Diary of the Plague Year: Day 8 24 March 2020: Tattered Shreds of Light

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

An ongoing series of drawings. The title is from a poem by Nazim Hikmet.

Title:          Tattered Shreds of Light (nine drawings in series)

Medium:     Soluble and non-soluble coloured pencil on BFK Rives paper

Size:           56.5 cms x 76 cms

Date:          2019

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 8 24 March 2020: more from The Black Notebook; Barnett Newman

‘The driving force of modern painting has been to change, to reconstitute the painting medium from a photographic technique of realistic rendering into a medium of pure expression. Modern painting is an attempt to change painting into a poetic language, to make pigment expressive rather than representational.

It is in poetry that the problem of handling a realistic tool, a tool that permits of realism without being realistic, has been solved. In music, the pure abstract element of tone has made it easy. Sometimes attempts have been made in music to imitate naturalistic sounds, but those attempts are unnatural and not very usual. It is easier and more natural for music to deliver its message, to present its concepts, in terms of the abstract nature of notes of sound. In music there never is an attempt to relate sound to any conventional prejudice, or natural sound, whereas in literature and in painting it is natural for us to associate the word or the painted object with the thing in nature, to combine its evocative nature with its appearance. In poetry, however, the element of music contained in it has permitted the artist to approach the abstract handling of the language usual in music, so that we have learned to react to the words themselves. The whole drive of poetry, therefore, and in recent times of painting and prose, has been in the direction of music, to divorce the languages of literature and of painting from the conforming dichotomy of meaning inherent in their media so that they would function purely and abstractly in the manner of musical notes.

…since the important truth underlying the creation of any art form and determining any style concerns man’s relation not with the universe but with himself.

Selected Writings and Interviews
Barnett Newman




Diary of the Plague Year: Day 8 24 March 2020: more from The Black Notebook; Aldous Huxley

“Everything seen by those who visit the mind’s antipodes is brilliantly illuminated and seems to shine from within. All colours are intensified to a pitch far beyond anything seen in the normal state and at the same time the mind’s capacity for recognising fine distinctions of tone and hue is notably heightened … At the antipodes of the mind, we are more or less completely free of language, outside the systems of conceptual thought. Consequently our perception of visionary objects possesses all the freshness, all the naked intensity, of experiences which have never been verbalised, never assimilated to lifeless abstractions. Their colour (that hallmark of giveness) shines forth in a brilliance which seems to us preternatural, because in fact it is entirely natural – entirely natural in the sense of being entirely unsophisticated by language or the scientific, philosophical and utilitarian notions, by means of which we ordinarily re-create the given world in our own drearily human image.”

Heaven and Hell
Aldous Huxley

A Diary of the Plague Year: Day 6 22 March 2020: The Deptford Elegies

I have been going through some of my old work and this is fittingly elegiac.

A painting in ten canvases after a short collaboration with a poet in Deptford and reading The Duino Elegies of Rilke. It was an almost impossible task. The poems are so dense and full of imagery which is not really what I do in my paintings. I did notice, however, that the only colour mentioned is brown. This gives an immense feeling of density to the poems, they feel massive. It is curious how just the the words for colours create a feeling of lightness and transparency.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.



A Diary of the Plague Year: Day 5 21 March 2020:

Yes, indeed it is raining again. Just had breakfast of porridge and honey before going in to Clon to collect my work from the framer before they shut indefinitely.  A lot of businesses are going to go to the wall during this crisis. It is a terrible thing. I hope Kate comes through.  She is lovely and her frames are wonderful. She also supports a lot of artists through the gallery and frame shop.

The Loft Gallery, Clonakilty:


Just put these works on Facebook.  I am usually not keen on FB but an artist called Matthew Burrows has started a great initiative called the ARTISTS’ SUPPORT PLEDGE. It is way for artists to support each other which we always like to do.

@matthewburrowsstudio Yesterday I instigated the
#artistsupportpledge within hours I had multiple pledges and hope to be able to report the first completion today. It’s a simple concept, you post images of your work you are willing to sell for no more than £200 each (not including shipping.) Every time you reach £1000 of sales you pledge to buy another of the artists work for £200.
This creates a small but dynamic market were all can contribute whatever their level of success. This is a culture dependent on the honesty and generosity of our artistic communities at every level. So make a pledge, post your work with the #artistsupportpledge Please repost this and make a pledge. I look forward to seeing your work. @matthewburrowsstudio #supportartists #art #culture #kunst #generosity #artists #artworld #artcommunities #artistcommunities.

I have listed the following works:

A series called China Club 8.5 x 8.5 inches, acrylic on linen:

China Club

Something Comes and Something Goes 8.5 x 11 inches, acrylic on linen:

Something Comes and Something Goes

Summer Palace 11 inches x 15 inches, acrylic on linen:

Summer Palace


Some words: A tear in the fabric.