Saturday, March 20, 2010

Everyone seems to have an Opinion on Life, Love and Art

And why are we all so different in our opinions? One's man's meat is another man's poison very true. Well, any vegan will tell you that. But when it comes to Life, Love and Art, we all act like vegans versus meat-eaters! We all have strong inclinatiosn and tastes, natures and opinions but for some strange reason, hate every elses and condsider our own take the only opinion worth knowing!.

Frankly I hate modern art. I don't understand crumpled beds and cows in formaldehyde and rubbish stuck together and I don't want to. Chiarascuro trees and seascapes and too many Madonnas with plump Christ babies can also be boring after about the 100th one. (Much as I loved Venice...there were too many Madonnas) I love paintings that make one stop and think,in which layers of meaning can be seen and felt. They need to have passion as well as beauty of detail, but even stark ugliness can be meaningful if it tells a story. The haunting themes of Goya's black paintings in the Prado, Madrid are an example. They express the artist's fear of madness and are deeply moving and haunting.

I am now going to be told how ignorant I am by hundred's of Tracy Emin afficionados. So be it. I've plenty to say in return - but in the end it is just their taste, their opinion versus mine. Who is to say which one of us is wrong? No one. Who actually lays the rules. No one and everyone. We have our own personal rules and I've outlined some of mine. I love colour, movement, a story, beautiful women and men, myths. mediaeval themes as well as classical. That's why I love the Pre-Raphaelite painters so much and I let my characters express all these personal feelings in The Crimson Bed. Some will say I have no taste at all because I love such vivid, colourful story-telling. Yet these pictures are popular, enduring, deeply loved by many men and women who have similiar imaginations to my own.

BTW, I have just read an article by Richard Dorwent written for The Telegraph 29th June 2009 on John Waterhouse for whom he has little regard it seems. He sees Waterhouse as merely pretty and lacking in the passion of the great Pre-Raphaelite masters. And it's true that Waterhouse was not a true Pre-Raph. being born while they were just in the throes of their own artistic beginnings. To some extent, I agree with this viewpoint of Dorwent's, but at the same time, I love Waterhouse because his pictures, while lacking passion perhaps, have a quality of movement and flow and femininity that has made them some of the most appealing images of the day. I chose one of his paintings The Crystal Ball for my book cover because I love the richness of colour and the thoughtful stillness of the pose.

Anyway, that's my opinion.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Loneliness of the Long Distance Writer?

Writing is considered to be a solitary pursuit and so it is while one is in the throes of creation. But it is no more solitary than any other creative work such as painting, sculpting, embroidering and so on. Anything that requires concentration, thought and effort has to be solitary because in that moment one is totally centred upon the work in hand and all else must be shut out both literally and metaphorically. In fact through writing books, I have made dozens of amazing and wonderful friends and aquaintances who have kept in touch with me for many years. Many live abroad and I will be meeting up with a fellow author in the States later on this year after many, many exchanges of e-mails and cards and gifts. This lady has helped me with her support, belief in me and useful criticsm.

However, it has to be said that most writers are reclusive at heart.
We love to sit in a study, stare out of the window and dream and then plot and let characters begin to take shape on the page. Some like to work out their plots in full detail. I cannot do this and if I do it never works. The moment I start to write the characters take over and began to interact, talk amongst themselves. I'm just the hands on the keyboard, they exist in their own right. Are they people who live within me, my own sub-personalities? They must be. Where else would they come from but within my own psyche?

It makes me understand something, very, very dimly of what the Bible must mean when it says that the Creator made Mankind in his own image, from His own substance. Creative people are pulling forth from themselves and fashioning from their own clay.

The time draws near for my book launch at Goldsboro Books in Cecil Court London. Lots of wonderful people have promised to come along for a glass of wine and a nibble and will, I hope, buy a book or two or three. Even if they slink away without so doing, it will be such a pleasure to have gathered them all together to discuss books and writing and other joyful pursuits.

Favourite Quotes

  • My home is my retreat and resting place from the wars: I try to keep this corner as a haven against the tempest outside, as I do another corner of my soul. Michelle de Montaigne
  • Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony: Mahatma Gandhi
  • Friends are people you can be quiet with. Anon.