Indian Summer

9 Oct

These drawings are from last weekend’s heat wave. Well, it was actually the crest of a weeklong wave that had the UK bathed in sunshine and a temporary, if not illusionary sense that summer had not left us. For those here in August (I was in NY) it sounds like it was the summer weather that was poorly missing. Southsea beach in Portsmouth was more crowded than I have ever seen it and it was clear that many outsiders made a b-line for the beach, eager to savour every minute of the precious warm sun and air. So, beach goers were predictably in their swimming costumes and lying out like seals on rocks, limiting movements to occasional dips into the water (which for my unadventurous and feeble body was absurdly chilly). The human display was fantastic. It is too bad really that we only get to witness that parade of flesh on warm days. It is both a visual and intellectual treat (intellectual in that the informed viewer can see the display with some distance, a look at a species at play. Never mind we are one of them). The drawings largely drew themselves. Characters leapt into the sketchbook, demanding a rendering and asserting their existence. Tenderness is creeping more and more into my drawings. Times are tough and the pain is spread all around. While art is never beholden to societal expectation, I can’t help but feel more camaraderie with my fellow man as we all feel the tug of some impending crash or maybe flush, like a toilet. And with the value and relevance of art and art education being debated in society, it is ever more important to shout its contribution. Even when it is as simple as holding up a mirror to our own wonderful strangeness.

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