Words

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Kingsbrae 8, 2
8 June 2017

Words

Here, on the seashore,
the whisper of waves,
splashed with a flash of sun,
wind fingering the hair,
the light a delight,
and wordless this world
though its beauty be
configured in words.

The scything of the sea,
the land seized in snippets,
grey stones, red rocks,
gelatinous mudflats
blue on white striations.

Seagull wings
snipping celestial ribbons,
salt caked keen on lips,
sea weed scents sensed
yet never seen.

Captivated we stand here,
unattached our single wings,
save to this singular beauty:
peregrine the falcon soul,
so solitary as it soars.

Comment: So many of these new poems are just that, “new” and “raw”. Words, for example, is just a couple of hours old. That is the gift of time that I have been given. The writing process is so rapid that there is little time to digest the last thought and image sequence, before the next comes tumbling along. I guess it’s just a question of rolling merrily along and we’ll see later what we still think is fit for survival. The selecting of these poems will be an interesting task … and who will select the selectors …

Flute

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Carlos Carty Making Magic

Kingsbrae 8.1

Flute
(for Carlos Carty)

Songs without words:
a black alpaca rolling on green grass,
two deer dashing across the lawn,
three Indian Runner Ducks actually running,
four tents, canopies billowing beneath the sun,
Passamaquoddy stretched out before me,
a dark island stark in the bay,
sunlight descending a ladder of cloud.

Song without words without end:
music of wind through rock,
waves lapping against stones,
a breeze tapping rhythm from river reeds,
plucked and pierced, the reeds:
the world’s first flute.

Life and breath are one.
The young man opening the water bottles,
sipping the right amount, pursing his lips,
blowing into the bottle neck,
making sweet music:
a song of joy.

Absences

Avila 2008 006

Kingsbrae 7.3
7 June 2017

Absences

Pigeons flapping
across abandoned squares.

Clothes peg dripping
raindrops from a deserted line.

Ile Ste. Croix,
lonely in the bay,
longing for Champlain’s
return.

Endless rock and roll
tide after tide
water without end.

A whole day goes by
without putting
pen to paper.

The blank page
waits for the pencil’s
resurrection.

Visitors

 

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Kingsbrae 7.1
7 June 2017

Visitors

Bees to flowers,
they come to visit,
their sojourns just as brief.

Hummingbirds hovering,
they push pointed noses
here and there.

How much and what
will they understand?

Perhaps they retain
an impression of raindrops
falling, or dust motes rising
to dance in the sunlight.

Maybe my words
will sting like tiny blackfly
and leave small red bites
that will burn with a wild
itch to hear more words.

Petroglyphs

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Un Verraco
a Celtic Stone Bull
One of the four
Toros de Guisando
700 BCE (?)

Kingsbrae 6.3
6 June 2017

Petroglyphs
&
Other Myths

(for Elise)

Writing on rock,
the words carved in stone,
imposed on earth’s bones,
sentenced for meaning.

This wise woman,
gifted with second sight,
looks deep in the rock
where stone spirits dwell,
sees with unearthly eyes
the stone soul in its residence.

She carves and shapes,
plucks out rare beauty
holding it up
for those of us who have eyes,
but cannot see.

Gentle her fingers,
harsh the rock,
troublesome the birth
that is beauty
drawn from the entrails
of our earth.

Proud mother,
birthing the soul-stone
from its amniotic
sea of rock.

Comment: The four Toros de Guisando are pre-Christian stone bulls, carved by the Vettones, the local Celtic tribe of the Spanish Province of Avila, north-west of Madrid. The Vettones carved sheep, pigs, and horses as well as stone bulls. The carvings were probably used as route markers, land markers, and markers for pasturage rights. In addition, they are often associated with burials and deaths and may have been used as grave markers. There are many such carvings in the Province of Avila, and the squares, streets, and parks of the capital city abound with them.

There is something about the texture of their stonework, especially on a warm summer’s day. Place your hand upon them and they seem to be filled with a secret life, flowing like blood beneath the stone’s surface. Graffiti were plentiful in the Roman Empire, and here the pre-Roman Celtic carvings were defaced by one of the Roman legions as they passed through. The following video will give some idea of the bulls. Alas, there was no orchestral music when I visited the bulls: we were surrounded by a stony silence.

Stone Carving

Elise

Elise in her Studio

Kingsbrae 6.2
6 June 2017

Stone Carving
Elise Muller

Last night, Elise Muller led the second of our after supper artistic discussions. She told  how her grandmother had been a sculptor, but had never talked to her directly about stone sculpting. Later, when at art school, Elise took a course on stone carving and knew immediately that it was what she wanted to do. Something appealed to her and she was hooked.

Elise then showed us a series of photographs that displayed her sculptures in chronological order. She talked about each one individually, the stone from which it was carved, the manner in which she carved, and the effects she was trying to achieve. Movement interested her and she was trying to sculpt a series of movements into her stonework. Her early sculptures featured different forms of movement, fathers and mothers carrying their children, a woman wading,  and so on. At this early stage movement was present, but it was not conceived as an intentional thematic link between sculptures. Her later sculptures, some commissioned, some made for friends and family, were conscious attempts at carving movement into stone.

A statue called Ballerina was sculpted by Elise for her grandfather and shows her own daughter dancing. The slender figure moves elegantly, poised and posed in stone. A companion piece, Ballerino, shows a male figure dancing. Even a perched bird, a Whisky Jack or Grey Jay, carved in stone and perched on a stone pedestal, leans forward in a moment caught by the camera that photographed the stone. Movement, caught in still stone and photos, is everywhere in the later sculptures. Looking at them, time stands still and the stone flows.

Open discussion followed and we chatted about the healing qualities of crystals and how stones too held their magnetism and personalities. Elise talked about the different types of stone, the various marbles, soapstone, granite, and we discussed the fundamental cost of the actual stone, before it was even turned into the work of art. Elise told us how she was attracted to different types of stone and how the raw material would “call” her and attract her attention. Sometimes, she said, she drew her ideas from the stone, however, on other occasions, she would sketch what she wanted to carve and then find a stone that would be suitable. This latter method she associated more with her commissioned work. Elise also told us about the effect of weather upon stone and how some stones could be left outside in sun, rain, and snow,  while others needed more protection.

Art lag, something similar to jet lag, but far more pleasant, was setting in and, a weary group, we adjourned early, leaving behind, with regret, some wonderful ideas and memories, but taking with us images Elise’s creative techniques and mind pictures of the creations that Elise had plucked from her stones.

Encaustic

 

Anne Mist

Mist Lifting Over The Bay
Anne Wright

Kingsbrae 4.3
4 June 2017

Encaustic
Anne Wright

Anne Wright led the first after supper discussion for KIRA June 2017. She talked about her voyage of discovery into the world of art and explained how she envisioned herself as an abstract expressionist who attempted to place mood, emotion, and feeling into her art work. She showed us examples of her latest works, greeting cards with a combination of pressed flowers and  artwork. She also presented three ‘works in progress’ from her encaustic collection. These have a wonderful tactile quality and seeing them and then touching them gave two very different impressions of her art.

Anne also talked about art as a communion with the unconscious. This may be understood as that which is not yet known or revealed, but is waiting to be given expression.  Art and poetry are the language of the soul, and so can capture something instinctively, before it gains open expression. Words and the meaning into which they distill often come much later and that, according to Anne, is the process of crystallizing the narrative of our lives. Sometimes, as artists, we enter art in order to probe more deeply into ourselves and to discover that which is within us. Anne then led our group into a deeper discussion of this residency and what each one of us, starting with herself, wished to achieve while at Kingsbrae.

Carlos intervened at this point and suggested that we should distinguish between ‘process’ and ‘result’.  With our nightly conversations we are working on the process of how we act and think as artists. Our creativity is in a process of change and this residency gives us time to think and re-think ourselves and thus to concentrate on the how and why we create. In addition, we have time in the individual creative periods to experiment with our creative process. The ‘results’ may be seen as a short term product, i.e. what we produce today, this week, this month, or as a long-term process, i.e. how we grow and develop in a future of which we may not not yet be aware.

Elise responded to this with the story of how she had pushed herself in her sculpting and had, as a result, accidentally broken her own stonework. This was the result of trying to carve a thin, delicate figure from stone. Her effort to create movement in static stonework led to a further discussion into how we attempt to place movement into two dimensional paint. This in turn led to a discussion of classical art with its formality and its entry points versus a more modern art that has no entry point and less formal construction. This responds in part to the twin aspects of reproducing the visual, external world versus creating a new, internal world that represents the inner workings of the artist’s and, by extension, the viewer’s, mind. In this way, what the viewer / reader / listener sees / reads / hears is as important (almost!) as what the creative artist creates.

Ruby spoke of her own art as a narrative line that led into a painting and told, through her painting, a story of her subjects. She spoke of her adventures on the quay where she had spoken with various people and asked permission to photograph and paint them. The contrasts between our different views on our distinct creative methods and how we create / imitate / reproduce / react with our various versions of the world were most interesting. This is an aspect of our residency that will grow and strengthen. It will play a large part in what we are now calling, thanks to Carlos’s intervention, the ‘artistic process’. Needless to say, we are all growing and developing and our creative worlds are growing with us.