I have been quietly preparing for an exhibition in April – a month long solo affair filled with my painted creatures which will take place in a converted 18th Century Mill in Dumfries. As such my virtual existence has been rather sporadic recently as my days have been spent merrily sketching, painting and dreaming up new works to fill this dedicated space.
While there are certainly common threads and themes woven through my workings I don’t normally work to a specific criteria or concept. However, I have tentatively called this group of works, still in the making, ‘The Peace of Wild Things’. If you have been following my ramblings and doings for a while you will know that this is the name of a favourite poem of mine by Wendell Berry, which I think reflects the common threads in my work of freedom, inner stillness, and the beauty of the nature …
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Wendell Berry, from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry. Copyright © 1998
I will of course share these workings as each one is completed. I have never been able to work on just one painting at once so at the moment I’m floating between about five, all in varying stages of completion. There is still a great deal of work to do (and quite a few more paintings to begin) and so for now I return to my paints and brushes and continue to ponder the peace of wild things…
In other news…
From next month prints and cards of my painted creatures, as well as some original work, will be available from the historic Mount Stuart House which is found here on the Isle of Bute. It’s a stunning Neo-Gothic mansion full of extraordinary architectural detail, artwork and furniture with a treasure trove of historic books (Shakespeare’s First Folio, the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, published in 1623, was found at Mount Stuart House last year). Definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.
About the Artwork…
The painting featured in this post is of a Galgo, which is a Spanish Greyhound. I decided to do some reading up on the plight of the Galgos after reading about a campaign on 1st February which is World Galgo Day (the date was chosen as it is the end of hunting season in Spain). I was heartbroken to discover the horrendous treatment of these beautiful animals that are bred for hunting and then discarded in truly awful ways at the end of each season. Haunted by these findings, I found myself painting this small portrait.
Prints of ‘Galgo’ are available from The Honeybee and the Hare Etsy Shop and the original 4” x 6” acrylic painting is available from my Artfinder Shop