ART ANGST by David Mace
This weekend we were a very small group practicing our skills with our special model Fiona and our customary dedication. There have been so many searching blogs which review the outcomes of these sessions that it is hard to find new things to say - I think I can safely leave the works to speak for themselves. So perhaps I might consider my own recurring question about Redbrick sessions - 'why do I keep doing this demanding and costly business time and time again with all its strains and stresses.?' I mean at my age I could so easily say - 'enough is enough - been there - done that…' as I have done with other activities that were central to my life. To be blunt I spend days struggling to produce my somewhat clumsy images of a naked person which no-one would dream of putting up on their living room wall. I am coming to the conclusion that Redbrick must be for me some form of addiction therapy group - AA (Artists Anonymous.)
So what do I get out of being part of the Redbrick clan? It's MAD !
MOTIVATION? yes - being elderly and habitually deterred from making sustained efforts I need to be pushed. I observe the sustained effort which all members of the group demonstrate and try my best to match it. I watch others in the same boat struggling to resolve their own and similar problems and coming out triumphant. The friendly and un-challenging comments offered by other members as a routine component of the sessions is invaluable in sharpening my own perceptions of my work. The creative environment of Redbrick is so much more conducive of artwork than an adapted bedroom - and no domestic distractions. In particular Redbrick gave me a chance to exhibit a review of a lifetime's work in art which enormously boosted my self-respect as an artist.
ASPIRATION? yes - that is a fundamental value. I want my efforts to seem worthwhile to me and receive confirmation from others who's views I respect. I want to be able to transmit successfully to others the quality of response I get from my encounter with the model. I get inspiration from artists like Sandra, Patrick and Russell for example who have such a dynamic and expressive relationship with the model and I look forward to their coming Exhibition.
DEVELOPMENT? yes - I want to practice my own skills and learn new tricks from my fellow members in the group whom I respect. I want, even at this late stage, to see my work developing to avoid that repetitious and enervating production line which is beginning to dry up. I'd like to not be afraid to lose what I've done in a painting by pushing it forward in a fresh direction even at the risk of destroying it. It is an extraordinary privilege to watch Tom performing his magical trick of transmutation of image - now you see it - then look again and it has become something else. I can't wait to see his forthcoming major retrospective and be able to say "I saw him do that…"
Finally, with retirement denying me the active role that art afforded me throughout my working life Redbrick lets me still feel part of the scene - however small that role may be. Thank you Redbrick.
Paintings and drawings by Cathy (Day One and Two), David, Gerry, Ian, Jane (One Day), Sue, Tom and Tony.