Haiku: ‘Plain Truth’

Promenade walking
Wide horizons broadening
Truths in plainer sight

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

Women Artists in Brittany — Bonjour From Brittany (Reblog)

Brittany has been a great source of inspiration for artists from across the world drawn to the beauty of its natural landscapes and unique quality of light. The women artists who came to draw inspiration from the rich colours and distinctive landscapes of the region have sometimes been overlooked and I highlight some of these pioneering painters here.

Women Artists in Brittany — Bonjour From Brittany

*Brittany travel guide.

Art Sunday: Marie Bracquemond – Under the Lamp — Random Writings on the Bathroom Wall (Reblog)

Marie Bracquemond (1 December 1840 – 17 January 1916) was a French Impressionist artist, who was described retrospectively by Henri Focillon in 1928 as one of “les trois grandes dames” of Impressionism alongside Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt.  Her frequent omission from books on artists is sometimes attributed to the efforts of her husband, Félix […]

Art Sunday: Marie Bracquemond – Under the Lamp — Random Writings on the Bathroom Wall

*Impressionism radically changed the way we view the world.

Poem: A Walk by the Sea

a walk by the sea

Without too much thought I took
to the beach,
followed the white lines of
leading me due north along that
fractured shore.

in no time at all the beach huts were
behind me,
removed by dunes and blurring
summer haze.

then suddenly
she was there
right in front of me, as if she’d
right out of the ether.

she was squatting down,
blonde haired and
quite young,
her blue-green dress hitched up a touch
showing small bare feet
half buried,
where the dry white sand
gave way to shingle.

I stopped
said hi
but she didn’t even look!
staring into that wide expanse
she could see
clear across the ocean.

looking down I admired her
gold-embroidered dress,
the delicate amber jewellery on
slim fingers,
her long hair matted by
the keen breeze.

then she looked up,
her eyes like cyan gems
and pointed to herself–
‘Elfhild’ I thought she said
sounding sort of German
or Dutch or maybe something
in between
but I didn’t speak a word.

not then.

she didn’t seem lost or in any distress
so I moved on,
giving her a faint wave,
after all, what business was it
of mine?
I carried on steadily
maybe half a mile or so,
felt the wind move round
south to south east.
I could’ve done with a jumper so I
turned back,
got up quite a pace in the end.
frankly I wanted to return
to see if she was alright –
but I saw only footprints
where she had been, where the shingle
gave way to sand.

walking to the shoreline something
caught my eye, a piece of amber
wet and shining.
I picked it up, held it
to the light
and smiled, looking out
to where the waves
were rolling in by the edge of
that German sea

poem and image © copyright Dave Barker 2020

Original Oil Painting, Bamburgh, Northumberland Coast, England

The coast of Northumberland in north east England is quite spectacular.


This is a painting based on a view of that coast near Bamburgh castle, the silhouette featured in this painting.

It is completed in oil on stretched canvas, size 41 x 31 cm, unframed.

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Rebirth of the English Landscape

Sir Roy Strong is so right about the English landscape. It is intrinsically wound up with English identity; no matter how urbanised we get, all of us who are English, or who may want to be, are attached to the open views of England, the hills, the mountains, the coasts and the fens.

I believe he is right. Scotland and Wales have their own measure of independence. We must discover our own identity and the process has begun, although England and Englishness never went away. She has been patient, waiting for us to open our eyes. The English rebirth has indeed begun in a profound, sustained, inward, but ultimately legitimate way. I hope to play my part in it.

And did those feet…?

Lincolnshire Landscapes… Seascapes

At one time, when I was much younger, I didn’t like the flat, south Lincolnshire landscape, even though I was born and raised in it. Yes, it can be drab, especially in the winter, but as visitors are quick to point out, the skies are indeed tremendous.

A Fenland landscape, like any land or seascape, needs a focal point and I have a particular liking for whitewashed farmhouses. Spring is a very good time, as there is a welcome splash of colour with the yellow and white daffodils and narcissi.

In fact, fenland landscapes and especially Lincolnshire landscapes, I regard as a combination of land and seascape. Someone once said that the south Lincolnshire churches sail passed like ships at sea. Quite so.