Wednesday, September 30, 2020


The Trump ascendancy to power has turned the USA into a caricature of itself. All the worst tropes about America and Americans you've ever heard or thought are outlined in blazing neon lights and shouted from the rooftops at deafening volume. That this seems like a television show gone haywire only makes it more dangerous because it's so much easier to laugh than to take in that it's actually happening in reality and infects the whole of this planet.

The best of America now seems to be in shadow, in chiaroscuro, while Trump and his cohorts prance around in ominously hypnotic technicolour. The Trump-Biden "debate" was another illustration of an unbelievable yet factual state of affairs. Biden isn't the ideal opponent but at present he's the only alternative to catastrophe. He urgently needs to get out of the shadows and inspire voters to stop the Trump ascendancy.

Saturday, September 26, 2020


I needed something to kick me back to the work which has been lying comatose since I stopped paying attention to it because of this that and the other. I was leafing through a notebook where I keep inspirational quotes and found this one by Stanislavski. Doodled a decoration around it and here it is.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020


It was not a pleasant experience but not entirely unpleasant. Blessed NHS sent angelic drivers to pick me up and bring me back home. The wait at the hospital was long but quiet and punctuated by the insertion of many varieties of eyedrops. The op itself was surrealism, sci-fi and existentialism. Only the left eye was anaesthesised, I was fully conscious, lying down, head and face covered apart from small area left open for the surgical business. Various masked and gowned persons moving about, talking, presumably about what they were doing, and strange, melodic machine sounds. Instructions given to me were simple: look up, keep both eyes open, breathe. What I saw looking up was something like the view from a spaceship. Different kinds of lights, shapes like abstract skulls, crystalline cobwebs. I felt calm, detached. Also annoyed that it was taking so long. It seemed long but maybe it was only an hour or two. Then the surgeon said it's all done, everything went very well. In the waiting room, they gave me a cup of tea,biscuits and instructions to take home plus more eyedrops I must use for 2 weeks several times a day. An ambulance ride home and that's that.

The glint in my eye is not a glint: it's a reflection on the plastic shield taped over the de-cataracted eye which I must wear for a week every night when I sleeo but can take off in the daytime. As yet I have no idea what the world will look like through the doctored eye. We shall see. Goodnight for now.


Here is a photo of cataracts . The next photo is of somebody whose left eye will have a cataract surgically removed tomorrow. Too bad to lose such a beautiful natural phenomenon but apparently it improves vision. Who knew?

Saturday, September 19, 2020


When I posted the Paraguay parts of my fragmented autobio there was a sudden and welcome influx of Paraguayan visitors to my facebok page and some have since become my long-distance friends, One of them is José Luis De Tone, a photographer, critic and journalist who lives in Aregua, a beautiful small town outside of Asunciòn. Browsing his facebook page, I was struck by a photo José Luis took several years ago of himself with a college friend, Elizabeth. I commented on it, saying that it would make a very interesting painting. Well, what do you know, I've done it. Below is a photo of it taken yesterday. The actual colours of the painting are not so dark but my camera never gets colour right. Maybe I need a better camera. José Luis De Tone with Eli. NdA 2020. Acrylic, watercolour and coloured pencils on handmade cotton rag paper. 30 x 40 cms (12 x 16 inches).

Wednesday, September 09, 2020


A portrait I started in July is now finished and Plum Johnson, who commissioned it, has given me permision to post a photo of it before I ship the painting to Toronto, her home. I had several photos to work from but chose only one. The background design appeared in my mind almost fully formed when semi-awake one morning. I did a quick sketch of this geometric 'dream' before starting the portrait. Strangely enough, Plum tells me that the background has symbolic significance for her and resonates deeply. The process is intuitive and I have no idea how it happens but it does, quite often. In his livre d'artiste Jazz, Matisse wrote: En art la vèrité, le réel commence quand on ne comprend plus rien a ce qu'on fait, a ce qu'on sait... (In art the truth, the real begins when you no longer understand what you are doing, what you know...) Portrait of Plum Johnson. NdA 2020. Acrylic on canvas. 60 x 50cms (24 x 20 inches}