RHYMES&REASONS

Observations, Thoughts and Reflections on 21st Century Life

Thresholds and Threads

Everywhere you look there are thresholds. And I am drawn to them as a moth to light.  They have become the premiere focus of my painting and writing.   There are obvious thresholds like stepping from the kitchen into the garden or crossing a border from one country to another; tactile thresholds – holding hands, exchanging a kiss, lovemaking . . . and emotional thresholds as we shuttle on the vine of life from enjoyment to sadness and back again.

Some thresholds we have no choice but to cross as in birth and death.  Others are imposed against our wishes like redundancy or the end of a relationship.  And yet so often it is within the tangled web of ensuing chaos that growth and wisdom are woven.  What we resist is actually the very thing which will take us forward if we find the courage to make the step; if we cease wondering what life would be like, cross the threshold and allow ourselves to experience it.

Windows, doors, gateways, pillars and paths – all fascinate and pull me, like an invisible thread tugging, weaving it’s way between the weft of the physical and the emotional warp, between the real and the imagined.  A tangled knot of thresholds, examined from all angles, picked, pulled and tightened by thoughts spinning beyond control.  Only then it seems, in frustrated desperation am I  ready to spool words forth or paint, carding the thoughts from entwined mass, teasing onto canvas until an image – and a way forward – begins to reveal itself.

And thus another threshold has been crossed.

‘The Bread Oven’  watercolour

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Mud and a Meeting of Minds 1917

 

Mud.

Thick, cloying, seeping.

Consuming, filthy, blanket

binding you as brothers

in mud laden arms.

Bath.

Soap, water, scrub.

Submerged, aching, wallowing

purging you as brothers

in trenches of white.

Search.

Memories, mind, self.

Trapped, engulfed, besieged

chains you as brothers

in images of hell.

Write.

Poetry, prose, horror.

Dredge, expose, release

links you as brothers

in words of truth.

 

Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the first meeting between Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon at  Craiglockhart War Hospital August 1917

The meeting lead to Owen’s haunting ‘war poems’.  He was born in Oswestry and lived in my home town of Shrewsbury, England.

‘Poppies for Peace’ Rebecca Pells

My Artfinder Gem – Jean-Humbert SAVOLDELLI

‘Le Baiser’ (The Kiss) by Jean-Humbert Savoldelli

Like so many things in life, I happened upon the work of French artist Jean-Humbert Savoldelli  by accident.  One of his works appeared in the sold section on ARTFINDER  and immediately captured my attention.

I must confess to knowing very little about abstract art and this post is not intended as a critique but rather a very personal response to these contemporary artworks. The strong vertical lines are what first drew me in, rising seemingly from a landscape reminiscent of breakwaters along the beaches of Northern France. On investigating Jean-Humbert’s gallery on ARTFINDER  I discovered many pieces to which I had the same visceral response. I was seeing thresholds – and I love thresholds, a theme to which I return time and again  in my own work – but here they are expressed in abstract form, a meeting of two worlds, the human and the natural.

‘Calypso’ by Jean-Humber SALVODELLI

For me there is both bleakness and hope in Jean-Humbert’s work –  the verticals are often dominant, like mankind  imposing itself upon the land and heavy, stormy ‘skies’ suggestive of destruction, a warning perhaps of human impact upon the fragile environment.  But there is also a lightness, delicacy of colour and expressive, swirling wave-like strokes, representative perhaps of movement and immediacy in contrast to the static, lifeless structural lines.  Small figures seemingly overwhelmed by the vastness of the scene before them, stand witnesses to history at the very threshold of doom v hope, of destruction v tenderness.

Whose Fault is It

‘A qui la Faute?’ (Whose Fault is It?)

The use of sand in some works adds texture and a connection to the very earth itself which I find very appealing. With a deft wielding of the painter’s knife – a conduit to freedom and movement – together with use of a limited palette, this artist creates a harmony which embraces you, bringing together the various elements at play within the composition.  My favourite – and it was very hard to choose just one – has to be ‘Calypso’.  The depth that Jean-Humbert has achieved just vacuums you into the heart of the painting!  It takes you on a journey into the unknown, like the road less traveled, you wonder if there will be a path back.  And the vertical composition is elegance itself. Calypso was also the name of French explorer Jacques Cousteau‘s yacht and as a pioneer environmentalist of the oceans it fits well with  his fellow Frenchman’s artistic work and with my own sentiments and priorities.

‘Vibrations’ by Jean-Humbert SAVOLDELLI

Jean-Humbert has produced a fabulous body of abstract expressionist paintings, each has a wonderful emotive effect on me – he is able to convey through his art what I fail to adequately put into words!   The subject is nebulous and yet he offers a fleeting glimpse of something deep and vital to humanity’s survival.  The landscapes are expansive yet intimate,  warning us yet offering hope.  A visual reminder that nature will endure despite the best efforts of man to dominate and destroy. With the image before me, I sense I am standing at a threshold between two possible outcomes for humanity.  I now understand the role of abstract.  I hope one day to be the proud owner of a Savoldelli but in the meantime I will make do with a gander around his online gallery.  Come join me!  Jean-Humbert SAVOLDELLI on ARTFINDER

 

‘Wet Sand’ by Jean-Humbert SAVOLDELLI

Hourglass

 

We navigate and tack to catch the crest of self-promised waves

like a piston of dreams forth and back they roll

sacrificed upon the altar of age

til one day we understand

there is no harbour

no anchor

no time.

 Brief encounters

as ships in the night

horizons glimpsed as sun rises

then fades to dusk before we have basked

lay down precious memory, til synapse eclipse

the hourglass turns and grain sifts with the tide once more.

 

‘Time Goes Away’

Details from https://www.artfinder.com/manage/rebeccapells/product/time-goes-away/

Images in Time

Images in time, do you still see

the girl who was lost or the woman flown free?

A gathering lining of rich silver hue

clouds part once more to capture anew

one step at a time reluctant to stay

accept at last that time goes away.

The moment has gone, now do you see

the girl who was lost or the woman flown free?

Yesterday’s Gone

I waited. Two score years then ten.

Boredom reigned as time strode past.

You flirted and waved, your sunlight cast

Till the treadmill called to shackle again.

I carried the promise, I cradled belief

That one morning I would wake

My passion before me there to take.

No longer a dream you were every relief.

And now we dance, the rhythm of life

 Intimate moments yet strangers remain

Master and slave passion’s loss and gain

 As I strive to please frustration is rife.

Just like a moth I’m drawn to the light

Of creation’s promise, each hue I fashion

 I seek the sweet moment of artist’s passion

As I step away to see that all has come right.

‘Yesterday’s Gone’ by Rebecca Pells Fine Art

Letting Go

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 Yesterday, I  set out to paint a small abstract as a loosening up exercise.  The aim was to let go of  anything representational but within minutes of starting I began to see a landscape emerge – trees, a shoreline, however vague and probably not what someone else would have seen at all.  At this point I started to follow the direction I thought the painting was leading me, believing it was supposed to be this way.  As a result, I forced the image to materialise into something vaguely resembling an alpine lake landscape and in so doing, deprived it of it’s true potential as an abstract painting.

We are surrounded by a world full of names, categories, labels, titles and tags.  We love to name – it helps us to locate, formulate and store information.  It helps us to feel in control of an increasingly complex environment.  We have become so adept at this method of ordering, that we do it unconsciously, habitually and whilst it is of great assistance in a technical world it can have the opposite effect when used in situations which need to evolve naturally.

Naming of a person or situation leads to unrealistic expectations – whole scenarios can be played out in our minds which bear little resemblance to reality.  We become disillusioned, angry and blame others for not fulfilling our dreams.  We can never know early on in our work, friendship or relationship what kind of experience we will have together.  If we name a romance too early we demand reciprocation, we force a reward – like fruit grown out of season it lacks longevity  – we deny the relationship the chance to flourish and bear fruit as a natural progression.

By naming too soon we close off possibilities of something finding it’s own level, we reject it’s true potential, it’s own representation and deny ourselves of the gift it may have to offer.  If we can be brave enough to let go of the confining boundaries of naming, then by so doing just maybe we will experiencing something beautiful.

Transition

001

Listen for the voices urging us heave

quieten the whispers of they who leave.

  Those memories which sear recall with care

a wound opened, too sore to bear.

Afraid to forget, moments linger still

tempting and taunting as dreams beyond will.

Nothing to trust but the beckoning haul

of voices and future yet to call.

003‘Chasing Reflections’ by Rebecca Pells Fine Art

https://www.fineartseen.com/product/chasing-reflections/

My Mirror Gently Weeps

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Are you future or laden past,

joy anew or shadow cast?

Reflections glimpsed as midnight creeps

for which my mirror gently weeps?

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My Mirror Gently Weeps’

Oil on canvas 50×50 cms

http://www.rebeccapells.co.uk/

The Bridge

?????????

You wake one morning and sense a change, a slight shifting of the sand,

a murmured whisper, the faintest touch upon your hand.

Was it the waking from a dream or the mourning of a death,

was it joy anew of passion found or the drawing of first breath?

Was it the void of emptiness or vast realm of possibility,

was it the final release or acceptance of futility?

With a backward glance I view the bridge where yesterday I stalled

until the night stepped forth and accepting as it called

I gave surrender as it carried me across.

http://www.rebeccapells.co.uk/

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