From Perfume to Birdsong

Dean Melbourne

Tag: artist

31.03.2014 – Open Studio Event (12th – 13th April)






The event is supported by Arts Council England 


5.10.2013 – Freud (lecture note I)

Much of mental life including thoughts, emotions and motives is unconscious, which means we sometimes behave in ways that are inexplicable even to ourselves.”


Mental processes including emotions and motivations operate in parallel. We can have conflicting feelings about the same person or situation at the same time



Notes paraphrased from  2009 Richmond Lecture

Timothy L. Hulsey, VCU psychology professor and dean of the honors college engages students and faculty in the Core Course and the psychology, MLC and English departments in a general forum on the relationship between Freudian theory and mainstream American psychological science.

we are dark smaller-1

The Devil’s Death, Dean Melbourne, 2013, Oil on canvas, 150cm x 100cm. All rights reserved.

26.4.2013 – 10 Current Inspirations

  1. The Magus - John Fowles
  2. Sorcerer – Miles Davis
  3. Keira Bennett’s Show at Charlie Smith, London
  4. Three Nudes in a Forest,1911 – Otto Mueller
  5. Les Rameurs Sur Le Lac – Maurice Vlaminck
  6. The Night Bathers – Ted Walker
  7. A hilly Scene – Samuel Palmer
  8. CINEMA X volume 6 number 7
  9. Winterbourne Gardens
  10. Spring evening light


New Work – “We Are Dark (The Prestige Trap)”

We Are Dark 2013, Oil and gloss on canvas. Dean Melbourne (all rights reserved)

We Are Dark 2013, Oil and gloss on canvas. Dean Melbourne (all rights reserved)

20.3.2013 – say dark over and over

Darkness in nature fascinates. Small nature. Urban nature.

The lines of twisted roots that cling and overwhelm. The dark shadowy spaces between leaves. Nature illuminated by artificial light. Golden canopies and the blackness beneath. Walk further to the woods and feel the darkness envelop you. Hollow trees the day time retreat of crouching witches now vacant.

Weeds, brambles, nettles next to languid pools. Sit there , still. The night is full of noise.

Footsteps on the gravel approaching now. Fuck who else would be out here now. Stay still. Freeze. Thumping heart.

They pass and the dark world is mine again.

The train is busy tonight. It’s still light outside and the banal chatter of who said what to whom rattles around the carriage.

Grey day but still and calm.

18.3.2013 – lavender splinters

In the centre of my palm on my left hand. A shard of last years lavender punctured my cold hand.

That’s not a surprise, I’ve always had soft hands, “girls hands” “never seen a days work ” hands.

Sitting on the cold slab of the second step to my house I go about removing the fragrant thorn. It’s good to be outside. The temperature eased to just make a bit of pottering possible.

I’m reminded that tending any plot of land no matter how small or unremarkable is good for the soul.
Cutting back last years dead feels cleansing. Even the rumbling exhausts don’t bother me as they are soon replaced by the arching clap of wood pigeons and birdsong. Sipping tea on the step and taking in the ice blue sky.

The splinter hurts and brings me back.

Cold blue sky’s full of potential and an increase in pressure. Some turbulence and periods of light rage.

27.2.2013 – I remember (10 mins)

I remember moments with nature. As a child my strongest feelings of joy are linked to to natural landscape, the weather and birds and animals.

Being woken excruciatingly early to drive to the harbour in looe to watch the morning catch of blue shark being weighed. My photo taken as I stood beneath this beautiful giant. The pride of the the spot of blood on my new white tee shirt. It stained.

We fished for crabs on the harbour wall for most of the day. Buckets and buckets of mostly green crabs. A friend and I explored among the boats at low tide as they lay prone on their painted keels. We found a conga eel head and were amazed at its size. Our parents were less pleased to see it as we rushed excitedly back to them holding it aloft.

At sunset we walked around a small lake or a large pool. The sky was red with fire and I remember my dad clapping his mechanics hands and sending a flock of starlings into the sky. I stood in awe at their display and as the sun dropped beyond the horizon I headed home in my dads coat.


Leaving the house today felt I can only imagine how the end of a winter hibernation feels to a sleepy animal.

I was surprised to see the moon in the sky. I always think of graham sutherland or Samuel Palmer when I see the moon in the day time.

I have not seen very much for the last few weeks. Mindfulness and awareness have been beyond me. I guess that there is a natural rhythm as with all things. Odd to feel unable to see after a period of all seeming significant.

I saw the moon today, that is a start.

While waiting for an anxiety cloud to pass I have entered a new world of the second Triassic with JG Ballard and discovered the late work of Singer Sargent.

26.10.2012 – Danger

Revving up your engine
Listen to her howlin’ roar
Metal under tension
Beggin’ you to touch and go
Heading into twilight
Spreading out her wings tonight
She got you jumpin’ off the track
And shovin’ into overdrive
You’ll never say hello to you
Until you get it on the red line overload
You’ll never know what you can do
Until you get it up as high as you can go
Out along the edges
Always where I burn to be
The further on the edge
The hotter the intensity


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