Sunday, 26 October 2008

Icarus




icarus


fall

sun

son

The sky as thin as paper

this membrane,

to night

yet as before me
the light rises
as day falls

in side

-

following the light
not as a path
but more of a scan
a scan of arc
( twilight as reverb )

this after glow
as shine
as everything

Acquiescence
a
pale
reminder

and then
high jets
their tales
tails
light and electric
rising
falling
fast/slow

spoked rays
fanned
over
ending

night crown

-

jet in ether
towards the blue
icarus
lid of night
compress the day
eve
a chink
a closing gap

iris

lens

for a moment

-
a cloud
hovers above me
febrile
as if moving
just forming
resonates
as if to touch
form
to come
and then
go

form moving through air
air moving through form

hung before me
as a thought
a notion
its belly becoming more solid

as I grasp it
it falls away
and becomes a cloud

-

this air
is
silent

and then a crease of sound from above

-
time dissolves
time as a carriage
I halt
to stop

and this wind
makes a measure of it

-

the light in the west
its shine
last forever
in this moment
stretch
bend
curve
horizontal

amulet
its lamp
brighter
as the edges
the periphery
grow dim

no reddening
just a paling

-

light

as a psalm

as a communion

Thursday, 23 October 2008

October ground



Bottalack Cliffs

Here again, at twilight and my mind is blank to the outside
words

A
question I have been asking myself recently - is my work riddled with death?
Or pointing toward it ( even in youth )

-

The air smells of the west

There is a space with fragrance

scent
a natural odour


Scilly
in the dull effervescence
a twilight gloam

pink muted to orange - one way
and to grey violet - the other way

vertiginous


its vague smear southerly to the left
there is one part of the sky that is a pale gold window

as the day dims
sinks

it saddles the night
the colour is almost rich

getting richer

as this darkness forms
from the east
around me, a shroud

last window

riching splendour


greys turn through blue
towards violet

the world's jet streams in china blue

the orange glow
still shifts southerly
westward day


earth's rim
a
pointing towards
(not extraction )


sometimes the ' spirit ' - in the solaplexus is absent
empty
sleeping


and then a bright star
many jewelled

opine

above -

the orange hue
from the west

through fugged clouds


looking for an ecstasy

Thursday, 2 October 2008


02 10 07

Back in the land of green, chips and antiques
I am at the Windy Ridge Cafe outside Plymouth - pensioners special
This is cuisine
my number is 43
A nice cup of English transport tea
My sleeping was not good last night

At Plymouth Ferry Port met a Danish cyclist/eccentric who was ‘doing’ Europe on his bike
He asked me directions to Harwich, i said follow the coast
He was very interested in the morgan
talked about the fumes on the car ferry and had to do his exercises to clear his lungs
Also something about they only used the one vw in Auschwitz to kill the jew.
It seemed to go on
I couldn't understand in that English way of polite dismissal - I was home

The windy Ridge was on top form, Antique roads show on the TV,
It puts me right back in it
I hope I am not too beige if I ever get old.

“ Its very reasonable here “

Chips

Chips are to the English what coffee is to the Italians

Chug along west in ill bella,

some car

home to my loved ones with open arms.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008


01 10 07

At breakfast trying to listen to some great easy listening over the tannoy, but Rob Brydon and Tracy Emin here are doing a good job at driving me nuts clanging and
banging about getting ready for he next coachload of Englaise

Through green Spain to Santander
Park up at the port in my line
Go to the shop ‘fantastico’ and by some Rioja from Haro - Rioja Alto which I suppose means altitude
Carrying 20 bottles of wine back to the car nearly kills me I must say
didn’t think to take the trolley

The English live on chips it seems
I don’t, I ........

waiting now

Then the french experience ferrying Brits home from Spain

Leaving Santander
Mountains in the west, soft hazed blue
the sun breaks through the autumn haze
distance all the way to Galicia
leaving mountains, again to the south

My problems with watercolour are technical ones
I like the initial mark, or a record of the mark/stroke
buts this gets dissolved in the process
back to calligraphy

three hours leaving santander - sicilia and the south


i can watch the sea for hours
It is myriad
almost infinite
nearly uncountable
and a mirror to the sky
uncountable
infinite
myriad

today it is like emulsion
mosaic
patterned
like cheap copper tables
it is all surface
as if nothing will come from beneath
as a milked light
in space
it is itself
the wind has lent it some time

( like crossing that first time to Lewis)
passing into a remote twilight
leaving mountains to the east
finding mountains to the west

Elephant skin
tabioca'rd
viscous
oiled
like treacle

arcs
pitted, patin-ed fingers of wind
poked, pattered
spread
multi- tudinous
refracted
this diamond sea - arabesque

the edge of the wake
is a curve like deep sea beasts
the curl as back

like star maps - reversed light now as cross- stitch
feckled
on the dark lips of mermaids
the skin surface
mottled and kissed

and then the ocean roll
from a big space

a time to not look beyond the subject

a spindled horizon
set dancing
( it’s own axis )

leaving land
the light of the sun
throws open, as a door
pathed
to the bulge of brightness

and a warmth
amongst a cool air
as from afar
countenance
meadowed air
brightness as to blind -
beyond gods shadow

( back to a northern clime where the sun is an event)

on leaving the south - behind
to itself
somewhere as a place

past a moment of youth
and into somewhere else

I put this


dip and brow
the golden flecks
twilight’s kiss
along the rim of the world
hasten to a dark

an infinite

held outward

cupped

placed


I sit on the deck and do the poetic thing
watch the sea and write stuff
did a watercolour
a finale to the trip -
that is why I like coming this way
You can watch the sea

it passes
appears the same
and passes

now its limbo time
had the meal
looked around the shop
read the headlines
‘ body found’
heard the banter
this is holiday time

I shouldn't be a snob buts its an English thing
there is no hope
normality

In the cabin

sea washes past through the hull
peoples voices in the corridor


Tuesday, 30 September 2008


30 09 07

Awoke to a collapsing bed
excess pounds
a bit fuggy from the grappa
A quiet dutch breakfast

We decide to take the cars out for a spin

Say goodbyes and then out into the hills, Jordie’s MG is nice to follow, he drives fast
good bends on the mountain roads
I could do more of this

Have a coffee in a town near Manrissa
These are good people
Jordie gives me a good handshake and says drop by anytime.
That's good to know
Talks of a classic car trip to Sicilia - ahh Sicilia!

Now I am in the dry dust of Spain, the long haul across the neck of Espania.
This is a hard slog after so many miles
but the journey is so rewarding
I am skimming across the top of a country I want to follow down south
another dream of a place that seems familiar but illusive.
Zaragoza and the flat rocked plains.
Rioja cools and clouds gather.
Haro
Towards the mountains it rains - hood up and racing into the twilight
Cosy on the N232 that rolls then twists towards the mountains of Cantabria.
A break of orange light beyond the mountains, through the rain
As before the realisation that I have been ascending on a long plateaux all day.
I’m still impressed by the difference you get when you hit Cantabria
Approaching from the south
An edge
The land falling away
The road descending
curving
hairpining
falling through the folds of hills

out from the dark
a poor young cow has been hit by a car
lies bleeding and moaning in the road
blood spilling from its flanks
this is sad
this is awful

Drive in the rain to find Santona
feeling my way through the neon
trying to remember
I find the hotel and they have a room

A hot bath to wash the damp dust of of all those miles


The place is full of elderly retired English - coach party
the gates of reality

I sit in the bar and eat my paella and drink my cava trying not to be here
hanging on to out there
a kind of celebration
I need to find a suitable place to round of this journey
this hotel is ok but its not it
Hotels are strange places - welcoming yet cold and precise.


somewhere back
in memory
falling away south
out in the hills
melancholy
near a twist and quiet

Today at the chapel in Fontarnau there was a small anti room
an intimate alter
personal
religous
statues
a small wooden cabinet alter
a bottle of wine
a jug with a bowl
a cigarette lighter
motive offerings
Religion is like a ghost to me

Paella is excess, quite good, a bit runny and with peas.
But at the end of it, besides the Englaize talking of home,
its the fact I don’t fit in the chairs.

Surf rolling at night from the north


Monday, 29 September 2008




29 09 07

North Africa ferries


Grey clouds up from the south
Industrial places and ports are the new wilderness
species identified by corporate logos
A landscape of components, world substructure

I think it is the speed of the boats I enjoy.
When they come into port, all slow and gentle, careful
easing into berth
large and incongruous in the confines of the harbour
tethered and waited on by dipping cranes
mantis cranes

suddenly so small on the large sea

slow films about ships
large scale things happen in unnoticed ways
or small increments
Big moving container cranes
a wanting silenzio
which I suppose does’nt exist in public spaces
a need to have ‘background - more like foreground music
to cover up the noise of the air.

The women serving petite dejener is very attractive
She puts some smoochy music on
“Would you like a dance mademoiselle”

Sometimes I think and write real crap
If I was on a computer I’d delete
So does this mean that all errors are disappearing.
A catalogue of errors

Drive to Spain
It's quite fresh again
Along the coast, the autostrada to Espania
into the warm
Up over the top of the hills towards Vic
This fresh green
To Vic and Fontarnau to see Marianne, Marie Angels and Jordi.
The Dutch painters are there Robert and Yolanda.
Fontarnau is as peaceful as ever.
Jordi is excited at seeing the car, he has two MG’s that he has lovingly restored.
Food, wine and grappa into the night under the stars in the courtyard.

Sleep amongst the frogs

Vivid dreams about the med.

Restless night as they all have been
I feel good about things.
I am over my existential's and have some good images floating around my head.
it seems different to last year
A closer distance.

You feel there is an optimism here.


Sunday, 28 September 2008



28 09 07

Skimming stones

Genoa to Sette, again
I like this bit
I’m heading for home though there is still a sense of a journey to be made
prolong the finish

Leave El Chico
There is a cold wind coming of the mountains
Sun shines through
Drive through south of France
I like this bit - easy playing which goes with that riviera thing
To find the salt again
This time the Camargue
Big saline at Agues Morte
An impressive fortified town
Big Norman wall with square turrets, impeneretable - once
The salt is piled up in large hillocs, very industrial
Makes Mozia look hand crafted

Feel tired now
Sette and the area is interesting
Saw some great gypsies at the service station, real Romanies
White horses and pink falmingoes
Their pink is soft, like they are made of blotting paper
or something that is slowly soaking up the pigment, like ink, from the edges

Etap
I am Etap, resistance is futile, I will be assimilated

Go and find a restaurant in Sette
Moules by the harbour
Ship leaving for Tangiers, into the pink light, southwest to Africa

I’m in a state of liquid flux
going somewhere but not yet arrived
eyes open memory ticking - back and forth
the present is the weight of the pendulem
perfect evening
everything going into the pinked air

To Vic or not to Vic


Saturday, 27 September 2008


27 09 07

A restless night through the silent lightening and beneath the moon
There is a bit of a ‘cut’ coming in from the west.
Open the curtains to grey light.
Lie in bed listening to Beethoven piano concertos
Go on deck as we pass Elba.
This time Monte Christo is further to the west

Ferry journeys are a great place to ponder -
and with a trepidation returning from a fantastic place
I can see the spillage of the real world at the gates

This journey is never ending to my impatience, which in turn is my weakness
Grey skies, though a slight seepage of light away to the west

The far off clouds and distant patches of light
are as memoirs
Somewhere summer still burns
always to the west
a hole, a gap
fissure

Through to a paled china blue
where fluffy washed out naples yellow clouds bask
just beneath the curve
above where crests jagger the horizon
a small speck going somewhere south.
I go north

Genoa is dark and full of rain and street lights
so I put the hood up and out through the maelstrom that is the city
This is like driving looking through a letter box
trying to find the exit pass the prostitutes in the dark arches twice
drive up a road the wrong side
then out going east to Varreze
There is something snug about the Morgan at night in the rain.

The hotel El Chico is all 30’s modernist

I sit starched and dine
still in the hot dusty south, in my mind



I hand over my artist vows and exchange them for nonsense
The mantle piece beckons

Thoughts turning toward the returning of the job of life.

But here’s the trick, take the long way home
I will always take the long way home
Draining a fine wine to its leaves and wiping the plate clean with a mop of bread
succour and digest

The med night comes across the top of the olive trees
into my window
cooler breeze.


Friday, 26 September 2008


26 09 07

Last few moments before the off
Giardini
Saline

A good day
Leaving Marsala having sampled and tasted some vitals.
Saw the big smiling man from Mozia who gave me a hearty wave form the street, I feel almost at home - for a second.
Coffee at the saline, stretched out in the sun feeling twenty years younger.

The straight road to Salemi past the vines and olive groves.
The view down the bonnet.
Head for Rudi de Gibelina, an area that was hit by a devistaing earthquake in the 60’s.
For interest or morbid fascination?
It does not disapoint. A shocked landscape fragmented, left and abandoned. Buildings and towns partially collapsed, fragments of architecture.
I park up and walk around, An artist has made a huge concrete sculpture over the old street plan of the town. I was looking for the ampitheatre that was built as part of a festival to comemorate the disaster, Aparently they used to hold concerts of contemporary music and theatre ther, including works by John Cage. All that was left was a few remnants of scafolding and overgrown steps.

In the derelect garden of what must have been a grand house stood a lone fig tree, black and dark against the light, its curls and knots form their way out of a dark centre. The tree says alot, dark in the shadow of the bright light - as a memorial.

The whole place is frozen and empty in this heat.
The only sound is the distant whiring of some wind turbines up on the hill.

The next town is similar, roads leading up into derelict plots. A grand manor stands shattered but still standing.
The town of Poggioreale is a whole place left half standing and abandoned. The main street as a skeleton behing some modern gates.
Its as if the destruction has come from within or below.
From above a long overgrown street runs through the middle.
An absense of people.
Deserted fragments, someone elses grave, I feel I should not linger out of respect.
I read later that the whole earthquake lasted about three minutes.
I can’t imagine the feel of such force coming from the earth.
Something imovable as rock set into motion.

Up over the top, over a craggy beaten land. Only the whirr of the windmills.

The road to Alcamo sweeps down along open plains, great road, empty and to myself.

Leaving should take time
I’m sitting in Il Bella at Alcamo marina, after driving through the hills.
The mountains of Zingaro ( my mountains ) bathed in azure
lapis lazuli sea, torquoise and brown.
west wind
the sea is alive and cooling the sun
I love this place, Sicilia is full of suprises.

Palermo rush hour is something else. As usual the signs for the port dissapear and I weave the car through the traffic. Il Bella didn’t glinch once. Crawling down towards the docks through slow sets of traffic lights. It is like threading a needle through traffic, just waiting for the car to overheat, but it didn’t - a great little car.

Finaly drive on to the ferry La Superba.
Watch the departing on deck.
Crowds of family waving their loved ones farewell - from the homeland i guess.



Watch palermo slip away and its bright neon citied clamour recede.
To the west a fantastic lightening storm flashes accross the sky and over the mountains. All white and orange through the clouds. Some shards right down to the horizon.
Earth and Fire
Elemental
Sicilia
your brown rude earthiness and breathed wind
is so real to my dreaming
dreaming a deep south
for somewhere in the memory
shut as a nut
to unlock
a bloom to flower
open and spike.

Leaving should take time

Untill a next time.
This intriging place
It has such alot, and each time it shows me something else

so to the stars and the ink blue sea,
and to the North


Thursday, 25 September 2008



25 09 07

‘ and the brine shrimps make the the falmingoes pink ‘
like blotting paper

Spent today, my last day in Marsala, painting.

Feel quite ambiguous about this trip, i shouldn’t compare it with the one in 06 but I do. It seems more concious in a way, more contrived.
Trying to develop an idea and relaitionship with a place I feel drawn to.
Trying to make the work more than a series of snapshots.
Being away from the usual props makes one ponder more, inbetween these moments of experiance.

Had a very strong dream about dads face the other night. I could see it clearly, his bright eyes and smiling face, his wrinkles like maps.

Wagner stayed in the Grand Hotel et des Palmes in Palermo and finished Parsifal off in 1882.

Leaving, it all boils down to giving the cooker and sink a once over, sweeping the floor and making sure there are no embarrasing stains left.
Feel the need to talk some english with someone.
Palermo and the ferry tommorrow via Gibelina.

Quite excited about getting in the car and driving once again, the Morgan has this effect on me ( only those who know understand ) - its a car thing.

Weather feels quite fresh at the moment.
The climate has changed.
Autumn folds the leaves - as a book
irons the light sharper
cooler like a calculated crease
leaves as pages, as minutes
to find an inkwell
inscribe on this time
dipped an ink of night
or a busy biro like morning coffee
these gaps i find
and wish to make wider
a hole through a fence.


Wednesday, 24 September 2008


24 09 07

This morning is cooler and the wind has returned.
I am missing home today.
It is a long journey to here, in lots of ways.
The detachment and seperation is a double edged sword.
Its a good space but I am missing loved ones.
And when I am away the present is not real in a work sense. It takes time for the unfamilarity to permeate.
All the work that is done seems empty, It has no context.
As a traveller I am caught up with the present, maybe when I am back in my studio the work will make sense - as before.

I could drive around the world - from here the sense of going on.

There is an autumnal feel outside brought by the wind. Is there such thing as Sicilian autumn, not in the English sense.
Maybe here marked by the passage of time rather than the enviorement.
Marsala seems less dry than other parts or maybe I have just got used it.
Could I ever get used to it? In a way I’d like to try.

Finished of Salt by Mark Kurlansky. Mozia is one of the oldest salt producing areas.
The windmills are based on a Turkish design brought to Sicilia by the Spanish.
The Tuna fishing was here because the Tuna migrate past Sicily.
- the big bastard - sicilian tonne fishermen who dive down with the fish and herd them through the nets.
I like connections, however oblique. It is a bit like a hobby.
The Island thing which seems to be entirely a geographical yet connections keep cropping up.

Scilly - Venice - Sicily - Mozia

The weather is slowly turning towards rain. Up from Africa. Tunisia is near, four hours on a boat. I like to think of ‘ that other world, other continent is there.

Looking through the map of Europe flicked past the pages of England, their names seem so familiar, like the back of my hand.
Marsala is almost North Africa. You can sense it in the dust and streets. Another country.

Its greyed over but no rain, hasn’t rained for five months here.

Nicola has some pomegranite trees in his garden. large wooden friuts hang, a mix of yellow and red like old english apples. I pick one for Sal.

don’t know whats happening in the world, it will greet me when I reach Santander.

Tommorrow i will take a last look at the saline and do some shopping for home.
Anchovies, Marsala and Olive oil.

Think of somewhere else, north from here

over a hill
over the hill
past the summit
beyond ascent

can’t see the wood for the trees
in the thick of it
Lapland was good
not through trees but above them
for a moment
through a gauze
the wilderness and endless wood
fell land
the wish to find the edge
edge of sun
the edge of season
a long curve through the bright northern night
suspended in an orange gold
at this midnight
and small hours become wide open
like faces
and bright flowers in night
gazed and made awake
arctic.


Tuesday, 23 September 2008


23 09 07

Sitting on the chocolate coloured sofa
The front door is open and I can see the Stagnone through the trees

Nicola is taking me to Mozia today
He shows me his saline but says it is unprofitable so lies unused
Coffee at Mama Cassa and he talks about his Marsala wine.
We get the boat accross to Mozia, there is always a sense of excitement in a ferry journey however short - the crossing of water to an island.
Mozia is small, with a group of houses, the largest was owned by Whitaker the wine merchant. The museam is full of artifacts from the Phonecian ruins, all laid out like a Morandi still life, very beautiful.

Nicola says he will show me around the Island, he insists.
We meet a family and have sweet coffee and they invite me for lunch.
We taste some local wine, then walk and talk in Pidgeon English / Italian
The stagione is beautiful, reaching out to a spit of land
We pass a man knee deep in the water bent down searching the shallows
Oysters says Nicola
then he pulls out a fish and puts it in his bag,
I think this has been done for centuries
just hands
I am left to wander the isle and ruins.
This place is perfect, I look with envy at a couple in a small sail boat out in the lagoon.
A lazy sail through the shallows, cool in the heat.

Lunch in Mozia with a large Sicilian family, around a large shaded table.
life outside.
I cannot speak Italian and they don’t speak english. We converse through jesture and humour.
Pasta, zuchine, melanane and sicilian sausage that has caraway seed in it, which in the heat gives it that southern spice.
There must be about four families all around the table, of all age making me feel very at home. The guy I was sitting next to me was very funny. In fact they all laughed alot and spoke at a rate of knots.
They cut me a large piece of melon for me - gesturing ‘prego’
I showed them my book which they all found interesting, they asked me if i was famous.
Drank coffee and smoked cigarettes. They couldn’t understand me not having sugar in my coffee. Sicilians have things very sweet.
Then a huge dollop of cake was presented, a sought of crumble filled with sweet ricotta cheese.
I parted saying gratzia gratzia gratzia and arriva derci
we took photos and waived goodbye
Next year you must return for lunch again was implied.
I will, but with more italian.
I sat on the sw tip of the island with a well fed glee in me, dosing in the sun by the gentle lapping waves.
Real Sicilians.

Nicola said rain tommorrow and you could see the weather turning
A nice working breeze coming up from the south
Oh to set sail out in the Laggoon.

On the ferry

“Ticket Ticket?”
“Accross Accross “I replied
“Ticket Ticket?”
“Freind Nicola Spano “ I exclaimed
“Gratzia “

Drove back along the lagoon road, back to a lonely dog and slept

Tonight is spaghetti, without pannichetto, just pomorodino, fungi and anchovies.

It seems that things are happening that are real and of the place.
Which is great.

Sat in thinking of Bonnard
Of what Nicola said about the grapes not needing too much water as this concentrates the flavour and sweetnes. In Mozia the vines are kept low to save them from the salt wind.

Think about my own work in context with wine growing - trying to be low, sheltered and concentrated.
There is so much I need to find in my work.
I hope I always have dificulty finding me in the art I want to find.

The sweetnes of Sicila is just right. It cuts through the heat, the same with the sharp wine. Marsala and Cassatta, it makes sense. The fig makes sense in this dry land.
A distilled sweetness, not syrupy.
As the water is evaporated into salt, the same process concentrates the sugar.
I can’t remeber the name of the large leafed tree planted by an englishman on Mozia. Leaves the shape of almonds, waxed green like plastic, the new fronds, uncurled and cadmium red. I sat under its spreading limbs in the cool shade.
The gaps of blue sky above like stars.

Small garish coloured flowers, yet in this light they sit in the brightness
( like fruit in a bowl of sugar )

I read somewhere that one of the English wine merchants was so carried away with Sicily and his wine that at night he used to run through his vines naked in estatic glee.
Being here I can understand that sort of ecstasy.
Its far enough near to an Eden.


Monday, 22 September 2008


22 09 07

Today was bit of a none day
Got up and did some painting from the window
there was a moment when something clicked for a nano
had some lunch
then slept
then went out around 5’ish

Nice evening light
drove along to Birgi, which is an agricultural area
got apreciative waves and cheers from people sitting outside a small bar
Dark brown rough hewn soil
This is hardly a place, yet it is so here

At twilight the stagnone is like a jewel
bright red sunset over the purple salt

Missing Sal Daisy Milo today.

Dog won’t stop barking.

Art has become a tower of Babel
the village pond for anyones ideas
Blah Blah Blah
I’m in the wrong game in the wrong place.

Saw a father and his son fishing and watching the sunset -
Milo’s fishing rod

In these moments things surface





Sunday, 21 September 2008


21 09 07

Its that friday feeling
Sleep in late
vivid strange dreams
At least that shows my brain is working

The basement flat is very dark
a strong contrast with the outside

There is a sense of Africa in Marsala
The cities edge lining along a cobalt sea and sky
A wind from the north
The Egadi Islands beckon
A close haul with one reef in and the jib just right

The wine warehouses emit a must of grape
and the fragrance of wine from the vat

At the Saline watch a young boy getting his dads boat for him
His father loading it full of green and bright red flowers
Such a matter of fact thing
full of grace

The windmills were restored by a local boat builder from Trapini
the mechanisms all wood and rope
large structures like the beams of a boat,
numbered and shackled

Up in the red tin cap
the wind lightly shaking the cupola
as if to tease the sails to be bent
and the world to set into motion

Life is all salt
The workers have a song they sing when they wheel barrow the salt to make large piles
the piles of salt measured in wheelbarrows
they loosen the crust with a small bladed shovel that they dig in and twist
it forms a dance
they appear as a chorus line
they form it in to rectangles with channels to drain the water
then into small squares
then into pyramids
After draining these would all be wheelbarrowed into the large piles that sit on the edge of the lagoon
They are left to dry out and covered in winter with roof tiles

The salt pans have four stages to them
all are different processes of cleaning and evaporation
There is a canal around the lagoons which keeps the sea water being infected by rainwater
The first pan is where the sea water is let in
This is to get the impurities out
then it is pumped into a second pan to concentrate the brine
then into another where the brine becomes pink in colour
this is caused by the brine shrimp
this is what the flamingo's feed on and this gives them there pink hue
The brine evaporates more and becomes concentrated
the brine is the pumped into last pan, small flecks of crystals form in the water and then settle on the bed where it is left to evaporate through the process of wind sun and air.


At each stage the water is tested by the ‘ curator ‘.

There is something simple and pure about the salt
its process - distillation and evaporation
refined to an essence
something out of depletion

out of the blue sea
as a white crest
The white mounds today were quite beautiful
Their shape arrived at by process
sculptural
large benevolent beings

Maybe I am looking for to much meaning in it
I think it is the beauty of the place
The windmills facing out to the air and wind
bare sailed
waiting
sun bleached
long arms
tendrils to the light
Archaic like pinochio hats
the ochre of the tower and the deep red of the cupola

their quiet names

an earthbound ornamentation
the shape of a tree
varied
strange unknown, exotic
shapes on the edge of somewhere familiar
like dark skin
the clods of earth
to touch

to pick the ripe fruits of eden’s tree


Saturday, 20 September 2008



20 09 07

Flamingos, Pomegranates and Presidents

White like salt
as a starting point

Finding the gap to slip through the wall
into the garden
to pick fruits
and suck as bees on nectar

down to the saline
out into the light
no longer viscous
now clear hot and bright

drove around along the stagnone coast road
to the towers at Torre S.Teodoro
a bar with hammocks chairs and seats
ankle deep in the water


Returning

Saw Flamingos

Saw Pomegranates

paint the derelict windmill
the pink and blue salt pans before it

Whist painting the Presidente of Sicilia, a Nicola Cristaldi, pulls up asks me for coffee
- all in the day of a Morgan driving artist
I say next time we meet I will speak Italian

Later Nicola de Spano says I have just met the most important man in Sicilia

In the evening park up by the lagoon and wedge myself in the car
Paint Molino, Egadi, Stagnone.
Sat there quite content watching the light slowly turn towards early evening

a dream filled ooze of gold haze
through the gap of Egadi and Levanzo
the distant Isle de Marettimo dissolves

early evening
just before the sun dips


to linger
two distant mulino - mulino lontano
sit on the Isle d Stagnone
right on the edge
on the lip of the horizon

the stagnone intices

I return to paint the two windmills at sunset

red red red
the salt pans
deep violet
deep pink
deep blue

to be here
to find a stone
unearth it and find something else

the pans near the road are drained
thick with a mat of salt
crust
like vast slices of white bread

back along the Trapini - Marsala road
one long straight strada
Bars shops and traffic

Perchance to happen upon
something out there
making a connection
from out of a blue sky
less familiar

a falmingo in flight
a stick with two wings

Flamingos - Stagnone, Sicily
Swans - Bryher, Scilly


Friday, 19 September 2008


19 09 07

Leaving the mountains and returning to the S120 Targa Floria.
It just gets better as the road descends towards the coast
Hill towns and large edges of mountains
dipping into valleys and hugging the ridges
you get a sense of how the old race must have been
the mountains disolve into the heat haze
all earth colours against the blue

then at the end of the road the old Targa Floria grandstand and finish line
deserted
left
almost hear the noise
ghostly stands and pitstop
a large printed hanging of the race

An apt ending to such a fantastic drive from Fiumefreddo

West to Marsala
It is hot again
west past Terasini
the blue mountains of Castelemarre and Zingaro

the road from Salemi to Marsala is lined with olive trees and vineyards
it is lush and green
planed and empty
straight road to the south

Sit in the restaurant at Mozia
the white salt shining in the sun
what am I doing all this for?

this

Nicola de Spano is very freindly
His house is in the outskirts of Marsala overlooing the Stagnone
I have a flat to myself, dark and cool


18 09 07

Calabria is hot, dry and dusty
Autostrada in this heat like an oven
the land is a tinderbox
This drive is longer than you think
workmen salute the car

At Reggio the sea has an inviting coolness about it
Sicilia seems to be cooler
clouds gathering over Etna
I head for Taormina, drive through/past the tourists
At last I am on the S120, heading inland - a mini epic
all curves
Mount Etna looms, dark clouds gathering
distant rivulets of steam rising near its summit
the mountain does it again, this time thunder and lightening
Hood up (that cosy Morgan thing)
It pours, roads to rivers
As I drive into the hills I see the air through the air through the rain
After Randoza the sun returns and the wet roads turn to silver
S120 is great,
out into the mountains,
the land is orange ochre
this land astounds me

to Cesaro, twisted, curved and sometimes the road just runs out into gravel
the soil is grey green blue grey
this is somewhere out from anywhere
towns perched on mountains, medieval, fortified
Towns isolated
No apparent hotels, squares full of locals
the inside of sicilia
Wallace Arnold and MacDonalds don’t enter in to it

weave on
the sun starting to sink over the mountains
the kilometre number on the sign reads S120 96 and counting down
A long drive ahead, into the red glow
fields as gold
Sicilia is a place full of hidden envelopes
These towns seem fortified against each other
They seem equally inpeneratable
Troina to Nicosia to Gangi, mountains in a soft sienna light stretching on
Ill bella rises to the challenge
Driving part of the Targe Floria now
great corners, sits round the curves like a glove
I think my car likes Sicilia

Decide to head for Cefalu on the North coast
take the high road across the Madonie mountains into the twilight
up up into the pine forests and cooling air
then at the dark top
out of nowhere
out of nothing
a hotel
Swiss style with room and food
Twin Peaks comes to mind
Dutch French Italian English
A fox comes into the dining room
Daisy and Milo would love that

Very tasty fig liqueur

Quiet cool air
sound of cattle bells in the distance like breezy chimes.
Cicadas sing out
Mountains have a presence at night
they insinuate themselves upon you
with in you

Sleep amongst the knotty pine

rodents in the roof

here, far away from somewhere


Wednesday, 17 September 2008


17 09 07

Think of dad - seventeen years since his death

The sea is always seductive
calm, lucid, warm
stretching into a near infinity of pale blue
the horizon a faint hem

It’s very quiet
I could stay here for a while
off season you can’t be frenetic
something of over
The off season
It just makes you want to slow down and amble south
sit in the shade and pick the ripe fruit.

This dream is not driven, more like trying to make a consequence of my past actions.
It is a state of mind.

The word thing has always been somewhere lurking
I don’t want to make a conscious thing of it
it has to happen underneath the painting
in an oblique way
a leap of faith
somehow somewhere

No green figs
the day of dads death

Toni takes me to a mechanic to look at the car, after fiddling about with various bits on the carb, he taps the webbers saying “spezialista”

I take him for a spin - ‘ ciao gratzi ‘

weave on along the coast towards Piscotia -
all is azure against the hard mountains
It is hot though the sea breeze takes the edge of it
Piscotia sits perched on a small hill

Set up easel and paint that view.
Someone from Italian TV films me, an artist with his canvasses in a push chair stops for a chat, we trade cigarettes for a book.
Piscotia is a place i will return to.

On towards Matera.
Marina di Camerato is all rocky coast and sandy beaches.
Up over the mountain
Lentiso a small tight village, church with beautiful tiled dome.
Hair pin bends up through the dry lands.
Sun blasted great swathes that are scorched from fires
How does a land so dry yield so lush a fruits
Over the top down towards Sapri
green woods
cool air
Find a bench in some shade near the water
under a pine tree
I eat my salami and pomordorini, aqua and two ripe sweet wet peaches
An old man stops to admire the car
no conversation no Italian no englese - why would he
The coast of Matera is blue and vanishes south into the haze.
Big dry mountains

The light reminds me of when I first left college and found myself in Dorset and in that still ageing September light.
As here all quiet after a season
Hotels closing
Locals reclaiming their place

It is delicious - my basket of fruit

Past Matera and Jesus up on the mountain, which I find somewhat scary and reassuring at the same time
- Faith - yes I have some but not in God, that is my lack of belief
the statue perched high looking inwards
his arms from this angle look almost avenging
facing towards the hard mountains
away from the light - it seems to me.

my lack of faith
a belief lost

Towards Scalea
the coast gives way to the flat beaches
the road hugs the hills with stilts
big hotel complexes like bee hives scatter down the hills -
seems empty
the road follows coastal towns
peopled by late sun worshippers hanging on to the season

Hotel Poseidon again
The same guy behind the desk gives me a friendly handshake and welcome
This time I get a room with a balcony and sea view.
I swim in the warm sea
late afternoon air above my head and thoughts
Bask on the deck chairs along with a few other sombre reptiles
I can’t do this sort of thing - the beach chair parasol thing
so I draw, paint and write
retire to the balcony to watch the sun set

pale yellow then orange.
there is a crescent moon and venus
now the light is dimming to an apricot yellow
out to the west
wind drops
sea curls along the shore from left to right

at night the surf and beach keep me awake - tissues in the ears

my dilemmas - will the car make it
If I was to buy a statue, would it be jesus, mary or a monk - maybe a trio.

Cilento - Clabria - towards an exotic dry south.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008


16 09 07

Bit of a drive today
Ill Parco I will not go again.
Motorway and il bella is not running well
the timing is out, in need of a tune, clutch rattling again.

Past Roma and down towards Napoli.
Round the back of Vesuvius past groves of Hazelnuts
I get the feeling I am rushing this time, ( maybe as I have to fit this trip into a gap ).

A long drive through still heat
and then to the Cliento.
to find the sea breeze

This is where it starts
to the south

a detour through crisp burnt hills
now a veracious stillness

I find Monte Corice and Hotel Lembo di mare.
the same people
the same post season emptiness
I have the place to myself

you could really hide away in a place like this

I am weary, dusty and tired

take a swim, warm cool amongst a naples yellow light.

I must learn Italian

This trip seems to be a kind of ‘ you walk the walk but do you talk the talk '

One step beyond
Into Italy
Why? - because I want to

South of forever

south of somewhere going south

Monday, 15 September 2008


15 09 07

waking up in the golden light of the med
olive and palm
pass
hills bathed in a warm morning yellow light

This is Cannes, large yachts
my existential pangs like indigestion
- regrets I’ve had a few -

Nice
With an aim in mind
South through the heat into Italy
Genoa bend the arc that tips south
Green Liguria
the dipping nets orange amongst the olives shadows
Flat to south to Grosetto
with an aim in mind (this time)

Giving way to words

a kind of poetry in-between the pages of drawings and notes
my whim, my romance, my dreaming
like somnambulant mesmeric music.

I am at Il Parco hotel near Grosetto
In some hinterland, viewing across ducts and flat roofs
An orange sun setting behind deep pines
as if to capture the scent
light perfumed
a rich pigment

the moon thin crescent
towards an evening above trees
through a window - recollection and memory
in air

lessening light and memory grows stronger

this place
as if another Eden
like gaps in suburbia
the parks edge
going out another place
voices in the dark




Cicadas
as loud as the traffic
- you forget that sound -

memory not as stored baggage
memory as an alive sense

I put my memory into storage
or read my memory as a book
as a recollection
as a re-animation


Sat in the restaurant of Il Parco
totally Italian
slightly gruff
no quarter from the waiters.