Keirartworks's Blog

hmmm. hmmm?

If if if, say the Bells of Cardiff

Leave a comment

The soft November morning spills sun across these paintings that were born two days ago.  I awoke today into the same magic I felt as a child on Christmas:  bees, bells, and frequencies, all over my studio walls, all transforming into their new place in paint before my eyes.

You owe me five farthings,  Say the bells of St. Martin’s.

photo by Robbin McGregor, bee-keeper friend

photo from 3 weeks ago by Robbin McGregor, bee-keeper friend

How can the world be less than benevolent, when this is so?  Time for listening and responding, for empathy and awareness – there is time for these things, and plenty more for acceptance and then, collaboration.

When will you pay me?  Say the bells of Old Bailey.

Bees_footprints

After a year of building income so I can spend serious time in the studio I am so grateful to be here.  Images of Robbin’s bees drinking water over prints from my feet resonate and make sense in this place.  Image, symbol, thought and intuition can swim freely in this room, and then speak, when there’s time to listen.  And now there is.

When I grow rich,  Say the bells of Shoreditch.

Bees6

In five and a half weeks I will paint ten paintings – to show at Open Studio day on December 5, then to hang on the Bean Cellar walls until Feb 2016.  I’m hoping that somewhere in that time (at the Bean) we will gather to sing and celebrate Leonard Cohen, whose songs have been singing these paintings awake.

When will that be?  Say the bells of Stepney.

I do not know,  Says the great bell of Bow.

ships bell for the first painting (loud!!!), tibetan bell for the second. I'm photographing all the church bells in town that I can find for the rest. 'All the bells that still can ring...'

ships bell for the first painting (loud!!!), tibetan bell for the second. I’m photographing all the church bells in town that I can find for the rest. ‘All the bells that still can ring…’

These paintings are full of sound – clanging, pealing, ringing, dinging…. offset now, thanks to Robbin, by a soft, comforting buzz from the bees.

I’m looking forward very much to sharing this marvelous space with visitors and fellow artists on December 5, and to singing & hanging at the Bean again, where I’ve had many art shows over the years.  It’s important to me to put these pieces in a place where people go to do everyday things – eating, talking, laughing, crying, debating, drinking coffee. I do all of that in this studio while the paintings come to life – along with my fellow collectivists who visit.

But before Studio Tour and art show/ live music happen, I exult in the privilege of working with these paintings as they come into full voice.

 

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,

almost done

almost finished

And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!

 

‘The Bells of Rhymney’ is a song first recorded by folk singer Pete Seeger, then The Byrds, using words (published 1938) written by Welsh poet Idris Davies after a mining disaster that occurred in 1926.  Quoted in the blog is the nursery rhyme that Davies used as his template, also a (rather chilling) children’s game known as ‘Oranges and Lemons’, which I played as a child.  I quoted Cohen’s ‘Anthem’ two weeks ago, and

three strong bell poems make a show.

Reference & for the Record:

Bells of Rhymney:

Is there hope for the future?
Say the brown bells of Merther
Who made the mine open?
Say the black bells of Rhonda
And who killed the miner?
Say the grim bells of Lina

Who aband’ us in court?
Say the bells of Newport
All will be well if-if-if-if-if,
Say the green bells of Cardiff
Why so worried, sister why?
Say the silver bells of Whye
And what will you give me?
Say the sad bells of Rhymney

And here, for the record is Cohen’s Anthem, from his 1992  album ‘The Future’:
(I will thread parts of this through the next post….)

The birds they sang At the break of day

Start again, I heard them say

Don’t dwell on what Has passed away

Or what is yet to be.

Ah the wars they will Be fought again

The holy dove, She will be caught again

Bought and sold And bought again

The dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in.

We asked for signs, The signs were sent

The birth betrayed, The marriage spent

Yeah the widowhood, Of every government

Signs for all to see.

I can’t run no more With that lawless crowd

While the killers in high places Say their prayers out loud.

But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up A thundercloud

And they’re going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring…

You can add up the parts But you won’t have the sum

You can strike up the march, There is no drum

Every heart, every heart To love will come

But like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack, a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in.

That’s how the light gets in.

That’s how the light gets in

Author: keirartworks

Artist, Musician, Writer, Teacher. Mum to an incredible person, friend to many, Incredibles. Gardener. Thinker. Collaborator. K

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s