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Saturday, 20 August 2011

Petrifying Thoughts

Shelter K Howell 2011 Pastel on Paper 14 cm x 21 cm
     My thoughts have been turning to stone. It's been a long, slow process. But I can see that this is definitely happening. Gritstone Edges are a stunning part of the local landscape, and I've been exploring some of these over the past few weeks.
     The forest in which I often paint shelters a gorge with exposed walls of Precambrian gritstone that I've always admired. I love the layers and fractures and lichens. So much to investigate.
     On the moors nearby there are some fantastic isolated stones as well as grouped outcroppings, evocatively named. For instance, we have the Bridestones. The Groom, alas, is fallen. The Hawkstones glare down over the moor, and my personal favourites, the Orchan Rocks, are formidable presences in the landscape. Their solidity provides an interesting foil to the supple nature of trees. I need variety and if you've visited this blog with any kind of frequency, I would imagine you do too.
     You may have noticed I don't do scenes. I'm calling my style a Visual Synecdoche of Landscape. Not sure that will catch on...

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Eternal Return

Ouroboros (almost) K Howell 2011 Pastel on Paper 28 cm x 28 cm
     This broken branch is almost an ouroboros, quite desperate to complete itself. Like the serpent J√∂rmungandr, encircling the Midguard world of Norse mythology, the ouroboros makes itself whole by grasping it's tail in its mouth.
     Being in the forest is an opportunity to leave linear, historical time behind and move into the  M√∂bius strip of Sacred Time. Where exist things infinitely more interesting than quantification, currency and turning lanes.
     Generally, I'm working on a tight schedule when I go out to paint. We are all ultimately answerable to the evil Clock, and I find it very necessary to carve time out to ignore the passage of the same, if you follow.
     In this way, art is alchemy, all about transmutation and immortal moments. In order to get started, I start as a matter of ritual. And the painting develops from there.
     What will happen when one of the factors changes? In a few weeks, I will have more clock time to work. More clock time than has ever been at my disposal, really. Lots of larger paintings germinating. Many shiny new ideas waiting. I haven't thought too much about it, certainly haven't talked about it. Probably because I don't want to be paralysed by possibility.
     I'm finishing the novel rewrite, with the full knowledge that I'll be going back to the beginning, reading through, and finding cringe-worthy bits that must be altered. Suddenly, I have this profound new respect for Finnegan's Wake. Which I couldn't properly finish. Begin Again. Awake.
     Completion may be an illusion, but I'm very fond of the ouroboros. And I wholly empathise with that branch...