Fin on Swing

Fin on Swing

So, how do you get movement into a two-dimensional space? How do you get the to and fro, the up and down, the legs out front, the hair out back? And there are so many things missing. The alpacas watching. The goats guzzling. The peacock making whatever noise a peacock makes. Oh dear, I forgot all of those things. But then, I was never a great artist – just a dabbler in line and color, in sorrow and joy, but joy and happiness, shape and color, emotions above all. And when childhood meets second childhood – then there is joy and laughter and swings that go faster.

What we want ….

What we want is Watney’s

It’s surprising how TV advertisements stick in your head, well, mine anyway. I can sing so many, from so far back. I remember going into a pub in England and standing at the bar. The barman asked me what I wanted and I said “Worthington E”. He looked at me in a funny fashion and said “We ain’t got any”. So I said “A pint of Watney’s please, Draft Red Barrel”.

Well, if I ever did. People around me were spluttering with laughter and choking on their beer. “Gor blimey,” said the barkeep, “What planet have you been living on? They stopped making that stuff generations ago. Come on,” he said, “Try again. Pull the other leg, it’s got bells on.”

“Well,” I said, “”you wouldn’t have a pint of Moosehead would you? Or Molson Canadian?”

I settled for a pint of best bitter. It was okay, but it wasn’t quite the same. And then I discovered Old Thumper. I’d never heard of that before, but it certainly was the best thing going.

Ornithology

Ornithology

Time to celebrate the seasonal – and totally unexpected – arrival of the Orange Crested Red and Yellow Butter Bird. Magnificent isn’t he-she-it? I know, I know – birding is serious. And no, I am not serious. Just enjoying myself with a red here, a yellow there, a brown underneath, and lovely black outlines.

When childhood meets second childhood, things like this happen. Just sit back, enjoy them, and think of Canada. And yes, I am amused. Why shouldn’t I be?

Oh yes – and Happy Birthday Old Salt – Vive l’Acadie et bonne fête d’Acadie – and don’t forget Stella Maris and the Blessing of the Fleet.

Blue Birds Over

Blue Birds Over

There used to be “Blue birds over, the White cliffs of Dover” – and I remember how white and bright they were, when I was a teenager, returning from my summers in France and Spain, to see them, shining, and to know that I would soon be back in England – an England I no longer recognize.

Windmills, cliffs collapsing, line-ups for miles of trucks and traffic waiting to make their way into a Europe that we rejected. I remember travelling to France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Italy, Portugal and always being welcome. I remember the days when, as a pre-teen and an early teen, visas were still necessary for entry into some countries. And I remember how, later, with a European Passport, I was welcomed as a member of a larger community.

The Latin Mass, a common factor throughout Europe in my youth, now celebrated in many languages, is only open to those who speak those languages. Progressive or Retrograde? I guess, like beauty, everything is in the eye of the beholder. De gustibus non est disputandum – and that’s how it should be. But I long for that freedom, that sense of adventure, that sense of belonging that once, so long ago, I knew.

And yes, I wish I could still see those bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover, not just lines of lorries and piles of portaloos and stress and discontent and impatience and misery. Just sign me sad, I guess, but now I know why those bluebirds are blue.

Bas Bleu

Bas Bleu Clair à Pieds Nus

This has been a time when words have failed me. Thanks to the presence of Finley in the house, my painting and drawing has been restored and I have once again begun to see a new world of shape and color through the eyes of a small child. Small? She is tall for her age and very, very visual. This morning we did online jigsaw puzzles – all art and patterns – and fractals!

Words may fail, but they are ever present. Bas bleu, well we all know what that means in the world of French academia where I once lived, a long, long time ago. Bas bleu clair – well they are light blue, aren’t they? And, like the revolutionary sans culottes, my figure walks barefoot, à pieds nus, that is to say, without shoes, sans chaussures.

I don’t know who started playing with words and cartoons, but Goya was a master at doing so, in his etchings. So words and visions linked, all in a playful game of allusion / elusion. What a wonderful world, that of the childlike, playing mind.

Rainbow Flower & Pot

Rainbow Flower and Pot

Finley has decided, quite rightly, that what she wants to paint, draw, or colour, is much more important than any of the page prompts in the drawing book I got her. That said, this could easily be a comic book cover – or the cover photo of my next book.

“I want to see the world again through the eyes of a little child” – Picasso. The gift of so doing is precious.