Stories Behind The Pictures
A live performance & art in the shopping centre.
Back in the studio, drawing & painting from the photos of our day of improvisations, I made some decisions about the work I was going to produce which changed the nature of the project. Firstly, I decided to work in a very loose sketchy style to capture the immediacy of the poems and to give a sense of the action & excitement of the improvisations. Also with Giotto’s frescos still in the back of my mind, I began to think of other large scale works – Renaissance alter pieces, Stanley Spencer’s paintings for the Burghclere Chapel, Max Beckman’s series of triptych’s – and began working on a much larger scale than was required for book illustration. At one time I had planned out a series of 28 large panels! Lack of time & energy defeated this idea – although I still sometimes think I may go back to it! I also realised that although the scenes I had photographed had their starting point in specific situations in Deirdre’s Poems, the process of improvisation had turned them into something different.
It was as though the poems described one moment in the story and the paintings described a different unwritten moment. Like an alternative view of the same events. Somehow I seemed to have escaped altogether from the terms of the original commission. What had started out as a series of illustrations for a book of poems, had turned into a vast scheme of large paintings depicting the world of the poems from a different perspective.
Fortunately Deirdre was happy with the way things were going. She seemed excited at the way the project was taking on a life of its own as the story moved from poetry to painting. The idea of a book was put to one side temporarily as we both began to think in terms of a joint exhibition of the poems & paintings. As I continued to work on the pictures Deirdre worked towards a way of presenting the poems in a more visual form for exhibition. We were both interested in the idea of links between different artistic disciplines and began to think of ways to incorporate music & dance into the mix. We never got around to dance but we did incorporate music into the final exhibition at Gallery 49 in Bridlington’s Old Town. Before that however we managed to find a venue to exhibit poems & paintings in a pop up gallery in an empty shop in the Promenades Shopping Centre Bridlington as part of the Bridlington Arts Festival. This was a great venue reaching a wide audience. People seemed to appreciate it, and found it challenging & thought provoking – which is no bad thing.
"Skull & Crossbones"
After this we moved the exhibition to Gallery 49. We opened the exhibition with a live event in the gallery – a reading of the poems accompanied by improvised music on the cello. Everyone found it a very moving experience. In the next episode – back to the book ………