The Art of Derek Dohren

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Time Machine

Posted by Derek John Dohren on December 17, 2011 at 3:25 PM

If you could have a shot in a time machine, what year would you travel to and where would you go? It's a question I sometimes ask my English students and it's always sure to provide an interesting array of answers. Instinctively most people think of a time in their past, perhaps that moment when they made a monumentally bad decision or did something really stupid and regretful. How we would all like to rectify those mishaps!


For some people it's more of a temptation to go back further in time, perhaps to a period in history that pre-dates their own existence, to an era that has always held a fascination. If I allow myself the time to ponder such a thing then, once I've returned and fixed those idiotic things I did as a young man (and no, I'm not telling you what they are) I find myself drawn like a moth to a flame to the city of Paris. It's April 1874 and I am standing in the studio of photographer Felix Nadar. A group of frustrated and unheralded artists are about to reveal the results of their labours to an unsuspecting and largely unenthusiastic Parisien public.


As they assemble their paintings I watch these men move anxiously from canvas to canvas, quibbling with one another over lighting and wall positioning rights. I am invisible, for that's a condition I allow with my time machine travel. Monsieurs Degas, Monet, Cezanne, Renoir, Pissaro and Sisley cannot see me, but I can see them, and I can see all their pictures!


I seek out one piece of work in particular, Claude Monet's 'Impression, Sunrise', the painting that will lend its name to a whole new art movement, though not before it is roundly dismissed by one of France's leading art critics of the day as 'unfinished wallpaper'. I want to stand on the shoulder of that critic as he writes his notes and I want to whisper in his ear that he's wrong.


From here I can take in any of the next thirty years. I can stake out van Gogh as he marches into his sunflower field, observe Pablo Picasso take his steady steps towards cubism, or drop in on Paul Gaughin's tropical paradise. But should I ever have my fill of these late nineteenth century masters there are no shortages of pivotal moments in the history of art to which I can steer my time machine.


And yet, perhaps the thing to do is to glimpse the future? The past is the past and what really fascinates us is that which is yet to come. How far ahead would you dare go and could you possibly hope to understand whatever it was you saw once you got there? I don't know. For example, if I was able to show to the version of me that existed 20 years ago what he has become today, I'm quite sure he would be utterly flummoxed!


Flying on fast forward to a future time and place, without going through the necessary life experiences along the way, would be self defeating and futile. We would have no real understanding of why we were at wherever it was we had arrived.


For me, part of the power of art, and by definition life, is in making the journey. And it's why I love the thrill of a blank canvas. Often I have a strong idea for a piece of work and I know what I'm trying to achieve but every so often, I have absolutely no idea what will become of that white space staring back at me. That is a truly magical moment. To not know is somehow powerfully liberating. We cannot arrive at a destination unless we undertake the journey, and it is on the journey that our greatest adventures lie.


 

The Cats of the River Darro

Posted by Derek John Dohren on August 14, 2011 at 12:00 PM

The cats of the River Darro see

From ancient banks that lie

The passing of humanity

Alhambra’s glassy eye


Politicos in corrupted deals

Above that meal of bones

The English teacher dares that she’ll

Upon those cobblestones


And starry lovers are so surest

Down where this water laps

Near shopkeepers who rip off tourists

With their books of maps

 

The artist who paints despair

Sets up amongst the weeds

While in the Moor’s labyrinthine lair

Hang Catholic strings of beads

The Executive's Speech

Posted by Derek John Dohren on June 14, 2011 at 5:30 PM

I recently watched the Oscar winning The King’s Speech. For a story with such a thin plot, little or no action, and grating upper class English accents, it was an utterly absorbing and strangely compelling film. I loved every minute of it and would happily sit through the whole thing again.


I assume the intention of the filmmakers was to firmly align the sympathies of the viewers with Lionel Logue, the king’s Australian-born speech therapist. If so, then it certainly worked in my case. Whether this was more so because I now work in a vaguely related field I don’t know, but I found myself recognising one or two of the dilemmas faced by Logue in the face of the hugely demanding task he found himself landed with.


This week I was called upon to provide a crash course in English conversation to a high flying executive who has to make a business trip in a fortnight’s time and who wants to ‘make a good impression’ with his pronunciation. He doesn’t stutter but though his basic vocabulary knowledge is reasonable his pronunciation and use of grammar is poor. In many ways it’s an impossible job, and one that you can only do so much with.


But like Logue I found myself summoned to the side of a very busy man who appears to have little room for manoeuvre.


Where to start? At the beginning I suppose, but normal rules are out of the window. There just isn’t the time and I found myself like Logue, trying to establish some kind of cross cultural rapport to smooth the waters a bit. If my man gets through his business socialising without causing an international incident or insulting the Germans then I’ll consider it job done.


I don’t have a tricky stammer or the Queen Mother to contend with of course but then Lionel Logue never had to coax consonants out of a Granadino. I’m not sure which is the easier task.

Where the streets are paved with gold

Posted by Derek John Dohren on May 26, 2011 at 6:33 PM

It’s odd. I now have more luggage carrying capacity than I have actual luggage. My meagre worldly possessions consist of, amongst other things, a couple of suitcases, a rucksack, a laptop bag and a roll of plastic bin bags capable of taking the bulk of my tired and washed out clothes. When I move out of this apartment next month I’ll be able to shove the whole Dohren estate into the back of a family sized saloon. All I need to prove it is a family sized saloon. I do have a stash of exceedingly dodgy early paintings in my daughter’s Glasgow flat – but perhaps the less said about that the better.


Does it get me down? Yeah, course it does.

 

But on the other hand it’s kind of good to be able to travel light. I was always fascinated by the Dick Whittington fairy tale figure who walked to London, where the streets were paved with gold, with what little baggage he had tied to the end of a stick slung over his shoulder. For a penniless hobo I can’t think of a worse destination, yet he became Lord Mayor, and several times over, unless I’m mistaken. Good for him then, but I think most people nowadays would prefer to be a homeless vagrant than a politician.


I feel no worse off for a lack of ‘stuff’. In fact it’s very liberating.


Not for me the worries of how I’m going to find time to bubble-wrap the family silver or how to find the best method of decommissioning, transporting, and reassembling the laboriously catalogued library. No, my biggest concern is agonising over whether I should celebrate the move by buying a new toothbrush or maintaining draconian austerity measures and keeping the existing one. It doesn’t seem to matter whether you’re rich or you’re poor, there are still heartbreaking decisions to be made. That toothbrush has been a fine servant.


And it has to be said, the less you have, the more you appreciate what little you do have. I’m pleased to announce that the spare pair of shoe laces I’ve been using as a washing line will be making the trip with me. Fellas, it wouldn’t be the same without you.

 

When those early Glasgow paintings are discovered in some godforsaken Gorbals attic, say in 2080, they’ll be worth a fortune. The lucky owner will witter on about the ‘tragic life’ of the artist. My story will be made into a panto, starring the foremost D-list celebs of the day. In this panto I’ll be seen trudging to Granada with all my worldly goods tied up in a Mercadona bag.


In the Dick Whittington story they gave him a cat. I hope they give me a shiny new toothbrush. This one’s gone all splayed.

Azerbaijan 1 Europe 0

Posted by Derek John Dohren on May 16, 2011 at 7:00 PM

I plugged the telly in and watched the Eurovision Song Contest last Saturday night. It’s only occurred to me in the days since to wonder why on earth I tune in every year. I mean, I know it’s a load of phoney baloney, but finally I think I understand.


I love the voting.


And it’s not in any sort of ironic, ‘love to hate’ kind of way, no. I just enjoy it for what it is.


Let’s face it, any voting system that cheerfully and unashamedly makes FIFA’s process of selecting nations to host the next two World Cup finals look like a paragon of virtue has to be a hugely fascinating thing. In my opinion the brutality of the dishonesty is in itself disarmingly honest.


So Cyprus gives Greece its vote. What do you expect?


And here’s the rub. There ain’t no point bleating on about fair play in life because nothing in life actually is, even if we like to pretend otherwise.


Why else do we pepper our language with such idioms as ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know’, ‘all’s fair in love and war’ (an oxymoronic, twisted piece of perverted logic), ‘only the good die young’, and ‘a fair crack of the whip’? Additionally we often bemoan the lucky sod who has had ‘more than his fair share of ...’ this fair share being something or other that we haven’t been getting (money, sex, or those little free sachets of barbeque sauce at the local burger joint). In fairness (see, even I’m doing it now) this last phrase can also be used with negative connotations, as in ‘he’s had more than his fair share of bad luck’.


Fair play and decency, it’s the very cornerstone of what we like to think of as Britishness. It’s what the Victorians invented team sports for. I mean what better educational model in life has ever been designed to teach youngsters the basics of fairness than a good hard game of rugger, footy or cricket?


Er, well...


By the time you’re reading this the Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester Utd may have been played. If so, I cannot guarantee that a fair and equitable result ensued, and that the best team won, but I can guarantee that the team that scored the most goals did – be them in normal play or from the penalty spot. There’s fairness, and there’s rules you see, and they aren’t always the same thing, much as we’d like them to be.


Thus it’s reasonable to speculate from my position here, pre-Champions League final, that one half of Europe will spend days bleating after the game about how corrupt the referee was and/or how incredibly unfair the result was. The other half won’t.


People, you need to get a life.


Aside from its inbuilt and immutable unfairness, the other problem with sports is that once we work out the rules, we work out how to bend them, break them and in many cases, utterly disregard them. And so it is in life. We can’t help it.


Our great British Empire was built on these fundamentally flawed tenets of fair play and decency – the sort that allowed us to march into other people’s countries and steal all their land and resources. There was nothing unfair about this. They had stuff we needed. It wasn’t fair they had it and we didn’t, etc etc.


But let’s not get pernickety. Or overtly political. Hardly anything’s actually fair at all when you think about it. In fact, nothing is. And really, once you accept it, you realise there’s no problem and that a system of blatant unfairness is actually a pretty good one with which to orchestrate life on a planet. Life is, to the very core, inherently unfair: life and everything that’s in it, all the way down to sachets of barbeque sauce and Joe Bloggs winning the Euro lottery.


Problems occur only when we start believing in the delusion of fairness. You’re as likely to hear a Frenchman at Eurovision say ‘and our twelve points this year goes to [dramatic pause] the United Kingdom ...’ as you are to expect anything in life to actually be kosher.


The prettiest girls get the richest boys and a football team can slaughter another yet lose a match one nil. Yes, even Jedward can finish as high as 9th in a singing competition. It’s called life.


So my advice? Accept all this and you’ll be fine. Don’t gnash your teeth next time Germany gives Austria maximum Eurovision points and don’t rail against the unfairness of the world next time you see Peter Crouch’s incredible new girlfriend.


Azerbaijan may or may not have had the best song and it mightn’t even be in Europe (is it?), but whatever. It’s irrelevant. They won coz they scored the most goals. And they had the prettiest girls too. It all seems fair enough to me.

Gaia

Posted by Derek John Dohren on April 9, 2011 at 9:54 AM

Stardust. The beginning and the end. Of you and me.

 

Being something. Flung with absoluteness. Outwards. Stardust. Exploding outwards. Expanding. Faster and further. Atoms speeding. Being. Expanding. Out into void. Filling void. Filling space. Hydrogen and helium. Elemental. Being something from nothing. Being a universe. You and me.

 

Atoms. Trillions and trillions of atoms multiplied a trillion by a trillion times. All directions. Expanding. Relentless. Growing faster and faster. Moving further and further. Stardust.

 

Dark matter. Dark energy. Gravity. Holding together. Atoms. Coalescing into clumps. Grouping and clumping into nebulae. Glue. Gravity. Trillions upon trillions upon trillions of atoms bunching billions and billions of times.

 

Space. Atoms. Hydrogen. Swirling and grouping. Bunching and clumping. Forming nebulae. Faster. Outwards. Filling nothing with something. Filling void. Filling space. Being something from nothing. Being a universe.

 

Dark matter. Dark Energy. Outwards. Moving apart. Holding together. Glue. Gravity.

 

Form. Taking on form. And shape. Differences. Clumps and bumps. Nebulae. Coalescing masses. Swathes of dark matter. Light and dark. Always dark energy. Dark matter. On and on. Boiling and cooking atoms. Hydrogen and helium.

 

Nuclear fusion. Atoms coalescing. Massive nebulae. Stars. Huge stars. Stardust. Elemental forces. Turning hydrogen to helium and carbon and chlorine and nickel and iron and gold.

 

Alchemy. Alchemy in stars. From stardust. Dark matter. Dark energy. Atoms. Elements. Stars. Stardust. Trillions and trillions and trillions of atoms forming billions and billions of galaxies. Stardust.

 

Outwards. Relentless. Expanding from nothing to something. Filling void. Filling space. Being something from nothing. Being a universe.

 

Galaxies. Billions and billions of galaxies. Trillions and trillions of stars. Stardust. Filling the nothing with something. Onwards. Outwards. Flinging with absoluteness. Alchemy. Elemental forces. Heavy and heavier. Nuclear fusion. Alchemy. Hydrogen and helium and lithium and boron and carbon. Iron and silicon and lead and nickel and silver, copper, magnesium, aluminium. Plutonium, uranium.

 

Stardust. Trillions and trillions and trillions of atoms. Being turned into elements.

 

Stars and galaxies. Ever outward. Faster and faster. Spiralling. Clumping. Grouping. Stars. Massive groups of atoms. Huge masses of atoms. Spinning. Coalescing. Grouping together. Massive stars made up of stardust. Stardust made up of atoms. Trillions and trillions of atoms multiplied a trillion by a trillion times. Being turned into elements. Expanding from nothing to something. Nuclear forces. Spinning. Cooking. Alchemy. Stardust. Making elements. Turning hydrogen to gold.

 

Galaxies. Billions and billions and billions of stars. Spinning. Cooking. Transforming. Alchemy. Spiralling faster and faster. Expanding. Relentless.

 

Galaxies. Stars. Spiralling discs. Atoms. Trillions and trillions of atoms multiplied a trillion by a trillion times. Forming galaxies and stars and solar systems. Unique solar systems. Galaxies and their stars. Stars and their solar systems. Coalescing stardust into planetisimals. Lumps of rock. Iron and nickel and gold and cobalt and carbon and lead. Balls of gas. Hydrogen and nitrogen and oxygen and now the elements combined. Compounds. Methane. Water. Ice.

 

Spinning and spiralling. Coalescing around each star. Stars spinning solar systems. Planetisimals. Baby planets. Heavy rocks close to their star. Spinning and orbiting. Gaseous planets too. Orbiting further out.

 

Rocky planetisimals. Crashing and grinding into one another. Coalescing. Accreting. Bigger and bigger balls of rock. Planets. Orbiting. Spinning. Each solar system now with larger and larger planets, spinning and orbiting around a central star.

 

Trillions upon trillions upon trillions of atoms. Billions and billions of stars. Spiralling in galaxies. Billions and billions of galaxies. Expanding. Outwards. Spiralling. Expanding into the nothing. Held together by Glue. Gravity. Dark matter. Dark energy. Something from nothing. Billions and billions of galaxies. Being flung outwards with absoluteness. Expanding. Relentless. Being something from nothing. Being a universe.

 

Stardust. The beginning and the end. You and me. Everything and nothing. Stardust. Being something. Flung with absoluteness. Outwards. Stardust. Exploding outwards. Expanding. Faster and further. Atoms speeding. Being. Expanding. Out into void. Filling void. Filling space. Hydrogen and helium. Elemental. Being a universe. Being something from nothing. Seeding a universe. You and me.

 

Circling a star. In a galaxy. In a universe created from nothing. Stardust. Cooked. Transformed. Nuclear fusion. New elements. Compounds. Nuclear fusion in stars. Methane, and water, and salt. Oxides and sulphides. Complex molecules. Coalescing now into rocky planets. Circling the stars. Spiralling galaxies with billions of stars and billions upon billions of planets.

 

Rocks and planets. Orbiting their stars. Crashing and breaking. Accreting. Coalescing. Stabilising. Bigger and bigger planets. Made from stardust. Orbiting a sibling star. Bigger and bigger. Orbiting stars. Rocky planets. Orbiting close to the sibling star. Gaseous planets in far off orbit. Rock and gas. Element and compound. Atoms. Trillions and trillions of atoms multiplied a trillion by a trillion times. Outward. Expanding. Filling the nothing with something.

 

Rocks colliding and breaking. Rocks joining. Merging. Planets draw rocks and gas. Planets grow. Sucking in compounds from the sibling star. Slowly. Interminably. Material accreting. Material coalescing. Stars have solar systems. Solar systems of planets. Rocky and gaseous siblings. Circling and spinning in orbit.

 

Planets grow. Bombarded with meteors. Planets suck in meteors. Pull them in. Growing and growling. Crashing and burning. Billions of galaxies and billions upon billions of stars. Trillions upon trillions upon trillions of atoms. Forming. Shaping. Grouping. Colaescing into planets and stars and galaxies. Glue. Gravity. Held together by dark energy.

 

Billions of planets. Orbiting their stars. Lonely solar systems with rocky and gaseous planets. All part of a galaxy. All part of a universe. Expanding outwards. Filling the nothing with something. Filling void. Filling space. Outwards. Relentless. On and on. Expanding from nothing to something. Being a universe.

 

And stars collapsing. Collapsing and exploding. Elements and compounds explode. Outwards. On and on. Relentless. Filling void. Filling space. Atoms. Elements. Compounds. Complex molecules. Expanding. Rock and dust. Stardust. Filling the nothing with something. Being a universe. Exploding stars. Recycling stardust. Recycling atoms. New stars. Trillions and trillions of atoms multiplied a trillion by a trillion times.

 

Complex compounds. Complex molecules. Amino acids. Proteins. Rocks and meteors. Pummelling into planets.

 

Life.

 

Something from nothing. Being a universe. Atoms and stardust and elements and compounds and molecules and rock and ice. And life. Life on planets. And death. Life and death. Slowly. Interminably. Forming and shaping. Crashing and burning. All made of atoms. Stars forming and dying. Recycling stardust. Stars and life dying. Stars and life reborn.

 

Stardust. The beginning and the end. You and me. Everything and nothing. Stardust. Being something. Flung with absoluteness. Outwards. Stardust. Exploding outwards. Expanding. Faster and further. Atoms speeding. Being. Expanding. Out into void. Filling void. Filling space. Hydrogen and helium. Elemental. Being a universe. Being something from nothing. Seeding a universe. You and me.

 

Life.

 

Life on a rock. Life on a planet. Spinning. Orbiting a star. A rocky planet. Made of atoms and elements and compounds fused from exploding stars. Stardust. You and me. Amino acids. Proteins. Complex carbohydrates. Ice. Water. Life. Life on earth.

 

Earth. A rocky planet. Life. Life on earth. Here. Circling a sun. Orbiting a star. A solar system. Four rocky planets. Life and death. Life and death on earth.

 

Death.

 

Death. Rebirth. Life. Recycling. Flung with absoluteness. Filling void. Filling space. Being a universe. Life and death on planet earth. Rebirth and renewal on planet earth. Recycling of atoms and stardust and elements and compounds and complex molecules on planet earth.

 

Stardust. The beginning and the end. You and me.

October 14th Mostly

Posted by Derek John Dohren on October 14, 2010 at 6:45 PM

The suicide of ecstasy

a pool ball on the floor

in a bottle, craves a fantasy

no harm to have one more

 

dignity is lost amidst

the macho strut of youth

and leaning on the tide of years

you're spellbound by the truth

 

They spit the woes at you unchecked

but no one cares to listen

childish memories unfold

peering at your prison

 

and yet you tell of plenty

what is this truth at all?

it falls on ears deaf and blind

another blanket wall

 

the scars live on your hands

and face, a mirror to

the agony of ecscasy

the suicide of you.

October 6th - One Day in the Tense Present

Posted by Derek John Dohren on October 6, 2010 at 5:42 PM

at once I see it now

in the trees of my woods

but my wings refuse to fly

and still you hang around my neck

a necktie that will strangle

you don't try and get the gist of it

yet still you drag at your denial

the isthmus is so full of stamps

that scream of life, silently

to those who will not listen

a world of fools

no nothing of it matters

because we will all lie that way

and our dust will fill the gyre

of ocean black and milky and vacant

unseen records

that will whisper silently

and who will weep and why would they now?

for the eye has blinked

and washed away

the vestige of space

that you inhabit

dust to dust

in furious speed

a breath of air

has gone to seed

The Granada Insider

Posted by Derek John Dohren on September 27, 2010 at 5:32 PM

Site update: the Granada Insider Articles is a new page containing links to articles I've written for the monthly magazine here in Granada.

site changes

Posted by Derek John Dohren on June 15, 2010 at 2:15 PM

Just a note to comment on the recent site refresh. You may have noticed a few new pages - if not then this is to tell you there are a few new pages. And there has been a site refresh. This is a note of them.

 

It's not just new fancy background colours and fonts and stuff...

 

'classes' provides details of the new art classes I'm starting up here in Granada. If you're heading out this way and fancy spending a few hours creating some original artwork then let me know! This page will flesh out with more information in the coming week.

 

'evolution' describes how three of my recent paintings developed.

 

'career resume' and 'things I know' might not all be entirely true. I'm not sure.

 

Finally, if you've not looked around the site before please stay and have a browse. There's plenty to see. Some of it's rubbish though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Falling

Posted by Derek John Dohren on June 10, 2010 at 7:31 AM

I'm feeling the pressure again and am trying to get through one week at a time. Always a good time to paint a self portrait.

 

At last

Posted by Derek John Dohren on May 25, 2010 at 5:03 PM

I've not painted for a while. Work has been a bit too heavy but I sense a shift in the daily routine is imminent. Things don't seem to stay the same for long here.

 

Here's a portrait I painted last week. It was done in a matter of hours, proving to myself again that my best work is spontaneous and quick. I hope to be getting my head down to more serious painting projects soon.

 

A bigger version of this painting is viewable in the portrait gallery.

 

Into the Alhambra

Posted by Derek John Dohren on April 19, 2010 at 3:24 PM

I finally got inside the Alhambra on Sunday, courtesy of Charley. She is over for a visit and purchased tickets for us both as a forthcoming birthday treat. It was amazing. The photos don't really do it justice but I'll post a few anyway...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soy un Profesor de Arte

Posted by Derek John Dohren on April 5, 2010 at 4:46 PM

I taught an art class this afternoon. It was great fun and a 100 times better than teaching English. My students were all excellent and enjoyed themselves. They are all now stealing themselves for day two of the course which will take them out onto the mean streets of Granada for a cityscape later this week! Bring it on!

 

We started the lesson painting colour wheels and touched a little on some colour theory before loosening up the artistic mood a bit more by experimenting with different sized  brushes and knives.

The class then went on to paint their own gardenscape paintings (photo above) and produced a wide array of beautiful pictures. A great afternoon!

Painting the World

Posted by Derek John Dohren on March 26, 2010 at 12:53 PM

So I got involved with Paintmap.

 

It's an organisation that has set out to try and put together a slightly alternative map of the world. You home in on an area using googlemaps and the landmarks of that particular global spot are revealed through the eyes of artists.

 

It's a fascinating way to see the world.

 

There's a link to the site here

 

 

Sold, to the American lady!

Posted by Derek John Dohren on March 25, 2010 at 7:37 PM

I got a sale in Granada tonight. On a whim I went along to the Puerta de Elvira and strung my paintings up between two lamp posts in front of the arch, pretty near to the spot I painted the view from. I didn't bother arranging the prints this time and decided to give it half an hour to 45 minutes just for the experience and hell of it.

 

I was far more exposed to sudden police incursions than I had been on Saturday and sure enough, as I was setting up, a patrol car passed by, literally inches from my pitch. The two cops inside didn't seem the least perturbed by the sight of me tying string around a lamp post in front of one of the city's well known beauty spots, so fine. I carried on ...

 

It was turning dark and the the arch was as lit up as in the painting I made of it. I was well pleased.

 

What I hadn't bargained for was the wind. The paintings were blowing up and over the string I had them hanging off and I was worried they were going to rip and tear.

 

Anyway, time passed with little or no interest, save for a couple of nice comments, and I began packing up. I left the Puerta painting till the end, just in case, and as I was about to pull it down I got chatting to an American lady who expressed some interest in it.

 

In the end, she bought a mounted print of the painting. Not bad considering I didn't even have the prints on display. She said she didn't have enough cash on her to buy the original. But, she was happy, and so was I. A sale's a sale.

 

The police issue was also less of a worry. I reckon 5 or 6 cars drove up, clocked what I was doing, and moved on uninterested. So maybe it's not such a problem?

 

 

 

On the Streets of Granada

Posted by Derek John Dohren on March 21, 2010 at 5:55 PM

A big part of my move here to Spain was to try and make a real go of becoming a professional artist. Big dreams I know, but in for a penny, in for a pound. I figured it was time I tested the water.

 

So on Saturday I ventured into the city to try and sell some paintings on the streets. I was nervous as a kitten and had to fight the flight or fight reflex as I approached my designated area of most opportunity. I'd staked out this area of pavement for a week or two and had chosen it as a likely location due to the heavy footfall and wide open feel it offered. I was encouraged to see how mobbed with people it was as I made my way towards it.

 

Alas, as I approached I could see two police officers on patrol. The African lads who sell handbags, umbrellas, jewellery and really really bad quality DVDs were picking up their stuff and moving as the cops swaggered arrogantly down the walkway, batons dangling menacingly from their holsters.

 

I doubled back and sat on a nearby bench to spy on proceedings and soon plod was off, elsewhere. The African lads, old hands at this cat and mouse game, laid their wares out again. My chosen spot still lay vacant so I traipsed on over and began unloading my kit. I tied a length of string between a lamp post and a tree and began hanging my paintings off it with bulldog clips. I then laid a small blanket on the ground and arranged my postcard sized prints and my pricing details. I was thrilled when a middle aged couple strolled over to ask about one of the paintings - I had barely finished setting things out - and the gent was very complimentary to me. 'This will be great' I thought, but really, that was as good as it got.

 

 

I had a few people show interest, and got some good comments, but no sales.

 

I was so nervous about the police that I couldn't really relax. A couple of the African boys came over and we shared a handshake and a word of cameraderie but I never really ever felt comfortable. An hour or so later the two police officers returned and we were all forced to pack our things up and go.

 

Then it started raining and that was that.

 

Lessons learned:

I think my display was a bit confusing. I had too many cards detailing different prices and so on and I also think my postcard prints were a hindrance. No one wants a print - they want an original painting. I only had 5 originals on display and need at least twice as many. I need to get better and more efficient at producing quicker, smaller, paintings. It was a great experience though. Selling stuff on the street feels such a raw and engaging thing to do - not that I actually sold anything of course!

 

Puerta de Elvira, Granada

Posted by Derek John Dohren on March 18, 2010 at 5:26 PM

Apologies for the lack of updates. An appalling internet connection here is making life difficult. I don't know if things will improve any time soon but each attempt at doing anything is painful so I'll keep it short.

 

Here's a recent painting. You can see a fuller version in the 'granada' gallery. It's the Puerta de Elvira. At the weekend I'm planning to try and sell some of my art on the streets in Granada. We shall see.

 

Eaten but not forgotten

Posted by Derek John Dohren on March 3, 2010 at 5:37 PM

Here's the still life that got eaten.

 

It's not quite finished yet - there's still a surviving apple in the fruit bowl.

 

Anyway, just back in from another epic night out tramping the villages of Andalucia. Another missed bus, another 3 mile hike home through the foul weather. Still, one has to laugh.

I did catch 20 minutes or so of the France v Spain encounter. Not that I was ever any great lover of them but how sad is it now to see France? They are a bunch of crap has-beens.

Latest painting

Posted by Derek John Dohren on February 28, 2010 at 3:55 PM

I completed this today. Not sure it's what I intended but I do know it's done and finished. It's a view of the Constitucion from high up in the Albaicin.