Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I came across an interesting word recently: neoteny. The dictionary defines it as "the retention of juvenile features in the adult animal." It struck a chord as throughout my adult life, I seem to have irritated and subsequently been dismissed by some serious acquaintances for my playful disposition.

But according to Stuart Brown in his Ted Talk, playfulness is not only important in creation, but can be vital for survival.

In my experience, intellectual and artistic posturing often is deployed to cover up derivative and mediocre thinking. True creativity and thought requires fresh and honest endeavour.

"It takes a very long time to become young." –– Picasso

"The rich and the idlers seek the new, the extraordinary, the extravagant and the scandalous. I have contented these people with all the many bizarre things that come into my head. The less they understand, the more they admire it. By amusing myself with all these games, all this nonsense, all these picture puzzles, I became famous. I am only a public entertainer who has understood his time." ––Picasso

Friday, November 19, 2010

Emily and Carlo Sketches

I started Early - Took my Dog -
And visited the Sea -
The Mermaids in the Basement
Came out to look at me -

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I believe the expression is...


I went to St Céré to buy a couple of pairs of winter corduroy pants in the market. Then I took the mushrooms that I had collected the previous day to a pharmacy to see if they were edible. The pharmacist said that they wouldn't kill me, but that they weren't particularly good to eat, so I dropped them in the rubbish bin on my way to lunch at the Lieu Commun.

When I arrived, my packet of mushrooms was still in my basket. I had thrown my new pairs of pants into the locked trash can. After lunch, with blushing cheeks, I explained to the women at the Mairie that I had mixed up my packages and asked if I could somehow retrieve my bag of pants. But the bin is a pretty sophisticated contraption that looks a bit like US Mailbox: everything drops down into a three meter deep waste container underground. Nevertheless two big strapping men came to see if we could fish out my plastic bag. Suddenly we were surrounded by twenty town inspectors showing off their new disposal system and wanting to know what we were doing. And I had to explain to them all what I had done...

Next time, and unfortunately there will probably be a next time, I will be content to just lose the pants, and save some face. (The flowers are just to make me feel better.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Evening Walk

My dizziness is finally dissipating and I have been going for long afternoon walks with Thabo using my two walking sticks to stabilise me. I am not quite ready to return to Gym Tonique. The poles come in handy when tramping across uneven slushy fields. Temperature is in the 60's, which is great, except we have suddenly been inundated with flies as all their natural predators like lizards and bats have gone to sleep for the winter.

Found this circle of large mushrooms which I carefully picked and brought home. Will take them to the pharmacy tomorrow to see if they are edible.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


A few evenings ago, I got up from my bed and the room swirled around me so violently that I had to grab a chair to prevent myself from falling over. The next morning and following few days showed no improvement, so I asked a friend to drive me to the doctor.

After taking my blood pressure, the doctor held my head in his hands and performed a few brusque manoevres, pushing me onto the bed on the right, lifting me upright, then throwing me to the left, pausing to peer intently into my eyes between moves. He then sent me home and said that I was OK, but that if the effects continued another few days that he would send me to an ear/nose/throat specialist.

Mystified I came home and did some research on the Internet. I had Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), an inner ear disorder caused by calcium crystals, or ear rocks, floating into areas that interfere with one's sense of equilibrium. YouTube had some short videos on the Epley Manoevre, which should set me right after a few days. Whew.

Keep this mind if you have this experience. It's not necessarily the dreaded brain t–––r.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Instinct vs fiddling

My pictures are pegged on washing lines in my studio. One of these pictures were reworked and three are untouched. When I enter the room, the fresh ones are striking, the reworked one has turned into sentimental mush. Sometimes one needs to overwork and destroy to learn.

" The artist need not know very much; best of all let him work instinctively and paint as naturally as he breathes or walks. " – Emil Nolde

(The last one is a fiddly effete one, in case it isn't obvious.)