Does Covid-19 disprove God?

Briefly, why would a loving god inflict such a virus on its creation? It isn’t the first time such a virus has waged war against humankind, The bubonic plague (the ‘black death’, the plague, la peste) is still active today and in Europe, for over two centuries it killed approximately 30,000,000 people.

I find it incomprehensible that a loving god would unleash such viruses on its flock, what is this god doing? Is it conducting experiments on human populations? The virus doesn’t give a damn about who it infects, or where, it isn’t conscious, it just exists as a massively destructive and unguided killer. Unguided by a god.

It makes no sense for a god to treat its creation in this way, it isn’t a question of ‘god moves in mysterious ways’, unless your opt out, from seeing that which is staring you in the face. That is supernatural belief, we have zero evidence for the supernatural. God’s creation is looking more unproven than ever at the moment as Covid-19 wreaks havoc amongst humankind; belief in a creator god is increasingly untenable.

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Paradis – from ‘the Last Judgement of Pope Francis’.

So May 3rd 2020 and we are learning to live with Covid-19 the virus that has the potential to massively deplete the population of the blue planet. Fortunately in France and in most other 1st. world countries we are taking precautions such as the wearing of masks in public to mitigate its awful potential. As I write this, France’s death toll is approaching 30,000, the future is changed for ever but as an artist this is an experience that I can draw on to nourish my creative core.

One effect of Covid-19 directly on my life is that I’m isolated, quite alone really, I see a nurse once a day to change my dressings but apart from delivery drivers and the odd sighting of and brief conversation with my neighbour, life is barren in terms of human interaction. I watch the French news in the kitchen when I prepare food and I was amused this morning to see drive through confessions for Catholics. I don’t jest, outside the Church, the priests have set up tents with one of those ‘peep-hole’ latticed confessional doors, separating the priest from the sinner, who remains seated and masked in their car, prepared to tremulously splutter out the awful sinning of their past days. I found this to be hilarious, the sight of this was just cretinous and pitiful, really, humans can be smart about some things and then entirely stupid and gullible about others. You need to be really gullible I think – to have religious faith. It is based in the fear of death instilled in ‘the tremulous faithful’ by the Church, often from birth and with lasting psychological damage, fear of hell for instance, the reluctance to accept their own mortality.

As someone who accepts our current understanding of evolution, I think that religious believers, would be less afraid of death if they stopped believing in magic and if they stopped imagining an afterlife, when there is zero evidence for one and just dipped their fearful toes in the the lake of knowledge about the human condition, that science presents. They perhaps might discover a reliable source of knowledge to help them navigate life, without fear and without guilt. Amen!.

And so my thoughts on the lunacy of religious belief lead to the triptych, ‘The Last Judgement of Pope Francis’, The first painting ‘Saint Peter (the keeper of the keys to the kingdom) was followed by ‘L’Enfer’ and now I am arriving at the end of painting Paradis but the humidity in the air is slowing things down a little at the moment as the glazes I want to add are not drying fast enough, also I’m improvising somewhat with the details. But here’s a few pics of the paintings progress.

Once again today, 11.5.2020 brought back to earth by ill health, another awful leg infection, leads to much discomfort, fatigue and just general lack of enthusiasm for anything including painting. Hope the antibiotics kick in soon, the weather is pretty bad but at least I no longer live in Britain under the grip of the Tories and living amongst a suicidal populace that has neither the education, nor the intelligence to behave like adults and find away through Covid-19! In France folks are trying to go back to work but I fear that it may be too soon.

Meanwhile, will I ever finish this painting?

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Rape is wrong, it’s violence against another.

So a Canadian energy company and its hopefully – ex-employee, general manager, Doug Sparrow – depict the rape of Great Thunberg, a young women and climate activist who has done a great deal of good in drawing attention to the impending catastrophe facing the planet. A catastrophe brought on by our previously necessary reliance on fossil fuels.
That reliance is passing, the sooner the better and the depiction of anyone being raped for the crime of standing up to polluters is despicable and cretinous.
It is particularly abhorrent when the victim of this treatment is so young and the Canadian Mounted Police claim the law hasn’t been broken enough to warrant a charge. Let’s see how long that is the case, when politicians get involved and senior police official’s jobs are on the line. From my perspective I would say for a man to think up this idea, he is a misogynist, psychologically sick and probably a sex pest. I hope he doesn’t have children of whatever sex, he needs some prison time and re-education in the ways of the modern world.

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Hope

 

At this point in a painting I have Hope – in that I have the skill to realise my imaginings and doodles that I’ve made.

‘Hope’ though is the somewhat ironic title I chosen for the third and final painting in a series showing the awful abuse of women through the ages, particularly by the powerful Catholic Church, still a vile solution to our wonderings, concerning our origins and our nature.

I don’t have a lot more to say about the injustices of ages gone, so here without further ado is the first stage in this painting.

So the next stage is the under drawing 8.1.2020

22.03.2020 here I am, the under drawing that I made on a white ground I abandoned for various reasons, one was that I was quite ill when I tried to do this and made several errors in position and proportion. So now I repainted the background in my own mix of Vandyke Brown from Ultramarine and Burnt Umber and the under drawing will be in white chalk. Here we are.

Some progress on the grisaille, I’m really enjoying painting this, so far it is relatively simple. The challenge comes with shadows, I usually paint transparent shadows, I hate every shadow to be pitch black, always the mark of a painter who has made a decision to paint like that or a painter who has never realised that, depending on light levels, shadows are often transparent. Sorry if that comes over as if I’m bit of a know it all, I hope I’m not. But the truth often hurts at fist until its veracity is realised, immediately or later.

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The Crucifixion of Justice

So the first two images here of the newly stretched canvas, the paintings are on 150cm x 130 cm supports, stretched, sized and primed here, the grounds are RSG followed by a ‘distemper’ from an old recipe. I may paint the third in the series ‘Hope’ on a different, modern ground, sized with P.V.A. and primer from Gamblyn or Winsor and Newton.

I’ve had the ideas for this painting for some time and finally found a way to put it into my agenda for 2019. I’ll be painting it in good summer light and in the warmth of a large room that faces South. Yes Northern light is preferred but I can’t arrange for that in this house. I have curtains!

The subject is justice once again and particularly the brutal injustices reigned down upon women by religion. Non of these injustices have ever been apologised for, the main perpetrators, the Catholic Church, has never made a humble apology to womankind for the deliberately perverted sexual and physical torture of them throughout history.

The Pope should get down on his bony knees in St. Peter’s Square and beg forgiveness of women but instead as with all the abuses of humanity by the Catholic Church the, shitty little coward remains silent.

 

Here’s the progress I’ve made by late July, I don’t have a wolf and a horse at hand to pose for me, so I’ve used photos to arrive in the place where I want to be. Quite a way to go but I’ve made good progress, next is probably a complete ‘oil out’ with a chalk and sun thickened flax oil painting and grinding medium, that I prepare here according to a recipe of the amazing Louis Velasquez. At the same time I’ll soften and blend edges into the gloom of night and heighten the ‘luminous golden effect’ I want to get into the clouds.

So a long gap in posting on this painting 2019 was a terrible year for me with continued illness and a long stay in hospital, I’ve tried to continue painting but most of my artistic endeavour has been limited to thinking and drawing. One sketch that I plan to take further into paint is this one of an eagle’s claw squeezing the fist of a man. It’s intended to make the viewer think about what happens when you mistreat the natural world with contempt and the injustice seen everyday in man’s horrific mistreatment of a our wild genetic cousins.

So we’re here in late March 2020 and I’ve already spent another period in hospital with a serious leg infection, I’ve just finished after a year ‘The Crucifixion of Justice’, of course a painting is never finished, just abandoned and I’m pretty happy with the outcome, yes I can see things I could have done better but again I’ve learnt much from painting my second large work. I’ll be completing the third painting in this triptych – called ‘Hope’ – as soon as I can, I’ve as usual prepared the canvas myself, here it is, the under-drawing is next and will be seen in a new post for ‘Hope’

For now here is a lousy photo of the finished ‘Crucifixion of Justice’, I’ll post a better one at some point. I wish everyone good health in this time of a global pandemic. I wish that all countries had good, intelligent governance but unfortunately Trump is proving himself to be utterly stupid and really like a ship without a rudder. Speaking of which I intend to revisit, ‘Ship of Fools’ when I can see it in my minds eye. Bonne santé à tous.

One final technical point I want to make about this painting, something that annoyed me a lot! The background colour of this painting and its evil twin ‘Masters of Misogyny’ is ‘Vanydyke Brown’. Now I can mix this old favourite from Burnt Umber and Ultramarine, I just wanted to see if it was possible to simplify the process on such a large painting. Thus I bought V.B. by Michael Harding a manufacturer that I trust, based on using other paints by him such as Venetian Red and Prussian Blue. I knew right from the start by the way that the paint handles on the brush that there was something different going on here, I was right. Throughout the painting process, each time that I used it, it left a white haze at the edge of the coat. This was the last thing that I wanted on a dark surface.
What wasn’t mentioned in the literature about the is paint, neither from M.H. or the supplier Jackson art in the U.K. is that the paint contains wax. Thanks for that M.H., wax is not a surprise I want in my paint, I don’t use solvents in my paint which might have mitigated the effect of the wax and so it was just unwelcome. To me wax is a medium to be added by the artist to the paint, not by the manufacturer without mentioning it. One further flaw of this paint is that it dries super quickly to a matte finish quite like any other, a quick oil out on that part of the painting will save the day though. I suspect it contains a high level of driers
For the future, I’m going be so much more careful when using a paint I haven’t tried before. I paint with a limited palette so the paints I use are tried and tested. Frankly the unknown inclusion of wax in this paint caused me a lot of problems, which I have now hopefully fixed. The response I received from M.H. was unsatisfactory, to the extent that I ceased communicating with him, as life is too short to talk to people, who think that the only person in the world using glair in their paint was myself! There are thousands. I have pigments here, I’m going to make a lot of sun thickened linseed oil this summer and experiment with making my own paints.
I’ll be addressing my favourite paints soon in a post dedicated to that, ironically one of my favourites is made by M.H. so no negativity in his direction, just objectivity when required.

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The Last Judgment of Pope Francis -Triptych -‘Hell’ Panel

So at last I have the ideas and the health (touch wood) to complete the left and right panels of ‘The Last Judgment of Pope Frances. One is ‘Paradise’ the other is ‘Hell’. I’ve started with Hell as I’m missing a model to pose for me at present but I live in hope. Anyway as a taster here is an under-drawing and an under-painting.

Progress late June 2019

So, this 2020 and I’ve finally returned home from hospital in Niort and I’m looking forward to getting back into my painting routine. I haven’t been able to keep on top of the jobs at hand and this painting seems to have gone a little away from me as regards the finish. Some areas are a little matt, which is common in oil painting but not so common for my paintings. I’ll keep using retouching varnish to even things out and hopefully it will be ready to set aside and dry properly for six months or so.

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The censure of Ilhan Omar

The world needs the voice of people like Ilhan Omar, it needs her to speak out everyday against the genocidal Israeli government and its supporters in the West, including the silent acquiescence of European countries. Those who support Israel’s self proclaimed right to oppress Palestine and kill its people on a daily basis are parties to injustice, violation of basic human rights, murder and genocide.

For those who acknowledge injustice when they see it, for those who recognise the abandonment of human rights when they see it, this argument has nothing to do with anti-Semitism and has everything to do with fascism, hatred and rule by despots who believe their imaginary friend will bring about their salvation as they bathe in the blood of their neighbours.

The generally cowardly Corrupt Corporate Democrats wanted initially, to directly censure Ilhan Omar but then under public pressure and pressure from within their own party, decided to water down their initial outrage at Ilhan Omar and instead offer up a weak censure of all things bigoted and oppressive.

So what was achieved here? Absolutely nothing, the Corrupt Corporate Democrats showed themselves once again to be not only a party capable of making massive misjudgments of public opinion, but also one that doesn’t care about what is truly just and moral. Instead it would prefer to continue supporting the American government’s unscrupulous policy of bailing out the vile Israeli government. One that on a daily basis practices genocide.

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A.O.C.

A.O.C. has seized the moment and there is no way to put her genie back in the bottle. Get used to it American corporate Dem’s and your media backers. Get used to it Fox because when she is old enough, she is your next President and I can’t wait for an intelligent women with great social policies, to transform America into the progressive country we all hope it could be.

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Portrait of Elodie Bouffard 2018

Begun in May 2018 this portrait of my friend and model Elodie Bouffard is a 50cm x 40cm oil on wood panel painting. I started by preparing a wooden panel with six coats of home made chalk gesso. I lightly sanded the layers of gesso after each coat and arrived at a smooth painting surface equal to painting fine details. Before painting the next stage, the grisaille, I painted the surface with vandyke brown, with some added ‘misty’ effects in green.

The next stage was to paint a grisaille from photographs, I’m quite good at drawing in various mediums but nevertheless, I transferred the photo onto the support to save time.

When photographs are available, it is a waste of time to hand draw your image onto the support, just a few general outlines will do to get the exact proportions, after all we ‘draw’ with the brushes. The grisaille was completed in three sessions, refining exact details of the eyes for instance that I new I wouldn’t want to change later, after adding layers of transparent and opaque colour.

In the grisaille, I use titanium white, as it is less transparent and less oily than my favourite lead white. At this stage I want maximum coverage over the dark brown panel

I then went on to use full colour, using a limited palette with lead white at its centre. I usually work on several paintings at a time, so this allows me time to reflect on what I’ve done and reflect on how the painting is progressing, after several months it was finished, all that remains to do – is a varnish coat.

 

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Prosecute the parents

Prosecute the parents!

The local authority should prosecute the parents for child abuse. It’s depressing, that parents can get away with indoctrinating their children into fear based, dangerous religious sects, such as Catholicism, Evangelical Christianity and Islam. The children of such parents will face a lifetime of looking over their shoulder, to see if their divine ‘friend’ on high is watching their every move. They will find it extremely difficult, to lose the fear of going to hell, to face eternal torture, all for the ‘accident’ of being born into ‘original sin’.
Everyone should be free to practice religions of their choice – when they are old enough to understand the ramifications, of making such choices.

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