It was a damp and slow drive along the A5 to Blaenau Ffestiniog, nothing moving over 40MPH and my mind as hazy as the intermittent mist. But I was eventually rewarded by the sight of Castell Dolwyddelan. The keep looked isolated and lonely wreathed in the mist,taking on the colour of a moody landscape.
My welcome at Melin Pant yr Ynn was more than I expected- warm relaxed, the other course participants had agreed to wait for me; for which I was more than grateful. Our brief to respond in written form to images. Listening to Jill, I could not help but gaze around and the engineering above our heads. Surrounded by the paraphernalia of a social and economic past, my thoughts could not help but turn to the industrial past of South Wales and I felt my grandmothers close to me as we sat by the range enjoying the warmth of the fire.
In the gallery, containing Abheda’s work, my overriding sensation was of the colour of the silence. Warm and resonant it is a space where thoughts are held. We were asked to respond to the space and to a painting if it spoke to us. One evoked water tumbling over rocks, with a splash of blue in the lower left hand corner. It conjured the landscape I had driven through that morning , but the blue offered a splash of promise; a hint of sky and water that were refreshing.
There followed an exercise based on flowers by Georgia o’Keefe and the writing from my fellow participants was moving. I wrote about a blossom tree that grew in the garden of my childhood home, avoiding the more exotic flowers.
Then came the Van Gogh Starry Night. This was a poem that demanded to be written and as part of my training plan is to build my own portfolio, I include it here in first draft.
Not Van Gogh, at least not that Van Gogh,
the one where eleven stars arch
in the blue-black night.
We saw it once — do you remember?
Or were you too tired to take it in after touching grief in the
Anne Frank house?
What did we think we were doing cramming it all in?
Sunflowers were reduced to ordinariness as we scuffled with
tourists and shuffled from frame to
frame. And then this! A. Starry Night
We gave it to you as a gift in oils that would take weeks to dry-
a leaving present. I worried
it was too heavy to carry with the lego, the portrait and letters. But it was
good to make gifts , give a focus so
One day, we wrapped eleven stars in the blue-black night of