Mail Art Postcard. No. 4537…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s architectural term is Synthronon – In early Christian churches the bench reserved for the clergy in the semicircle of the apse, or in rows on either side of the bema. I don’t like synthronons very much, they always seem to go on and on and on.

Look out! Here comes another of my Mail Art postcards:

WP. F. 4537This one is obviously from the time of the 2015 British general election – oh, what fun we had!… I don’t know why I bothered sticking those big eyes on ‘Dave’ – I might as well have just used the photo as it was. Look at them, Mr Hesitant-Niceguy, Mr Slimy, and another chap whose name, er, escapes me for the moment. What a horrible smile that is on ‘Dave’s’ face – it really makes you want to give him a good slap with a wet fish doesn’t it?… Good god! What a trio we had to choose from!…
Anyway there it is, a piece of history, a ‘document’ reminding us of the events of early 2015. What a fascinating few months it was… all that media coverage – how we lapped it up – eagerly glued to our TVs night after night – oh, how I miss it!… Can’t wait for the next one…

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Two short (religious) items…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s nice 19th c. USĀ  expletive is ‘I’ll be dingswoggled!’ This oath is probably best said sitting on a horse thwacking your dusty Stetson against your chaps.

In general thinking is a good thing… I suppose that is pretty obvious.
Mind you, if you are a religious sort of person, thinking might not be such a good idea; you might start getting a clearer perspective on the world and the things you have, all you life, been encouraged to believe. You might come to the conclusion that you have been deliberately misled all these years. You might decide to become an atheist and unfortunately upset all your devout friends. With some religions your friends might be so upset that they pop round to your house one evening and kill you. So you might have been better off not bothering to do any thinking in the first place.
Of course if you do do a lot of thinking, but also stubbornly hang on to your religion, you’ll probably go crazy – a lot of people do that, and for some reason it seems quite socially acceptable…

Have you done the washing up yet?
Washing up, or washing the dishes, is an irritating chore that people generally rush through, wishing they were off doing something else. They even whine about having to load and empty the dishwasher.
On the other hand, for the old and the unemployed with plenty of time on their hands, washing the pots can be something to be relished! Switch the radio on – ah, the hot sudsy water, the scent of the washing up liquid, the streaming steaming white coffee mugs, the sparkling glassware, the shiny dripping plates and the glittering clanking cutlery! These people are happy to be doing something positive which fills a small hole in their long empty day.
I remember once reading a Zen anecdote about a rich bloke going to the local temple in order to seek ‘the way’. After munching through a welcoming bowl of rice, he asked the Master how he should set off on the road to enlightenment.
The Master asked, ‘Have you eaten your rice?’
The man said that he had.
The Master said, ‘Now, wash your bowl…’

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Hm… ping pong ball place holders…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s weather will feature perfect tiny spheres of wetness, wraith-like grey gusts, grassy moistness underfoot, and occasional pale discs visible in the sky.

Now, where are those really useless items?… I remember folding the corners of the pages over, it’s called ‘dog-earing’ them I believe… Yes, I have taken that old junk shop book The 1954 Gadgets Annual, a rather drab red hardback with a cream spine, down from the shelf again. Here is a picture of the title page; good old W. N. Shaw!…

DSCN3900This was only nine years after the end of WWII, and from what I’ve heard, times were hard – people didn’t chuck stuff away like we do now, they looked after things and mended them when they went wrong. They were keen on saving what money they had, and making useful items for the home themselves. Let’s flick through these fascination pages and look what ideas are on offer:
A Novel Pencil Sharpener; Repairing Cracked Linoleum; How to Strengthen Paper Tubes; Loose Fit Canvas for Deck Chairs; A Novel Tool Holder; A Use For Old Keys; Cure That Noisy Latch!; Midget Chisels for Modellers… Great!… But today, lets’ look at:

WP DSCN3903‘Damn! Damn! Damn and blast!…’
‘Albert!… Language!…’
‘Sorry Madge, but I just nipped the end of my thumb with this bloody knife.’
‘No dear, the knife, it is bloody.’
‘Hm… Anyway, what is it that you are messing about with? I hope you are not scratching the top of the dining table!’
‘I saw it in this week’s Gadgets Magazine, you can make attractive table-place holders from rubber balls with a slit in them…’
‘Yes, and for party use it suggests ordinary table tennis balls, which can be later painted in gay colours with cellulose lacquer…’
‘Look Albert, let me get a bandage for your thumb – and how about a cup of tea?’
‘Oh, that would be nice… Now, where did I put my pipe and tobacco?… We don’t really throw many parties, do we Madge?…’
‘No, not that we’d require place markers for anyway… Rhubarb crumble?’
‘Oh, yes please my dear…’

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Spatter spatter spatter!…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s honoured guests are the Vladimir Putin lookalike twins Tommy and Ralph Buckslop. Come on in you fellows, take your shirts off, and sit on the sofa next to me.

Spatter No. 2.Spatter No. 2. (2015)

Here is a photo of a recent work of mine (you might like to click on it and see it a bit larger to observe the fine detail); it’s in quite a different style to that of my usual things. It was probably sparked by that ‘Smudges’ drawing that I did under the influence of 70% dark chocolate a few weeks ago. (Smudges) Oh, and also, visually it isn’t a million miles away from those decalcomania prints that I do. (Decalc)
The reason I’m showing you it is because I don’t really know what it is – no, not what title to give it, but which class of work it might fall into. As you see this is called ‘Spatter No. 2’ (Over a couple of days I did two of these, No. 2 is I think a bit better than No. 1.) ; it consists of a piece of nice drawing paper about 550mm x 380mm with some spatters on it; spatters flicked from the end of an old flexible table knife. The medium is acrylic paint, a rich yellow with a drop of bright red halfheartedly stirred into it. Splat! Splat! Splat! I went… You get the idea…
Then after a couple of days to let it dry off, I went carefully round all the edges and drops of spatter with a 2H pencil.
‘Why?…’ I hear you ask.
Well, I suppose all this spattering goes back to what used to be called ‘action painting’ in the mid 20th c. Action painting is pretty straightforward – artists have always liked to chuck paint around, drunk or sober. The reason I chose to do the careful outlining of the mess is to perhaps change the viewer’s perception of it. By enclosing it with the line, it sort of separates it from the white background (I almost said ‘substrate’ then, but thought that it sounded a bit pompous) so drawing attention to the shapes of all the blots, squiggles, islands, and er, fiords – yes, it does look like a map doesn’t it? I suspect that the physical processes behind these spatter shapes are not far away from the processes that produce the shapes of islands and continents on the earth’s surface – could we be talking fractals here? The pencil outline also suggests that the whole thing has not been produced randomly by ‘nature’, but has been carefully painted by some dedicated person with possibly too much free time on their hands.
So, what is it?… It is paint, but I don’t really think it’s a painting, is it a drawing? I don’t think so, is it a print? It looks like a print… No, I think I might have to resort to that uneasy and annoying term, ‘mixed media’…
Anyway, here, dear reader, is my new ‘mixed media’ piece. Do you think it’s alright?…

If there are any art students out there who have suddenly run out of creative ideas (it’s a common occurrence!) who happen to have stumbled across this post – please go ahead and try this technique for yourselves – the end product really does look rather ‘nice’ and ‘clever’ and might impress one or two people.

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Some more shortish items…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s featured fruit is the dark seedy taciturn fig.

Excuses for being late. No. 263.
I’m sorry I’m late, but a cockroach started having a conversation with me.

A single overheard remark:
‘I wouldn’t mind Surrey for two and a half years…’

I watched a TV documentary last night about some people spending years and years searching Israel for the Ark of the Covenant. It was fun, I do like a good laugh…

Looking back, I think I might have got the etiquette wrong. When I last visited the city of Leeds a young scruffy chap approached me and asked if could help him out. My pocket was heavy with loose change so I gave him most of it. He thanked me and said, ‘Here you can have these back, I hate small coins…’ and handed back the little ones. I point-blank refused to take them – I mean, the idea is, that he gets a little bit of money, and I have less weight in my pocket. You can’t start messing with the conventions can you?… We did laugh and shake hands and part on good terms though.

I like words. I just noticed on TV that Americans like to pronounce the word ‘squirrel’ as if it had just one syllable.

Hey, what’s this in my comments box? Ah, another piece of spam. It seems to be from someone called ‘football jerseys’:
I wouldn and i be miserable. My wife and I were married in 2008 and shortly bromhexine hydrochloride side effects might come about; immune system disorders; skin disorders; theoretic and respiratory disorders; has been a go to guy for the New York jets and the Miami Dolphins. Despite both sets of women received dietary counselingAt this New York sports club, patrons are greeted by
Well thank you football jerseys, I’ll certainly bear in mind what you have said, and I hope to hear from you again soon.

I’m thinking of changing my name to Fay Sbuck-Profile.

An observation:
That’s funny, all the people in town are walking about shrugging their shoulders.

A single overheard remark:
‘She was fine at first, but then she started getting in my mum’s face a lot…’


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Some overheard and misheard snatches of cafe conversation…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s featured arthropod is the Tailless Whip Scorpion – look there’s one clinging to the curtains just above your shoulder… (T W S)

‘It was tension tax leak…’
‘A rabbit cop in the bottom half.’
‘I have no onion…’
‘It split, and then there was the bloody mortgage.’
‘I sometimes get nostril…’
‘It’s like, come on Joe!…’
‘Benny bones and seventy grand down!’
‘But she keeps on kissing.’
‘A Savina coffee okay?’
‘Extensive dramas and the mums laugh.’
‘Two big dogs and a parrot?’
‘Gotta-cotinit… I’ll just say ‘right’…’
‘You getting hot now Steve?’
‘You like bowling?…’
‘I came back in really nicely.’
‘I’m speaking washing diamante.’
‘Satchel so…’
‘To score bells straight over my car!’
‘Then eleven years later…’
‘Some orange stripes, ha ha ha!…’
‘That’s my cup of teefer I’ll tell you!’
‘Slamming it all away?’
‘Jewellery and store-away Derek.’
‘It was in the corner of the mirror like.’
‘Phenonemal [sic], it’s worth showing off Maurice.’
‘He was like, tell me your name…’

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Etude in yellow and white…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s unusual pencil sharpener is the one shaped like a chilly draught around the knees.

DSCN3742Of course this is a painting… Well, it must be, mustn’t it? It is paint, on a surface. It also has plenty of inbuilt meaning to ponder on too… What more could you want?
I have always liked road markings, but when they introduced yellow paint as well as the traditional white I was overjoyed. (‘Overjoyed’, what a strange word that is… Can one be just ‘joyed’ – being overjoyed to a lesser degree? I don’t think I’ve ever used the word ‘overjoyed’ before, anywhere, and at any time… That just shows what sort of life I have…)
At first I walked straight past this fine piece of road art. I did glance down at it as I passed, and I did consider the possibilities of a photo, but decided that I have taken far too many pictures of this kind of thing… But the rain had stopped, and the shape of the curving kerb and the puddle, not to mention the image of the crumbling bike, caused me to stop and walk back – hell, digital photos are free – you are not wasting film, are you? Hm, let’s try to make the composition interesting – yes, we’ll have the bike off to the right, and an area of dark blank pavement to the top left…. Click!…
Perhaps I’ll give it a really arty and pretentious title?… That usually impresses people and makes them think it’s a better picture than it actually is… Yes, how about…

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