Archives for posts with tag: painting
An old magazine advertisement for a Williams Typewriter courtesy of the Old Design Shop.

An old magazine advertisement for a Williams Typewriter courtesy of the Old Design Shop.

Sometimes I write material other than poetry. Here is an extract from a recent article I wrote about a young man who served during World War I. He had worked as a graphic designer and was fond of reciting poetry.

“Even his father was surprised when Julian Gould enlisted in 1915. Gould had gone to Art School, spent time in a Paris studio and at the time when war broke out, was engaged as a print designer. His friends and family knew him as a kind and considerate dreamer who studied French and loved poetry. His political sympathies were not overtly aligned to King and country

Like many men who went into battle, he lived by the bullet. Read the full article in the Public Catalogue Foundation’s November newsletter.

I have written other pieces for the newsletter including
an article about the Brontë Parsonage Museum,
The Grand Ol’ Skaters of York, an exploration of a winter scene by painter Jan Griffier I (c. 1645 – 1718), and
103 True Faces of Robert Burns, which considers a joyful, playful pastiche that reworks a well known portrait of the young Burns.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

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An Artist Works” was inspired by Constable’s cloud study dated ‘evening, 31 August 1822’. The English painter produced these close observations of the skies during 1821 and 1822 in Hampstead, North London where he spent his summers in the early 1820s.

This reproduction of one of Constable’s cloud studies was sourced via this lmc.gatech.edu link. (I shall gladly remove, if required. Please simply contact me.)

Sunflower courtesy of the Old Design Shop. Illustration by Kate Greenaway on sheet music from c. 1881.

An old favourite revisited, because artists are allowed to have their obsessions. “Exalted thus, we left” is a reworking of a poem from 2011:

I love the Dorothea Tanning painting that spurred the original “Jacob’s Dream for crinolined girls”. When I’m in Tate Modern, I’ll usually try to pop into the Surrealism gallery to gaze at the image, my crinolined protagonists and the yellow angel wrestled down.

The first version of this verse is one of twenty selected poems in Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012.
My other books include In the Ocean: a year of poetry, which came out in last month, and Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys.

Find me on Twitter as @BeadedQuill and on Facebook.

From this time last year: an essay about a painting of Covent Garden rooftops. The image triggered a series of personal memories about school art history lessons and my ‘London Granny’.

With their vibrant colours and pop culture subject matter, the paintings of contemporary Swedish artist Per-Inge Isheden appeal to an international fan-base. This video provides a brief introduction to his work in relation to art historical resonances. For information about Isheden’s work, visit his website.

In addition to these blog posts, you can follow BeadedQuill’s musings on art, writing and other miscellany of life on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

Last year I had one of those “I’ve made it!” writer’s moments. I was offered a paid writing gig on one of my favourite topics: art. I had the privilege of exploring the work of contemporary Swedish artist, Per-Inge Isheden, whose “puckish paintings” loosened my essay muscles. Read the full written article here, or sit back and listen to it read  (by yours truly) on Youtube.

P.S. If you’re ever in need of an essay by a poet/ art history-visual culture graduate/ memoirist, send me a  message. Ordinarily, I offer copyediting services to business clients, university students and young academics. My email contact is beadedquill@gmail.com.

The truth-teller
draws from a pocket
the laminated slide 
    of mm 85 x 55.
You read  
     – it turns pellucid.

Through the foramen you see
the blade that cuts 
a lover’s sup
and dulled lime drunk alone
in place of absinthe’s 
sleight of bliss.
Here life ferments
and the contact details 
for the artist sit
alongside his finest projects
parcelled on this stretch of linen.

24/02/2014

In preparation for my public reading on Wednesday, I have been mulling over marketing. Should I have business cards printed out, so that I could look “professional” and have something to hand over to people? In true mulling continuation, I started imagining poems about poets and artists with business cards. “Should poets have business cards?” began one draft. Then I started imagining business cards that became magic carpets; others became slices of floating simile (a floating host of spring blooms); still others morphed into glass laboratory slides, which then functioned like truth-revealing lenses.

While paging through an art book last week, I was reminded of Edgar Degas’s painting L’Absinthe (1876, oil on canvas, 92 cm × 68 cm, Musée d’Orsay, Paris). In English the work is sometimes referred to as The Absinthe Drinker or The Glass of Absinthe. In it sits a woman on her own, staring desolately into her own sad distance. In front of her is a glass with green liquid in it: the promised consolation of absinthe. Her slumped posture, the leached colours in the painting and the dulled green of what should be a fun, party drink are all cues that this is not a moment of merriment. It is a moment of doleful truth, captured by the painter.

In the painting she sits next to a bearded man, who also drinks alone. In my memory, I had instead inserted a pair of lovers to the woman’s left (viewer’s right). In creating a fictional world, where the painter’s business card reveals the undercutting truth of things seen, I must have inserted this additional motif of late nineteenth-century Parisian café-life. The lovers, the drinkers, the dancers, the fat-cat patrons and the glamorous Ladies of the Night were all alluring subject matter. They seduced artists such as Degas, Lautrec and Manet with the fantasies they offered. But peering through the bones of this society, these truth-tellers also captured an enduring fermentation of life.

The canvases of Parisian café life are the business cards of these artists past. In my poem, the small piece of card transforms, at the viewer/reader’s glance, into a transparent lens. This lens becomes the truth-revealing aperture. The aperture and canvas and business card all converge into one parcel.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness

"Auspicious Cranes," a hand scroll on silk attributed to Song emperor Huizong (1082 - 1135, r. 1101 - 1126). Image courtesy of http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AAuspicious_Cranes.jpg

“Auspicious Cranes,” a hand scroll on silk attributed to Song emperor Huizong (1082 – 1135, r. 1101 – 1126). Image courtesy of http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AAuspicious_Cranes.jpg

Within the confines of a silken sheet,

the observers attend upon the temple.

Before it returns to ash and dust,

they light a votive offering.

It is

 

in a portrait

the thumbnail of the painter’s right hand

 

the sparse arm-hairs of a samurai

beset by ghosts

 

the frog at the woman’s feet,

gazing, as we do, as she steps out of her bath

 

21/11/13

Yesterday and today I have had the great pleasure of visiting three temporary exhibitions of glorious visual/material culture. I find visual stimuli a great well for my writing and am delighted that today’s poem gives credit to this recent input.

Freshest in my mind are the Shunga scenes, which I saw at the British Museum this evening.  Shunga (‘spring pictures’) are erotic paintings, prints and illustrations paintings and prints from Japan.

The last two descriptions in the poem above are drawn from two works on show. I searched for links to the images, but unfortunately could not find these particular ones in the British Museum’s online collection. Possibly they are loan items, or I am in error as to my search criteria. I’ll add a note later should I come across them.

The image with the artist’s thumbnail is “Portrait of Shen Zhou at Age Eighty” (Unidentified Artist, 1506, The Palace Museum Collection, Beijing). Shen Zhou (1427–1509) was a notable painter during the Ming dynasty in China. (You can view an image of the work here.) It was at the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum’s Masterpieces of Chinese Painting, 700 to 1900, that I saw the original of Shen Zhou’s portrait. I was supremely fortunate to also see the original of “Auspicious Cranes” (possibly Emperor Huizong, about 1112, The Liaoning Provincial Museum Collection). A reproduction of this image had inspired my poem Twenty Auspicious Cranes in July.

As for today’s poem, I ask for some artistic leeway from the post-colonial theorists and rigorous Asian Cultural Studies scholars. They will have noted two misdemeanours. The first, that I group the creative production of two distinct traditions in one list. Secondly, I overlay the poem with a veil of ‘spiritual East’.

Now I spy two further inadvertent creative devices that may tempt critique. I have compounded the ‘spiritual East’ with the ‘historical Orient’.  This imagined benevolent kingdom of the past bequeaths, through its exotic treasures, wisdoms about greater universal truths to the present (read: curious Western scholars or readers). Note the tactility elicited in the poem. We read about silk, ash, dust and light. We imagine the referenced water. Thumbnails, arms and feet are mentioned. Alluded to are the hands as they attend, light offerings and paint. We imagine the form of the woman stepping out of her bath. The poem catalogues wonder through an exploration of sensual (sense) experience and the ‘body Orient’. Here, it is worth cautioning that I am conflating East and Orient at will. Ai me. Edward Said and his followers shudder.

Finally, I suspect not all the images are painted on silk either. Yet, this quintessential fabric of the East sets the canvas.

When I look at the handiwork of other artists, artisans and craftsman across time and cultures, I am frequently drawn in by their attentiveness to those small details like the thumbnail, the arm-hairs and the gazing frog. It mattered enough at some point in time for them to add that observational asterisk to the image. This is what, as an artist, I perceive as a votive offering. I indulgently imagine their bequest of wonder is of a similar sentiment to my poetic attentiveness that declares, Now Here is Something to Marvel At…

P.S. The third exhibition was a marvellous homage to pearls at the V&A. It had my imagination at sea with mermaids, but all that for another post.

P.P.S. I didn’t even mention the samurai.

Masterpieces of Chinese Painting, 700 to 1900 is on at the Victoria and Albert Museum until 19 January 2014. Tickets: £13,50 with concessions available. Advance booking is strongly recommended. For more information see the exhibition website.

 

Victoria and Albert Museum details:

Tel.: 020 7942 2000

Address: Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL

Opening times:

10:00 – 17:45 daily

10:00 – 22:00 Fridays

Website: http://www.vam.ac.uk/

 

Shunga: Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art is on at the British Museum until 5 January 2014. Kindly be advised, the exhibition will be closed all day on Saturday 14 December and until 12.00 on Sunday 15 December. Tickets: £7, Members free. Parental guidance advised. For more information see the exhibition website.

British Museum details:

Tel. for ticket booking: 020 7323 8181

Address: Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG

Opening times:

10:00 – 17:30 daily

10:00 – 20.30 Fridays

Website: http://www.britishmuseum.org/

You’re invited to take a peek at my book of selected poems, Shining in Brightness.

I tweet about art, writing and London life as @BeadedQuill. Please follow me.

One Page to Tempt You, Modern Boy

Please indulge me. I also wanted to share this page preview with you.

25 Poems for Modern Boys

I am so very thrilled! My second book of poetry is rolling off the press. Here is a preview of the cover design for “Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys”. The image is another beautiful work by Norfolk-based artist, Nicola Slattery.