Entries in Fine Art (4)


The sea the sea

Having moved to the very tip of Cornwall I have come to understand the power exerted by the sea. West Penwith is surrounded by a vast timeless substance that is so much more than just a liquid pushed by tides. The scale and the draw of the sea makes my everyday concerns seem futile.


 My experience of the sea and to some extent the moors hereabouts is that I am thrown into the present moment more and more by walking and exploring the cliffs and the ancient footpaths. When I walk in sight of the sea or over the moors, I don’t slip into reminisce or worry about future events, I am forced to be in the moment, simply because there is so much to see and to feel. At the night seeing the sky peppered with a million stars the same feelings come over me as I’m made aware of how tiny and short lived I am in respect to the vastness of time and space.


Not just the seasons, but also each day brings novelty of light and atmosphere. The wind and rain come hard in across the Atlantic in squalls, and like a piece of music that hooks you in and makes you just feel, you react because at that moment there seems to be nothing else to be done.


The strange and the everyday

Yesterday outside the Co-op in Penzance a dog tied up, awaiting the return of her owner was very pleased to see me and we had a cuddle up.

I realised why she was scared. 5 brightly coloured balloons were being blown by the wind. Caught in a right angle of walls the wind rotated the balloons around and around, so that every few seconds the balloons would come right up to the dog and then pass by, only to return again. She eyed up the strange happening, not taking her eyes off the balloons, just in case.

We have domesticated these amazing creatures and we share this strange existence with them, things confuse and baffle both us and them. I don't have any conclusions from this, I imagine neither did the dog.



Wasp V Dragonfly

I was walking along a quiet street in a Surrey town. My attention was drawn to the urgent stirring of dried leaves in the gutter. I squatted down and found that the noise was a large wasp and a dragonfly fighting amongst dry leaves. the wasp clung to the back of the dragonfly and they were both being propelled this way and that by the frantic beating of the dragonflies wings as it tried in vain to free itself from the grip of the wasp. the violence of this fight propelled leaves about, like a bar brawl in a Western film.
My reaction was to feel at once fascinated and repulsed. Could I observe without intervening, if I did intervene whose side would I be on?  I crouched and kept still so as to see who might win. I don’t think either insect was aware of me so frantic was their struggle. I realise now that I slipped into a kind of psuedo-scientific 'TV nature programme' mode of neutral observation. I regarded myself as not part of their world , so I could passively observe and have no responsibility. The fight intensified as the wasp clung to the body of the dragonfly working its jaws towards the dragonflies neck. The dragonfly seemed never to have the upper hand despite and was three times the size of the wasp and presumably with stronger wings as well.
Again the dragonfly’s wings thrashed sending them off in a tumble through the dead leaves, I thought of intervening again and just as quickly changed my mind. There was another spasm and the wasp moved its mouth parts to the area behind the dragonfly’s head. When the next period of stillness from the dragonfly came the wasp severed it’s head and with much effort flew off with it. The dragonfly’s body convulsed once more and then lay still.
I walked on, dumbfounded, numb from the spectacle. If I had not turned down that road and heard the commotion in the gutter I would never have witnessed such an astonishing fight. I reflected on the chance element that walking a random 'Follow your nose' allows for.
I was reminded of a line from the Cohen brothers film 'No country for old men' 2007
"Signs and wonders, signs and wonders"


To walk is to be of no interest to crows

When we walk we do something that is intrinsic to being human. By this I mean that walking is not a reward or a benefit, it is an activity that we have evolved to do, or we could say ‘evolved us’.

As modern humans evolved the climate on earth changed dramatically. At some stage, in order to survive, to collect or hunt our food, we had to walk and run on two legs for considerable distances.

The activity of locomotion is simply what we are designed to do. Our minds have developed to take in information at about three miles an hour, at running pace we can navigate succesfully, but we notice less.

We have been walking through forests, plains, mountains, tundra, deserts and on ice for our entire ‘standing up’ evolution. When we do not move we become obese, depressed and our health deteriorates. Walking allows us to explore, discover and encounter things, most importantly, animals.

When I walk on the common near my London home and I come near to crows feeding they hardly move at all. I have experimented by stopping. this invariably spooks them and they hope or fly away. I surmise from this that animals are more at home with humans that move. they associate a stationary human with danger. A running human seems to present even less of a threat. Birds who move constantly whilst awake to obtain their food, I think, invariably regard a moving human as one that is engaged in business elsewhere, and therefore not a threat to them.