“What a Strange Thing Touch Is.”
Like a saint’s relics
for us to venerate
out of reach under glass
palettes, paints & brushes.
Yellowing paper ages
his urgent hand
fading ink leaks
his lifeblood along
the sun’s certain circuit.
* * *
Like a jailer confiscating blades
Peyron locked away his deadly paints
and the sun’s white glare.
* * * *
If we could we’d keep
his fierce sun
beating in our breasts.
The quote above is from one of his many letters to Theo his brother. He is talking about the touch of his brush on the canvas but could just as well be thinking of human touch. When he was confined in an asylum he would swallow oil paint during episodes of emotional turmoil. Various suggestions have been offered to identify the exact nature of his mental illness ranging from epilepsy to bipolar.
As the weather in the UK has been warm and spring-like I’ve posted this painting of mine which has ‘summery’ bright colours. I like the use of colours by the Expressionist painters, especially Franz Marc and this painting is probably influenced by that fact! Like all my paintings on my blog this was painted a number of years ago. You can click to enlarge the image.
Some of the signs of spring here are toads in pairs waddling along footpaths, chiffchaff and skylarks singing and peackcock butterflies flying. On the quayside (on theTyne Bridge) the kittiwakes are well into incubating their eggs. It is one of the furthest, if not the furthest, inland kittiwake colony in the world. I haven’t seen any swallows yet.
Here is a painting I did over ten years ago. I think it complements the poem, A Song of the Earth, on my previous post.
I am convinced there is is in everyone a very deep-seated sensitivity towards the needs of the natural world. . .
It is an actual part of the mind of Gaia, a genuine connection between our own self-awareness and the earth organism.
[This awareness] can become a conscious manifestation in our own minds of the ‘intelligence’ of Gaia, if we reject the unsustainability of the machine society.
The Quest For Gaia
This is a Saxon church I painted in acrylic. It is St Andrew’s church in Bolam, Northumberland. It has an interesting war-time history. During the Second World War a German bomber was flying over Bolam being attacked by RAF Beaufighters. Willi Schludecker, the German pilot, decided to drop his remaining bombs to lighten his Dornier 217E2. One dropped outside the church and bounced through a window landing on the floor. It, however, didn’t explode. Many years after the war the pilot somehow got in touch with the church as he wanted to apologise to everyone. He travelled to England to apologise in person and there were various newspaper articles about him. The spot where the bomb dropped is marked inside the church with copies of news reports. A memorial window was put in place after the war.
Joy Scott was just 22years old and living at Bolam Low House Farm when she was awakened by all the noise. She recalled that as she watched, a huge bomber thundered overhead, braking branches off the treetops of her parents’ farm and pursued by Beaufighters. She heard several explosions and in the morning she went up the hill to the church to see what had happened. The second bomb had broken through the churchyard wall, bounced off a gravestone and through the wall of the church.
This is a painting I did on cardboard, using acrylic, some years ago. It is quite small, less than 12inch across. Looking at it now I’m surprised I chose black for the red kite! I don’t want to read too much into it but it was painted as an expressionistic non-naturalistic landscape, so perhaps the archetype of the Shadow is part of the symbolism.
The reason I’m posting some of my art work is that I have a pile of stuff gathering dust so I took photos of the best of the bunch and will post them occasionally on this blog. I no longer paint and thought up until now that was a part of my past; I would no longer pick up a brush. However, never say never, as they say! (The Blucher drawing was done this year but that’s a pencil drawing not a painting.)
I have uploaded some of my paintings and will start by posting this one. Red Kite in Landscape. I painted it over ten years ago and it was one of a few semi-abstract paintings I did of red kites.
“When we speak of nature it is wrong to forget that we ourselves are part of Nature. We ought to view ourselves with the same curiosity and openness with which we study a tree, the sky or a thought, because we too are linked to the entire universe.”
In his old age Matisse used charcoal on the ends of long poles to draw with. He also used coloured paper to make pictures, cutting shapes with large scissors even when he was bed-ridden.