This is the final ‘Saturn’, created for the upcoming exhibition on the 12th September this year. This one was painted purely in oils since black is such a tricky colour to work with and oil pigment has more depth of pigment and versatile texture.
This is a continuation of the Planets Series I’m creating this year, which takes inspiration from the planets as understood in Medieval cosmology, and the seven books of Narnia which were each inspired by the seven planets, as discovered by Michael Ward, author of ‘Planet Narnia’.
I’m particularly looking forward to the accompanying talk by Michael Ward (author of Planet Narnia. The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis) which begins at 6:30pm 12th September in the Main Hall at Summerhall, Edinburgh, as part of the exhibition launch.
Michael Ward is one of the world’s leading experts on the works of C.S. Lewis. It was his particular interest in the Narniad that led to his unique discovery that each of the Narnia Chronicles corresponds to the seven planets as understood in Medieval imagination.
Michael studied English Literature at Oxford, Theology at Cambridge, and has a PhD in Divinity from St Andrews. His PHD focused on the Narnia Chronicles, and it was during PHD research that he chanced upon the link between the books and Medieval planets. Only someone steeped in the entire works of Lewis, including Lewis’ poetry, would have recognised these associations.
Towards the end of 2018 I was exploring medieval symbology when I discovered one of Michael’s lectures on You Tube (see link below) which explored the Narnia/Medieval planets connection. Having been a Lewis aficionado since childhood I was immediately intrigued, so I ordered the book and have been attempting an artistic response ever since.
It has proved highly challenging, but I know I’ll be exploring these themes further in future. It has been richly rewarding, not just artistically but absolutely as part of exploring life’s experiences – difficult to explain why until you yourself have explored these rich associations, which reach back into pre-history in many ways, yet have contemporary and individual significance.
I never imagined I’d be delving so deep into these ideas and I’m grateful that Michael has responded so positively to the artworks, and I was of course delighted when he agreed to give the talk this September.
I was also delighted that Richard Demarco was enthusiastic about hosting the exhibition and event at his gallery in Summerhall, since Richard’s life’s work in the arts touches on many of the themes explored in this exhibition and talk (such as a non-linear concept of time, connections between the arts, sciences and faith, and ways of imagining or perceiving our experience of life).
I highly recommend watching this documentary (link below) for a taste of why it’s so fascinating as a subject. Michael Ward is an engaging and humorous speaker, and I’m sure that people from all walks of life, whether from a creative, historic, literary or theological perspective (not to mention the many people across the world who simply appreciate the Narniad as engaging and compelling stories) will really enjoy the talk this September, and I hope, the exhibition of my paintings too!
Today’s large versions of the ‘Planets Series’ for the upcoming exhibition in September.
There are two ‘Planets Series’; the smaller works, which were a practice run, and the larger series which I’m calling the ‘September Planets Series’.
You can view both series on ‘Artworks’ in the menu above. (the larger series is currently in progress but there will be seven paintings).
I mentioned a while back that there will be a September exhibition, and I’ve been waiting to confirm a few details before announcing the exciting news that Michael Ward, author of the excellent Planet Narnia, the Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis will be giving a talk at the exhibition launch!
If you’ve read any of my blog recently you’ll know how inspired I’ve been by the book, which uncovers the hidden meaning behind the seven Chronicles of Narnia. In the book, Michael Ward describes the influence that Medieval Cosmology, and related myths surrounding each of the planets, had on the Narnia Chronicles, with each book corresponding to a particular planet as understood in the Medieval cosmos.
Nowhere in the Narnia Chronicles is this made explicit, but as Michael Ward explains, Lewis evokes the influence, atmosphere and associated qualities of each planet in the stories. It took someone as steeped in all of Lewis’s literary works to recognise Lewis’s particular understanding of Medieval mythology, also to recognise that C.S. Lewis was absolutely the sort of writer, and character, who would wish to keep this meaning hidden…
If you want to find out more, then keep your diary free for the 12th September 2019. The exhibition and accompanying talk by Michael Ward is being hosted by the Demarco Gallery at Summerhall, Edinburgh.
If you’re a C.S. Lewis aficionado you don’t want to miss it! I’ll be posting the rest of the Planets series at it emerges in the next two months.
Here’s the excerpt from Lewis’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (corresponding to the Sun) which I was thinking of when painting today …
It very convivial, and very atmospheric thanks to Atzi Muramatsu‘s beautiful cello performance in response to themes of the exhibition and paintings. I’ll be editing a video of the performance soon which I’ll post here on the collaborations page. I really enjoyed the range of moods Atzi expressed which reflected the way each painting expresses a completely different atmosphere.
Thank you to all who came along, warm thanks to buyers of the paintings; Arlene, Adam and Fiona. Many thanks to Liza Horan for hosting help, mum for delicious cocktails, Donald Ferguson for glasses and set-up and Adam Brewster for taking excellent photos and videos of the event!
The exhibition is open to the public on Sunday 3th June and July 7th from 1 to 6pm daily. All info here – Open Studio
(Photos, Adam Brewster)
The final small version of Venus, finished today – just a day before the exhibition!
I felt the earlier version was twee and unconvincing – I was going for a mythical look which veered towards Disney, when I wanted something a bit more primordial – an Eden-like landscape of lushness. So although I’ll never be satisfied with my attemps at a Venusian atmosphere at least this is a little closer.
Exhibition launches tomorrow, with a performance by my friend and collaborator, the excellent Atzi Muramatsu, who’ll be responding to the themes and paintings on cello! All info here Planets Series
I’ll be painting more of these little artworks (in the photo above) over the coming months, which will be available for sale in art galleries in the landscapes painted.
If you’re interested in buying one of these, contact me at email@example.com and I’ll let you know where they’ll be available, or you can commission something similar if you prefer.
As they’re very small I think they’re a lovely way of acquiring one of my original paintings at a more affordable cost!