art gallery – shop – discreet – space – light – colour. A few words noted whilst waiting in the lobby. The lift in the Towner Gallery  – try it out  – is a good experience. When you exit on the 2nd floor, this is the view to the west. A sky that resonates with me. Resonates as has a feeling of some skies painted by Harold Mockford.

What to say about this exhibition? Excellently hung and fulsome. What to say about the work? Words are just meaningless and images from the web are also unsatisfactory so my thought was to include poems by Pam Hughes ‘reflecting the friendship and mutual inspiration that they have taken from the Sussex landscape’ (Shadows on the Downs).  Harold paints from memory and, I believe, that’s the spark. By inviting the viewer to be involved as a bystander in the composition it’s possible to engage with his imagination. He’s good at green too which is rare.    


A few images to follow that were not in the exhibition. Below ‘Refugees’ . . .

Cast a way, a drift, a shadow,

die and death, a part, a light.

An eye, a vote, a shoe upon

the path I fled in mud strewn fright.

 Lullaby the watchful spirits,

etch your name inside my heart.

Scramble through the goats’ hooved

spiked tussocks. Melt the past

with tears through karst.

 Summer draws all memories from me

as my thoughts stretch into words.

Unravelled by a gentle touch,

a word, a smell, I make a map

 from buried fragments. Plunge

into flaming collage, searching

words and tastes and sound.

Anything that will remember

you and me for ever bound     Pam Hughes  Song of a Refugee (for Anne Michaels)

Fallen Angel above and Asleep on the Downs below.  Note the sky. The only reason that I regret not being in the UK now  is not being able to revisit and revisit. A few words noted whilst waiting in the lobby:  texture – colour – weight – narrative – nature – intimate – shadows.

When I walk up on the downs

I think of things you nearly said.

 Skylarks broke through the cloudless skies,

bristly oxtongue snared my boots.

I’m sorry that I went away.

In the grass which we had flattened

purple clover kissed wild thyme.

I looked at you. You had not spoken

chalk and wind and sea-blown worlds.

 Untroubled plantain gazed at us,

salad burnet, hurt, eyebright.

We could make it work this time.

Only mouse-ears heard the things,

high on the downs, you nearly said.  Pam Hughes  Whispers

 Going CAD crazy today  – confined indoors  – so an escape before the dark of nightime hits the village at 9pm. 

Read Robert Frost and think about changing life.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. Robert Frost  The Road Not Taken

being a tourist

August 25, 2012

Friday, in Béziers, means stalls along the Allées Paul –Riquet offering flowers and plants for inside and out. The 19 C theatre sits at the elevated north end – pretty.

If you purchase some stems, branches, pots then you can choose complimentary ribbon as part of the packaging.

On offer are plugs of vegetables ready for autumn planting such as brussels sprouts which have become rather ‘the thing’  . . . .

. . and varieties of salad attractively displayed. There’s another great market in Place David-d’Angers on Friday mornings but don’t spread it around!  Wandering around the narrow streets, decorative compositions offer themselves up for a shot . . .

. . . .   a roof revamp that looks like lace . . .

. . .  and something tiny watching the caged birds on the balcony opposite. A little out of focus but worthy  . . .

. . .   around Cathedrale St-Nazaire, there’s good use of Caisse de Versailles to denote spatial areas. Well scaled and not looking too much like plastic although they are of course. Town’s busying up so straight off to the beach at  Sérignan where the salt marsh is erupting into a vision of mauve . . .

. .  limonium and scirpus and something that looks like a yellow flowering samphire.

Beach and sea pretty perfect and just a short amusing piece by Pam Hughes.

I carry a bag

Brie, rillettes, saucisson sec,

I sing. You glower. Pam Hughes  Dieppe Shopping

from the rear

August 19, 2012

There’s something about seeing the rear of figures in a composition that is very satisfying. It helps me relate foreground to background. I like the simple postures, the lack of having to interact with facial expression and the sense of the unknown – people caught in their own world. Is it wrong to make use of the human race in this way?

Bits of machinery start to enter into the shots – side views and front views now. The backside of the VW van was no contest against the frontage . . .

A lone black backed gull surveys the shallows at low tide. that’s enough!

To flee from memory
Had we the Wings
Many would fly
Inured to slower things
Birds with dismay
Would scan the mighty van
Of men escaping
From the mind of man. Emily Dickinson  To Flee from Memory

A hot and lovely morning. 30 years ago, it was cold and windy but memorable and a cause for celebration. Happy Birthday Claudia!

On Paddy’s plot, he recycles drinking vessels and the odd glove with a raised finger in the camp style – all jolly and productive – and grows good chard too, I see . . .

. . .  the bolted leeks are still providing nectar for bees and hover flies as well as looking great with the smaller Allium sphaerocephalon. Picked a few leeks and hung them on the shed as the heat is causing a big droop so the rest will be cleared tomorrow.

Many of the plots now have spreads of onions  –  left out to dry off  . . .

. . . I lifted mine awhile back in the wet weather of July and dried them off in the shed quite successfully. Hence the large gap between the nasturtium clad willow hurdles and the stand of verbena . . . .

. . . just one of some beautiful artichokes and mixed pink tones of sweet peas. An image for all those that pick up my image from this post written a while ago. If you were in this country Claudia, you’d have a birthday bunch! X

‘What did Thought do?’

Stuck a feather in the ground and thought

it would grow a hen.’

Rod by rod we pegged the drill for sweetpea

with light brittle sticks,

twiggy and unlikely in fresh mould,

and stalk by stalk we snipped

the coming blooms.

And so when pain

had haircracked her old constant vestal stare

I reached for straws and thought:

seeing the sky through a mat of creepers,

like water in the webs of a green net,

opened a clearing where her heart sang

without caution or embarrassment, once or twice. Seamus Heaney  Sweetpea

colder than the Med

August 13, 2012

Boring everyone around me complaining about the weather in the UK! But, a glimmer of something bright in the sky so some time on the beach this week end  . . .

. . .  some swimming. Even no 1 son went in twice and pretended that the sea was warm – oh, yeah, but not quite like the Med was my response.  Watching folks lying in the sun, as part of the landscape of the beach – their postures are revealing. The chap below looks very uncomfortable – maybe hiding his paunch . . .  or trying to light a fag . . .

. .   very relaxed couple here – legs all akimbo – no paunches so quite confident and at ease.

Through the gap in the groynes and  . . .  apologies for smear on the lens!

Across the groynes, misty still to Beachy Head and to   . . .

. . . to the Marina building. Like it or hate it. Not a smear just a gull in flight . . .

. .  a helicopter and the smear and rather beautiful showing off sky.

Like this jaunty couple – just imagine the high pitched squealing as the waves break against bare legs!

I must go down to the sea again,
to the lonely sea and the sky;
I left my shoes and socks there –
I wonder if they’re dry?      Spike Milligan after someone else

very close to home

August 6, 2012

Well, this post is entirely selfish – and a start on some visual notes that I need to record well ahead of the end of this sojourn – and yes, somewhat melancholic. But, also revelling in great enjoyment of the events that happen within this landscape. The events are mostly horticultural. There’s plenty of time, thank goodness, to absorb the changes in this close environment. This tree grows into the first floor of the house. the roots willl probably undermine the foundations – it’s hugely important – full of birds in early summer and increases the movement of  air in to the 1st + 2nd floor rooms. I can catch hold of the branches from all the windows and balconies and love to do so.  It is a Celtis. Graceful, non flowering, tough, reliable – is that enough to warrant selection for potential schemes? Yes, it is!

The strong thrusting growth of bupleurum- covering hill sides now, with the mustardy limey green umbels – small flat plates – floating on unassuming and waxy foliage and stems. Especially great visually bouncing off the silver foliage of olive trees. A good stand of olives here planted correctly on a grid. Well shaped canopies – set against the holm oak woodland backcloth. And with fruiting blackberries – mmm !

Clematis flammula is now covered in seed heads – what a great contribution it makes the ground layer here – early in leaf in April and then smothered in white flowers from June to August. Now, puffy in texture with a cobweb is caught within the seiderdown layer.  Mixtures of grasses – oaty and wheaty – line the lanes.

As the light drops, wildflowers and grasses on the uncultivated land, invite the gentle caress . . . .

. . . unlike the cactus. This sits below a bridge, almost hidden,  in uncultivated ground. Quite incongruous . . . .

. .  more understandable is the village pump, still recognisable as an engineered feature, under the very old silver lime. Maybe there were more of these trees – how lovely if this was so . . . enjoying  the big skies and expanses of light . . .

. . . this village, along with most in Languedoc, is set within an imprint of 2, or maybe, 4 crosses. I find I notice them now, and indeed, look for them entering other small habitations.

The morning glory – gorgeous, voluptuous and exotic – to be admired at opening time and allowed to sleep at closing time.

“Nature” is what we see—
The Hill—the Afternoon—
Squirrel—Eclipse— the Bumble bee—
Nay—Nature is Heaven—
Nature is what we hear—
The Bobolink—the Sea—
Thunder—the Cricket—
Nay—Nature is Harmony—
Nature is what we know—
Yet have no art to say—
So impotent Our Wisdom is
To her Simplicity. Emily Dickinson  Nature Is.

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