Tuesday, 25 June 2013

On the radio they said 'winter is on its way'.

Monday morning, walking to work in the cold air and a still-damp coat with the smoke of midsummer bonfires hanging on to it.

The long, cold start to the year meant that spring and summer arrived at once, everything blooming together in a strange bounty.  And yet, as we travelled with our still-warm baking through the streets and the sheets of rain towards the fires, someone said it looked like December, and the air felt like fall.  Four seasons and a supermoon, all on the longest days of this year.

So we stood, trying to find a magic spot beside the fire, where the heat would burn up the raindrops before they landed on us, but where we ourselves would not be consumed by flames.  And I suspect we never found that spot, for my wine glass seemed to grow fuller, try as I might to make it emptier.

An evening spent in the dreamy silver half-light that only comes of thick rain clouds on a northern summer's night. The leaves glowed greener, the fire glowed more orange.

And then people went singing and banging drums, in the centre of the hush of the rain, trying to keep long candles lit while winding a procession down to the river. At the river's edge they placed tea candles in the crowns of flowers they had been wearing, called wianki in Polish (it was a Polish party, after all) and floated them downstream. The candles didn't stay lit too long, but one man did strip down and jump into the river to free a crown that had become ensnared in the sticks at the edge of the swollen river.

And then back to the fire that was outside and the other that was inside in a house that spilled over with the sounds of an accordion and a guitar and many voices, and where a table stood covered in more cakes and breads and foods of every kind than it would be right to dream of. More food was appearing, even as we were leaving.

Until morning, clothes dripped into the bathtub, and boots sat by the door in little pools. And the sky started lightening before we knew if it had been dark.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Long Days

Hello from this rosy moment of late summer sunset! The posts and comments that I have been planning to make have been a little backlogged lately because I have been busy making a new website and new header for this blog. There may still be a few changes that need to be made, but please do have a look if you are interested, and let me know if you find anything that isn't working quite right. I hope that these, the longest days of the year, are treating you very well indeed!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

La Rencontre

La Rencontre, etching, 20 x 30 cm

Welcome to the inky skies, dark woods, and stony heights of the last etching in my 'double' series!

The title of this print is French, in keeping with the names of the other prints in this series, and it translates to 'the encounter'. In it, a person meets themself walking in the forest beyond a city which both lies in the distance and hangs above the meeting.

It seemed to me that an encounter of this sort could only take place in contrast to the social, communal world of the town, and that evoking this world would render the forest deeper, darker and more lonely than if the nearest town were thousands of kilometres away.

While I was working away on it, building up the tones of sky, rock, and forest with layers of lines and dashes, I thought about the sometimes eerie qualities of the double, doppelgangers, superstition, the 'return of the repressed', and the fear of mortality. 

And though the photos are not as clear as I had hoped, maybe you can see that the only clear white areas of the print are on the clothes of those in the meeting.  I had hoped to give them a touch of luminosity to attract the eye down to them, despite their low placement. 

Though when I was making the studies for this series of etchings this was not the last image I came up with, I kept this one until last because somehow this felt like the perfect ending to this series. Which is good, because part of me says this topic of doubles is an interesting one, and I feel like I could go on for a long time finding more doublings to explore in images.

Of course, before starting work on these prints I had begun a painting which I will be happy to get back to, and there are new ideas that have been waiting to be brought to light as well. These long days of northern summer are wonderful for painting.
I hope June is treating you well, wherever it takes you!