'Inspired by Art' - an Online Course by Christine Roberts
Twenty years ago I’d had the chance to go on a course at the National Gallery which did just what the title of this piece suggests - and I’d really relished the opportunity to bring two of my favourite things together. That’s how I came to produce the current course on Ekphrastic poetry which is the term used to describe poems inspired by art.
The six-week course is structured to look at different genres in painting and different approaches by poets in response to paintings. The first week focused on the need to observe paintings very closely and, for those members who wanted to write their own poems, to do so and to get feedback. Following that first week where we looked at paintings by Breughel and Van Gogh, we moved on to look at portraits and life drawing, still lifes, and historical, narrative and genre paintings. Still to come are landscape, seascape and nature paintings, and to finish we’ll look at some abstract and, maybe, surrealist works. We’ve already looked at poems by Walter De La Mare, William Carlos Williams, Carol Ann Duffy, Paul Durcan, Michael Longley, W. H. Auden and others responding to works by painters including Braque, Lowry, Giacometti, Uccello, Morandi, Cezanne, Picasso and Vuillard.
What have been tremendous are the poems participants have sent us in response to the material. You may already have read some on the website and here are links to all the poems written so far. I’ve been delighted with the writer’s imaginative approaches, the freshness of their language and the skills on offer. The only thing I regret is that we are not meeting face to face to read our poems and enjoy each others. Let’s hope for a future live running of this programme.
If you'd like to contact Christine, click here.
BBC Radio Kent played another of Gaye Jee's monologue's on 12th May. If you'd like to listen to the story of a woman fulfilling her mother's dream, click here to listen to 'White Horses', at approx 3.43. Her previous monologue, 'After the Dream' which was played on 6th May, is available here. The monologue is at 3.46.40
A Look Back to 2019
At this time when none of us are going out, it seemed like a good moment to have a look at what we achieved last year. We put on around a dozen talks, music, performance and arts events. Highlights included our celebration of our county, 'A Sussex Salmagundi', that featured over 20 performers; a talk from the well-known author Simon Brett and the fascinating 'Sound of Paint' with music historian Peter Medhurst, plus around 50 hands-on sessions including regular life drawing and portraiture, and our Booklovers and Playreaders meetings. 2020, our 10th anniversary, would have been just as busy, but never fear, we'll be back with a vengeance as soon as we possibly can!
As the first of a series of mini-features on Crowborough Arts people, we begin with our Chair, Angela Vernon Bates. Click here to read about her life as a singer and artist before CA!
Hot Off the Press
Mary Harris has shared a beautiful new woodcut. She writes: "This new woodcut is completely different from others I have done, but reflects the domestic viewpoint and smaller horizons during the lockdown. It is printed on a fine Japanese paper and pink watercolour added on the reverse shows through."
Earth Day: 22nd April
"Trees exhale for us so that we can inhale them to stay alive. Can we ever forget that? Let us love trees with every breath we take until we perish." - Munia Khan
I took this photo of an oak tree near Rotherfield first thing in the morning. When I awoke that day, everything was shrouded in mist, with just a hint of golden light that told me the sun would break through. I threw on my clothes and walked through the fields to photograph my favourite tree.
A Song for the Times
Singer/songwriter and CA member Alice Barnard, who has performed in many of our shows, has written a song about the way Coronavirus has affected us all: Click here to watch her video on Youtube.
The Hidden Life of a Social Girl ...
Margaret Sayer (this is NOT Margaret pictured!) has shared the following poem - we don't know who wrote it, but it certainly hits the nail on the head at the moment!
I'm normally a social girl
I love to meet my mates
But lately with the virus here
We can't go out the gates.
You see, we are the 'oldies' now
We need to stay inside
If they haven't seen us for a while
They'll think we've upped and died.
Click here to read the full poem.
Elizabeth Wood and Christine Roberts have collaborated to set up art projects which they then both interpret. We think this is a brilliant idea to stimulate creativity while we're all cooped up - why not give a friend a call and give it a go?
Week 1: 'Dying Tulips', 'Lemons' (in the style of Mary Fedden) and 'The Corner of My Conservatory'. Originals are on the left, followed by Elizabeth's interpretations in the middle and Christine's on the right.
For their 2nd week, Elizabeth responded to a collage by Christine.
Week 3 saw them interpreting David Hockney's monochrome drawings.
Week 4: This week Elizabeth set the challenge which was to do a collage using decorative papers and then to use it to make some gift tags!
For week 5, Elizabeth and Christine took their inspiration from some fossilised items and some rocks that came from the desert near Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. Elizabeth interpreted hers in pencil, enlarged it and added some digital strokes in the background. Christine drew hers directly on her iPad on a background of a beach in Southwold, using an Apple pencil and Procreate software.
Peter Jeffery has sent us four of his poems so far - thank you Peter!
You can read all four of Peter's poems here.
Chapel Porth Postcard by Peter Jeffery
"Just as back ground, Chapel Porth is a tiny almost deserted group of cottages on the North Coast of Cornwall that you can get to at low tide or by a little footpath."
Picture a narrow tranquil track
Beside the dancing ringlets of a tumbling stream
Close roofed by a thousand mad maypoles of spring blossom
Then to be fanned as you pass by wild flowers
Each bursting for the attention of a droning throng
That scatter hither and thither
Confused it seems by the heady scent of grass fresh mown
With all things so bright and beautiful
The Sunday school innocence of childhood is pleasantly recalled
And the spirit is lifted in contentment
The valley now broadens to a vast swathe of soft sea washed sand
Beyond the eyes reach
Margined by a looming curtain of mist that veils the mighty surf
But not its mighty roar
A mighty roar echoed by the soaring granite cenotaphs to long gone miners
That sculptured by the elements of time
Rise and rise again as if to touch the sky
It is here you can gambol like a mad March fool
Amongst the dunes with your loved ones
More likely though you will stand transfixed
And gaze and gaze in trepid awe
At the ever changing splendour of nature's imagination
Reflection here will ask about your faith
Did he who made the lamb make this?
Think well before you answer.”
Sue Whatley sent in her lino cuts of 'Phases of the Sun' - 'just to remind us that the sun will come out again.'
As you know, one of the events we had to cancel was the amazing folk dance band, Stepling. Click on the picture to watch their brilliant video of 'Allen Water'
In Memory of Times Past by Anne Schifler
This poem was sent to us by CA member Anne Schifler. It perfectly expresses the nostalgia of looking back on a happy childhood.
Oh England how I miss you though many years apart,
the memories of my childhood stay ever in my heart.
The scent of new mown grass, the first cuckoo call in spring,
the hedgehog I had for a pet - oh so many, many things.
Those happy days with Grandma in Notting Hill Gate;
I was only five but still remember all the love she gave;
the places that she took me, and which I’ve not seen since:
Kensington Gardens, The Palace, the Changing of the Guard -
I can see myself a little child peering through the bars
and getting lost in Selfridges, and remembering what Grandma said
’Stay where you are if you are lost and soon you will be found.’
What little things when we are young remain within the mind,
and now so many years have gone, and many loved ones too,
but still I have the memories…
And if today I forget what happened yesterday,
they say the memories of a happy past are the last to fade away.