French artist Hilaire-Germain-Edgar De Gas was born, July 19, 1834 in Paris, France ❦ Famous for his pastel drawings and oil paintings of dancers, …Edgar Degas
Dutch draughtsman, painter, and printmaker Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was born, July 15, 1606 in Leiden, in the Dutch Republic [now the Netherlands]. ❦ An innovative and prolific master in drawings, prints [etchings] and paintings, he is considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art and the most important in Dutch […]
There’s a picture
it’s been hanging on my wall
You know it tells a story
the truth of it all
Now it’s time to tell you
with the sun streaming in
After all the silent years
I should begin
For love is like the summer time
in the northern lands
This cold barren soil
through my hands:
And we shall never pass this way
So how long did she stand? I don’t know.
Waiting – those poor women –
for a tall mast to show
Yes, he was a treasure
fresh flowers in the jar
Cap in hand, feet ten and two
like an evening star
Most nights she takes the air
down by the sea
Out there she can feel him
where the ocean sets her free
For love is a precious time
a sacred space
Give into the water
and its healing grace
And we shall always have this day
copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019
There used to be an event, commencing in the late 1950s, famously called ‘The Spalding Tulip Parade’ in south Lincolnshire, England.
Every year much time and money was spent on creating a series of floats decorated with tulips to parade around the small Lincolnshire town, sponsored by local and national businesses. Tourists flocked there every year from many parts of the country and beyond.
Sadly those days have long gone now. However a ‘vestige’ of this former glory still remains in the numerous church flower festivals which still take place in early May.
I was particularly impressed this year by Donington’s flower festival. The explorer and cartographer who essentially mapped Australia, Matthew Flinders, was born in Donington in 1774. Recently his remains were discovered and there is a move to bring them back to Donington – you could almost feel the air of anticipation at this prospect.
Today many strong links remain with Australia; there are numerous visits from ‘down under’ too, both sides very keen to keep up and improve the cultural associations.
Let’s hope his remains return home soon and that a tasteful setting is created for the memory and legacy of the great Matthew Flinders of Donington, Lincolnshire.
I’m sorry, but I think you’re in my seat. OK, let’s
have a look at your ticket. Oh yes, that’s it, you
need to move along one. Thanks very much,
no harm done.
Ah, looks like it might be a full house tonight.
Maybe it’s the intrigue surrounding the play.
What do I mean? Well, you know – Cardenio,
and all that. One of his supposed ‘missing’ plays.
Apocrypha, I believe that’s the right term,
although that word always sounds so medicinal
to me! Anyhow, what I mean is, it all seems a
little too suspect, if you want my opinion,
something they’ve cobbled together from
various sources, though I’m sure it will be
enjoyable all the same. Better than reading Don
Quixote again, at any rate! What was that? You
think it is pretty close to the original? Right. Well,
we will see. I mean, who among us has read the
original? Oh, I see. Mn.
But then of course, there are still those who
believe he never wrote any of those plays.
And you must admit, you can see where
they’re coming from, can’t you? Well, he was,
after all, relatively uneducated, say compared
to Fletcher, even Ben Jonson. Could he really
have written Hamlet or King Lear, or described
places like Italy so well without ever setting
foot there? I have my doubts.
I say, are you feeling alright? You’re looking a
little off colour.
Actually, if you don’t mind me asking, have I
seen you here before? Maybe in town
somewhere. I thought so! I do apologise if I’m
staring but there’s something about your face,
your eyes. That hairline. And the beard. Wait!
Do you know, you’re the spitting image of that
portrait of… they found in Corpus Christi…
© copyright David Francis Barker 2012
* some time ago we went to see the play Cardenio at Stratford, which was based on parts of a play which may have been written by Shakespeare, which itself was based on Cervantes’ Don Quixote. I imagined myself in the theatre talking to the ghost of Christopher Marlowe, who some believe to be the real Shakespeare. Complicated, it is! But then real history always is, not like the myth that we are presented with most of the time at school and elsewhere…
(a response to Holbein’s sketch,
purportedly of Anne Boleyn)
So, is this really you? Those full lips
well kissed, I have no doubt,
your pretty duckys hidden, fit for ravagers
we call kings. Holbein’s profile, it
simply shines your intelligence, courts
with language, love and ideas,
perhaps a little too much for kings
and enemies to take, at a time
when your sex are meant to be
little more than slaves and vessels
for petulant princes.
But no one can stop me grieving:
I imagine you blink, turn
and smile at me. Oh,
you are strong and keen, yet tender
and kind like all mothers
and lovers should be. No wonder
other men may have dreamed
on those lips, carried away
by your verve, which only victors
ever get to call treason. Now I wish
I could touch your fine chin
and whisper: “Elizabeth—
remember Elizabeth!” My words
vanish into air like justice, while you
stare blankly through Traitor’s Gate;
but this little girl takes the better part
of you, better than any king before
or since, of this abject state
poem © copyright David F. Barker
Wordspiller (for Christopher Marlowe)
So you are the spiller of words, almost
as far from me as
Beowulf is to you.
Wordspiller, your crosspose outstands me,
but I backthink
the falling choirs where you sadwalked
your summerwaiting mind, to
when your glories were mere
like the Greathallow who once
to see for himself
your forliving Angles (he oncebethought
angels) and their saxon King
Ethelbert redeemed to newspells that
you mindweighed as truthless.
Now I meet your clearstead gaze; for
the muse which stretchfed you
has not alleaten you yet
poem © copyright david f. barker 2012
What Goes Around
At last I can leave
the window ajar
to sense those languid
sounds of the street
like life itself returning
from some distant place
a world woken up
by a warm gentle kiss
Promise too in the bee’s
tender tap on my window
busy on beatnik rounds –
I am wishing him luck
on a maverick wind
in the cool melodious rain
poem and image © copyright David Francis Barker 2011
*First published in Shot Glass Journal in 2011
Why Do I Paint? Cezanne – that’s why
This is the question which I often ask myself. It’s not that I have dedicated my life to painting or art. I have had to hold down jobs, most of which I have not liked. There have been long periods when I haven’t picked up a pencil, let alone a brush.
Some people went to art college, got a degree, forged a career which seems to have had a defined course throughout. That wasn’t my experience. Yes, I went to art college for around a year, but I didn’t like it. I tried to get on to degree courses but such work I had produced was not impressive, I have to admit. Yet, periodically, I knew I wanted to paint. Even as a child, I knew painting or art or writing poems were a part of my make-up, however strange that make-up was.
However, another growing realisation was that I was essentially a loner. Yes, I am married, have a son, but despite all that, aren’t we still alone? The greatest struggle is with ourselves.
Perhaps painting cannot be taught. Looking back, I don’t feel I picked up anything useful from all those years learning about how to paint or draw. They can teach you about techniques, styles, movements, the lives of great painters. Nevertheless, I have always found the latter the most interesting and inspiring.
The great southern French painter Cezanne was always a firm favourite of mine. I remember reading a biography of him when I was doing A-level art. It fascinated me, his character, his mentality, which despite our very differing backgrounds, seemed oddly familiar. I was also intrigued by his friendship with the French writer Emile Zola and their eventual estrangement.
Cezanne, like me, often felt isolated, something which does afflict creatives. Looking at his work from its dark, tentative beginnings, you can see a man struggling with himself, his father, his friends, his contemporaries, seemingly the whole world (although it has to be said that perhaps Van Gogh’s life is the most extreme example of this). For me, it was Cezanne’s life which encapsulated my own artistic experience. We are all alone, all of us, whatever we do, but the creative person, whether he paints or writes, feels this most deeply. It’s almost as if you turn in on yourself — and what I see isn’t always very pretty. Too much self-examination, I have heard it said, is not good for us. For me, the act of creation is the happiest and also the most depressing place to be, where you stare yourself directly in the face, which is sometimes good, sometimes bad. No doubt there are creative people out there who do find it easy to socialise, who are fun to be with, who can interact successfully. Despite my growing interest in the social media environment, which is often engaging and helpful, I am not one of these people. It is a realisation which comes to me time and time again. A truth about facing the fact of who I am.
So, it is only in the last few years, in my middle-age, where I have really taken up the brush with any gusto, or confidence. Yet the doubts persist. Memories of parents saying you can’t earn a living from painting or writing. And of course, their words were true. Then there’s the look in people’s faces when you tell them what you do, or what you intend to do. At such times, like now, I see a picture of myself, alone. It is an image that I have grown accustomed to, yet even after all this time, I am never comfortable with it.
I would never compare myself to any great painter in terms of ability. I can only stand back and admire Cezanne, Monet or Turner. Yet I can identify intimately with their interior struggles.
© article and image copyright dfbarker 2012
Two paintings I’ve had on the go for some time, having made various changes. Well, here are the latest efforts (see Current Original Art). The first, Edel Blau, or Noble Blue, is in mixed media but essentially acrylic. I have created some interesting textures with the use of paper and fabric around the edges. Who is the subject? Well, that would be telling.
The second is of a Buddha’s head in acrylic, based on the Gandharan artistic tradition of Western India from about two thousand years ago. This was a melding of Indian and Greek art as a result of Alexander The Great’s eastern conquests and the spreading of Buddhist philosophy East. I am not sure where I got the idea of the orange cells. Are they honey cells, perhaps? I don’t know.