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Saturday, 24 December 2011

The Present

Last Year's Snow K Howell 2011 Acrylic on Paper 21cm x 14cm

  We've passed the year's midnight. A time to live in the present. Best wishes for a festive season, and a reminder of last year's snow! Who knows what will come?

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Dressed in Fog

Lost Leaves K Howell 2011 Acrylic on Paper 21cm x 30cm
     Trees wear the weather. The moisture in the air traps what little light lingers on these almost mid-winter, snowless days. This is magical and incredibly cold. If I had an ounce of sense, I'd paint burning candles.
     But where does sense get anyone?     
     In the book Don't Ask Me What I Mean (poets talking about the business of poetry), Ted Hughes describes his writing as a celebration of the solidity of his illusion of the world. And this I find heartening, so I pass it on. A wonderful description of the inside out nature of attempting to recreate an aspect of the world in order to understand it.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Let it snow?

Window onto Winter IV K Howell 2011 Available at Water Street Gallery
     To my knowledge, there is only one place you can go to purchase both fluffy angel wings and bloodworms. That was the rationale behind crossing the threshold of a garden centre at this time of year. Passage is carefully confined to narrow, winding  aisles branching into hellish cul-de-sacs overflowing with colour coordinated baubles and - brace yourself - snow globes.
     Interesting phenomenon, the creation of snow globes. Shavings of human bone used to provide the 'snow' in the nineteenth century, which was the only redeeming thing I could think of to say to my children whilst trapped there. I may have elaborated slightly, the bone used may not have been exclusively human. But I prefer to think so, so I'm refusing to look it up.
     It's an overwhelming time of year. I need Snow, that's all.
Anyone have a skeleton in the closet?

     For an intriguing take on the snow globe, see here.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Shedding Leaves with Marcus Aurelius

Excuse me, have you dropped something? 

Look beneath the surface: never let a thing's intrinsic quality or worth escape you.
     I have a thing about Marcus Aurelius. I was introduced to his meditations when I was a charming adolescent at the rocky heights of wisdom and humility. Something of his voice must've penetrated my thick skull because I still have his book and he turns up now when I most require his Soundness.
     Men exist for each other, he says. Then either improve them or put up with them. These are fine thoughts to hold on to when things get irritating on public transport.
     Marcus Aurelius understands the Immediate. He appreciates transformation and our tiny role in the greater cycle. Only a little while, he says, and Nature, the universal disposer, will change everything you see, and out of their substance will make fresh things, and yet again others from theirs, to the perpetual renewing of the world's youthfulness.
     The ground beneath our feet is covered with a scattering of gold and copper. Autumn's alchemy. Swirled in the cold breath of approaching winter. Beautiful.
     So it is to Marcus Aurelius that I turn when I see a man out with a turbocharged leaf-blower. What a piece of equipment. The noise! The futility! Why, Marcus? WHY??