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Wednesday, 30 May 2012


Loping Branch K Howell 2012 Pastel on Paper 28cm x 28cm
A blistering day. It's unusual to be slowly baking whilst working outside. Lovely for those of us with reptilian inclinations.

This branch was bone dry, brittle. But so marvelously contorted. Most interesting is the way the energy of growth is etched into its being. Such is the nature of wood, but it's so much more fun when it's twisted!

Once, I designed a tattoo of three hounds running in a circle, a typical Celtic unity symbol. The idea was that each of the hounds could be mistaken, in some aspect, for the quarry (a deer), but not so clearly as to be Obvious. Their tails all became twining vegetation that filled the empty spaces, interlacing everything together. I was a child, it was a phase and no, I'm not wearing it.

But looking at this branch, I remembered creating that particular design vividly. And zoomorphism has stuck with me. Quietly. Under the skin.

Wishing us all more of this weather...

Tuesday, 22 May 2012


Figure K Howell 2012 Pastel on Paper

This character caught my eye.

The figure is carved on the base of an Anglo Saxon decorated cross, the rest of which was destroyed by Puritans. There's some nice foliate scroll work on the sides of the truncated base. In that way, I thought it fit right in with my tree stumps and fallen trunks.

 The sandstone carving is over a thousand years old. And what is interesting is the way that all extraneous detail has been eroded, and we are left with the presence of the figure and its piercing stare. Which I like. 

Is it male or female? Is it a mother and child? My five-year-old is convinced it's Megamind. It doesn't really matter. It's human energy staring back from long ago. And that's amazing. Compelling.

Today's adventure becomes tomorrow's half-remembered dream.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Fresh Air

From Inchfield K Howell Very Rough Sketch
Still experimenting and playing with possibilities. Mostly, I've been making a mess. But the fresh air is beneficial.
It's been one of those weeks when most skills  have been Misapplied.

A baby starling plummeted to its death outside our back door. This was a landmark occasion, because it is the first recorded bird death in the vicinity for which our cats have not been responsible. I thought it was a Remarkable thing and presented it to the children as such. Best not to parent like an artist.

Resident nine-year-old decided to enhance a part of her school uniform. I'm all for that, lovely idea. I just pointed out that whilst the decoration was very nice, the marker would wash out. And maybe that would be for the best anyway, since she had misspelled one of the three words, and the message was confusing. Tears ensued. It is not good to parent like a writer.

I thought writing was generally literary, owing to being constructed with words. But literary might also mean writing like an artist, which might make the writing less compelling.Who knew?

So I was expecting one of the Galleries I'd contacted to get back to me with "The painting is too narrative," but no. The lovely gentleman said my work was not for them, but that I should "continue to work to satisfy myself and not a fickle market." Which is fine advice and a lovely reminder. But still...he probably meant too narrative.

So when all else fails, Fresh Air.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Lasting Impressions

Impression K Howell 2012 Mixed media
Three observations:

 People can be amazing. For every disappointing encounter, there are many more who make a difference in whatever small way it takes. 

There's something to be learned from everyone, and everyone has something to learn (except when we're driving. Something about metal on wheels with engine power makes us Always Right).

Beauty is fugitive. Sometimes you really have to look for it.

A surprising week. And I must get back to work...