Thursday, July 8

A Poem for Thursday

Through my trawling the web for information for the painting workshop on synaesthesia recently,  I discovered the poetry of Baudelaire. having just had our annual beach holiday in Spain this one in particular seems appropriate. But others may pop up in weeks to come.

Man and the Sea

Free man, you will always cherish the sea!
The sea is your mirror; you contemplate your soul
In the infinite unrolling of it's billows;
Your mind is an abyss that is no less bitter.
You like to plunge into the bosom of your image;
You embrace it with eyes and arms,and your heart
Is distracted at times from its own clamoring
By the sound of this pliant, wild and untamable.
Both of you are gloomy and reticent:
Man, noone has sounded the depths of your being;
Oh sea, no person knows your most hidden riches,
So zealously do you keep your secrets!
Yet for countless ages you have fought each other
Without pity, without remorse,
So fiercely do you love carnage and death,
O eternal fighters, implacable brothers!

From -Les Fleurs du Mal by Baudelaire
_translated from the French by William Aggeler
(Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)


Wednesday, July 7

The Story of Ballyferris. Chapter 3... The Road

Journeys nowadays are speedy affairs... well that is if the traffic isn’t too jammed up... or the road works aren’t bringing us all down to one lane . But in these days that I write about, there were no bypasses or dual carriageways, so every trip was a major undertaking.
Which of course made it all the more exciting.

There was one special road that led to Newtownards. We called it, “The Switchback”.
It had no bends in it at all ... it was simply a dead straight road going up and down and over the hills. .The alternative road...the wider road was more regular, and thus deemed boring. So the cry went up from the kids on the back seat, “Dad, please take the hilly route!”.
As far as I can remember nobody was car-sick, but that may be because I didn’t want to admit to such feelings. Hauling your stomach back inside you as the car bounced over the top of the hills time after time, with Ian shouting “faster, faster dad!”, meant that I couldn’t let myself down by admitting to nausea.
Through Newtownards and the road edged along Strangford Lough, eventually turning left towards the village of Carrowdore. Isn’t it odd the feelings you get on some roads? It seemed to me that it was out in the wilds and had a wild west deserted look to it. Thinking back, farming wasn’t the pretty, crafty place that a lot of it seems in the fashionable magazines today...and the people were possibly poor cottage farmers....I'm not sure. Or maybe it’s just another example of my insatiable imagination!
 Right turn at the end of the village and we’re almost at the field, the farm, the caravan,

. Ah! Ballyferris! What magic is conjured up even at the mention of the name. As we come over the last hill the competition is on to be the first to shout out...“I see the sea”. ?
 I really, really want it to be me. …but usually it was my big brother Ian, Iupy ...the son‘n’heir.
Now and again we journeyed down by a different road, driving past the old windmill at Millisle, before turning right to join the coast road again. That was always a great route because dad really loved icecream, and there was a wonderful shop in Millisle selling cream ice in a poke (that’s a cone to you!) ...which was then dipped into melted chocolate and the joy as you crunched through the hard shell of the chocolate made a memory never to be forgotten.. So we were happy bunnies when we reached the field...........

..if also rather sick!

Tuesday, July 6

Workshops at the Potters House.

Two workshops this week, Friday and Monday. Friday was the potters with Alan and Monday the painters with me. Fun people and lots of creativity. The food is always a big part of the day. Now I know that you're surprised at that! So little reference to food in my blogs! Ha!  This is about the painters, as I'm in the kitchen for the potters' day slaving over a hot stove as the saying goes and no time to take photos of them either eating or working. The day starts like all good days with  coffee and biscuits, and then we are revved up and raring to go.
The theme was synaesthesia, a theory that we can be influenced in art by music, colours, smell and even taste. The artists Kandinsky,  Klee, van Gogh and the two  Delauneys  are believed to work to this theory. So our day started with a look at some of these artists.  



Then the morning was taken up with mark making and colour marking to various music genre, starting with the pianist Andrew Wilde playing Haydn, Grieg and Chopin. But Queen, Muddy Waters, Michael Buble, Madeleine Peyroux and Charlie Parker all got a hearing. It was good to see how different rhythms and styles influenced the results.

Lunch comes as a welcome break.

In the afternoon session each one takes a reference from the morning's experiments. And with some input from a chosen artist, such as Mondrian, works up those ideas.

End of the day as it started with a cup of tea and chocolate cake and a look at all that was accomplished.
And not only that but the sun shone. What could be better.