The weather, the moods and the longing.

What I posted yesterday on instagram, feel free to follow if you like :)…

Today was a very strange day. We had a thunderstorm and it was raining heavily, something quite rare for us here in late June. We knew it was coming thanks to the forecast but still everyone was astounded. It is so rare, many still planned to attend outdoor events, despite the warning, you can imagine the disappointment. I think I was the only one at work who had a huge smile. I couldn’t think of anything but books! What is it with books and rain? It’s still raining but I am finally home ready to give in to the longing. I long to be surrounded by all of this constantly really but rain makes me long for it even more. I’m in the last part of The Forgotten Garden and this weather is just perfect for this book. It’s been a slow read but only because I had much to do and had to take breaks because of the small text… The garden mentioned in the book made me think of one of the most beautiful gardens in impressionism – The Garden At Bougival as painted by one of the best – Berthe Morisot. She was one of the ‘rejected impressionists’ who held their own exhibitions, along with Pissarro, Degas, Monet, Sisley, Cézanne & Renoir. This particular garden inspired her to paint 40 paintings (this one 1884).

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June, modern poets and Pollock.

This month, after a month of lovely romantic 19th century poetry, I am going to read some modern poetry form Geoffrey Grigson, Edwin Muir & Adrian Stokes. Grigson was born in 1905, literary editor, worked for BBC and in publishing. He also wrote many books including Notes from an Odd Country and a study on flowers and plants in The Englishman’s Flora. 📚 Muir was a famous Scottish poet born in 1887.  He worked for the British Council in Edinburgh, then in Prague and later in Rome. Later he also taught at Harvard, but writing poetry was always a constant thing. 📚 Stokes was born in London in 1902 , he was a painter and writer and lived in Italy for a while and then back in the UK.  Most famous for his books about art, including The Quattro Cento (the four hundred)… The cover of this book made me think of a very wild but great artist whom I admire for his staying true to himself no matter what others thought; and that was Jackson Pollock. His art was negatively received in the beginning but he refused to follow trends and finally he became famous for his own true expressions. Not only that but thanks to him other doors were opened when it came to freedom in art. He struggled with alcoholism and died in car accident at age 44. His art goes really well with the writings of these passionate poets who also changed the way people looked at poetry.

“Since I emerged that day from the labyrinth,

Dazed with the tall and echoing passages,

The swift recoils, so many I almost feared

I’d meet myself returning at some smooth corner,

Myself or my ghost, for all there was unreal

After the straw ceased rustling and the bull

Lay dead upon the straw and I remained,

Blood-splashed, if dead or alive I could not tell

In the twilight nothingness (I might have been

A spirit seeking his body through the roads

Of intricate Hades) – ever since I came out

To the world, the still fields swift with flowers, the trees

All bright with blossom, the little green hills, the sea,

The sky and all in movement under it,

Shepherds and flocks and birds and the young and old,

(I stared in wonder at the young and the old,

For in the maze time had not been with me;

I had strayed, it seemed, past sun and season and change,

Past rest and motion, for I could not tell

At last if I moved or stayed; the maze itself

Revolved around me on its hidden axis

And swept me smoothly to its enemy,

The lovely world) – since I came out that day,

There have been times when I have heard my footsteps

Still echoing in the maze, and all the roads

That run through the noisy world, deceiving streets

That meet and part and meet, and rooms that open

Into each other – and never a final room –

Stairways and corridors and antechambers

That vacantly wait for some great audience,

That smooth sea-tracks that open and close again,

Tracks undiscoverable, undecipherable,

Paths on the earth and tunnels underground,

And bird-tracks in the air – all seemed apart

Of the great labyrinth. And then I’d stumble

In sudden blindness, hasten, almost run,

As if the maze itself were after me.

And soon must catch me up. But taking thought,

I’d tell to myself, ʻYou need not hurry. This

Is the firm good earth. All roads lie free before you’.

But my bad spirit would sneer, ʻNo, do not hurry.

No need to hurry. Haste and delay are equal

In this one world, for there’s no exit, none,

No place to come to, and you’ll end where you are,

Deep in the centre of the endless maze’.

 I could not live if this were not illusion.

It is a world, perhaps; but there’s another.

For once in a dream or trance I saw the gods

Each sitting on the top of his mountain-isle,

While down below the little ships sailed by,

Toy multitudes swarmed in the harbours, shepherds drove

Their tiny flocks to the pastures, marriage feasts

Went on below, small birthdays and holidays,

Ploughing and harvesting and life and death,

And all permissible, all acceptable,

Clear and secure as in a limpid dream.

But they, the gods, as large and bright as clouds,

Conversed across the sounds in tranquil voices

High in the sky above the untroubled sea,

And their eternal dialogue was peace

Where all these things were woven, and this our life

Was a chord deep in that dialogue,

As easy utterance of harmonious words,

Spontaneous syllables bodying forth a world.

That was the real world; I have touched it once,

And now shall know it always. But the lie,

The maze, the wild-wood waste of falsehood, roads

That run and run and never reach an end,

Embowered in error – I’d be prisoned there

But that my soul has bird wings to fly free.

 

Oh these deceits are strong almost as life.

Last night I dreamt I was in the labyrinth,

And woke far on. I did not know the place.
The Labyrinth – Muir.

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Current painting, current read and the abandon.

I just finished this painting which I have named Flowers in the sky. The inspiration came from the beautiful wild flowers of spring and I painted it whilst listening to Flower duet by Netrebko and Garanca on repeat. I cannot tell you how much I needed this! My life is getting busier everyday and only this afternoon I could allow myself such luxury and abandon. I am also looking forward to bedtime so that I can continue reading The Lord of the Flies; it was on my to be read for ages and so far I’m enjoying it as much as I imagined. Wishing you all a blessed Sunday xxx

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Golding, the novelist and the knight.

William Golding was born in Cornwall on September 19th, 1911.  His father used to teach science, his mother fought for women’s rights. As a child he attended the same school where his father taught; later in 1930 at age 19 he moved to Oxford for Natural Sciences but after two years changed to English Literature. He published his book of poems in 1934 after he took his BA degree. Five years later he took the role of schoolmaster, teaching philosophy and English. In 1940 during World War II he joined the Royal Navy and later also experienced the horrors of D-Day. After war in 1945 he took back his role as a schoolmaster, this time teaching English only and this went on for 16 years until 1961. Golding’s Lord of the Flies was rejected many times, even by Faber & Faber’s reader but this novel was later praised by the company’s new editor who asked him to make a few changes and finally in 1954 this famous novel was published. Golding won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1979, Booker Price in 1980 and in 1983 the Nobel Prize for Literature. He wrote a play (The Brass Butterfly), 14 novels, poems, other non-fiction and more unpublished work. In 1988 he was knighted by the Queen; five years later he died of heart failure.This man left a huge legacy behind when it comes to literature and his books are still being given to study from to this day… I am still to read a whole book of his but I’ve read excerpts and so far it’s hair raising material, but the kind that keeps you going back… Speaking of hair raising material , in art , this is the painting from Magritte  – Reproduction Prohibited (1937),  which always gives me that feeling yet like Golding’s writings, not only attracts me but I became to love it.  It is a ‘portrait’ commissioned by poet Edward James, who hated to be seen, and next to him is a copy of a book by Poe. (Magritte was a fan of his).

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Words, the amount and the impact.

Halfway through and loving my current read – Salinger’s For Esme with Love and Squalor (and other stories). The title was attractive enough, but I also love Salinger so choosing it from the crazy-high pile of to be read was no hard feat. What’s not easy I think is for authors to choose the title of their books; one wrong or extra word and it could kill it before it is read. Sometimes just one word makes it intriguing enough. These are some of the one-word titles I have and I noticed for most of them the title is the name of a woman… In art there’s a particular character which inspired many artists to paint a one-word title painting bearing her name and that’s Shakespeare’s Ophelia. My favourites are those by John William Waterhouse who painted several beautiful versions of her, this one in 1905.

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The green; in books and in art.

From these lovely greens I am still to read Gone to Earth, The Old Curiosity Shop and I am especially curious about The Fountain Overflows, a story of a musical/literary family in crisis as seen through the child’s eye, which is said to be West’s most autobiographical novel… Green is a colour Van Gogh used a lot. Two things I can relate to is the associating of colours with moods, and the love of texture in paintings, both of which he was well known for. His paintings were also well known for the ‘furious’ brushstroke which was said to be an expression of his constant inner turmoil. Pictured here is his Cornfield and Cypresses, painted in St. Remy in 1889, the year before he died.

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The orange, the personal and the expressive.

Some of my beloved orange, and  behind them one of my favourites from Picasso – Portrait of Max Jacob (early 1907). I love Picasso for many reasons, one of them for expressing very well in words what and how artists feel when they paint. He once said “The painter always paints himself”. How very true. I believe it’s the same for authors and when it comes to all other talents really. The passion behind each work is very personal yet very expressive of one’s self, how ever different the outcome. Experiencing their work is like having a glance at their own personality. It’s like being trusted with a part of themselves. Isn’t that another good enough reason why books should be cherished?

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