My interest in, indeed fascination with, T.S.Eliot’s poetry goes back a long time, when I chose, as my doctorate dissertation, to write about “The Influence of Dante on T.S.Eliot’s Poetry”. Re-reading his poetry after a long lapse of time, I was prompted to translate into paint the vivid images this poetry presented to my mind.
I have not “illustrated” Eliot, in fact I don’t think it is at all possible.
It is my personal response, in a given moment of my own life, to his poetry. I have, partly subconsciously, followed Eliot’s own procedure (which he admired in Dante) of clear images, easily read, possibly as allegories. The meaning of these images is however not clearly defined in the context of the poems (or in my pictures). They represent the “determinate in the indeterminate”, leading, in Eliot, to an inevitably subjective interpretation. That’s why I chose not to respond to his poetry with abstract pictures. Colour, form - yes - but also the juxtaposition of apparently arbitrary clear images hopefully will lead the viewer to an overall feeling not inconsistent with the meaning of the poems.
Moods and Myths Series
Myths are enduring because every person can respond to them with an individual interpretation without destroying the meaning of the myth itself.
I can look to the myth of Orpheus from the point of view of Eurydice: does she really want to come back and relive it all?
In Tobias and the Angel’s story I prefer to emphasise divine protection rather than the two protagonists.
Motherhood, the great myth, consists of glorious moments (hence the gold, the sky), but toil and pain too (the gold is distressed).
The two lovers’ embrace (from the fairly na´ve ancient bas-relief of the Ara Grimani) has acquired cracks, destroyed slowly by time.
The midsummer’s night has, to me, a sinister but fascinating meaning.
But David - now only a bas-relief - goes on offering silent music and live roses to Bathsheba.
I don’t often sketch outside or on holiday. If I do, it is the silent geometry of places, the still life of busy towns, that seems to interest me. To me ‘town’ is more interesting than ‘country’, as the geometrical shapes in town are continuously changing and surprising.
Crowds are somewhat frightening; if I paint people, it is individuals, portraits, nudes, isolated figures.
Masks and Drapes
Carnival has held, since my childhood, a great fascination. Letting oneself go, presenting a mask of an “alter-ego”. Reflection rather than reality. It doesn’t matter, it’s only carnival. And then the debris, when carnival is over, the drapes, the masks, the bottles, the baubles.
Masks and drapes represent and don’t represent people. Drapes are sensual, their colour
is always symbolic; they are also what’s left over after real life (the find in the attic - “La Scala,1953”, “Ricordo di Venezia, 1911”), evocative of a moment in one’s story. Also, as with masks, tragic (“Good Friday”). Also background to celebration (“Christmas Angels”) and decoration.
It all began with my two paintings of “Midsummer Night’s Dream”. I started thinking more of landscape, gardens, the change of colours through the seasons. Visiting, quite by chance, Sheffield Park in Sussex was a revelation. I had to paint it
The summer of 2007 was very rainy. To cheer myself up I started painting colourful rose blooms from the garden in acrylics on 12” x 12” canvases. I stopped when I had done 16 and hung them on a wall, trying to find the best combination/harmony. A quick calculation revealed that if I tried every possible combination I would have to change them around 20,922,789,888,000 times. Not possible in a couple of lifetimes. Do you want to try?
A direct medium, I use it for portraits, outdoor sketches, domestic subjects. I find drawing, with pastels, pencils, pen, charcoal, intense but relaxing. Drawing is a continuing practice which underpins everything I do in art.