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Chelon labrosus

chelon  labrosusHere is Chelon labrosus, my thick lipped grey mullet painting.

Thick lipped, migratory, prising off mussels on its benthic trawl….washed in with waves, harbour close…

I had a sudden surge of creativity yesterday evening. I’d been meaning to get down to doing this painting for a while and decided that I really wanted to paint in oils. When I searched my oil paint bag, I realised I was out of white paint. I just couldn’t wait to buy some so out came the acrylics and I slapped them on a canvas mixing the paint with a bit of builders’ scrim. It was most satisfying, but I know the result is a bit of a mess.

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Fleeting wildlife encounters2

An afternoon wandering the undercliff. A glance over the side of the wall and below we glimpsed fish swimming hazily into view and then disappearing into the waves. I had to persevere to get some sort of photo but the result inspires me to paint the scene. Here is my photo, thick lipped mullet after mussels or seaweed on the sea wall:Thick Lipped Mullet

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The poetry of wood…and rust

A recent cloudy day beside the sea yielded these photos. I love the weathered, sea-washed wood of these groyne posts and the rich rust colours of the pier’s iron pillars! Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.
groyne postgroyne post2groyne post3groyne post 5groyne post6groyne post 8groyne post 9wood-groynewood-groynewood-groynewood-groyne

I didn’t realize the words on the pillar were the chorus of a Spandau Ballet song until later!

Always believe in your soul
You got the power to know
You’re indestructible
Always believe in,because you are

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Moving, dancing and fragments of the sea

Mud MaidWe’re emerging from a long, bleak winter, Spring is nearly here and I yearn to move. I have felt like the Mud Maid in The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, taking her long sleep in the earth. The figures in my pictures are stiff too, like winter, but now its time to stir and move.

I felt the desire to dance and move return to me strongly when I picked up a flyer the other day about an exhibition at my local library in Brighton, 14th-27th March that’s called “Inside My Dance”. The exhibition tells through oral history, photography and film the story of the dancer and choreographer Angela Lane and how every aspect of her life was affected by her daughter’s profound disability. It is a collaboration between Angela and oral historian and photographer Noelle McCormack. The film is of dancer, Holly Holt, dancing a piece choreographed by Angela entiltled “For Cherry”. You can see a short trailer here.

Moving and writing can go together. I found some words I’d written in a movement workshop taken by Miranda Tufnell called “Body, Space, Image” (like the title of her book). I’ve made them into more of a poem:

Moving with the Tide
I lie open
Hands the fronds of seaweeds shifting in shallows.
Rolling I greet the studio’s wooden floor,
And catch a warm light cascade from high windows
Aswim with a thousand moat boats.

Sinuous my spine,
Pebbles my vertebrae.
Starfish, wave, anemone,
Salt, snakelock, dahlia.

I rest, a little drunk on backwash
While the tide slips over and spills me back into ocean-swallowed waters
And the pipes on the wall become pillars of the pier,
Strong and steely red with tommorrow’s rust,
And I cling encrusting like coral or the all-muscle of barnacle,
Pulling the earth.

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Embracing the waves

Moonlit dancerInspired by my recent doodles on wood and The Primavera, I’ve been working in watercolour pencils. Beginning with my own “three graces”, I went through various stages until I arrived at a picture I’ve titled “Embracing the Waves”. There’s a story that I want to entice from this picture. Perhaps a children’s story.
Embracing the Waves

Hers was a tale of tides, of swirling currents, shipwrecks and underground journeys.

Let us begin with a child, her name, Christina, found alone on the beach many years ago, as though washed in with the tide. Turning, we see that her eyes are pearls. Snatched by banshees, a child of the sea. Driftwood her shelter, broken rocks, her home…..

I shall ponder on this for a while and see where it leads me.

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