Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thursday Thoughts...

I cannot afford a Constable, or a Picasso, or a Leonardo, but to profess a love of painting and not to have anything original is as peculiar as a booklover with nothing on her shelves. I do not know why the crowds and crowds of visitors to public galleries do not go out and support new work. Are we talking love-affair or peep-show?

Jeanette Winterson
ART OBJECTS Essays on ecstasy and effrontery 1995

Jeanette Winterson is such an insightful writer. She can be pithy and acerbic and I think generally catches the notions of things so well, expressing them 'just so'.

I have now gone out to purchase this collection of essays as I think they will add to my thinking on art.

Two things caught me with this quote and kept me in...firstly the comparison between loving art and reading; and secondly the peep-show comment!

It really struck me how odd it would be to know a reader and lover of books who didn't have books in her home. Winterson's ability to then translate this notion to art and suggest it's hard to be a lover of art and not have some original work around the place sort of tracked my journey into this arty-life.

I have only really come to spend time with art in the last 5 years, since we left the busy-ness of high pressure jobs and decided to work for ourselves on our mountain top. One thing we really wanted to achieve by that move was the chance to focus more on our art-side, our creative side and our personal expression of art.

Simultaneously we have gone about the purchasing of original art as our spare time is spent looking at art, appreciating it, visiting galleries and talking and conversing with artists.  I didn't own much original art at all until perhaps 8 years ago - and so this thought made me reflect on my journey into seeing art and loving it, and making it. Art is a much bigger part of my life now than it ever has had the chance to be; and I think of myself more and more as an artist; rather than as a something else.

The peep-show comment!  What a funny way to bring us to think of ourselves in a less than positive light. I think she was having a dig at all of us who wander galleries and observe and talk about the high-falutin' arty stuff; but don't buy emerging artists, don't have around us some pieces by friends that we have swapped; or pieces we bought as prints because we just fell in love with them; or pieces we have saved and splurged on for a special occasion. I think I will carry the idea of a love affair or a peep-show with me for all time!

This is a photo of one side of our entrance, just as you come in the front door. The left hand niche has a grouping of Kim Schoenberger's works (a local artist and friend); the central niche has a tile by Mel Robson and wee vases by Shannon Garson (another local artist); and the right hand niche has a carved wood panel by Robyn Gordon (aka Art Propelled) from South Africa, and some raku -fired horse-hairburnt place-card holders by Mieke van Sambeek (another local artist). It's never really that dark, but it looked dramatic!


  1. I think subjective experience and context creates individualised interpretations of text - so Winterson's love affair or peep-show line for me means - do we engage in art at a deep level or just go for flash (flesh) and surface?... is it all about a quickie or a sustained committed relationship?....

    but I also think the date this was penned is also really significant - the 1990s was all about the blockbuster gallery show.... at the same time Young Brit Art was on the up and up (and up) and the battle between 'old' and 'new' art was being played out big time in the media ..... so I can't help but think this is obliquely referenced in Winterson's words... which would give things a rather different slant depending on whether you love or loather the YBAs...

    but I may be totally and utterly wrong about all this....

  2. I saw the photo at the bottom and read my way to it, just knowing that you were giving us a peep-show into a gallery that you'd passed by. To find out that we're getting a peek at your gallery, in your house is even better! What a wonderfully welcoming entry each time you return home.

    In my own life, my love affair with art began early, yet I was a voyeur at the peep show until I quit an accounting career to become a full-time artist. Immersed as I was in my own art, I found myself appreciating the knowledge, skill and creativity that goes into the creation process. I began collecting, mostly via trading with other artists at art shows that we were in.

    Our house is filled with pieces made by friends as well. A few that are more special to me grace my studio.

  3. i like having others' work around, i like living with it, i like using it, i like looking at it, i like touching it.

  4. You've really hit on something important here, Fiona. Most art lovers point to the price of original art as the reason it does not grace their own walls, but there is so much amazing work being done out there - right in our own neighborhoods - one need only swap, or lay out a small sum to be an art collector in your own right! I love the modest pieces I have in my home. Being surrounded by work without having to go to a museum or gallery is no longer a luxury for me. Artworks are now my friends and companions in exactly the same way books always have been. Have a great weekend!

  5. Thoughts so beautifully expressed and art so beautifully displayed.... no wonder I love your Thursday thoughts.

  6. thought provoking quote and words to ponder.. and the artists in the last image... I am familiar with all of them.. their works.. and Robyn's blog.. as an artist I love to see other artists' works.

  7. And what a wonderfull display you have, it looks fabulous and it must feel great to have such treasures.

  8. My Mom had original work which she cherished. We didn't have much of it, but I grew up knowing it was part of life to surround one's self with art and books.

  9. Apologies all that my whirly-world kept me from replying...

    Ronnie - so true; we all bring our experience to the experience and the time and place matters too. When I read this essay I was struck by how she had just been felled by a beautiful picture - never before had art spoken to her and now it did and she didn't know how to reply...but I think she's found her voice.

    Jennifer - thank you; we are fortunate to have this little gallery to welcome us home. I like your story of growth as an artist and appreciation of art going hand in hand - mine too. And I like that you have friends and others' art around you - it warms a place and gives it life, and makes me smile.

    Velma - perfectly put; I need say nothing! In fact I said too much already! So true...

    G/TT- thank you and I agree. We have access to beautiful and cherished pieces without having to drop tens of thousands of dollars and they become cherished and loved and joy-giving companions.

    Jo - thank you as ever; I am glad you enjoy them...

    Donna - I agree, its lovely to have others' art around you.

    Mieke - thank you for being part of our treasures both inside and out!

    Leslie - A lovely history and a lovely way to learn their value; and we carry those thoughts with us.


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.