There are moments when I feel like I’m more of an anthropologist than a dauber. I have to remind myself that the genesis of any new series always kicks off like this though, relentlessly poring through acres of text digging for clues, trying to line up all the executioners. It’s exciting and frustrating by equal measure.
And what a rabid band of cut-throat miscreants, rapscallions and sea dogs I’m conjuring to inhabit my Eden, beginning with no less than genocidal pioneer-Christopher Columbus. He makes Manson look like a Scooby Doo villain. If only hadn’t been for those damn kids.
It’s a lot to unpack, and at times I feel like I’m eating breakfast between Dan Brown and Alex Jones.
Should I order waffles or fruit loops?
No, I haven’t shuffled off this mortal coil. Not yet. A moral one perhaps, and rather fittingly for these end of days, it’s more of a spiral than a coil, but I digress.
If I’m honest, hitting the half-century mark has felt like a need to hit some sort of reset button. David Van Gough version 5.0. Software updates to include curmudgeonly scowling at the car radio, dodgy knees and a complete shutdown by 11:30pm. “Forget that I’m fifty cos you just got paid.”
So in between the manna of commission duties, I’ve been brewing. Stewing. Boiling. Scrawling. And for all the buzzing in my head, it feels like I’m preparing a soup made of flies. Next on the menu, Paradiso’s Fall. If Purgatorium was the entree of a three-course meal, this one is the main. It’ll taste strangely delicious, trust me.
Of course, it’s meant retreating again, closing up shop at La Bodega, dispensing with the three-hour daily commute and wandering no further than the canvases in my little-converted studio/garage down the hill. Not a soul other than the ones that haunt my visions. No sound, other than the whispering pines, the cackle of crows, and the usual voices in my head.
In these dark days of endless noise and looming annihilation, it’s as close to Eden as one can hope to get.