Sunday, 30 October 2016

"the liminal crawl-space" paintings by P A Morbid

Yesterday I went to a private viewing of an art exhibition.
I have been to such things before, but this one was a little different. This was the first solo exhibition of my friend Morbid. You might gather from his name that he doesn't always have the sunniest outlook on life, and he himself confesses to being something of a "troubled soul". I knew these were not going to be happy smiley pictures. I was expecting dark and disturbing and there was a distinct possibility that I wouldn't "get" them. I am grateful to him for posting his own thoughts on his blog - and allaying my fears that he might be hugely offended if I didn't get it...

I fall resolutely into that much disdained camp of "I don't know much about art, but I know what I like". If I am honest, that is true of many things - my maxim should perhaps be "I don't know much about anything, but I know what I like." but that's a whole other blog post.

I can't talk about artistic style and form, I don't know enough about art to recognise influences...but I can talk about content and colour and emotion. I can talk about my response to what I can see.
I saw a series of paintings filled with darkness and chaos, images in dark greens and blood reds, and black, bright oranges, blinding yellows and light, bright greens. I saw Angels looking anything but angelic, images of hunger and pain, of fire and burning, and of hell.
I felt a sense of pain, and loss, of helplessness and fear. I felt uncomfortable and bemused. I don't think that is an unexpected or unjust reaction.

The full title of the exhibition is "the liminal crawl-space" and it is accompanied by a poem "falling" written by Morbid in 1998. You don't need to read the poem to appreciate the exhibition but it does add an extra dimension. Imagine you are an angel, falling from heaven, cast out from all that was once dear and sacred to you. This exhibition is the crawl-space between heaven and hell. It is full of  doubts and fears, the memories of heaven and happiness,  the anguish of loss, and the struggle to understand. It is the moment between happiness and unhappiness, as you begin to understand the enormity and the hideousness of the transformation of your world.

Morbid joked that I would only take pictures of the pretty pictures. He was almost right. I am drawn naturally to the light. I like "easily she steps through the fire garden" with its muted greens - their coolness at odds with the fire garden of the title, I liked "these words", "there are no shadows" and "the green man", This does not mean that I didn't appreciate the others, they all tell the story but it is a pretty bleak one. My soul naturally seeks out the images that harbour a sign of hope.

My response may not be what other people experience when they view this exhibition. I know a very little bit of the background of the artist. I am also an eternal optimist. No matter how dark life gets I will always see a bright spot.

One of Saturday's enduring bright spots was the sight of Morbid proudly smiling despite all his attempts to look grave and serious like an artist should.

The exhibition runs until 30th Dec in the upstairs exhibition space, Python Gallery, Middlesbrough.


Thursday, 22 September 2016

Rule of Thirds

Two is company
Three is a crowd.

Three, that's a magic number.

Three little pigs.
Three billy goats gruff.
Three bowls of porridge.
Three chairs.
Three beds.
Three bears.
One Goldilocks.
I grant you three wishes.

One is lonely.
Two is company.
Three. Three is a crowd.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Connect #developingyoureye 5


Connections come in all shapes and forms. I have been mocked occasionally for my references to friends who I know only online. But those connections have proved more enduring than some so called "irl" ones. The connections are no less real just because they are rooted in the ether.
This poem came to me at work through the post (mail) from the other side of the world - from a connection made online. A palimpsest of sorts. I love that.
The poem is by Jodi Cleghorn. She's a Twitter mate.
To be fair, the photograph is not great. But the connection is.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Bliss #developingyoureye 4

coffee in bed
Morning coffee in bed, drunk at leisure, in peace, undisturbed except for the purring of the cat. #bliss

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Water #developingyoureye 3

Day 3 - you'll notice I am running a little behind!
Our day in Arundel started sunny but with the promise of rain - by the end of the day we had seen more water than we would have liked.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Home #developingyoureye 1

I'm on holiday at the moment so difficult to take a picture that represents home. So am cheating a little bit and posting one from last week. It is very apposite though.
This is what we look out for on the way home. Once you spot this on the horizon you know you're almost there...

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Photo Challenges

A couple of weeks ago I came across a photo challenge blog on wordpress. I've been doing quite a few daily challenges that call for nothing more than to post a picture on a theme each day - which is fun. But this weekly challenge posed a problem. It required a pingback to the original post...which would have been fine if a photo challenge fitted in with my wordpress blog. Dabblewords is all about the words. It has poetry and flash fiction...made up stuff. It does not have the introverted meanderings from the mind of a social network addict. So if I wanted to join in I either posted on blogger and shared it unofficially in the comments...which means not many people will even see it let alone read it...or I found a means to make it about words as well as pictures. And I think I may have cracked it. Taking the weekly theme, I choose a photograph and then I use that as the prompt for a piece of fiction. Presto...Not sure why I didn't think of it sooner! Perfect way to combine my two interests! My first two are up already on . Feel free to mosey on over and have a look, leave a comment, or even join in with your own weekly photo...
You can find the link to the Weekly challenge in my previous post... (that's my sneaky way of getting you to read another!)

Sunday, 10 July 2016


Looking Up

Last week I went to a university open day with my youngest son. We wandered round among fine old victorian and edwardian architecture and I listened to the excitement in his voice as he planned and hoped that this is where he will be come September. He has the desire, and the enthusiasm and the ability, He just needs the grades. 
In amongst all the red brick grandeur there are one or two concrete and brick boxes. Not so pretty to look at at first glance - but if you look up, you'll be amazed at what you can see. 

Friday, 14 August 2015

Crossing boundaries and breaking barriers

One Day?

The first tourists had started to arrive, their cars pulled smugly into parking spaces so early in the day. Later there would be more of them, frazzled, touring the town in search of a space, especially if the weather brightened. But looking out across the bay, at the castle dark against the grey skies, it was hard to imagine the day would brighten at all.
It was hard really to think that another May was already upon them. Before long the little town would be awash with tourists, bursting with excitement and enthusiasm, laden with  fractious children, grumbling grandparents and tourist information.
Very soon there would be little time to stare at the view and dream. There would be endless drinks to serve, meals to cook, rooms to clean.
A sudden gust of wind tugged at the door, opening it a few inches. Just enough to allow in a brief tantalising breath of air, heavy with the sweet scent of new mown grass and the tang of sea spray, with it came the sound of waves crashing on the shore and a gull shrieking as it  wheeled overhead.
A tentative thought surfaced - today, maybe today would be the day to step outside?
Almost as soon as the thought was formed, the wind dropped and the door clashed back on its hinges, clattering the glass in its frame and shattering the dream.

Originally written for Crossing the Tees and published as a podcast on