On my Home Page I have removed the previous images ( etchings; intaglio, chine-colle and collage) about the forces of nature from the series titled:
Return to Sand and Water
and added more images from that series which are about the artist and a process of insight. The artist like a diver plunges into the ocean of the mind and brings up ‘pieces of insight’ not the spark of an idea but the process of creativity that brings that idea to fruition. Also included is a poem titled On your suicide coast, by Patricia Sykes, 2013
Behind the process of insight theme depicted in these etchings was a tragic story.
Usually at Point Roadknight my impetus derives from the forces of nature or the sheer beauty of sunrise and back-lit cloud formations however this time was different. It was an unexpected tragic situation that I thought I’d forgotten about but which just popped up unexpectedly. On the ocean side of Point Roadknight rocky ledges reach like outstretched hands into the ocean and it was at this location that a friend called me on her mobile to hurry and meet her. What started as an early morning walk for her ended in both of us identifying a washed up body lying face down on the sand.
The very sad thing for me was that he could not be stopped from this ‘final dive’ by the beauty of this place.
We both found an outlet in poetry and art for the topic of suicide but not as a collaboration. I had not set out to do a series of etchings informed by the poem.
Earlier I had some old prints that I tore up and collaged into new compositions. The torn image was one of the Hanged Man and was about an art student’s Performance as this persona; painted in white chalk, hanging from rafters with musician also performing on the side of the hanging figure. I turned the image around so that it could be read as a diving figure, omitted the musicians and integrated the male figure into the land/seascape and then it unexpectedly reminded me of the suicide.
The figure reaching into the watery underworld has been used in art and literature frequently as an allegory about art and poetry for example the image of Narcissus by Caravaggio, 1600 becomes an allegory of painting.
We had been working separately at different times with this material and I had put mine away for several years until recently when I noticed that they seemed in sympathy with each other – simpatico.
This poem by Patricia Sykes is titled:
On your suicide coast
a holiday of bodies in languid sprawl
as if death is never a stalker
a strange aliveness
disturbed by no breath of yours
though they loll among the gone of it
some scan the horizon, the sky,
less from anxiety than the habit
of eyes as wings, the shadows
fleeting their faces are mostly sea birds
a streak of sooty crests
through bright indifferent sunlight
did you admire the tenacity of terns,
how they hug the shore like guards?
my eyes your surrogates fly
to 96° west, the SOS marker
that hovered above your suicide like a metal angel
it hovers still, its yellow vigilance
defies rust, its loyalty to the drowned
and the bereft told in griefs of flowers
though you were a stranger here
though the last spume to touch you
slid off the marker’s face
like incidental sea spray
the wheeling terns are not crying
an absolute goodbye
death is constant burial
I give you back to water
the way a parent trusts an infant to a cradle
this time the surge and thrash
is gentler; strange fish nibble my fingers,
as if you left a hunger here, the ocean
though speaks of nothing but cold
Patricia Sykes, 2013
Poetics in Imagery
One way I depict the content of a story in my imagery is through a time honoured method that can be termed poetics, metaphor or allegory; that is using one story to tell another in the case of allegory.