Monday, 21 January 2013

Imagination is a jeweled cave.

This is one of my favourite nursery rhymes, I have started to think that's me with the broom:

There was an old woman
Tossed up in a basket
Seventeen times as high as the moon.
Where she was going
I just had to ask it,
For in her hand she carried a broom.

"Old woman, old woman,
Old woman," said I,
"Please tell me, please tell me,
Why you're up so high?"
"I'm sweeping the cobwebs
Down from the sky,
And I'll be with you
By and by."

 There are many things I would like to do that circumstance does not yet allow. Did I tell you I want to go to Venice? I have a big wish list of wants, but I have begrudgingly learned to honour the ordinary. I live in the Midlands, the centre of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, (wow, doesn't that sound like a magical place !) I can assure you the reality is often not. Or is it ? After all, was it not out of the run-down and polluted Black Country, that arose the gloomy mountains of Mordor in Tolkien's mind.

Yet because I live here, I feel land-locked, and often long for the sea. What is this condition in us that always longs for the other?. This is were my current painting sprang from. I don't live in a pretty town but it is on the edge of rolling hills. Between the dreary rows of terraced houses you can glimpse the countryside in the distance. I was walking back from the chip shop in the drizzling rain when the image for this painting came into my imagination.

Marking out.
In progress. Working title: Fabrication. Oil on canvas, 145 x 166 cm.
Necessity is the mother of invention and there are infinite resources to be found when we make do and mend. How many of us as children, have sat in a laundry basket like a coracle and sailed away on a swirling seventies carpet. I loved the idea of magic carpets and remember sitting cross legged on a rug. Disappointed it wasn't working I began to construct daydreams instead. Imagination uses constraints to climb up. So I will see a landscape in a pile of laundry and go to Venice on a magic carpet for now

I have started painting this image above, because of Louise, my lecturer that died last year. She really wanted me to create it after she saw my sketchbook version, so I will give it a go. It is a landscape made out of patterns. The pattern of a landscape created from what I had around the house: scraps of fabric, dishcloths, kitchen roll.

The beginning of a Vuillard inspired landscape.
Patterns are great for suggestion. Whether the flickering flames of a fire, the lumps in ugly woodchip wallpaper, garish curtains or fading light or eyesight, you have to work with what you have. I particularly like the painted fabrics in paintings by Vuillard and Bonnard, and this is what inspired me to try and paint fabrics. It looks like fun.

Pierre Bonnard, The Red-Checkered Tablecloth
 Matisse painted the same room and window again and again, with various props, even though he had the paradise of the French Riviera just outside. When I have a feeling of overwhelming constriction, or sense an imagined lack of freedom, it helps to get lost in films and literature or play music loud to replenish myself. Bathe in poetry and find yourself in it's depths. We always have ourselves and that is everything you need, even if it does not always seem like it. Most of us are lucky enough to have others to share life with also. On a bad day, instead of imagination there is always Google, and for travel, Google Earth.

 “Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.” ― Albert Einstein

 What if money didn't matter? ... Alan Watts.

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