homo sapiens is homo spiritalis

A frieze of horses and rhinos near the Chauvet cave’s Megaloceros Gallery, where artists may have gathered to make charcoal for drawing. Chauvet contains the earliest known paintings, from at least thirty-two thousand years ago.

good article in the new yorker concerning the prehistoric cave paintings here in the dordogne & elsewhere in sw france

i particularly like the jean clottes quote: Homo sapiens is Homo spiritualis

“You can advance a scientific hypothesis without claiming certainty,” Clottes told me one evening. “Everyone agrees that the paintings are, in some way, religious. I’m not a believer myself, and I’m certainly not a mystic. But Homo sapiens is Homo spiritualis. The ability to make tools defines us less than the need to create belief systems that influence nature. And shamanism is the most prevalent belief system of hunter-gatherers.”

“The topography hasn’t changed much, except that the Ice Age vegetation was much sparser: mostly evergreens, like fir and pine. Without all the greenery, the resemblance of the Pont d’Arc to a giant mammoth would have been even more dramatic. But nothing of the landscape—clouds, earth, sun, moon, rivers, or plant life, and, only rarely, a horizon—figures in cave art. It’s one among many striking omissions.” – jean clottes (in the interview)

Letter from Southern France

First Impressions

What does the world’s oldest art say about us?

by Judith Thurman

Sanguine Portrait of a Child

‘Sourire Toujours’
Sanguine Portrait of a Child
Hanhemaille ‘Nostalgia’
© The Artist.
Been off holidaying with my wife & two young children. Family time. We went to Britanny, near Carnac with its standing stones (which really caught my boy’s imagination!) & its beautiful silver sand beaches.

We stayed with some good old friends, a Breton & a Provençale, who also have children. The Mum’s a professional nanny. Sharing the pleasures & woos of parenting. Two families with young children. I did the above portrait of their daughter as a gift to her. I only do portraits only when it feels right. Mostly of friends & family. I enjoy scutinising people whom I enjoy. Would hate to do the ‘mug’s game’ for a living. They were pleased with the likeness. The young girl showed the portrait to all her friends, so it wasn’t a dud. Hope she will still enjoy it in sixty years time. ‘Sourire toujours’. These hopes that parents have for their children. Childhood.

Canoes on the Vézère

Canoes on the Vézère
38 x 46cm (15 x 11 inches).
© The Artist.
450 euros framed
Typical holiday scene from the Dordogne, paddling down stream, under the cliffs, watching the tree-lined banks & groups of laughing holiday makers going by in bright coloured canoes.

My funny & true story … ‘it really DID  happened to me’ a plein-air painter

Funny story: I sometimes paint actually in the water when it’s hot. Sitting up to stomach in running cool water is a nice way of basquing whilst working. Such as the above. Sitting still for hours on end can however attract unwelcome guests…. once whilst painting in the river I was attacked by a lamprey eel! Black & ugly it was & it’s bite gave me quiet serious whelps & burns…
How’s that for an occupational hazard?

Peter ‘Bimbo’ Acock

‘Bimbo Sings the Blues’
dans le temps d’une chanson….five minute pose
A5 sketchbook
© The Artist.

‘Bimbo’, Peter Acock

In Bergerac, we are lucky enough to have a musician of outstanding talent. Known locally as ‘Bimbo’, Peter Acock plays the sax (soprano & alto), the clarinette & here his third instrument, the piano & voice… Jazz bébé jazz
he was a well known session musician in London in the seventies & now plays marriages, bars & concerts all over the south west. I like what he does & he’s a big buddy of mine. Great talent.

Jean Marquay at the Buddha Bar

Indonesian Lava stone Stutue of The Buddha
A5 sketchbook
© The Artist.
Jean Marquay on the Drums
five minute pose whilst drummin’ away
A5 sketch book
© the artist
Groovy, dimly lit jazz bar in bergerac with a theme deco of some good quality statues of The Buddha, smiling beniegnly on at the cocktails & other alcoholic beverages.

Jean is a local painter. I think I’ve spelt his name wrong. He used to have a gallery in the old town of Bergerac but got bored stiff of sitting in, so he sold it & now plays the drums … John Coltrane, sort of cool sixties type of be-bop