says the box that has just flipped up on wordpress. OK! OK! merely distracted by downloading pics and drifting into thoughts about the meaning of life. Well it’s my birthday this week and by the way there is a poem at the end of this post.
So, for the moment the pics. of my only sunflower, when I know for certain I planted at least 6!
Now come out the snail that was responsible and confess!
It feels colder today and autumn is not far away, even if the tomatoes are still ripening and the courgettes turning into marrows overnight.
This month’s unexpected encounters, include sitting chatting to a woman from Watford that I had just met on the stage at Fabrica one Sunday afternoon.
We were both drawn to climbing up Jo Lathwood’s Getting There, an installation of stairs. The publicity suggested ‘Getting There’ mirrors a common human personal goal: ‘to get somewhere’. Other worthy ideas about life and death were included in their information but you’ll have to check their site to get the full story!
.We both quickly realised that minor disabilities were against either of us embarking on scaling the heights. Instead we watched braver mortals enjoying the adventure and turned our attention to the Art Club where children were drawing highlights of their lives on tiny folded paper concertinas ready to store inside a matchbox. Brilliant!
I was tempted to start stuffing my entire life into a matchbox, but my companion was not keen on paper folding. Instead I learned about the joys of life in Watford – more interesting than you might imagine – her accommodation and companions at the YMCA and eating fish and chips on the pier. My contribution was the frustrations of trying to write presentable poetry, keeping up with new new technology to continue to make my films and growing more than one sunflower!
It was later in the month that my partner and I went to see ‘Loving Vincent’ at the Old Market. What an amazing film – hundreds of artists painting for six years and all the strands of his story put together using his own paintings as source material. A remarkable achievement and a new take on a well known story.
It was also a timely reminder that Van Gogh is now considered the father of modern art.
My first encounter with his work was seeing a print of ‘boats on sand’ at primary school where it hung in the corridor. Someone in that school (around 1948) had the right idea about children having access to art at a young age. Later on at about 14 I went on a trip to France, visited Arles and learned more about Van Gogh’s life, art and subsequent madness.
I was 30 when I studied art at teacher training college. In those days we could choose a subject to study for ones own development. I had the brilliant artist Connie Stubbs as a tutor. She thought it was fine to explore links between depression and the motivation to paint. Gradually we become friends and I visited her studio many times.
At that time I was still reeling from becoming a single parent. Luckily my sons were adorable but I had to follow my passion for art by painting late into the night.
I did huge canvasses in oil of marionettes in strange surroundings and finally created an audacious link with Van Gogh by creating a walk-in installation with tissue paper collages in circles that revolved to the sound of the song ‘Starry Starry Night’.
What was I thinking!
Nevertheless I emerged with a teaching certificate, a distinction in art and a few months later a businessman bought one of these paintings for his office in the City!
This Poem about The Yellow House was written three years ago and is included in my second collection ‘The Puppeteer’s Daughter’.
The Yellow House
She turned the corner and there she saw
the green shuttered house, the buttery yellow walls
radiating in the sun, the wind teasing the curtains
the bright blue door.
How she had loved sipping tea in her friend’s apartment,
sharing the drawings her brother had sent,
listening as she read his letters aloud
adding words of concern about his health.
She ordered a grenadine and soda in a nearby cafe
while a young woman, in fashionable dress
the curvaceous figure so favoured by artists
slumped into a chair nearby.
How she wished she was that kind of girl
loud, vivacious, set on filling her belly
ready to be painted, pawed, seduced
to pose in the afterglow of passion.
Then she caught sight of him, no mistaking
his heavy gait, body bent under the weight of his easel.
Slowly his feet walked passed her seat in the cafe
Oh that flaming red hair. Heat filled her cheeks.
(It is not generally acknowleged that Van Gogh had three sisters, the sister referred to in this poem is Willemina).