact, indeed when I started this blog I made it clear from the outset that this would be no platform for daily blah from yours truly….so this should be no surprise. Yes I know that in theory you should exercise your communication capabilities regularly/daily to keep them sharp, just as you should draw something or paint something every day ostensibly for the same reason….but I don’t necessarily hold with this proposition. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I prefer the less is more approach to output. And anyway I have written enough stuff and painted/drawn enough stuff in my time for this “shout the loudest, oftenest” kind of thing to sharpen me any further. I am quite as blunt as I will always be.

Anyway apart from all that – as my infant granddaughter is wont to say at an alarmingly young age – the fact that here I am on the first day of the new year putting pen to paper may strike you as a bit OTT on my part, given my past record. In fact it is just a bit of a coincidence and not the least bit contrived that I have something worthwhile airing on this day of all days of the year.

So what of it? this something?

I wanted to share with you something dear to my heart. Don’t you just love it when you find something written in someone else’s pen, often about something else altogether that perfectly describes your feelings in a different sphere? a kind of synchronicity. One thing that moves me immensely as an artist is when worlds seemingly collide and literature and painting dance the same dance – to the immeasurable enhancement of each other. It is a major source of inspiration to me, if a little rare, indeed all the more beautiful I suppose for its rarity. It was in just this way that, as I was re-reading a F. Scott Fitzgerald novel over Christmas, I stumbled on the following few lines that brought me up sharp:

In an inhabited room there are refracting objects only half noticed; varnished wood, more or less polished brass, silver, and ivory, and beyond these a thousand conveyors of light and shadow so mild that one scarcely thinks of them as that, the tops of picture frames, the edges of pencils or ash trays, of crystal or china ornaments; the totality of this refraction appealing to equally subtle reflexes of the vision as well as to those associational fragments in the subconscious that we seem to hang on to………”

Here was FSF describing with appalling accuracy my own sensitivity, even obsession, with the focus on light and shade as the driving force in all my painting….the be all and end all as it were (especially when allied to remembrances of things passed) that I have often tried to describe or summarise in innumerable artist statements and always felt I failed to convey. Here it was by someone else’s hand doing a better job of it than I ever could. I still can’t get over it!

The message I suppose is clear for artists – just stick remorselessly to what you know instinctively is why you do art, it is never wrong. Now thanks to FSF I feel I am not alone with my obsession and I am not some mad person.

Happy new year!