Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Artist Tom Carment's Bashed Critic - James Waites

Tom says,

"I was thinking of painting a portrait of someone who’d suffered a lot of pain. Myfriend James Waites fell off a cliff almost thirty years ago, nearly died and broke many bones. He mentioned to me that the pain had been ongoing.

So I rang andasked him, “Jim, would you consider yourself a person in pain?” I explained theWindows on Pain fundraiser.

“Funny you rang,” he said, “I was beaten up two nights ago on the train from Parramatta. I’ve got a broken nose and broken ribs and lots of bruises. I’m in bed recovering so I’d appreciate the company.”

I spent three mornings at his bedside. This is the second portrait. James is a theatre critic with forthright views and is not always popular because of that.

He suggested the title Bashed Critic. He’s described the portrait on his blog http://jameswaites.com/?s=tom+carment

“Normally, it’s meant to be the artist who suffers in the making of art, not the subject - but, as David Marr said to me once in the swimming pool, ‘You always do everything back to front, James’”.


  1. http://deciloquequierass.blogspot.com/

    Good Bloog my friend!! Congratulations!!

    good luck!! See you!

  2. I was amused by Tom's timing, and it was great for us to have a 'work' excuse to spend some time together. I bought paintings from Tom when he was just starting out - from his second and third exhibitions. They have both withstood the test of time. As have both Tom and I and our friendship.

    One year his family joined mine - a large horde at the camping grounds at Yamba. It was the best summer holiday ever: especially when one of the kids found a bottle on the water's edge with a message in it in verse by me, with burnt edges, revealing the location of possible treasure on a little sand island facing the camping grounds. Tom rowed many of the kids across in his little boat, before they set off following clues we had laid: until they stumbled, sticking out of the earth - 'THE DEAD MAN'S HAND'

    This was a tarry old glove I had found near an abandoned workshop for repairing small fishing boats. Some of the kids were excited, a couple burst into tears - and warned not to dare dig! What is life without risk? Buried underneath was indeed the promised treasure. A box crammed with glassy jewels and shells, trinkets etc.

    Such moments are what makes life great and all are carried on the wings of community, family, friendship, love and imagination. These moments are what you rely on to get you through hours, days, weeks, months, rears of pain. Whether physical or emotional - or both.

    I have had much illness in my life: first given the 'last rites' at 6 weeks old. My life story is a litany of poxes, bugs, fevers, wounds and dings; and many stays in hospital - three times in just the last year!

    Illness, especially serious illness, alerts your senses to what is good in life: especially those higher human qualities of loving-kindness and compassion. And the gift for laughter.

    For me - art at it best discovers pure joy - even when it looks into the darkest of subject matter.

    James Waites

  3. The Windows on Pain show looks fantastic in the spaciousness of Carriageworks. One of the people hanging the show said how lovingly your portrait is painted. The summer holiday story shows this is true. Your imagination and love of fun and excitement - gifts to friends that are beyond price - have stayed with you through, or perhaps on account of, much adversity.

  4. this is such a lovely story james! thoroughly enjoyed reading it. And it is so deep and full of meaning. These are some of the moments that makes life great and help you get through the dark hours. Can't be more true.