The loose ends…

Mort’s Hermaness, Acrylic on paper, 110 x 30 cm. 2021

I’ve a passion for poetry that began in my early teens. Actually it went underground between my twenties and sixties but has come back roaring in the past decade. I have an inkling its that way as regards our obsessions for many of us. I’ve rifled through a fair number of my favourites for the text that wraps around my paintings of late – Redgrove, in particular and Charles Wright is another. But recently I’m rather taken with Helen Mort‘s Division Street. Not least because of her poem North Of Everywhere that takes Shetland as inspiration. Perhaps because her work is more contemporary I’m wondering what the etiquette and legality is in using fragments of these many poets? Of course – as yet – I’ve not exhibited these works much (several were installed at Deda last winter but, courtesy of COVID, nobody saw them) and other than this blog they’ve not been publicly released but…

Mort’s Shetland, Acrylic on paper, 137.5 x 33.5 cm. 2021

Anyway these two have been on the studio wall since late June, so time to get them completed ahead of our holiday…stand by for reports from the Outer Hebrides…

Lunar Pulls

The Flight Of White Shadows
The Flight Of White Shadows, Acrylic on canvas, 92 x 92 cm. Oct. 2019

So this new series of paintings now has a title…from a quotation by Will Self.  “I am a great believer in the idea that seascapes exert some kind of lunar pull on the imagination.” that comes from a short essay of the year he spent on Rousay – one of the Orkney Isles.  This picture utilises yet another Peter Redgrove poem extract from the 1972 collection Dr. Faust’s Sea-Spiral Spirit & Other Poems.

And off it goes…

Halfscissors

This one is titled The Half-Scissors after the poem of the same name by Peter Redgrove.  And before anyone points it out the black ‘form’ does, I realise, look more like a pair…

But I love the snippet of quotation from the poem so thats it then.  And its the first of these new, text bound paintings to be going off to a show, courtesy of the excellent painter Gordon Dalton who curated it…

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Trawling Black Water…

02Given that it has been raining cats & dogs for over eighteen hours now there’s plenty of opportunity to get on with the work!  So I have at last finished at least one piece to my satisfaction.  It derives its title from both the context in which it has been produced (on the waterfront here in Scalloway) and a poem by the late Peter Redgrove entitled On Losing One’s Black Dog.  The view from our French Windows reminds me a little of the time when, albeit briefly, I knew Peter as a student at Falmouth where he was, luckily for us, the Complementary Studies tutor.  He was very finely attuned to the Cornish environment and spoke eloquently and imaginatively about the ‘Black Dog’ in its several senses, one of which (not the one referred to directly in the poem) concerned the melancholia that descends on all things Cornish in the winter months.  After today’s performance here (see photo below) during August one can only imagine what mid-winter brings to the folk here on Shetland!

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