Wednesday, 1 June 2016 at 23:05
A set-up I worked on late last year. How do you paint light? How can paint, a reflective medium, imitate a powerful light source? How can you mix colours in semi-darkness that you want to be appreciated in full-light? Here, in a darkened studio, we have the intense orange filtered light-box; the model coldly front-lit from her tablet / device; floor lamps and a wayward window light.
This was one of Andy Fairbank’s conundrums. Thursday morning life classes at Hull College's Park Street building with Andy (a great admirer like myself of Euan Uglow) have always set particular problems. Here it is light. The drawing is difficult, the forms are distorted by the contrasting lights. The light itself changes as your eyes become accustomed to darkness, see greens to compensate for intense orange; notice tonal harmonics on the edge of the light-box. All this, and then you look at your palette and see only mud.
Sir William Wilberforce looking out over Hull, again.
Tuesday, 17 May 2016 at 21:22
For previous paintings in this cityscape series I've been very influenced by Euan Uglow's theories of canvas proportion and have thought about and tried golden section (5:8 ) and root two (1: 1.4 something ).... but the size of the car is absolute. The car, I hasten to admit is not mine ...more on this (Euan Uglow, a sense of proportion, why poets tend not to drive, and why I haven't driven since attending driver re-education school in Doncaster several years ago) - soonish... or laterish.
Meanwhile, I've returned to the statue of William Wilberforce overlooking Queen's Gardens from the tower at Hull College. I did a few paintings of this statue early on in this project, and one of them appears on this website's pages. This one's not quite right yet and this little picture (I'm limited to 400 pixels width) can't quite give much more than a sense, but I hope it catches something of what I'm trying to do with the cityscapes.
Rilke: three Sonnets to Orpheus
Sunday, 10 April 2016 at 19:41
Here are three recycled versions of poems from Sonnets to Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926). It's something of a shock to realise that these must've been written the best part of twenty-five years ago after I'd spent a few months working in Germany.
These poems appeared in a chapbook Strange Tongues (1994) which consisted mainly of translations and poems about language. The first also appeared in the Forward Prize anthology 1996.
A God Perhaps
“Ein Gott vermags”, Sonnets to Orpheus I.3
A god perhaps. But it’s not that simple
for a man to follow himself through guitar strings.
His mind is split. Contradictory strivings
are his heart’s paths. At his crossroads is no temple.
Song, you teach us, it’s not about desire,
not about asking for what can never be asked.
Song is being. For a god that’s an easy task.
But when are we live? When does he trip the wire
that turns the earth and stars towards our being?
It’s not enough, young one, that you love, that voice
bursts through, blooms upon your lips. Try remembering
to forget. It means nothing, whatever you’ve sung
so far. Real singing – the truth – is another breath.
Breath of nothing. Gust of god. The wind’s lungs.
He Needs No Gravestone
“Errichtet keinen Denkstein”, Sonnets to Orpheus I. 5
He needs no gravestone. The rose’s
yearly bloom becomes him best.
This is him. his metamorphosis
through this or that’s an endless quest
for himself: Orpheus. No other name. His song
echoes through all art. He comes, he goes
through everything. Whether he stays as long
or as briefly as the petals on this rose,
it has to be enough. He also fears
to lose this world. But he cannot stay.
His words go beyond and he disappears.
His wrists are not tied by humming strings.
You will not find him now. He, too, must obey.
And this is how – by overstepping everything.
Be Ahead of all Parting
“Sei allem Abschied voran”, Sonnets to Orpheus II.13.
Be ahead of all parting, as though it were
already behind you, like the winter just gone.
Know that, among these winters, is one
so endless that the heart, unsheltered, must out-winter.
Be forever dead in Eurydike. – Yet rise and sing.
For it is praiseworthy to be raised proud.
Here, in our entropic realms, be loud
like humming crystal that, even as it shatters, rings.
Be – and yet still know Unbeing, the void,
the empty cavern in which you first heard
yourself echo. Just this once, fill it with your shout.
To the sum of all the second-hand, tinny
and worn-out things on Nature’s inventory,
joyfully add yourself. Then wipe the total out.
Welcome to my blog
Friday, 22 January 2010 at 11:26