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I’ve really wanted to dip once again into the creative river. To start with, I’ve returned to the colour blue and have painted a few new icon-inspired artworks on wood – old scaffolding board – and canvas that are similar to my Blue Goddess.

I’ve put these together with a few older paintings, photos and film clips and some images I love off the web – like Chagall’s blue paintings – and made them into a little video I’ve called “Blue”. It’s my first attempt at making this sort of video using moviemaker and it’s a bit clumsy but – hey! – it’s a start :)

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A visit to Chagall’s windows

Chagall window

Chagall window detail

At last I have managed to visit Chagall’s beautiful stained glass windows at All Saints church, Tudeley near Tonbridge in Kent. They have been a source of inspiration to me for past projects and I can see that they will be in future as well.

We drove through many old villages, houses with crooked chimneys and blackened beams, and through woods bright with autumn yellow. Yellow is definitely a colour I’m noticing right now in nature, paintings and other things but it was the blues of the windows that I was keen to see. They didn’t disappoint.

All Saints, Tudeley is the only church in the world to have all its twelve windows decorated by the Russian artist Marc Chagall. According to Chagall the windows were inspired by Psalm 8; despite being jewish, Chagall found the Bible captivating. I wondered why such a small, simple church in an otherwise ordinary area was favoured with the work of so great an artist, so I looked up the story behind the creation of the windows.

The windows are a memorial tribute to Sarah D’Avigdor-Goldsmid, a 21 year old woman who died in a sailing accident in 1963 near the town of Rye in Sussex. She was the daughter of Sir Henry and Lady D’Avigdor-Goldsmid who lived nearby. Apparently Sarah had been enchanted by Chagall’s designs for the Hadassah windows, exhibited in Paris sometime before the accident. This led her parents to ask Chagall if he’d be willing to create the east window in her memory. Chagall was very happy to, and ended up creating all twelve windows.

In the magnificant east window Sarah lies adrift in the arms of the blue sea, a peaceful figure, while a few figures watch or mourn and Christ on the cross hangs over them all. I love the blue.

“The colours address our vital consciousness directly, because they tell of optimism, hope and delight in life” says Monsignor Klaus Mayer, who uses Chagall’s work in mediations and books.

“In our life there is a single color, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love.” Marc Chagall.

The story is very sad but has been made into something beautiful with glass and light. It has sown seeds of inspiration in me for the continuation of the ‘Turtle Dreaming‘ story that I began creating and illustrating earlier this year. Embracing the waves

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Blue Goddess

The “goddess” theme has returned again. I’ve been working on a “Blue Goddess” which is painted in acrylics on a piece of wood. I visited the Brighton & Hove Wood Recycling Project hoping to find a good piece of driftwood. I liked the idea of the wood having ‘come from the sea’, it makes me think of shipwrecks, figureheads etc. I really enjoyed rummaging through their wood collection and found a suitable driftwood piece, but it was a bit expensive for my initial experiment. I finally decided on a cheap piece of scaffolding board, liking the fact that it was cracked and had knots. Back home I sanded this down ready to paint.

Inspirations for Blue Goddess

I kept having an image in my mind of a face that I can only trace to Chagall’s paintings or rather, the women in his paintings. I’ve been inspired by other things too: Fayum Mummy portraits — because they’re ancient and painted on wood panels; icons; blue buddhas; blue ‘durgas’ and lots of other blue things. The wooden statue featured in the book “The Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Monk Kidd also came to mind, as it was bestowed with sanctity.

My Blue Goddess is not yet complete. I want to inscribe it at the bottom with the words “Blue Goddess” written in Amharic. I have no real reason for choosing Amharic other than I like the script and Ethiopian religious art. I’m hoping to hear back from someone with a written translation. If you can help with it let me know!

This is what it looks like so far – with a manipulated digital version on the right!

Blue GoddessElectric Blue Goddess

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