The following notes are paraphrased in note form for my own use from Robin Ironsides’s critical study of painting in Britain since 1939.
Sutherland is a painter of landscape but his mountains burning at sundown are the theatre of human passions and his woods are the womb of human impulses.
Blacks,browns and reds, sounded a severe almost a chiding note.
The entrances to woods are the threshold of secrets.
If the painter explores the hollows it is to discover the death-throes of of an oak or to surprise a conspiracy among the rocks.
A quality of painting that is disturbing and suggestive – that gyrates in the imagination.
Sutherland had an emotional vision of the human predicament.
Bursting, moonlit growths of nature.
This kind of art seeks to “associate the beauty at which it aims with the less accessible channels of individual existence”.
Palmer’s pictures implicitly summon mystical communication with nature and the everlasting upheavals of the seasons.
These notes were taken sitting in the gardens at Blenheim Palace by Chantal Powell. Surrounded by spectacularly orchestrated nature of Capability Brown these notes take on real significance. In discussion with a friend they crystallise into a real sense of understanding.
Dialogue is as sunlight to my leaves.
Moments in the sun emphasised by a pause in the cools spring wind. Majesty and fakery. Natural phenomena on an artificial stage. Stone torsos, grass green water and warnings. Many many warnings.
A small overly patterned bedroom. Overtly floral and twee. The view across two single beds and across to the window. A gothic storm complete with witch’s tree. The lamp is lit. The tea set is used. Pink and yellow light flood in and cast maroon and green shadows.
On each bed a figure. Two men and between the beds a chess board, a game half played. On the nearest bed at the bottom of the picture the figure turns toward the viewer and away from the other man. He wears only underwear and a expression of pained shame and secrecy. His hand is thrust into his underwear as he hides from view in an foetal position. There is a hint of the feminine about his position and his lips are flushed.
The other figure by contrast lies back and looks to be sleeping one arm above his head and the other hand falls on the chess board. Destroying the game. He to is only partially dressed and is languid and at ease like a greek hero in contrast to the squirming figure that meets our gaze.
Blue skies in the mornings but hollow and empty. I saw an owl flash in the glare of my headlights. A split second and blur of feather and light. Showers and evening rainbows feel just right.
How did I find myself at 2am in the ice banging on a neighbours door demanding that they turned off their musical Christmas tree that echoed up the chimney breast and in to my room.
A shocked face appeared apologetically and more than a little bewildered at the door.
This wasn’t the first time. I had been the angry neighbour for a while. Semidetached small council housing from the thirties were built often with hollow. Floors and very solid walls. The bouncing grandchildren became the fixation my anxiety needed.
I was ill back then I realise that now. Since then my neighbours and I have been distant. They are a lovely old couple, a little deaf so the war films are a little loud and conversation is not always easy. But good good people. They never trusted me after the insanity of the Christmas tree.
Geoff died last night.
My amazing wife performed CPR with the ambulance crew for 40mins. I sat on the other side of the wall oblivious. She arrived home from her shift as a intensive care sister as the ambulance pulled up. I’m so proud that she was able to help.
His wife will be alone I guess now. They have sons and grandchildren around.
I’m sorry that what you saw of me was my illness. I’m sorry that it had a impact on your life. That I wasn’t the neighbour I could have been.
Oh perfect Dean lets make the death of a man about you….
Yellow disk sun through snow clouds. Upstairs curtain remain drawn
I watched the blue fading light from the attic window. Perched high on the side of a golden valley. Rain pattered and splattered and the wind seeped through the delicate frame. As I settled back in this new retreat and read a few lines on my temporary bed. I looked back at my home from this little distance and felt some contentment.
A passenger on a journey. The snow blur increases my sense of speed and the whiskey blur behind my eyes increases my sense of wonder. A foot against my side tells me I am sharing the darkness and the quite tells me we all feel the magic.
“Tell me about your childhood ?” she said. Really? That really happens? Oh ok.
Im out, walking the streets of Earls Court. A slightly bewildered stranger. It’s nice here. What just happened? She told my life back to me and it was not mine. Yet it was. I have no idea how to feel but I think I may feel cleaner. She had a shelf full of books about german art. I think I hoped to connect more. I know that that is not allowed but still. I am changed somehow.
Im in Bloomsbury now but a little lost. The claustrophobic second hand book shop creates a wave of homesickness and I leave the labyrinth empty handed and run for my train although I know I’m two hours early. At least I am closer to home here.
Motorway driving is a twisted pleasure of mine. A mission, you see the weather change and sky’s come and go and day turn to night and I am still moving. Carrying my precious cargo home. No stopping, keep pushing, don’t let off the gas. Hurtle now towards the west as the sun sets under heavy snow laden skies we head towards home. As we ease off and leave the flow she wakes and stretches. “Gosh we are nearly home?” Yes hon we are.
medication free skies, low temperatures and penetrating frost. Clear dry air.