I decided to concentrate on trying to make a painting using the bare minimum of colours – white/black .. greys. This was inspired by a recent short break I had on the North Wales coast. We arrived in the middle of Storm Francis with winds up to 75 mph, the sea was especially violent (we […]Project 3, Exercise 1 – creating mood/atmosphere — Janice Scott – Learning Log
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
Do I believe you?
Do I believe in you, too?
I trust myself first
copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019
When I used to paint (I’m hardly picking up a brush these days), I found the North Norfolk coast in eastern England to be most inspirational.
There is something about the quality of the light, perhaps because it is north facing. There is a strong ‘elemental’ feeling to the whole area which is difficult to put into words.
I am not alone in this of course. It is a popular tourist destination, is home to much wildlife and many want to relocate there. The house prices in certain parts have skyrocketed in recent years.
But that can’t stop us visiting. I think I shall have to return soon and who knows – maybe I will be inspired.
One of my favourite places, Lincoln Cathedral, was consecrated this month way back in 1092.
To put that into perspective, King William (Rufus) the Second of that name, son of the mighty Conqueror, had been on the throne since 1087. It was only a quarter of a century after the Normans’ hostile (in fact rather brutal) take over of the board of the richest kingdom in western Europe, but already their introduction of Romanesque architecture was changing the landscape of the country for ever.
However Lincoln Cathedral’s early history was blighted by disasters. A fire destroyed the roof in 1124, an earthquake destroyed most of it in 1185.
Nevertheless despite this the structure was rebuilt in magnificent fashion to become effectively the tallest building in the world, thanks to its huge central spire. The triple spire configuration as it was during the late medieval and early modern period must have been an incredible sight. Then, tragically, in February 1549 the central spire collapsed during a storm. The two smaller spires remained for some time until they were taken down for safety reasons.
Even so, Lincoln Cathedral still remains high on its hill, and is at least to my mind, the best cathedral in England and therefore one of the best anywhere. If you are in the region it’s well worth a visit.
There is much more I could say about the cathedral and the city but I will leave that for future posts.
I used to paint a lot, still have a lot of pictures of my efforts.
They were all of a certain type, landscapes, seascapes. I found I couldn’t really do anything else; I suppose everyone has their niche, or perhaps their penchant.
I don’t really know if I was any good. I mean I used to say a painter is just someone who ‘makes marks’.
I did so many I think I got what could be termed ‘painter’s block’. Anyhow, I’ve been assessing and re-assessing some of the old images and wondering if I’ll every put brush to canvas again.
They smile when I shut the heavy, creaking door,
from behind their neat wooden kiosks
stuffed with pamphlets and insipid books.
Smiles of recognition, a nodding
acceptance as if to say –
‘Oh, it’s you!’ Volunteer women serving Christ
better than those above them in Church.
I walk along the emphatic southern aisle under
über-Norman arches, at the far end of which
hangs a limp flag of Saint Andrew,
in honour of Mary Queen of France, Scotland
and some say of England, too.
Glancing to my left a young man kneels,
wringing hands beneath a life-size figure
of a crucified Jesus, hanging high in space.
He stares upwards, rocking gently back and forth,
as if imploring Him to be real,
to writhe, sweat, bleed, perhaps to save Himself
and then, somehow, to save him as well.
I’m here to light a candle outside
Saint Oswald’s shrine and to sit for a time
in silence inside the tidy chapel,
to pray for a poor boy in pain,
perhaps to ponder on those relics,
those bits of bodies and other things,
worshipped once and then dispersed,
despised in fractured minds,
to us now mostly objects of indifference.
Oswald’s arm must lie hereabouts,
known to someone who still believes
in its restorative power, like the monks
who consumed this place, where Domesday
came and went without event,
where the Chronicle of a people faded to grey
in an undrying ink. Still it awaits the next line.
In this fossil the dead are lucky.
They are dead but in faith, whereas I roam
restlessly among echoes and whispers,
a heartless void. I cut across through the choir
to find I’m not alone, where the true
Queen of Hearts lies. Letters of gold spell
her name to all, but for me she smiles
brighter than anyone alive,
a smile from scorched Iberian lands,
her fate to end up on this drab island
where fashioned pomegranates mark her spot,
from which she expects to rise
at some glorious hour, where, until then,
the anonymous faithful lay fresh fruit
and flowers to mark her special days.
I watch a tourist, a German tricolour sewn
onto his rucksack, as he reads
the commemorative words. A sudden,
unexpected pride washes over me
while he pauses on her ground to think –
where I was once intrigued.
image and poem © copyright dfbarker 2012
*poem first published in poetry collection ‘Anonymous Lines’, available at amazon.com
**image from part of an historical reconstruction I did in watercolour of Spalding Priory, as it might have appeared in the fifteenth century.
The morning is like copper,
a veiled threat in the sky.
We find ourselves among
patches of green poking through
a dusting of snow, scents of
woodsmoke hanging in the air.
I watch your smile break as
a blackbird alights on a bare branch,
a morsel of bread in his beak.
I shiver, adjust my coat
to find the ruff strangely
around my neck. You turn
round to see what troubles me,
your dark mantle twirling behind,
the lightness of your collar setting off
that burning gleam in your eyes,
windows on some other world.
We saunter through a sleeping garden,
hints of the dead season clinging
to brittle bushes like a bitter denial.
Standing in front of me, your soft
words are scarcely understood,
yet inwardly known. Your laugh
sends out clouds which resolve
to a gentle cough, gloved fingers
touching your chest. Without a word,
I usher you inside towards the fire
which greets us with soothing heat.
We shall warm our toes together
in its fading glow
poem and image © copyright David Francis Barker 2012
The image is from a watercolour, completed several years ago.