Climbing the dune,
wind heavy in our faces.
We squint (or do we smile?),
our laughs and quips
diffuse in the air.
Young legs carry you
ahead to the summit,
where tufts of green cling
to an existence. Then you’re
a sudden lithe silhouette
against a racing sky.
I revel in your victory;
your gentle hand hauls me
up close to ocean eyes,
an elfin smile, teeth
pristine like breakers
on the distant, crashing
shore, that white noise
filling our ears.
To look into you
is to look as men
have done for centuries.
you’re the pearl left
nestling in filth.
So take a look –
can anyone steal time?
An hour here or there,
we leave our footprints,
no foothold anywhere.
I am the painter of this shore –
you are the model.
Again and again,
we return to wrestle
in familiar hues;
deep alizarin crimson,
yellow ochre, phthalo blue,
making it real. Stay in this
moment, we bless and bless.
It has to be you.
copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019 and 2011
My father has been dead a long time now, but I’ve never stopped missing him.
I was brought up in an agricultural community of intensive farming, but with just enough ‘real nature’ around us to appreciate the clean air (usually), the silence, the freedom. I virtually grew up on a bike and cars were relatively rare down our road.
Through all that time my father seemed to be in the background, always there, but quiet, shy. He’d had various jobs before retirement, a butcher, farm labourer mainly, but he was an intelligent man of few words.
And I feel I never really knew or understood him.
I wish I’d asked more questions, about his early life, his family. But we never know or ask enough, do we? We take it for granted that our family are there. For us.
Then one day, one of them is not. It’s too late. Yes, of course, I’m stating the obvious, but most often we ignore the obvious all around us, don’t we?
My abiding memory is of my father on his piece land at the back of our house, digging, simply digging the rich soil, surrounded by the vast fertile fields and eyed by hungry, inquisitive birds.
copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019
Cromer, North Norfolk
No excuses, just thought I’d share again a couple of my past impressions of one of my favourite places.
Titchwell, North Norfolk
If I ever got serious about oil painting and painting in general again, I think I would have to visit more places abroad. Like the south of France where the light is glorious, so I am told!
Of course North Norfolk’s geographical position is almost unique in England, which gives it its particularly quality of light, strong blues; whereas in the Mediterranean, for example, the brighter colours predominate.
The North Norfolk Coast near Wells Next the Sea.
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.
It’s hard to believe that around this time last year we were basking in temperatures around 30 degrees centigrade in ‘dear old Blighty’.
Today it’s about 10 at best and with the lack of sun and the cool wind it feels more like 4!
That said it got me wondering, laterally as usual, about why the famous ship the Mayflower was called as such.
According to the sources I came across it’s because the original owner of the ship was Florentine (from Florence, Italy) called Guicciardini; the Mayflower, or ‘Giglio’ in Italian, is the symbol of Florence. And the ship was due to set sail, in May.
By William Halsall – Pilgrim Hall Museum, Public Domain. Wikimedia.org
Oh to set sail for pastures new!
So the Mayflower became the symbol of new beginnings in the so-called New World and is still one America’s greatest cultural icons.
I don’t know for sure but there may be other explanations. At least according to the above its naming had little to do with the Pilgrims who sailed on it, nor indeed Plymouth in western England from where they sailed.
Nevertheless it’s fascinating to hear of people in America who can trace their lineage back to the Mayflower. I will have to look out for examples of this, I would love to speak to some of them.
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.
Summer is not far away, fickle though it may be in England’s northerly reaches.
To us as children the good days were glorious; down at the beach the sun was our friend, the sea and sand our playmates through the days which would last forever. Eternity was within our reach – then.
In reality nothing much has changed, only our perception of reality.
paintings by Francis Barker