Black or white, life or death

Questions, questions, in my head questions…………… there are black ones and white ones, these are easily answered, short one word answers, yes or no, live or die, but its those murky grey ones, the ones that lie in the seemingly unconscious that just sometimes flicker like a naked flame, seem bright and ripe for life.  These are the difficult ones, for just as I am about to pluck them they diminish, in to the gloom they banish themselves, unanswered floating in the void.  Are these the ones that need to die, or are they the ones that will give me the answer that I never tire of the search……….

The image here is one of my pencil drawings made into a repeating pattern, one of black and white, life and death,  one must have many deaths in order to give birth to new growth

The following quote is one I repeat very often

“What must I give more death to today, in order to generate more life?

What do I know should die, but am hesitant to allow to do so?

What must die in me in order for me to love?

What not-beauty do I fear? Of what use is the power of the not-beautiful to me today?

What should die today? What should live? What life am I afraid to give birth to?

If not now, when?

Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Number three, I like it, but not everyone does………….

A number that is uncomfortable for some, for me its what I know.  I grew up in a three, mother, father and me until my teenage years; I have many relationships which group in three and it’s comfortable to me.

Why for some is this a threat?  A dear friend of mine likened it to a three-legged stool; if one leg were kicked away then the stool would not stand up.  And of course there is the triangle of persecutor, victim and rescuer, which can play out.  I like to think of this verse in Ecclesiastes spoken by king Solomon “A three-ply cord is not easily severed.”

There is the Holy Trinity, the Three Jewels in Buddhism, in maths it s the first odd prime number and lucky number.  Abraham Lincoln said “Of the People, By the People, For the People”.  Then there are the Three Graces, The fates, the triple headed Goddesses.  Chekov’s famous play the Three Sisters and in sport the Triathlon.  The cycle of life, creation, life and death, the three ages of woman maiden, mother, crone.  So much of life comes at us in three; it’s a joyous number to me, I like it

Tbis piece of work is a paper cut, scanned and digitally manipulated and of course it in THREE !

moon talk, lashes and jacques renault

Oh wow, the moon last night was so ………………  Oh I dont know,  guess enriching, so full of hope.  it was a perfect end to a perfect day.  My music full on and my body  pulsating to the beats of Jaaques Renault: a brooklyn based DJ his enlivening dance punk ( so wish I could share here but the music thing just cannot get to grips with on wokdpress, anyone out there have the answer?)  tunes just take me to another level.    As I looked out of the windscreen there in front of me, sharing my journey home was the magnificent moon, lying on her back in a perfect crescent, she was so open and giving, and full of so much energy to strive forward.

The moon reminded me of howling wolves, in fact that image was the backdrop to Natasha Khan ( bat for lashes) performance that I had just been to see.  Enjoyable, not the most amazing gig I have seen but it was upbeat and fun.  At the end she reformed with a string quartet and sang some of her fave songs………….  good stuff.

The nicest thing  of all was the venue, the amazing art deco architecture of the De La Warr Pavillion and its amazing helix staircase.

click here to view more images info about the building


symbiotic relationships – Nureyev and Fontaine

yesterday I posted an image of one of the most powerfully beautiful images of the male form.  It belonged to Nureyev.  What took me along that path was researhing old leather panelling.  One of Nureyev’s numerous homes had a room lined out in it, very sumptous interior, exotic, lavish, just like him.  i read his autobiography a couple of years ago, what a man………..

I also came across a docudrama advertised and watched it on iplayer, the relationship between himself and Margot Fonteyn.  Their presence was electric, their passionate romance was clear to see in their dance, their symbiotic moves, like their relationship was as enriching for them as it was to everyone who watched them.   His raw passion, his exotic background, his youth, his strength and determination fired her with a renewed vigour for her dance at a time when she was just about to retire.  Nureyev said about her “At the end of Lac des Cygnes when she left the stage in her great white tutu I would have followed her to the end of the world” and he did.   Margot, twenty years older and already married, their physical relationship eventually struggled and came to an end when margot made the decision to retire and nurse her then invalid husband at their Panama farm. They danced again one more time after this in 1989, when she was 69 and Nureyev 54.  There emotional symbiosis lasted until  she died of cancer at the the age of 72 in 1991.

Nureyev continued to be a  legend in his own lifetime, his tempestous, lavish lifestyle, his amazing vitality and fame continued.  However in the 80’s this began to wain, displeasing audiences with his less than perfect performances.  Aids had probably began to take its toll, he denied it though and wouldn’t admit to having it right up to his death at the age of 56 in 1993 , 2 years after Margot’s death.  Knowing how they lived for each other, no decisions were made without each others approval, he talked to her weekly, paid her medical bills, visited her in Panama,  did he give up his fight for life after her death, could he no longer survive without her?   I wonder?

Morphing 7

this image was part of a morphing series which started out as small eggs, all I could do for a few weeks was to draw these shapes. They were full, ripe, bursting to take on a new life, but frustratingly I could not seem to move. Then one day, I drew them with sprouting life, like seeds germinating, the floodgates opened and the small egg shaped “seeds” grew long tendrils, and gradually morphed into fluid body shapes . Unusually never with heads, just long “searching” tendrils, both male and female forms who nurtured “eggs” of their own,

This time I felt the need to create a tributary, take one of the images into a new direction, chose morphed image no. 7 and these are the results

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Brilliant animation


Live Dulcima peformance combined with a whimsical and beautiful 1926 Animation, a  wonderful evening spent at the De la Warr Pavillion last Frida. . The Adventures of Prince Achmed was the first feature length animation film in the history of the cinema. It is a ‘silhouette film’. Lotte Reiniger (1899-1981) was the inventor of this genre. Work on The Adventures of Prince Achmed began in 1923. It was released in 1926. This wonderful animation film is full of adventure, lyrical sensuality, magic and romance, playful humour, strong female characters, exciting bat- tles and sinister evil. The story was inspired by elements taken from the Tale of the 1001 Arabian Nights.  The Adventures of Prince Achmed is one of those rare and timeless films that appeal across the complete age range. The beauty and intricate detail of Reiniger’s exquisite filigree artwork is of the highest quality. She was inspired by Chinese and Indonesian shadow plays and adapted this ancient art for the cinema. The distinctive combination of silhouette characters, colour tinted landscapes and backgrounds is unique and profoundly evocative and seductive. Moreover, the use of silhouette characters leaves the imagination free to soar in response to the sensuality and magic of the story.  We are treated to a splendid cast: Prince Achmed,  Princess Peri Banu, the Witch of the Fiery Mountain, the Evil Sorcerer, The Magic Horse, Aladdin,xPrincess Dinarzade and The Caliph.  The fact that all the characters are silhouettes is fundamental to the essence and power of the film.  The Adventures of Prince Achmed is a captivat ing and beautiful work of art. It is a magnificent example of stop frame animation and consists of three hundred thousand separate frames. It is undoubtedly one of the shining gems in the history of cinema and is widely acknowledged as a masterpiece. It is the ‘haute couture’ of animation. Lotte Reiniger was a pioneer who dedicated her life to creating silhouettes. She made more than eighty animation films. The original prints of The Adventures of Prince Achmed featured colour-tinted backgrounds. Working from surviving nitrate prints, German and British archivists restored the film and managed to incorporate the original tinted backgrounds, which in their dynamic interaction with the silhouette characters are crucial to the aesthetic of the film. Prints available just prior to the restoration had only been in black and white.  Geoff Smith’s new score for The Adventures of Prince Achmed has been inspired and led by Lotte Reiniger’s genius. He has attempted to do justice to her achievement. For the performance of the soundtrack Geoff uses numerous prototype Hammered dulcimers, one being the first ‘Fluid dulcimer’ incorporating his revolutionary ‘microtonal fluid tuning mechanism’ patent, without which it would have been impossible to compose and perform the soundtrack. For further information regarding this invention and some of its historic implications please refer to the Guardian newspa- per article ‘Composer reinvents the piano’.

Geoff Smith’s pioneering score for The Adventures of Prince Achmed is a revelation in the composition and performance of live music for animation. He has dedicated himself to exploring the wider spectrum of musical choices that his invention offers, so that in the composition of the score it has been possible to respond in more intimate, expressive and expanded detail to this unique and uplifting film. His immensely dynamic score illuminates and emphasises Lotte Reiniger’s aesthetic obsession, consummate artistry and passionate commitment to story telling.