not drowning waving

Kim Gamble

Kim Gamble
July 13
dad, children's books, gardens, the ocean, coffee with a friend.


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FEBRUARY 9, 2011 7:43PM


Rate: 41 Flag

 Warning : Language. ( Not mine )


This is a bit of a pic I made a few tears ( I'll leave that ) years ago after a convo with Michelle, one of the waitresses downstairs.

She was sitting on the bottom step, smoking furiously. I said, What's up ?

Fucking Jamil ( the owner ) grounded me.

Why ? What happened ?

This asshole who keeps coming in for his "business lunches" tried to tell me I got the order wrong - I didn't ( she didn't ) so I told him where to shove it.

The exchange  went :

"Excuse me, this isn't what I ordered."

( Michelle ) : "Pardon ? Do I look like I give a fuck ?" It didn't go down with the guy's dining companions so Jamil was summoned & Michelle ended up on the steps out back.

I made this painting out of it, but there's a few things that might help unravel how and why I did it the way I did.

First I painted the scene from inside the restaurant - pretty much the view in my banner, above.

Then I painted the word "restaurant" backwards, over the bottom.

After that I painted a Cameraigal  man with a fishing spear out front - you might make out the headland behind him.

Then  turned the canvas around and put Michelle & the jerk into the picture.

After that I went crazy with copies of aboriginal  rock engravings from around here, plus a stealth-bomber plan and a klein bottle.

I forget what happened after that - there's a few more views here. I was supposed to be illustrating a book at the time - what can you do ?



  Sorry about the blurry in this last right-side-up overview, & missing a bit at the bottom, but you get the picture.


There. The bottom bit. That wasn't so hard, was it, Kim ? No, ok. 

The next one was much more specific :


( Basra ) - Please let me know if you'd like to see more of what goes on inside this second-hand cranium, won't you ? 

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I get the aboriginal rock engravings parts and the stealth bomber. It makes so much sense. But really, I just get totally lost at the klein bottle?
I like your paintings and the stories of how they came about. In the second to last, Michelle's attitude is so well expressed. You are a very good artist, Kim Gamble. Would love to see and read more - please.
michelle's got a lotta sass which shows nicely in the next-to-last image, the detail shots are great, love the aboriginal art. your color choices are wonderful.
I am in love with this and could gaze at one detail or another over and over.
The basic colors go well with the under colors in the background.
You need to post more paintings if you got them Kim. This is good to see friend.
My G-d, you are talented. Paintings, stories in paintings, colors of life and lines of wisdom, all in a piece called a painting. You are talented and it makes me think.
i love michelle. and klein bottles -- round and round and ...

is that triangle thing a bomb shelter sign?
great art, kim, a standing-up-for-girls kinda guy.
Now how excellent is this, a glimpse not only at your art but the processes behind it. I love the rock art in the first one, and the way you've captured your friend's response to the customer/jackass. And then Basra, I remember that, except for the dead people Basra would have been a joke, what with "We are in control of the city" and then "We are not in control of the city" and so forth. Eight year's on I'm still trying to remember who's in control of the city.

By all means, more in the Gamble series of exhibitions please!
I am always impressed (and honored) when artists explain their craft, as I am totally lost, lack the skills and the education

that said,
the bit of arsenic caused a huge smile
Her checkered skirt signals table cloth to me, trapped... the black/green triangle reminds me of the post you did on signal flags... The big black rectangle framing a conversation and conflict the eye of the artist and perhaps the man with the spear sees that is larger than the temporal moment... a moment full of color and distractions, perennial hunt for food that seems trivialized by vanity, desire, war, but then all will pass and become another's hieroglyphics.

beautiful poem Kim~thank you
So if we have bad days my dearest Kim will you do art for us??:)
I loved this.
rated with hugs
I can't really comment just; I am still travelling through it. This is wonderful. And despite all the weapons and power fetishes, Michelle still comes out as the best weapon of mass destruction. In a fight between anyone one of them and Michelle, my money's on her. As a former waitress, I bow to her sense of self!!! Please please please do post more. Everyone of your pieces is a journey.
This is what you come up with as you avoid what it is you're supposed to be doing? I have to wonder does your mind ever not picture scenes you might draw and/or stories you might tell? Stories and scenes and then stories and scenes within stories and scenes. I keep looking and thinking and looking and thinking. How you must love all that you do as you pour so much of yourself and your vision of the connectedness of the world into your depiction of this scene. Do you keep paper nearby to jot down or sketch ideas as they come or do you wait for an idea to come that allows the picture to begin to form. Amazing to see and hear the way you create such work.. What can you do, you ask. Clearly, you must do this. So few hours in a day.

The Basra picture. What more is there to say? Yes, please, do go on.
I really love the ways you use the blues...color and mood...transforming them into mindscapes of imagination. I enjoy the multiple layers of imagery here too...verbal and visual. Thanks for letting us in ! ;} xo
Restaurants really can be like war zones. As for the dream time images, perhaps the restaurant itself was built on an Aboriginal burial ground?

Interestingly more than one veteran of the restaurant wars has confided to me that they have experienced nightmares related to the experience of restaurant work, often decades after working one. Typically they have to do with forgetting an order or just being hopelessly overwhelmed, or having to deal with a customer who is just over the top difficult.

I like the windsock, it reminds me of a rude customer crooking his finger at staff, rather like the snapping of fingers, but it is also full, suggesting there is a plethora of "hot air" to fill it's sail or sock as the case may be.
Wow, man, these are fantastic...
You may not have been working on the book you were intending to do, but I'd say you've got a pretty good illustrated story right here! This is PHENOMENAL! I love everything about it...colors, concepts, process....ugh...I'm drooling, Kim :0)
I love hearing an artist talking about his work. Wonderful post.
rated with love
powerful and stunningly beautiful, both the narrative and the images. You are the most extraordinary artist. Here's a toast for what it means for both of us. Thank you for the gift of sharing.
Beautiful work, Kim, and thanks for the explanation behind it.
ah. You come to us, full now. Layers of Kim.
Impressive. Michelle's attitude is just wonderful.One interesting thing is how the center of the painting is dominated by the awkwardness of the moment (or is that the plate of fish that he ordered and received?).
Yes, that's what caught me. The process of painting over to draw up new scenes, images... The influence of the ancient blended with the present makes me think. You are special, Kim.
Yes, please, more. I keep coming back to ponder.
You borrowed your palette from the banner picture. Nice steal. You have a way with the checkerboards. I'm fond of those too.
I'm glad you got the rock art and bomber connection DB ( ... wtf ?... ) - as for the klein bottle, well ... some things are probably best left to the imagination - you know, like ...
Once I knew a person called Robin Klein. She was so lovely - I'm pretty sure she died. She wrote some incredible books, including Letters From the Inside. Nothing to do with the picture or klein bottles, though. I don't really know much about klein bottles - why, do you ?

Thank you Fusun. I will try. These turned up by accident yesterday when I was cleaning out my mother's garage, prior to the sale. 9 She moved. )

Thanks dianaani - Michelle's a classic - she's got her own shop in Manly now, working as a ... wait for it ... hypnotherapist.

Hi Mission. Glad you enjoyed them. Bit of a throwback, but I thought, hey, there's a post here !

I won't ask what they make you think, Sheila ... you throw a lot of elements together, sometimes, and sometimes it turns out. I believe it's a lot like cooking.

I'm a bit fond of Michelle myself, Femme. I don't think I stand up for girls so much as marvel at the crap some of them seem to endure.
That triangle thingy ? Your guess is as good as mine. Things like that just occur. There isn't a whole lot of thinking involved. It could be to do with balance, or sheer perversity. We don't have bomb shelters in Australia, because that would be silly.

Ah, nan - aren't I just incredible ? I was telling Rita the other day how incredible I am - I thought the connection maybe dropped out, because there was just silence - turns out she'd fallen onto the floor laughing. What's up with those PA people ?
Basra, sheesh ... is there a Persian carpet big enough to sweep that under ?

Vanessa I'm like you in that respect ( obviously I'm not a female Puerto-Rican ... ) - I hope what I offered here helps a bit but ultimately what people do with words or paint or instruments is intuitive, and can't be explained. If it could be explained, it wouldn't make sense, is it.
The reference to arsenic - sheesh - here's an explanation ( of all things ! ) - it says "Sign here," - like at the bottom of the businessman's bill ... I believe I was thinking about the arsenic they put into the bread they gave to the indigenous communities here in the early 1800's.
... and if you could zoom in to Michelle's order pad you'd see ( table #)12 : arsenic.
The guy got a klein bottle - that's what he's pointing to. You'd need to ask Divorce Bard about that. I don't think I know.
So creative. I envy your gifts of writing and art. I don't believe I have an original thought in my head to apply to either of these talents.
Hey Kim. A big hello to you from all the way up the road!

Kim, what you put together when you should be doing something else ... well, it's just quite amazing! The inspiration for one thing ... the process ... the colours ... the composition ... the whole story ... just an amazing mix!

And I so enjoyed reading your comments here too. You have an intriguing mind and a unique sense of humour!

Love all of this and love you, friend. Hope all is well.
I love, love, love this work! And the process and inspiration!! Show us more, please!!!
Interrobang, that comment went deeper than I'm used to - I'm sure there's ( subliminal ) truth in it - you can't live in a place like Sydney unaware of what it cost. My picture draws a kind of parallel - I hope you aren't reading too much into it/won't be disappointed - but thank you.

Linda for you, anything, anytime.

Hi Antoinette,
These people downstairs were fiercely loyal to Jamil ( he's gone home to Tunisia to look after his dad - interesting times ) and there were certain regular clientele who traded on abuse - no tips, nothing. Some of them ate there in order to complain. The whole this was ridiculous.
Saved by the food. My god. I think you know N African food.
Just tops. The best, and not expensive, with a cool and breezy staff.
Which is why Michelle kept her job.
She's the one who read Elizabeth Bishop's poem that morning ( Crusoe ; posts back. )

anna1liese sometimes it's busy ; sometimes I get to sit and listen to Jackie du Pre ;-) All day if I have to.

Thanks P Muse - I sort of only vaguely remember the time I made these ; there's a few more on the same tall skinny canvasses, but I don't know where the others are.
I remember I was home, at Manly, and not being a big space I switched from oil to acrylic, which enabled a more rapid layering - I appreciate your comment, thank you.
But I don't think I'd use acrylic again. Kind of flat, on the surface.

Ablonde, I miss you.

Thanks Patrick.

Thanks Susan - I don't need to tell you about what inspires me ;-)

Thank you Poetess, H B, and Kate - I'm glad you came - I appreciate your company very much.

Hi bbd,
I'm talking to the master of sharing here.
Thanks mate.

Emma, anytime.
It feels a little weird trying to explain pictures ( using words ) but I'm glad to get all that off my chest and away, as it were, and who knows ? Some of this crap I go on with might even be true !

Layers of it Rita. You have no idea. I was just telling nan how incredible I am, which reminded me I was telling you much the same sort of thing recently, but you fell over laughing. Way to boost a man's ego, Rita.

Pilgrim he would have ordered fish, probably Barramundi, but to him it looked like a klein bottle - something difficult to understand ; something with mass but no volume ; not fish.
In Michelle's defence, she doesn't normally talk like that. She'd had enough, is all, of the tipless wonder and his nasty little coterie.

Thanks Linnnn,
The layering is the thing, with those paints. Knowing when to stop is the other thing - done right, it becomes a bit archaeological.
Not done right, it becomes a handy surfboard !

Greenheron - good to see you !
( Bow and scrape ; removes hat ; puts kettle on ; quickly dusts the tea caddy lid )
If I steal from myself I don't feel so guilty. Now that I look at them, the checker reminds me of our friend Susan. Bugger, I dropped the teapot I was so nervous.
Just have to have a beer, I suppose. ;-)

Hi Puddle Duck,
Well, we each have unique talents - making the most of them, isn't it.
Hi Kate,
Have I told you how incredible I am, lately ?
Love to you ; holding tight.

I've moved most of all the pictures to across the road ( an elderly neighbour with a spare garage ) ( who makes scones ) so I've got a few months to sort it all out - and no doubt there'll be more ... not like these, though : I've never painted like that before or since ie. throwing paint at a canvas from the other side of the room.
Was a strange time. I think here was music involved. Not much work got done I think. Who knows - who can remember that far back ?
Hi Kim. Wonderful to see your non-book art again. Robin Klein didn't die; she had an aneurysm and doesn't even know she wrote all those books, which is a different kind of death, I guess. (John Marsden wrote Letters from the Inside: I wonder which of Robin's books you are remembering?)

The Sting-owl and the pussycat are hanging in my living room.
Hey, Misrule.
Thanks for that about Robin - I put a link in tags there.
Of course that was John, the Letters.
You're going to have to remind me what a Sting-owl is but.
wow! are you selling these?
Hermione I don't sell stuff anymore.
That's how incredible I am.
IQ both you and Femme have it that I "stand up" for people.
No, actually I don't, unless they're incapable of standing up for themselves.

But I appreciate your humility. I think we should take incredible further, and start looking seriously at unbelievable.
'member when you said let's go for a thousand comments at the truckstop and I said that's like Neptune ; let's go for four hundred ?

Wait, I've got my logic on backwards here - I mean not everything I say makes sense, is it .
" ...good for you for standing up for Michelle."

I'm making you some coffee, and the three of us will sit and sip and reflect on the use of the english language, isn't it.
Writer and artist~ I like both of your gifts so much.~r
I see signs of a damaged mine but ti could be mine!
Intuitive. " ... ultimately what people do with words or paint or instruments is intuitive, and can't be explained."

Intuitive. With this one word spoken, all of me understands.
Much to chew on here, Kim. I enjoyed the backstory and, art doofus that I am, the explanation of your process. And it's fascinating to read the comments of people who are the opposite of an art doofus.

Oh, and aesthetically I love the painting.
I love these...the colors and the detail. Your story is great!
Hello Joan,
Thankyou. I've always referred to myself as an illustrator rather than an artist. I don't know about there, but people who call themselves artists down here are kind of creepy. Not who you'd want to sit beside for dinner. ( A bit like "writers" ;-)

Scanner, yep. That would be yours ;-) Nothin' wrong with ym dnim.

Thanks anna1liese - I think intuition makes for fresh. Over-planning seems to stifle.

Thank you Matt, for the visit & your comment. Anyone who can spell "aesthetically" isn't really an art doofus.
Hi Fay,
Many thanks :-)
Footnote : ( I meant to say this before ) the Cameraigal man's image was adapted from a nineteenth century record - you might see two pale arcs beneath his eyes - they were smudges of kaolin clay, to help see fish beneath the surface.
There's also scarification from his shoulders to his chest - I don't know a lot about that.
Misrule might.
She wrote a story about such a man I illustrated once.
You can see a photo of the ink and wash drawing of Sting as the Owl from The Owl and the Pussycat on my Flickr account:

Sorry about the flash light on the glass. I should retake it now it's daylight.

Scarification, as far as I understand it, is ritual and probably to do with male initiation. I'm fairly sure it would indicate some degree of stature in the community, but a quick look on Sir Google doesn't present much about the practice in the Cameraigal people. I didn't know that about the clay under the eyes—how interesting!
I am trying to find the little character at the last part there. I would tell you, you are incredible but you seem to have figured that one emoticon.
Thanks Misrule - I believe you when you say I did that, but I have no memory of it or why Sting might be in a Lear poem illustration.
And yes, they used clay like we use polaroid sunglasses.

Rita that little person doesn't appear in anything else I've done, as far as I know. I'd like to put him in something - maybe The Ladder - if he had a name it would be Baffid.
He reminds me a bit of Snufkin, in the Moomintroll books.
fantastic excellent fabulous remarkable excititing enticing engrossing, you get the idea. i think i like it. you sell prints?
No. But I meant what I said about your nose.
Love hearing about the artistic process. And it's just flat-out beautiful. Lush colors. Would love to see more. Fer sale, hey?
Did I ever enjoy this! The pic is original and doubly delightful with the background on its inspiration.

I so wish that the images were posted in a manner that would allow me to click on them and enlarge them. But I am not bitching.
The Klein Bottle nails it.
Good Daughter if I find more in the garage I'll put them up and try to remember how they came to be - I'm a bit afraid of what I might find in mom's garage ... Thanks for your comment ; I'm glad you enjoyed.

Thanks Brassawe - one day I'll catch up with the available skill-set, but you might live to regret it ;-)

Ochre Man I did a bit of research and it turns out that Klein bottles were developed by coastal tribes of the NW Australian Kimberly region, originally woven out of flax.
Designed to confuse, rather than actually catch fish.
A Lutheran missionary took the idea back to Germany in order to confuse academics there. Didn't fool Einstein ; doesn't fool me.
I am speechless! You are so talented!
Thanks, pv. Missed you.
Open Call ~ who I am/was ...
You are he who throws paint halfway around the world now, not just across the room.

Still the perennial hunt for food... and a few nasty customers.

Saludos ~ (as rita might say, smile emoticon here...)
I I ~

I wonder what brought you to this post this night, two years along.

For myself, still throwing paint around, still on the perennial hunt for food :-)

From a small western country town pop. 900 ? in Australia ~ saludos or ahoy, Capitan, and a star above your mast.
I am on board with two favorite men, a good Captain and poet and an artist and poet, what supreme company.
Let's look to the stars the only tangible thing we all can share from our far corners of the world.
Meet me on the rooftops, turn North.
...and a coin below.

If I turn North right now I might bump into Martinique... need a few degrees of westing and maybe then some. Sometimes I wander in the dark when people have put their spears away, in search of a memory or two... to soothe my soul.

Ahoy night stars ~
I am a guy in a small country town, learning the ins and outs of using a pencil again, a fire to keep warm, bread in the oven, with sesame seeds.

I was a pirate on the high seas, once.

Hi Rita. What brings you back ?
Who I am/was Open Call …?
I I, Will ~

Who are you ?

Who did you used to be ?
I suppose... someone profoundly adrift in the world, an unwitting strategy that has brought me no little pain but also, at times, deep gratitude for the perspective it can bring.

Also, someone terrible at commenting in their own comment sections.

At the risk of being gauche, my post "The Albatross" might give you an idea of who I am/was... Kim, mostly over the horizon... practically invisible.

(NB-the comment stream, if you should go over there, was mashed when OS deleted/restored my account...)

Saludos, good pirate host of the South Seas... blowing a polite besito to rita, up there on the roof!