Posts Tagged ‘dusk’

there is something about horizons fading into darkness

January 14, 2011

At dusk, horizons drink down sea and hill,

The ploughed field swallows the whitewashed gable

And you are in the dark again.

These lines from Seamus Heaney’s  ‘The Peninsula’ have a particular resonance for me and the whole poem is a magical evocation of shoreline reminding me of Achill.  They accompanied me as I came to the end of  my first large Unstable Horizons painting.  Heaney talks of breakers being ‘shredded into rags‘,  ‘leggy birds‘ which suggest to me the exquisite white egrets which stand in the river that runs alongside my studio; and ‘Islands riding themselves out into the fog‘. Achill again.  Such wonderful imagery.  Seamus Heaney’s collection Opened Ground Poems 1966-1996 was on my wish list but I ended up buying it myself.  Couldn’t wait! And it is wonderful.

The painting, for now just Unstable Horizon Painting 3, has been looking at me for weeks daring me to put the final marks on it.  Pencil, graphite, charcoal one after the other in destabilising lines, blowing charcoal dust all over the studio as I go.  Then covering the surface with butter soft paint and cautiously scraping it away again, stopping  the charcoal from smudging and muddying the paint.

Top. Unstable Horizon Painting.  Oil charcoal and graphite on canvas, 80 x 100 cms. 31 x 40 inches.

Below.   from my sketchbook, Achill Island


Charcoal drawing 145 x 125 cms

December 31, 2008
Large charcoal drawing

Large charcoal drawing

I have just finished this, the largest drawing so far in the series, mapping my walks on Ballinskelligs Beach and the journey back up to Bolus Head.

Dusk light and In Praise of Shadows

December 13, 2008




Whilst thinking about the way my work is going, the three drawings above have all been done in the last couple of weeks, I decided to re-read In Praise of Shadows by Junichiro Tanizaki. I had forgotten how lyrical it was. He talks of the patina granted to metal objects through use, a patina which is prized over shininess. He praises the quality that lamplight imparts and the silence and mystery of alcoves which never see the light of day. These thoughts seem appropriate to the qualities of the charcoal surfaces on which I am drawing. The patina on these drawings, rubbed with paper, speak of time, they are very labour intensive, and the pause between light and dark which happens at dusk or just before dawn. These are the qualities of light which I frequently saw at Cill Rialaig and with which I want to suffuse these drawings.


Mapping Space

December 1, 2008