Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Looking back

Years ago, I painted this from a photograph. It is the farmhouse at Charleston, although you would be forgiven for not recognising it.

Next year, I intend to be more creative and try to adapt rather than copy. Exercising the imagination should be entirely pleasurable, absolutely crazy and free of rules. For someone like me, whose dreams are elaborate, vivid and often completely barmy, this should be easy. I used to think there was not an original thought in my head; now I'm beginning to wonder.

The transformation has been mostly as a result of attempting creative writing for the first time since school. I find it immensely pleasurable to do something entirely for its own sake, not to make money or reputation. How many authors have the freedom to work this way? Great pressure would be imposed by the need to earn, and while earning would be a bonus I neither want or expect that by painting or writing. Maybe all authors should try to work within the framework of a selfish enterpise, somehow forgetting their efforts are necessary to put food on the table. Maybe a lot do that already.

Meanwhile, I shall return to the OU coursework and paints, inks, brushes and glue (don't forget the glue) for the sheer pleasure of escaping into the world of my imagination, with my eyes open.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Return visits - Kettle's Yard

This fabulous montage is copyright Claire Leggett whose blog Paint Drops Keep Falling is a joy

A special place is like a good relationship. Never stale, never dull, always offering something fresh. Such a place is Kettle's Yard in Cambridge.

Having visited many times over the last twenty years, yesterday was a new experience. Firstly, it was a group of people none of whom had been there before. (Two had been undergraduates in Cambridge, and even they had not been in the house.)

We were ushered into the extension, a very beautiful part of the house which Jim Ede added on during the '70s, the architect being Leslie Martin of Festival Hall fame (and much else). A typically enthusiastic young lady explained the history and collection, and most importantly that the artworks are not labelled. Jim Ede believed that people should absorb the artworks as part of the overall experience, which is an artwork in itself. Every tiny detail, from the famous lemon on a large pewter charger, to the glass vase with whisper light feathers in it, is perfection. We were encouraged to look this way, so the lemon echoes the yellow dot on the Miro painting nearby, and the daffodils in the Christopher Wood painting.

And despite, or even maybe because of, the familiarity I saw the building and its contents completely afresh, through the eyes of my friends who have experienced this joy before. And the truly thrilling thing is, next time it will feel different again.