Monthly Archives: November 2014

‘When you write to the light..’

I’m very pleased to introduce you to¬† Jennifer L William’s response in poetry to one of my recent Lindisfarne paintings.

In this video she recites a poem in response to ‘Stormy Sky, Lindisfarne’..

It always feels magical to me when Jennifer plucks poetic inspiration from a painting, and draws viewers in to the meaning behind the image.

This is Jennifer’s personal response, but as with previous poems it gets to the heart of what I wanted to paint and communicate. In an earlier blog I spoke about the process of visiting an island like Eigg or Lindisfarne, as a painter. There’s a wish to be more present, or to see beyond the obvious, I described it in an earlier post as peeling back layers.

Jennifer’s poem takes this further, and expresses in words what I try to explore in paint. This line from her poem; When you write to the light, you write beyond the grave expresses to me the idea that we can only perceive with our limited human senses, and in the process of responding as a painter, or poet, you hope to see beyond your own thoughts, beyond a mirror.

The final line; you are the light could be read in a spiritual sense, or in the sense that we are the light, we make landscape what it is, or project our thoughts on to it. It makes me think of Shelley’s poem Mont Blanc;

..and what were thou, and earth, and stars and sea, if to the human mind’s imaginings, silence and solitude were vacancy?

Contemplating Jennifer’s poem has been a pleasure (especially on these dark winter evenings!). Tomorrow I’ll post a second poem and video, in response to the recent painting ‘Castle Point, Lindisfarne’.

Jennifer L William’s poetry can be viewed on this website:

Sea and Sky, Lindisfarne

Stormy Sky Lindisfarne


Sea from Castle Point, LindisfarneThese are my latest paintings of Lindisfarne as part of the new series for exhibition at the Marchmont Gallery on the 22nd November

It’s an entirely different light and feel to the Eigg, or West Coast landscape¬† – more easily described through painting than words, unless you’re a writer! The first painting, Stormy Sky, Lindisfarne looks east towards a small island, which you can walk to at low tide, where St Cuthbert is said to have meditated.

I sat on the shore watching the sky change from silver to black then blue, flocks of birds rising in clouds then speeding along the wave tops. The changes in light were fascinating  Рfrom moodily ominous to gentle, within seconds.

The second painting, Waves from Castle Point, Lindisfarne looks directly south across the sea from near Lindisfarne Castle. The light was beginning to fade slightly, with the low October sun lighting up steely blue waves, which became more choppy as stronger winds began to pick up. This was not much more than half an hour before dark, but there was still enough sunlight to cast rays through the waves, revealing glints of emerald-green

I’d first visited the island in June last year, when the light was entirely different- far softer and less changeable – visiting in October was ideal for painting. I wondered how those early saints, Aidan, Hilda and Cuthbert, might have felt, looking across to a mainland perpetually in upheaval – battles, new religions, new people fighting for territory – everything must have seemed in flux. Northumbria rarely saw peace from the 7th and right up until the 19th century.

Everything was changing too for the old country religions still practiced by ordinary people, and the fact that we know very little about them tells a story in itself, although Aidan, Hilda and Cuthbert practiced Celtic-influenced Christianity – adapted to old religions and ways of thinking, more in tune with the landscape and its cycles.