Sunday, 25 August 2013

Bearing the image of the heavenly

Dear Monty,


I cannot gaze
Like those eyes
Into eyes

Seeing beyond the surface
Stars, pools, lights reflecting back.

I struggle to see at all
Vision blurred by unbelief
How did it come to this ?

Unlike St Paul
Darkness blinds me

I search for the light
I blunder towards it.


I look at dog sleeping
I see that he is dog
No more
No less

Dog does not strive to be different
Does not have to be anything other than himself
Dog is dog is dog

He bears the image of the heavenly.

False Moon

Hub cap of former wheel
Rusting in hemp agrimony
Bracken and teasel

A car graveyard
Now turned green and purple
Gives up its treasure

A moon on the apple tree.


I agree
That gardens can be a sanctuary

Voices of sheep, robin and crow
Mix in my semi sleep

I awake to possibility
In this cool pool of morning.


Sunday, 18 August 2013

Natural selection

Dear Monty,

My friend Charles Hawes in his excellent blog : wrote in reply to a comment on a post; that God is good with planting but not with people.

Maybe the issue is that people are not good with God ?

Nature is beautiful but can also be ruthless and cruel (if humanistic values are applied). We think that death for us is somehow unjust, but we see that in nature it is part of the cycle of this living planet. We can accept the science of natural selection for flora and fauna but seem unable or perhaps unwilling to see that it also applies to us.

We strive to find ways of living longer, despite the fact that the earth is beginning to groan under the burden. Horizon on the BBC this week explored how technology will allow us to monitor all aspects of our health, one scientist even suggested that we all be chipped, this suggestion seems to have been put forward in the belief it would be for our 'good' !

The trouble with rigorous scientific knowledge and know how is that it can be empty of the beautiful flaws that make us human - and nature natural.

Mary Keen, the garden writer illustrated this divide between the acceptance of flaws and the desire for control and order in her response to a blogpost that criticised her garden for not having year-round interest and a 'perfect' lawn.

I suppose we are all so different, but there is something of an unsettling undercurrent in our inability to be comfortable with imperfection.

I am in the midst of a form of natural selection, I am trying to select some paintings for It is getting ever closer, the anxiety rises...will people like and even buy my fresco's ?

I will just accept what comes.



Sunday, 11 August 2013

Stripping the tendrils

Dear Monty,

I'm not sure how long you intend having a cyber holiday, but I thought I would write anyway.

Jake and Dinos Chapman said : " If you can't spend a day chucking clay at a wall, then you've stripped off a few of the tendrils that are necessary to doing this"

Making art or a garden does involve play, experiment and above all, time out of the usual daily grind. I seem to have stripped off so many tendrils now that I feel as though I am cheating myself and the world by calling myself an artist.

I have rarely drawn the garden, when I have the result has been largely unsatisfactory. Of course you cannot capture the whole garden in one drawing, just as you cannot experience the whole garden from one viewpoint. So what do you draw ?

I have drawn the apple tree with the view beyond the garden before all the trees grew in the valley below. It is one of the few drawings I am happy with. It seems on looking back through my sketch book journal, that I have sketched aspects of the garden more than I first realised.

I suppose I try and capture a sense of composition or harmony, or a vista through plants and trees that delight me. Monet spent his last years painting light reflection from those lily ponds over and over.

Making pictures and a garden is a mysterious process full of joy and angst.


Sunday, 4 August 2013

Il est mort, well no not yet


My creative elbow has seized up, perhaps painting a landscape will help.

I live a small life - as small as it is it expands outwards from here via the web just like it does for many of us.
This valley envelopes and sometimes encloses our lives. The folk of this valley are our bread and butter - we listen to their anger, frustration and joy with this thing called life.

Life can be cruel, harsh and grim - that is the reality - but also equally real is the joy, sheer joy in the simple things - the love of family and friends, the sun after all that rain, finding a lime hawk moth caterpillar in the garden.

'There are many paths to enlightenment' Mine came through a daydream many years ago, it eventually led to an event in Jerusalem 2000 years ago which lifted me above the rooftops of Southsea in 1982, and lifts me to this faltering day.

For me, when things get tough, the one vicar remains, despite ego, weakness and boasting. I will soon disappear from this earth like us all.

Here in the small garden cloister I try to forget difficult consultations and conflicts relating to ill health. Illness is crippling not only physically but also mentally and spiritually. I too have been crippled by it - I still have the physical problems which come along as we get older, and sometimes bouts of anger and depression, but thankfully less so now.

When confronted with a sense of hopelessness and a mind bounded by ill health, it is a great challenge to be able to help that individual in any way - because at that point the mind is closed off to any hope - it is defeated. Hope is outside of our limitations. To set the mind outside of everything which seems against hope is almost impossible. When we loose the physical ability to pursue the interests we had when active - causes such grief, such loss, indeed all that can be seen is the loss. To find contentment in such circumstances takes a huge step of faith, and I am not sure how to help someone achieve that.

Sitting here under the tree I am grateful that I can still potter in the garden. How will I feel when I can no longer do this ? Perhaps I too would just become defeated.
In the meantime starting this painting helps, because it lifts me out of my mindset and out above the valley, toward the Pembrokeshire hills.