Here be Midnight

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Mind Over Matter

There are a pile of unfinished paintings in my studio, at least 10 or 12. All are at different stages of development. Some are just sketches on good watercolour paper ready to go. Others are those drawings that I wished I'd drawn on good watercolour paper, but hold their potential on cartridge paper and may just have to become detailed drawings. A few are inked up and ready to paint, possibly with a background wash or maybe even a few layers and then, well, then I get nervous. Maybe apprehensive is a better word, but it is almost as though I have to leave them alone for a bit- wait for the excitement and  anticipation of a result to recede before I can settle a just play.
My imagination never stops, so frequency of ideas far outstrips the time available to complete a painting. Too much mind, not enough matter! Don't get me wrong, I have many finished pieces as well and they will be posted here at some point in the future, after they have been de-framed and travelled to the printers.
Then it occurred to me maybe I need the pressure of a deadline to help me focus- so a weekly blogpost is my self imposed deadline of sorts.

Below is one that has been hanging around for ages. I can't even remember what particular circumstances might have led to her arrival, never the less she is now finished.
She is custodian of a very rare botanical specimen called "Spectacle plant" (Tardus spectaculis).
It grows in the forests of North-West Russia. Flowering once in fifty years, each plant produces only two spectacles in a life time. The type and strength of lens is affected by the acidity or alkalinity of the soil, ergo with careful nurturing a specified lens strength can be grown to order. Foresight and patience are all thats required.

                           'Custodian of the Spectacles'

                           Original size 140mm x 160mm

     All photographs thanks to my wonderful daughter.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


Many more times than once I have looked longingly at a burrow fostered within the roots of an old and wizened forest and wished I were small enough to wander through the entrance. To curl up against the warm fur of the inhabitants, to visit their larder, drink tea by their fireside and chat about earthly things. 

Throughout my childhood and my adulthood, literary burrows have taken me to wondrous places. I’ve been down a rabbit hole with Alice, spring cleaned Moley’s little home and settled by the fire in Badger’s family pile. Then of course there were the Hobbits, Brownies, Fairies and Beatrix Potter’s burrowing familiars. Somewhat like burrows, and equally enticing, there are the other under-earth dwellings - caves. Though, I imagine these are a  little more capable of taking someone of my own mushroom required. In these magical hollows I have found Narnian Fawns, treasure hording Dragons and, more recently, Tibetan Saints.

Burrows and homes of the earth have always been a sanctuary; a safe place to explore the mind and it’s innate ability to wander unrestrained, for better or worse. The nature of mind and imagination is another topic altogether and whether our minds are individual or collective, well, I will leave that for you to ponder.

The images and creations you will find here, within the swirling tendrils of the interweb, are explorations of The Imagination, whatever it may be.  Images that come from nowhere and, if I’m not quick enough to capture them, disappear into nothingness. Creating pictures for me is much the same as gradually opening the shutters, or drawing the curtains to peer through an open window into the realm of Untold Stories. Staring into blank paper, images begin to appear in the whiteness. Then  gently, softly, pencil and paint explore the landscape and embrace it’s creatures and it’s people. For a brief moment I am honoured to be present in a land both familiar and fantastic.