on being grounded…

 Arrrrgh, Let me OUT!! (pen on envelope on human head) © p ward 2019

 

there are some of us

who are accused

of being ‘grounded’:

 

perceiving the world and our actions

through a balanced, responsible and rational lens

rooted in practicality and common sense.

 

but then some of us have also been ‘grounded’ as punishment,

our freedom curtailed by a parent or guardian

for actions that often do not lie within preconceived moral boundaries,

 

boundaries of balance, responsibility and rationality,

often rooted in practicality and common sense

often according to Nature and her Laws

 

Teignmouth, South Devon; Big Silver Bentley, Gurnard’s Head, Cornwall © p ward 2019

 

but how we wish to fly

to shed the shackles of good sense

for other and ourselves

 

in search of learning, perspective and sensual joy

defining new boundaries beyond our knowledge

or otherwise fleeting original experience

 

before our time is out

 

in magic

we see

in magic

we live

 

Trease Mine, Boscaswell, Cornwall © p ward 2019

 

© P Ward 2019


and yet…

this climate emergency, part 2

drawing on my face 4: seeing (masking tape and marker pen on human head) © p ward 2019

and yet,

 

the sun and moon still rise and fall

birds sing

grass grows

everything is somehow in place.

 

despite imagery evocative of an abrupt demise,

despite rising popular opinion and attendant fearful frenzy,

despite the corroboration of a high percentage of scientific peers,

despite indicative physical, ideological and pecuniary global suffering and conflict,

despite a lifelong personal acknowledgement of our continuing abuse of Nature…

 

I do not sense

I do not feel

the end.

 

I cannot sense

I cannot feel

the end.

 

I do not, cannot

and will not accept

the end.

 

so what of instinct and intuition (the antithesis of science)?

what of individual response?

what of collective consciousness?

what of the uninformed, the common man?

are we, en masse, running from the ensuing fire?

and anyway, where can we run in this apparent global catastrophe?

 

if I do not feel it,

if I stand aside the mindful stampede,

am I simply burying my head in the sand

in denial of empirical objectivity,

in fear of the inevitable?

 

or is it that

I do not know within my power what more I may do?

 

as I stand on this excellent brink of oblivion, this ending of sorts,

with the knowledge, wisdom and capability of all I have before

there is opportunity

there is technology

and there is love.

 

I must either believe in the magic and wonder of the human spirit within Nature or not

 

like every day

like any day

I breath

I choose

I act according to (my) Nature…

 

drawing on my face 4: seeing (masking tape and marker pen on human head) © p ward 2019

 

© P Ward 2019


it is like being told I am dying

this climate emergency, part 1

 

in a climate of overwhelming societal and professional expectation as an artist and an earth being i have struggled to know how to meaningfully and effectively respond directly to this ever-present issue. here are some of my thoughts and feelings expressed through words and an ongoing visual project…

 

it is like being told I am dying

that I am in the final stages of a terminal disease

after a long chronic illness or complaint

and that if I live the way I always should have,

the way I always have,

the way I have always known I should,

the way I have always said we should,

then maybe, maybe, maybe

I will not die.

 

it is like being told I am dying

but that everyone else and every other life is dying too.

that we are all dying and that it is all our own fault,

well, maybe not allour own fault

but somebody’s fault, some system’s fault, some thought-form’s fault,

that this beauty, this wonder that we experience on a daily basis

will no longer exist (for us)

because of us

 

it is like being told that everything and everybody that we love

is going to die, to not be.

 

it is a just like dying,

my experience of dying and death

in normallife –

 

we are all dying.

we are all going to die.

we are all living with the knowledge that we are all going to die,

that everything and everybody that we love is going to die

and that we shall experience suffering (and joy)

together.

 

it is still a shock when it comes.

when the reality of our imminent passing becomes apparent.

the utter enormity of it 

combined with our inherent inability to conceive of such.

 

and who are we to talk to

other than those others similarly afflicted and condemned,

others who love and feel and care,

those who are afraid of what might become?

 

so

how shall we live?

how shall I live?

how shall I end this final sentence?

 

drawing on my face – smile (masking tape and marker pen on human head) © p ward 2019

 

© P Ward 2019


eggs have legs and other tales of intimate rebellion…

(more paintings from the end of earth 2019)

 

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.”― Rumi

 

as I sit with peaceful abandon

far out upon my churlish perch

painting pontifications of intimate expression

in relation with place and time and all,

I have most recently been given good cause to reflect…

 

beneath me now (Cornish earth pigments on canvas; 30x25cm) © p ward 2019

 

not only upon an inherent inability for punctuation (and breath)

or the ability of egg (local and free range to boot),

both yolk and white, with most moist unctuous fluidity

to stick and bind and glaze (with a little vinegar to dilute;

PS1: tempera is not a light batter originating in Japan)

but upon movement and change and responsibility

and power and loss (and hence gain) and intent and motivation

and communication and honesty and truth

and (of course) magic and then stories and pictures and love.

 

the time has come to pick up our arms and dangle our feet

to the tune of an age old heartache – our connection (or lack of)

to life that gives and takes and breathes and yearns to live again.

 

so, thank you to the warriors,

the shouters and dancers,

the artists who care,

the thinkers who dare

to speak their thoughts for all and all and all,

hand in hand with birds and beasts,

with clouds and sea and rain falling in the sunshine fields.

 

I am me and you in you.

It is once more… rebellion!

 

inconsequential wildlife of an aquine persuasion (Cornish earth pigments on board; 40x40cm) © p ward 2019

memories of life after life (Cornish earth pigments on reclaimed wood; 64x18cm) © p ward 2019

heady (Cornish earth pigments on reclaimed board; 30x50cm) © p ward 2019

as loud as a moon – lord and lady muck (Cornish earth pigments on repurposed card; 17x18cm) © p ward 2019

9 cornish earth forms (Cornish earth pigment egg tempera on paper; 48x42cm) © p ward 2019

dichotomous circumstance (Cornish earth pigment egg tempera on reclaimed wood; 45x45x4.5cm) © p ward 2019

walking through time (Cornish earth pigment egg tempera on reclaimed wood; 29x14x4.5cm) © p ward 2019

approaching the ocean; bridleway (on wood); stars and stripes; dark head; track; lake; across the river (Cornish earth pigment egg tempera on paper; various 16x14cm) © p ward 2019

head I (Cornish earth pigment egg tempera on paper; 28x28cm) © p ward 2019

head 2 (Cornish earth pigment egg tempera on paper; 28x28cm) © p ward 2019

oops, upside your head! spring equinox full moon (Cornish earth pigments on reclaimed board; 78x78cm) © p ward 2019

the pigment hunter (Cornish earth pigments on reclaimed board; 87x87cm) © p ward 2019

you are stronger than you think you are – dancing with the goddess (Cornish earth pigments on reclaimed board; 98x90cm) © p ward 2019

consequences of loss I – catering (gaffer tape and glue remnants on repurposed card; 50x25cm) © p ward 2019

consequences of loss II – patellidae (true limpets) (Cornish earth pigments on repurposed card; 36x35cm) © p ward 2019

consequences of loss III – walking with spirit (Cornish earth pigments on repurposed card; 43x28cm) © p ward 2019

earth heads I (Cornish earth pigments on repurposed card; 37x28cm) © p ward 2019

consequences of loss IV – exclusive (Cornish earth pigments on repurposed card; 25x27cm) © p ward 2019

consequences of loss V – holding on too (Cornish earth pigments on repurposed card; 36x44cm) © p ward 2019

earth shield (Cornish earth pigments on repurposed card; 52x17cm) © p ward 2019

riding fox-back in the cloud of cuckoo-land before the almighty deluge begins… (Cornish earth pigments on repurposed card; 55x47cm) © p ward 2019

PS2:

this is not an intellectual activity,

doomed to a critical aloof

or heady reevaluation in words alone,

it is body and blood

co-mingling

conjoined

codependent

striving for and in

action

to survive

 

© P Ward 2019


no light no colour no more

further material responses to existential emergence, crisis and change

I was reminded recently, while gazing fleetingly into the shimmering turquoise green blue ocean here in West Cornwall, of my early art training based in the classical understanding of colour. colour as light. a systematic mixing together of homogenous materials to represent the colours that we observe in Nature from a set of ‘primaries’: reds, blues and yellows. no black. white in moderation. of hue.

iron board, Praa Sands, Cornwall (Cornish earth pigments on rock) © p ward 2019

our perception of colour, of light and shade, and hence of depth, size, form and materiality, is sometimes explained as the processing and communication of visual information created by the reflection, refraction and absorption of light in relation to materials. working with earth pigments has revealed ‘colour’ as more than just a visual ‘scientific’ process of perception. it is more a holistic appreciation of material presence which encompasses not just colour but texture, smell and a provenance of time and place, of formation and decay, of ecology, history and Nature itself.

we may often associate earth colours with a range of browns, reds and yellows. with this latest set of paintings I have been enjoying a more subtle selection of greys, greens, mauves and whites that I have found, gathered and mixed near my home.

I could say that the stories they tell are unique expressions of their own experience that I have been privileged to bring into contemporary form, but maybe that is for you to decide…

aspects of landscape and love – today it snowed (Cornish earth pigments on board; 51x51cm) © p ward 2019

the beautiful things that people say when they are together (Cornish earth pigments on board; 25x25cm) © p ward 2019

facing up to facing up to (Cornish earth pigments on board; 31x33cm) © p ward 2019

rearranging the furniture (Cornish earth pigments on board; 35x35cm) © p ward 2019

like chopping onions in a northwesterly gale (Cornish earth pigments on board; 56x38cm) © p ward 2019stones that stand in fields with swans and cows and geese: penwith (Cornish earth pigments on board; 70x68cm) © p ward 2019

simple communication here (Cornish earth pigments on card; 61x51cm) © p ward 2019

house of power (Cornish earth pigments on canvas; 40x50cm) © p ward 2019

nondescript (Cornish earth pigments on board; 27x26cm) © p ward 2019

turning a new leaf with foxes on my mind (Cornish earth pigments on canvas; 61x51cm) © p ward 2019

© P Ward 2019


painting within limits

new paintings from Cornwall – early 2019

 

For many years I have exclusively used colours from the earth in my paintings, gathering and processing all the pigments myself. Each location offers a unique palette and quality of colour to work with as well as a deeper understanding of that place.

To some it may seem as if creativity is being limited. “How can I paint the sky or the trees?” are frequent questions when running workshops. Working with earth pigments has changed the way I work and my understanding of painting in many ways. It has enriched my perception of colour and the ‘material’ of colour. Black is no longer “an absence of light”. For me it allows a specific expression of place orientated, of course, by my own relationship to being there.

The paintings here respond to the nature of earth colours and experiences in West Cornwall…

 

distance what we have become (Cornish earth pigments on canvas; 60x40cm) © p ward 2019

big red wolf moon that I did not see (Cornish earth pigments on board; 76x28cm) © p ward 2019

to run aground an island (Cornish earth pigments on card; 27x15cm) © p ward 2019

estuary (Cornish earth pigments on wood; 20×14.5x2cm) © p ward 2019

untitled I, II, III (Cornish earth pigments on board; 25x26cm; 25x28cm; 25x26cm) © p ward 2019

offcuts homestead (Cornish earth pigments on wood; 29x24x3cm) © p ward 2019

at fault (Cornish earth pigments on board; 80x26cm) © p ward 2019

fairy queen (Cornish earth pigments on canvas; 25x30cm) © p ward 2019

 

© P Ward 2019


living within limits – an affirmation

(Thanks to Mat for a good conversation about politics, age and forward thinking)

 

while the universe may be perceived as infinite,

as our imagination does allow,

this world (upon which our existence depends) is not.

 

there is life

and there is death.

beginnings and ends.

 

throughout our history, especially in certain cultural geographies,

there has been a gradual shift towards arrogance as our understanding has increased.

with our own permission, in the names of progress, evolution and survival,

we have plundered, transferred and transformed the dynamic integrity of earth.

 

yet for us, as humans, omnipotence is not a possibility.

and while we may have broken it

and know how and why

we are not capable of mending it

beyond abstaining from activities and attitudes

that may perpetuate such demise and hopefully promote a self-sustaining recovery of sorts.

the universe is quite simply too vast, too diverse for us to knowingly manipulate or predict.

 

although we may want more,

whether that is peace or possessions or power,

there is little more to be had.

there is already more than enough.

we are simply regurgitating past revelations in a different guise,

re-appropriating wisdom again for our own selfish ends.

 

to be grateful

to be thankful

to appreciate what there is and what we have

to strive for less

to recognize our own limitations

and to live within them

while not profitable or fashionable

may provide and define a feasible space for creativity, for resourcefulness, for compassion and for joy…

 

but then, who am I to say?

 

trellisick trees; cot valley, cornwall © p ward 2018

levant mine, cornwall © p ward 2018

© P Ward 2019