‘A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness;’
from John Keats ‘Endymion’
I wandered across these beautiful images of our earth, and it provoked a curiosity in me as to why I love pattern as much as I do. After looking at these images from a website that demands your attention, http://eros.usgs.gov/imagegallery/ I looked at my own images of rock and sky, sea and sand. I don’t understand how these images work for me, or why, but they do. Patterns attract me, and I know I am not the only one out there. Otherwise , why would there be that fantastic project ‘Earth as Art’ ? There is such a proliferation of images available and easily accessible, I feel overwhelmed and almost anxious to the extent of overload. What can I do with all this visual treasure? I can’t house it all on my own walls, and I don’t have the drive to perform as a real artist in the real world, with real galleries, and real connections to real dealers. I don’t think I exist in the here and now. I am abstract, and somewhat other worldly. Hope you look at the images below, and the images I have shot myself. Just to please me. Be well in the world.
Rocks that smile at you, what could be better. Elgol, on Isle of Skye in sunshine. No better place to be.
You guessed it, Isle of Skye, and more rock. What is it with me and rock?
This will never happen, except in my mind. Digger, in the foreground is still happily with us. Pete on the other hand , is not. Pete was a crazy dog, loved life, loved the challenge of escapology, and made his final escape by launching himself off a side of a waterfall in Yorkshire in the pursuit of wildlife. Sadly he landed on a rock below and broke his back. I comfort my self by knowing what a fantastic time he had with us, and how much he loved life. He was a rescue hound, as all are dogs have been, and managed to secure himself a wonderful billet for a couple of years. He replaced my guardian angel dog called Bailey, and was in turn replaced by Digger, who has managed to hang on to life so far . Again we have the happy privilege of sharing our lives with a complete sweetheart. He has eyes to melt the hardest heart, and his only vice is his utter greed. So this picture, though a complete fabrication in that they never met, does reveal another truth. The joy of sharing time with man’s best friend. My dogs are deep in my heart.
Here we have the head of Augustus Roman Leader, (around 27 B C -A D 14 ) and First Emperor; he defeated Anthony, and other rivals for power, becoming the undisputed master of Rome, and its territories. This bronze represents a shift, to remove himself from battle stance politics, to a more reflective leadership. He was trying to bring back a moral outlook, and individual responsibility, to a society that was confused. He could be likened to David Cameron, wanting us to get ‘back to basics’. This statue shows an image of the leader who wants to be seen as a role model of a new order. The head is that of a young man, strong featured, and good looking, with a piercing gaze and a slightly furrowed expression. This is his idea of being first among equals. It is a political idea that resonates with our current leadership, where we are encouraged to believe ‘ we are all in this together’. Of course we are. Like Cameron, Augustus was careful to collaborate, (or appear to!), in order to maintain a position of power. It took him over two decades before he achieved official assumption of supreme power. Augustus will have been totally in charge of this image, in the same way P.R men measure all that is put into the current arena, the statue will have been made a little bigger than the man. It is an image that will have been portrayed everywhere, standing in for the man in outlying provinces , to administer justice.
Many bronzes of antiquity were melted down for the bronze, so the fact that this one survived is amazing. It was found in Sudan and had been part of a statue put up in Egypt, during the period Augustus ruled territories there. Later the head was removed by the Kushites, as an act of enmity, to disempower the idea of Augustus. The head was buried underneath the place where they worshipped, in order that they literally trampled on it. Perhaps the political leaders of today would do well to look back , as well as forward.
If you want to see the head, in all of its glory, it is in the British Museum http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/gr/b/head_of_augustus.aspx
A Map of the Open Country of a Woman’s Heart D. W. Kellogg, c. 1833–1842
Mmmm, methinks this map of a woman’s heart tells more about the artist. It purportedly captures nineteenth-century ideas about womanhood in America. The caption reads, “The Open Country of Woman’s Heart, Exhibiting its internal communications, and the facilities and dangers to Travellers therein.” According to this map, Love is at the center of a woman’s heart, and Sentimentality and Sentiment (including Good Sense, Discrimination, Hope, Enthusiasm, and Platonic Affection) take up a sizeable portion of the entire territory. The larger, treacherous areas of a woman’s heart are Selfishness and Coquetry, attributes suggesting that all women are basically untrustworthy. The largest regions, Love of Admiration, Love of Dress, and Love of Display indicate womens’ essentially shallow nature. Written by a man then. Though I don’t know that. I think it’s time to update this worn out cartography of the female of the species. Any takers?
You might just make all the difference , and no-one knows when, where or to whom a stroke will strike. Commit this small memory to mind, the first three letters of stroke.
You might save a life. If a stroke victim gets medical help within three hours, they stand a good chance of a full recovery. How good is that? .
What a lovely way with words he has, and couldn’t we all relate to this at one time or another? A poetry anthology is a marvellous thing. I have been compiling one of my own since I was about 16, and I add to it whenever I read a poem or a piece of prose that really resonates. It is a gorgeous bank of memories, linking me back to the me I was when I first read each poem, like a photo album, but different in that it thrusts me into an emotional landscape connecting me to something outside myself, the poets landscape. I recommend anyone to start one for themselves, and simply add to it whenever the fancy takes you. Go on, you know you want to. When I am an old lady, nodding into the fire, I will be able to take myself back in time, to the girl I was at 17, the young woman seeking love, the newly wed. the friend, the fresh mother, and the middle aged me, still curious, still loving the possibilities.
I am working today in my January blues. Blues don’t have to be melancholy, they can just be blue, and bright , and uplifting. I have used photo images taken on one of my journeys to Skye, and worked on them , so that they bring back to me the sweetness of life, lived quietly, lived simply, with the expanse of the sky and the sea to capture. Skye is probably my favourite destination, because I do not find travel easy, so I will never be crossing time zones and savouring the wonders of other corners of the world. I am content to spend my time among the rock and the wind , knowing my heart is allowed stillness there, and contentment. I have been considering the images that trigger an emotional response in me, and many of them are seascapes, where timelessness is apparent. Where the demands of the ego are somehow diminished, and I can just breathe, and be. Find yourself a place, a condition that allows you that freedom. Just to be. I am by nature, attracted to the emptinesss of some slandscape, it offers me refuge, whereas I know others would find this place inhospitable, lacking the stimulus they need to find contentment. I love how we are so similar, and so different at the same time.
This view is taken from a small boat boarded at Elgol, and dropping us at the Cuillen, for a potter and a play amongst the rocks and the lakes. If you like to be close to nature, this is a glorious trip to take. The bonus for us this time was the weather. We had never seen Skye in such bright light, literally transforming the laandscape. Just glorious. The beauty of being in the middle of this range is it’s sense of history, and completeness , and seperateness from the dramas and crises of modern life. No one can drive there, you have to get the boat and walk. And sit. Take a flask. Can’t wait to be back.