Tuesday, June 6, 2017

ART MAKETH THE HOME ... or Home is Where the art is

What a day. WHAT A DAY. How to turn a house into a home …

But let’s start from the beginning.

When I met, and soon went to live with, my wonderful Ian, somewhere back in the 1970s, I entered one world (amongst others) of which I knew little or nothing. The world of pictorial art.

I mean, we’d had nice pictures on our family walls as children. Mostly scenic ones, from Austria. I still have one or two. The Matterhorn. Salzburg. Halstattersee. 

But this was something else. Ian’s walls were full of, you know, Art. Sutherland, Derain, van Dongen, Marie Laurençin, Cecil Beaton (!), Larionov, Sidney Nolan (I put them in the loo), and other Australians of all ranks from Drysdale to Fred Jessup to Sainthill to Hockey, and even way back to Conrad Martens..

 So, I … a young man who had never bought or owned a Real Painting …  had my eyes opened.

Fast Forward. 2006. Since Ian’s death, I have left our house and especially the pictures, absolutely as he arranged them. We even, in latter days, included the couple of New Zealand pictures (Heffer 1901, and Strong 1991-ish) in his arrangement…

Result: I live, when I am in New Zealand, surrounded by art. The horsey photos are relegated to the kitchen, my gold medals and certificates to the second bathroom … and the walls of my dressing room are a gallery of heteroclite paintings which didn’t make it to the drawing room. There are some lithos … but no prints. It’s all Art.

Chapter Two. Yamba. I bought my little Yamba home two years ago. It’s one of those apartments that you let out when you are not there, so it was decorated (art-wise) with that peculiar brand of print which fills hotel and motel walls inoffensively … for a few nights …

I live here from Easter to September holidays. I love this place. Just as I love Gerolstein. But I can’t feel At Home with motel-wall prints.

So ten days ago I went in search of a local artist who might make me a lovely me-type painting to display over my couch. None of my local pals came up with a suggestion, so I went on a www search. So many artists these day putting out stuff in the violent, scissor-edged colours of commercial and computer ‘art’. Couldn’t live with that sort of thing. And then … found!

Today, a young man named Michael Augustine drove down from Caloundra, Qld bearing a load of paintings, from which I might choose the one I liked best. He’s just left … well, his load is lighter on the way home. I’ve bought seven. No, I’ve just re-counted .. eight!

Yes, I know. I sha’n’t eat for a month. But, well, when you find a shirt or a pair of shoes you love, the rule of thumb is ‘buy five’. So I bought eight. And, do you know what? Those pictures have changed the whole feeling of my flats. Now I feel I’m among ‘my stuff’, ‘at home’. Apart from which, they are darling. Beautiful, warm, throughly ‘local’ paintings. Bush, sea, rocks, water .. cool, warm colours … Just the thing for a beachside home that is washed in sunshine 300 plus days a year.

Mike Augustine (yes, he’s Mike now, after a Guinness on the terrasse and a hugely thank-you hug), thank you so much and get your painting arm into gear, because when my friends and visitors see these … well, Kurt the casting director and discoverer of goodies just might have done it again!

So here they are: three for my living room, two for my bedroom, and the remaining three for my big 'investment' flat opposite. Number 3.
Number 3 actually got the prize-winning painting. It just suited that (larger) wall better ... so down with the print (it will be relocated in the loo or somewhere) ...

 and up with "Quiet"

Up with "Round the corner", on the other side of the room ... out of the direct sun ..

and, oh migosh, there's the most vile pretend picture in the hallway. Glued to the wall! Prised off with a stanley knife and hurled into the skip the workmen are using ... we'll have a nice little gum instead

There, that's the guests taken care of. Now me. Flat 7. Bedroom first. Gleefully take down the psychedelic fishes from above my bed ... I know what's going there! I've known since I saw it on the Internet


But when you are in bed, and 'lying awake with a dismal headache and repose is tabooed by anxiety ...', you can't see the lovely picture above your head. So another is needed at the foot of the bed. There!

And now, the grand finale. My living room. Cum office. The room in which I spend 80 percent of my waking hours. It's a delicious room. My desk looks out across my big patio through a whole wall of glass, I have nature for my art in the daytime. But my office opens at 5.30am. And closes well after dark ... and something needed to be done in the non-office part...  and that's what set this whole exercise in motion. The gapingly bare wall. So, art came calling to me ...

And, having answered my call .. the paintings which had called the first and the loudest ended up where I had hoped they would

Ah. That's better ...  Thanks to the artist and his art I now have a home that feels like a home. A week or two living with my new pictures, an inch up, an inch down, left or right  ... and it'll be set for my lifetime.

PS can anybody use some second-hand psychedelic fish?

No comments: