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Monday, 6 February 2012

a sketching trip

Squatting on the churchyard wall,
drawing board at arms length, clenched
in left hand, resting on my knees,
water colour blocks and water on the wall.
Pens and inks and brushes there
in generous supply.
I'm drawing the great yew
and the magnificent West Front
in broad and simple strokes
to emphasise the church's permanence,
its solidity of form,
against the frail longevity of yew,

when I become aware
of youngsters gathering behind me,
edging forward nervously.
Hey, Mister, that real sky aint brown!
and that there tree's not purple!
Why you got your colours upside down?

(I wonder: does he realise, the surreal nature
of his question? Surely not.
Is youth at any time aware of the surreal?)

One of his many friends spares me the obligation
of an answer; says: The Pope wears purple.
Perhaps his trees should wear it too?

I thank him silently. The boys move on,
replaced by two mature in tweeds. Retired, I'd say.
They talk between themselves, and I'm not sure
if I am meant to hear. He's moved the Yew!
I hear. It's wrong side of the church! Why would
he be doing that?
There's silence for a bit.
Then: Probably dyslexic!
The lady's not convinced. She's quite disturbed
by my plain vandalism. To accommodate the yew
I've had to move some headstones. She doesn't use
the word, she doesn't mention desecration,
but she heads in that direction as they both move off.

16 comments:

Isabel Doyle said...

Good morning Mr King! A delightful picture - forget the churchyard - the portraits are wonderful.

Isabel

Leatherdykeuk said...

I love this. Veryremininiscent of my experiences, too.

adan said...

brought a big smile to my face and heart ;-)

loved not only the line, "the frail longevity of yew" -

but the nice juxtaposition of seeming non-understanding of art's interpretiveness of someone very young, and someone very old -

nice! thanks dave ;-)

Kass said...

Heading in the direction of ignorant criticism is a dangerous path.

I like this poem.

Brian Miller said...

ha...some def do not understand artistic license...and be it children or adult there will always be critics...

Williamz JungleJuice said...

I see the interplay of archetypes here: the artist representing the hand of nature ,the children reflecting the sublime and accommodating innocence of another era, the mature tweeds portraying the reprimanding cynicism of a controlling contemporary society, and lastly the omniscient voice of the poet - the observer confounded by the confronting drama being played out in this setting.
I love the simplicity of ur multi-layered work.

WJJ

Manicddaily said...

Ha--So clever! But where's the drawing!????

Very cute. People love to watch people drawing and, of course, as you draw, you are sketching them.

I used to do, every once in a while, a fair amount of water colors, but I've been pretty busy and am spoiled by the ease of the iPad. It's terrible. But if you don't have a studio spot set up, it's just so darn convenient.

I'm not sure people look over the shoulder the same way!
Lovely poem, and thanks as always for your kindness towards mind. K.

jabblog said...

I like this (but then I like all your work)
What a clever child that boy was.

The 'two mature in tweeds' made me laugh aloud - you know you really shouldn't change the status quo.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

A great parable on art and communication. The lady at the end is so typical, the problem is the difficulty to explain to a class of students for example why the headstones had to be moved...if the teacher I imagine fears that most of his students belong to the lady's family and share the same cultural DNA...

Windsmoke. said...

Two points of view of the painting from two different generations :-).

Carl said...

I love this... Run into this all the time.

Mary said...

Dave, I would definitely like to see some of your art. Could you photograph it and share it? I have a feeling I'd like it......

haricot said...

You descrived in the poem about difficulties of new poems before, and this time I remembered that reading this poem. For public new thinngs are difficult to accept, too.

Dave King said...

Isabel
And a bright, good morning to you. Thank you so much for your lovely comment.

Leatherdykeuk
I think it almost universal for those bold or foolish enough to paint or draw outside.

adan
Thanks adan. Don't think any age has a monopoly on that strange mix of interest and non-comprehension.

Kass
Indeed - and then many thanks.

Brian
It's a difficult choice sometimes, whether to ignore them or to try to explain.

Williamz
This is a fab' analysis, a work of art in its own right. I love it, Thanks.

Manicddaily
You touch a problematic point for me - whether or not to invest in an ipad - specifically for drawing/painting, I mean.

jabblog
I was going to keep it to myself, but i'll come clean - I took to the youngsters more readily than the 'two mature in tweeds'. I might have got chatting had they hung around a while longer.

Tommaso
I can see this absolutely. I can relate it to my own (rather different) classroom experiences. Thanks for it.

Windsmoke
Indeed.

Carl
Yes, I'm sure. I was taking some photographs round a local lake when I inadvertently let off the flash. An angler rounded on me rather angrily, though understandably, demanding to know what I was taking photographs for. "Watercolouring!", I said. "We don't want the bloody water coloured!" he snapped. It turned out he'd no idea what a watercolour was.

Mary
There's no recent stuff, I'm afraid. All this was a while ago. I have a problem now with a hand tremor. Most of what I have got I have already posted. Having said which, I am about to experiment with oil pastels - so we shall see. And maybe you have just seeded an idea in my mind. There may be a case for reshowing some in another guise. Thanks for the suggestion.

Haricot
True, but not only for the public. For some artists too, they are difficult to accept.

Jim Swindle said...

This is another excellent poem.

Ygraine said...

Isn't it peculiar how everyone who looks at a painting sees it differently?
Probably no more than five percent of viewers see what the painter saw.
An artistic conundrum I guess!