sinking thid thinking sid

for the last couple of years I’d say I’ve been silently mourning our demise.. while going about my business of being engaged  and living I have been inwardly acknowledging our hopelessness.. our doomed state.. I would have the radio on.. and all I would be left with.. from all the information is how we are destined for a catastrophic future.. hip new events like Burning Man Festival.. seemed more attuned to our condition.. I was going about my business making paintings and caring for my family.. having a family.. children that I love makes it difficult to face the barrage of information and its horrifying conclusion.. unabated us cooking.. I imagined us living in a world where it is too terrifying to go outside.. 50oC.. boiled like a lobster in a pot…. terrifying storms and floods.. floods like the ones I paint over and over again.. recalling the biblical Noah.. and how that all seems a daily occurrence.. images on Youtube.. which I cannot get enough of.. Tsunamis and other waters raging through our streets.. I paint Noah.. sailing wistfully on his boat.. animals in two by two.. with the fish looking up.. charging their glasses at us but we don’t talk about these things  at dinner parties or Sunday teas.. life continues to happen.. of course we don’t talk about it.. because there seems nothing we can do.. yes.. use less electricity.. that will do it.. recycle.. consume responsibly… all good of course.. but beneath it feels futile.. like ok here I am.. living in a suburb of Sydney.. one out of 9 billion.. insignificant really.. I come away with the feeling that there are just too many of us… I remember the radio show where they announced that the 9 billionth human was born.. we are a species that is so successful.. but all species reach a point of plateau and then usually decline.. that could be gradual or it could be punctuated.. the geological record is testimony to that and our impact on many other species bears this out too…. that is nature… the nature of it.. Robert Malthus… who had a big impact on Darwin.. predicted this in 1789.. I feel a lot of guilt for what I / we have done to the planet.. but then I am reminded of the planet’s complete indifference to all of this.. it just goes on.. it does not mind the great Pacific garbage patch the size of Texas.. and the impact it has on sea animals.. sea creatures are either put out by it but others… adapt.. see it as an opportunity.. life’s engine gathers around that too.. and goes on like it does…  much of the difficulty is that I think about how the planet was thousands of years ago.. beautiful lush green great herds on the plains fish in the sea and I feel bad but it’s all sentiment.. really a longing for how things were.. a human condition.. it feels safe.. we know the past.. we can’t know the future.. I am, totally sentimental I still listen to records and have a toy monkey called Chimpy who sits with me as I write this.. I’ve had him since I was 4.. it terrifies and excites me that the geologists of the future are going to uncover as one of the strata.. the plasticosphere.. I wonder what fossils relics will be preserved in that.. it is possibly arrogant to think we have a choice in how the future of the planet plays out.. we are part of this great biological engine.. the planet is indifferent to our sentiment.. our guilt is borne out of much media telling us we have to do this… do that to alter the course of our history.. our governments can’t act because opinion polls of a ‘healthy’ democracy abrogate real meaningful change which is never popular.. you unpopular.. you get voted out… stable democracies are good in stable worlds.. there are just too many of us.. that’s the root of it.. yes we say it is corporate greed that is massively responsible but like anything.. we start off with a good idea.. like free market economy coupled with democracy.. which will evolve into monopolies and corporate greed.. it is the nature of any idea being protected and covered by layers of time.. time itself breeds corruption time is the engine of the peripheral machine.. when an idea gets protected.. walled up and new peripheral ideas connected to the core idea get laid on top of the original idea sometimes clarifying it / elaborating it.. and sometimes like an overprotective guardian.. consuming it… but really this is all a story about me.. I turned off the radio 6 months ago because all this information was depressing me.. floods in India.. thousands dying.. I am a million miles away.. why do I  / should I even know or care about this.. the truth is I do know.. that’s why I should know.. but I chose not to know.. Ruth Ozeki said it best… ‘ignorance is a choice’.. where in today’s’ world we have access to too much information that we feel powerless over.. this worked quite well… I could engage more in the world I inhabited… my local world.. I did start planting flowering plants in my little garden though.. ones that attract mostly bees but also hopefully butterflies too.. I am sentimental… a silly old human animal.. well intentioned.. full of thinking.. which I think means something.. so I planted some lavender because bees like it.. and then maybe bees will come here… and drink the nectar and be ok again in this world.. because I know bees are on the decline.. they have to bus them in now to pollinate the almond crop in the U.S.. and I am hoping because that is the sort of crazy animal I am.. that my lavender will be enjoyed by them.. give them a haven.. a butterfly landed on it just as I finished planting .. and I told my wife that it was to say thanks… and I believed it.. Imagedge

the illusion of definition

plein air painting has become a way for me

to see past the deception of

the eye..

which we interpret as a photographic thing

but the eye shuttles rapidly

between objects overlapping things

thrust forward

held back

the brain with its neural networking

assembles the visual data and interprets the


gives it edges

gives it definition


when I paint and

am in the zone

and the canvas is heavily


denying me edges

I start to sense what the eye is seeing

by my interaction

with the canvas

and what I see


as my eye

scans the painting

and the edgeless


so for a while

the illusion of definition

is lostImage

fish flying (or this sky rained frangipanis)

this guy Michael came over to me while I was painting last night on Oxford street he asked me who I was I said Sid

As in Sydney?

No.. it’s my initials

you should always introduce yourself by the name your parents gave you

(he may be right)

Your accent sounds


South African

double whammy I thought

(what am I doing here then?)

but he was kind and gentle

Michael and he lived on the street

and one of his parents was born

in a Portuguese part of Western

South Africa

he stayed to talk.. he showed me the frangipani he planted the other night

he gave me a sip of port from his hip flask

Sid the sober painter took it and said thank you..

he went off

but just for a while to get dinner

came back and showed me a box of wet wipes he found

said he finds everything he needs right here on the street

then he went off and came back 10 minutes later and rained frangipani

blossoms around me and my painting

we said goodbye

touched elbows

(my hands were full of paint)

and he left

for the rest of the painting

I had the gentle sweet smell of

frangipanis drifting up into

my nose

not the usual smell of that

place at that time

thank you Michael troubled

angel of the night

looking for beauty

looking for love

not the thing you often bump into

out there

but when you do

it is magical

we were like fish out of water



Painting Cacophonia


when I go out painting at night

I am painting

with my nervous system’

when I go out.. and be

Sid Sledge

in the day Steve is looking

after the kids

making dinner

talking to my wife

Being the suburban man

but at some point I/He be Sid

and he can paint on the street.. but

while he is doing it

he knows.. Steve

is watching

and then grabbing the brush

then hE ?i takes it back

going What!?

We makes me nervous

and I use that for my painting


last night was easy.. I had just heard Vieux Farke Toure.. son of the late great. Ali Farke Toure at the Basement in Sydney… and even though the night club down the road I found myself painting outside had no soul… the strange wild blues of Vieux and his beautiful band were still in me…

Thanks Vieux.. and happy birthday!

© Copyright Sid Sledge Artist