Knowledge is Power

Books

“How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.”

                                                                                                                   Henry David Thoreau

Mixed-media sketchbook page incorporating titles of the books I think have most shaped my outlook. Inevitably, as soon as I’d finished it I remembered two more books which were important to me: E M Forster’s A Room with a View, which sparked my (distance) love affair with Italy; and Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner, which I read after seeing it on a list of novels about happy single women (yes, it was a short list). Which books have changed your life?

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Ode to Autumn

Autumn sketchbook page 4

I adore Autumn, “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” – the colour, the weather, the light, the scent, the mood. Other seasons just don’t compare. Here are some sketchbook collages inspired by the last few months.

Autumn sketchbook page 1

Autumn sketchbook page 2

Autumn sketchbook page 3

I love the seasonal poems that sound like a prayer or a spell:

“O Wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being” (Shelley)

“Glory be to God for dappled things” (Gerard Manley Hopkins)

“O western wind, when wilt thou blow/That the small rain down can rain?” (Anon.)

I’ve just finished reading the excellent ‘Lolly Willowes’ by Sylvia Townsend Warner, a novel about a woman who finally gives in to the restlessness she feels every Autumn, moves to the countryside, and becomes a witch. Maybe I’ll do that one day.

© Dark and Bright Art 2013

I Love You More Than Salt

I Love You More Than Salt

Illustration based on a story from the Virago Book of Witches. A princess tells her father that she “loves him more than salt”, and, insulted, he banishes her from his kingdom. She is taken in by a good witch who lives deep in a forest with a huge black cat, and who makes the king realise his mistake. Coloured ink, wax crayon, acrylic paint and coloured pencil on paper.

© Dark and Bright Art 2013

Mossycoat

Mossycoat

Illustration based on a folk tale from Angela Carter’s Book of Fairytales. Mossycoat is a Gypsy girl who has a magical coat made of moss. It’s a lovely story – she’s a fiesty, slightly devious Cinderella. I used coloured ink, acrylic paint, wax crayons and coloured pencils on paper.

© Dark and Bright Art 2013

Great Illustrations

I was looking over some of my favourite picture books from childhood, and was struck by the gorgeous illustrations:

From ‘The Happy Lion’ by Louise Fatio, illustrations by Roger Duvoisin

From ‘Whistle for Willie’ by Ezra Jack Keats

From ‘My Red Umbrella’ by Robert Bright

‘The Happy Lion’ is the only one still in print – I heartily recommend it. It made me laugh even looking at it now. Do you have any fondly remembered favourites?