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At the art college for the afternoon and not really feeling like attempting the etchings today. The plate I was trying to use the Lascaux acrylic ground hasn’t gone well and I haven’t been able to use that. I ended up with he stuff too thick on the plate and I have had to take it off and start again. I have nearly finished with the ten copper plates I got off Ernst a year ago and the series is coming to an end. Much slower than I had originally intended. With the opportunity to go over the confirmation report again and a new term starting I have been in a reflective mood and trying to think my way through a summarising process of the work I have done over the summer to redirect the research project away from the classroom, as such, and into the art demonstration as art practice.

I was going to write up some notes in the library but the computers wouldn’t let me log on so I was rather adrift. On a whim I picked up a book on Mimmo Paladino (Mimmo Paladino: works on paper 1973-1987 Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac (1987). This was serendipity, looking to fritter some time away checking out an artist who had intrigued me when I was art college 25 years ago. I was wondering what he looked like to me now.

I am aware that he is not very fashionable and you can tell by the number of books there are about him on the shelf that he isn’t that popular or current. Unless all of the Paladino books are out and are being pored over by art students reassessing his work but I doubt it. there are two books and they both date back to the Eighties, Paladino’s heyday. And the time when I was at college trying to negotiate a pathway between the conceptualism of the seventies and the neo-expressionism of the eighties. I didn’t make a very good job of it. I ended up more comfortable with painting and drawing in some form, some sort of mark making which wasn’t very comfortable and hasn’t been since.

Anyway, Paladino. I started drawing from one of his drawings and flicked through the book. In one of the texts by Achille Bonito Oliva there were some interesting lists of everything that Paladino does in drawings and this intrigued me so I copied that out. Oliva makes the point that a lot of Paladino’s work is about the fragment and this started to interest me more and more. I have been thinking a lot about the fragmentary nature of my art practice, where work gets made and then forgotten or even half made as another interest or project comes along in the classroom which redirect the attention. Paladino’s work is made of fragments and I found this very interesting. He is also interested in archaic cultures and free association. I did a series of drawings from the book in a sketchbook. Not really copies as using his work as a starting point to think about what I was interested in within his work. His faces had made some sort of impression on me, 25 years ago.

The night before I had been out to the SCVA and spent some time looking at the Leonora Carrington paintings. Very fine. Beautiful things and I have never seen a set of them before, only the odd one in the Tate or in a show. I don’t write well about artist’s work. I am aware that I am supposed to be working on some sort of critical writing manner but it is not something I am at all good at. I liked them anyway and I want to go back and do some drawings. This goes back to other writing about this habit and the sketchbook that is on the website, this habit of using an artist’s work in my own, of drawing from art in galleries or from books. I was sort of dreaming of Paladino with the pencil, letting something of his work into mine, thinking about what I was interested in about his work by drawing it.

I’m not that interested in his ‘style’. That is never the point, what ever people say. Style strikes me as what illustrators fret about as they establish a trademark style for the market. I am not really interested in that at all. What I am interested in is how the art work shows what the artist was thinking about or was trying to think abut when they made it. That seems to be the powerful thing that objects and images capture and embody. Be that Paladino or Carrington or the maker of a Cycladic head in the SCVA or whatever. And it is that sense of a person working and trying to express some though visually that interests me and that I try to pass on to the children. “Style” is a word people use for an aspect of that.

My own work covers a lot of ground and various categories. I realised a long time ago that I was a bad faker in that I couldn’t get rid of my own mark, I couldn’t ‘hide’ my mark in someone else’s even when I tried to. Whatever I did had a tendency to look like I did it. I didn’t really like the way that happens but I decided that I was stuck with it. The freedom of that is that it doesn’t really matter what I do because it will always look like I did it so I didn’t really need a ‘style’. I had a ‘touch’, I was told. So I have let these other art practices wash across my work and made a hybrid art practice out of what has interested me or moved me. A little bit of all this looking probably sticks, evolves it in some way. This seems to be part of the theme of how I learn about art.

I enjoyed the Paladino book and my drawing.

Back at school I make some larger versions of the drawings on a variety of materials lying around the art room with the intention of putting together a “Paladino Dreaming” image. I have left this behind for the half term and will see what that looks like when I get back.