Monday 27 February 2012

The wonderful Winterson once again.

(new work in oil, gold leaf and cold wax on wood panel 50cm x 50cm)

This is not the first time I've quoted writer Jeanette Winterson on my blog.  She manages to express thoughts in such a beautifully clear, succinct, and often brutally honest way.

This past Friday, she participated in a one hour live webchat with the Books section of the Guardian online.  The conversation can be found here.

One of Winterson's comments particularly struck me:

"Life has an inside as well as an outside.  Consumer culture directs all resources and attention to life on the outside.  What happens to the inner life?  Art is never a luxury because it stimulates and responds to the inner life.  We are badly out of balance.  I don't think of art / creativity as a substitute for anything else.  I see it as a powerful expression of our humanity - and on the side of humanity under threat.  If we say art is a luxury, we might as well say that being human is a luxury."

Wish I could have put it so well when I've met people who think of art / creativity as a frivolous, indulgent pursuit.

Friday 24 February 2012

the organ grinder

The other day, sitting at my desk, I heard unfamiliar strains of music coming from the yard.  
At the far end of the lane stood a black-cloaked and top-hatted organ grinder.
A mother holding a child danced to his tune.

He would play one or two, then move on a few yards and play some more, looking up as windows opened and people smiled down, tossing coins wrapped in a paper serviettes and coloured envelopes.  It used to be they'd wrap them in cloth handkerchiefs.

The sound from his organ was both haunting and joyful as it carried through the winter air.

He graciously allowed me to take his photo from my window.

He completed his circuit of our yard and left, leaving many of us with spirits uplifted.  A lovely gift on a grey Winter's day.  

Thursday 9 February 2012

Goblin Fruit, ripe on the vine.

The Winter 2012 Issue of Goblin Fruit is live.

For anyone not familiar with it, it's a wonderful online journal of poetry "of the fantastical" edited by Amal El-Mohtar and Jessica P. Wick.

I'm thrilled and honoured that a poem of mine has been included in this latest issue.

Their past issues are archived on the website and are very well worth getting lost within.


Goblin Fruit Winter 2012

Monday 6 February 2012

winter's lines

In this now winter, the trees stripped, colours neutralized by white skies and a layer of snow, I am aware of the line of things: the line of branches and bark, and of the whitened roofs of the low buildings, usually brick-red.  All is outline and inner-line.  

A clump of stubborn grasses bristling through snow.

An icicle brought back from a walk with my younger boy and planted in the window-box amidst holly, evergreen boughs, and last Summer's long dead flowers.

The colours of Winter have been showing up in my paintings, as in this detail.  When this layer is dry, I plan to add Winter's lines.  Many, many of them.  I can't wait to see how they manifest themselves.

Another inspiration for line is Egon Schiele.  Last month, I saw an exhibition of selected works on paper.  His use of line is astounding.  It is confident, frenetic, unsettling, and completely unified.  His works are strong, sometimes shocking, disturbing, and touching.  He manages to capture the essence of what it is to be human with his coloured drawings.

To think he only lived to 28.

Nature and great artists like Schiele.  The same power, and struggles, and beauty, and wonder, and absolute knowledge that it can be no other way.