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Showing posts from February, 2019


Landmark Some miles before reaching home, we see that familiar black topped hill, away to the west. Nearly there, we think – or at least, this is our country now. The landmark, Bampfylde Clump, is actually just a clump of trees – densely planted beeches, mature, but not especially ancient.   It’s said that a certain Bampfylde, one Baron Poltimore, established the tautological Round Ring (another of its titles), so that he could look around in all directions over the land he owned.   More interesting, is the deep-rooted awareness of this natural high-point, and the celebration of it over the centuries, in various ways – secular and sacred.   Certainly, many coming into north Devon – be they resident or visitor – must have raised their eyes to the hills: Round Ring – there it is, Round Ring, as it’s always been, awaiting our arrival. Who knows what lies in, among and under those beech tree roots?   Earlier burial places, perhaps even barrows, invisible now, will have

Some art work is like poetry...

Some art work is like poetry. Of course, much isn’t – at least obviously.   Many a huge oil painting is closer to drama – perhaps even better, opera.   Most portraits are more or less representational, especially in pre-photographic times.   Landscapes are records, as are Still Lifes… But realising that all these may have emotion imbued or expressed, indeed that the very reason for painting or drawing is to offer a unique individual’s point of view, I appreciate that I’m arguing against myself. Still, when pictures strive to be succinct and every line has to count, when a whole story is told with deceptive simplicity, when so much is expressed in a compressed form and when there’s an acute awareness of a sense of balance, harmony, even rhythm (I can’t pretend rhyme has a place in visual art) – well then they share much with poetry. And none more so than Hans Holbein’s sequence of The Dance of Death. 41 tiny images – each no bigger than a match box – depict Death i