Anecdotes of spirit

I'd seen his work a thousand times in art books, but had never thought much of it.

But sitting in front of Mark Rothko's paintings in the Tate Modern was a profound experience. Definitely magical. I could feel some kind of power emanating from the huge, looming canvases in that specially darkened room. I could hear them. (Unless that was the air conditioning.)

I can't remember if I've spoken to you about Rothko before – apologies if I have – but I came across this wonderful quote from him and was reminded of his paintings:

Art to me is an anecdote of the spirit, and the only means of making concrete the purpose of its varied quickness and stillness.


Mark Rothko, Number 14

Mark Rothko, Number 14

Playing God?

Whatever your beliefs, it's no contest – Nature is the best artist ever.

But when you're creating something, you get to play God in a tiny way.

Take creating characters for a story, for example. I am imagining some kind of science lab with bubbling cauldrons and test tubes. The writer is mixing up some kind of potion... A few drops of inspiration from a school friend or an old teacher... perhaps a teaspoon of that guy on the bus... perhaps 300ml of a singer you saw in a concert... et voila.

A whole new person who has a thing about strawberry jelly and who has to always put their left shoe on first.



Gold sky

As I walked through a weirdly warm yet windy afternoon, I noticed the reflection of the sun in the river was a startling gold colour.

Looking up, I was intrigued and unsettled to see that orange skies were closing in, and the light was rapidly dimming. The sun was almost like a red candle flame, fluttering and lost amid swirling, sepia clouds. I wondered briefly if I had been transported to a film set – some kind of futuristic dystopian vision?

A quick search on Google enlightened me. Hurricane Ophelia had whipped up sands and debris from the Sahara, and was pulling it across UK skies.

I had to stop and look up.

I was looking at sand from the Sahara desert. In the sky. Over my town.

A reminder that this little corner of England is part of the bigger picture. That the Sahara, and other places, are real and are there even if I can't see them.

Well. It kind of blew me away.