Crown Silence - Acrylic, Oil Paintstick & Chinagraph Pencil on Plywood Panel 30 cm x 30 cm 26 March 2018

I returned home last night to a good news e mail:

Hi Michael - hope you are well. Just to let you know that ‘Crown Silence’ has sold. Well done again and payment will be made on or before 7th January 2019.
Hope you enjoy the festive break.

Thank you Velvet Easel and thank you to whoever bought my work yesterday, may it bring you much contemplation and joyfulness.

People Are Turning To Gold Gold Acrylic Spray Paint, Oil Paintstick & Acrylic on MDF 30 x 30 cm 30 July 2018 - Rejected!

Dear Artist
Pre-selection is now complete. Sadly, on this occasion your work has not been selected for the Open Submission section of . . . 2019.

Dear Michael,

Thank you for submitting your proposal to exhibit at P. . . Gallery for the 2018 Exhibition Programme, we appreciate the time and effort put into making your application.

There were a large number of ambitious proposals submitted this year, but unfortunately your proposal was not successful this time.  We would however be very happy to consider a future application from you and details of next years’ submission date will be made available . . .

Rejection is never a pleasant experience but now, I largely move on and heed the words of Eleanor Roosevelt – “ No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” There is a spasm of hurt but then defiance and motivation propel me onwards.

In the past however, self-doubt and insecurity crept like ivy into my mind eating away at self-esteem and confidence. I really did begin to question my work and reasons for doing it. Now I realise rejection is frequently the result of an opinion of one or more individuals and that the opinion is subjective. The only evaluation that is of real value to me is my own.

Finally, Marcus Aurelius wrote, “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” – Meditations

In other words try to use the experience, use the obstacle. Occasionally, the little devil on my shoulder begins the ‘your work is no good’ whispering but I just flick it off, ignore it and work through those moments.

So, no more emotional destruction!

Dance of Death
The Seagull
Kumu - Art Museum of Estonia

I was lucky enough to visit Tallinn, Estonia last week. Amongst many fascinating things that I experienced, a visit to the extraordinary Kumu, was one of the most thrilling. Kumu is the headquarters of the Art Museum of Estonia and houses both classical and contemporary art.

The complex itself is a work of art - a modern architectural masterpiece. Curves and sharp edges mark out a copper and limestone structure, which is built into the side of a limestone cliff set within Kadriorg Park. It is simply breath taking!

Of the art on display, The Soviet era exhibition (Conflicts and Adaptations. Estonian Art of the Soviet Era (1940–1991) was particularly engrossing. However, The Seagull by Villu Jaanisoo, an installation, featuring 87 sculpted heads from children to Joseph Stalin via Estonian folk heroes was utterly compelling. There were archive recordings of interviews with the subjects played simultaneously for a maximum, metaphor-heavy cacophony! It was a strange experience to sit in the room alone with heads and voices.

Finally, St. Nicholas’ Church, which houses the Niguliste Museum and the famous Danse Macabre, (painted by Bernt Notke at the end of the 15th century) made an equal impression on me.

The Dance of Death theme is often encountered in late medieval art and literature. One impetus for this was the Black Death that ravaged Europe in the middle of the 14th century. Skeletal figures personifying Death dance alternately to mortals, as a memento mori (reminder of earthly perishability). Mortals are ranked in a hierarchy, starting with the worlds mighty – pope and emperors – and ending with the peasants, the fool or the infant. It was a sobering and humbling moment to stand before it!

Tallinn was a visual joy :))