Common Ground

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Month: December, 2009

From The Princess (Tennyson)

This wonderful, wonderful poem by Tennyson also comes to mind.

From The Princess

Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;
Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;
Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font:
The firefly wakens: waken thou with me.

Now droops the milkwhite peacock like a ghost,
And like a ghost she glimmers on to me.

Now lies the Earth all Danae to the stars,
And all thy heart lies open unto me.

Now slides the silent meteor on, and leaves
A shining furrow, as thy thoughts in me.

Now folds the lily all her sweetness up,
And slips into the bosom of the lake:
So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip
Into my bosom and be lost in me.


Snow by Louis MacNeice

The rose petal from Helen brought to mind this great poem. Here it is as a Christmas present to you Helen.


Louis MacNeice

The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.

World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.

And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes –
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one’s hands –
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.

A visitor from Hong Kong (continued)

Helen is working on a project about sending pieces of love to friends and I received this little rose petal from Hong Kong in the post. What a nice surprise! Helen would like to know how the rose petals have survived after their long journey. Surprisingly well is the answer and here are two photos of the petal in its new home.

Residency at The Creekside Centre, Deptford

From December 2009 until December 2010 I will be working as their artist-in-residence at The Creekside Centre, Deptford for one day a week.  I am using the diaries of Gilbert White as model for my time there, and will be making very simple observations about the weather, conditions, wildlife etc, and using this information as the basis for a series of paintings which I will show at the end of the year.

Doing a residency at Creekside really appeals to me because I have long been aware of the rupture between the arts and sciences. As an abstract painter it has been previously difficult for me to think of a “way in” to remedy this for myself. If only in a small way working at Creekside will be a way for me to breach this historical gap and using Gilbert White as a model will give me a starting point to the days before the split between the arts and sciences, man and the natural world.

Please go to for my diary entries.