‘finished work’ — The Haloes

The Haloes, 2020
Fountain pen ink, pencil and coloured pencil on 300gsm Aquarelle Arches paper
(each) 19 x 28.5 cm
The drawing began with twelve ‘observations’ of a single tulip flower; the only one to grow in my garden. These ‘events’ were carried out on three non-consecutive days. You can see an example at the end of the piece ‘working drawings’.

‘Tell Sal I’ve no more time for flowers’
From a letter Piet Mondrian sent to a friend in 1930. I’ve lost the details of the reference which I noted from a library book and which I’ve been unable to track down in any online archive (The library is still closed because of ‘lockdown’.) It’s possibly from a letter written to Theo Van Doesburg …
’Sal’ is Sal Slijper, Mondrian’s long-time friend, collector and sometime dealer in Holland. It struck me when I came across this that even at the height of the avant garde ‘moment’ of Neo Plasticism, Mondrian—a ‘typical painting’ of his at this time would be Komposition mit Rot, Blau und Gelb—was still painting watercolours of flowers for his friend to sell back home.
‘The root of the matter is not in the matter itself’
is a line in a poem, The Root of the Matter, by Miroslav Holub
Translated from the Czechoslovakian by Ian Milner. ’Selected Poems’ (Penguin, 1967)
Letraset—Are you going on holiday?
The bleating of lambs arched a roof over their heads
Transfiguration II
is the title of a performance art work by the Polish artist Jerzy Beres.
The beautiful fields. The sun affectionately lights fires in their eyes. The top of the sky is warm. And it is empty of stars. Evening descends breathlessly
‘Evening descends breathlessly’
is the opening line of a poem, Cruz Alta, by Philippe Soupault
Translated from the French by Nick Moudry. ’Calque’ issue one January 2007


2007 Tel Aviv, Israel: 30 November Jerusalem, by Service Taxi;

the ‘Church of the Holy Sepulchre,’ also called the ‘Church of the Anastasis’ by Orthodox Christians, which according to tradition contains the two holiest sites in Christianity: Calvary – the site of Jesus of Nazareth’s crucifixion – and the empty tomb that is believed to have once held his body before the resurrection;

the ‘Franciscan Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene,’ where Mary met Jesus after his resurrection; here, I prayed, proxy for my mother who was in Inverness, Scotland. ‘And the grey cherry tree turning in its wash of rain| tonight I shall ask it in| the feast of leaves turning a quiet song …’

the Armenian Orthodox Patriarchate road, running the length of the ‘Couvent Armenien St. Jacques.’ As I walked along the street in bright sunshine – looking for a Service Taxi – a marble fell to the pavement from one of the windows of the convent and rolled to a stop between stones in front of me;

2017 Mallaig, Scotland; 6 April Tarbet, by mountain bike;

the ride is along one side of Loch Morar to the hamlet of Tarbet where a small ferry boat will take you back to Mallaig;

I often think of my mother when I see a white-haired old lady; when she is walking a dog, and always, if the dog is a black labrador. And so it was on this occasion at Inverie when the boat pulled in to pick up day-trippers to Knoydart;

I was inside the cabin when she and her husband sat down next to me. Her husband fell asleep almost immediately – the repetitive throbs of the engine, the rhythmic rise and fall of the waves, and the animal warmth of the cabin taking its toll. I wanted to say to her how warm and cosy her woollen gloves looked, and what a nice colour they were; gloves that were too big for her gentle and soft hands; gloves that she held on her knee crossed throughout the journey, but I couldn’t, I couldn’t find the words, couldn’t speak out loud;

in my guide pack along with an emergency shelter, SPOT beacon, first aid kit, bike repair tools, inner tubes, maps, waterproofs, spare and emergency clothing, food, water, more spare clothing, that is, along with all twelve kilo’s of the stuff I have to carry, I also, always, carry a glass marble – the glass marble – in a small tartan bag.


In Andalusia (The working film script for a forthcoming H+I ADVENTURES production)


With lines from poems by Federico García Lorca

The field / of olive trees / opens and closes / like a fan. / Above the olive grove / a foundering sky / and a dark rain / of cold stars.
Past the olive groves
The terraces turned rose
Only a single bird / is singing. / The air is cloning it. / We hear through mirrors.
And in a small church, floral decorations made of marzipan
Glowed in sweet clamour
Through the mist on the panes / all the children / watch a yellow tree / change into birds.
It is cold and strange and flattened up here
The mountains gaze / at a distant spot.
The grass is almost white, bleached by drought
(It reminds me of nothing) distant
Villages are cauterised to the earth
Where the sky is waiting
For news of a dream
The air / pregnant with rainbows / shatters its mirrors / over the grove.
As we climb the mountain sweats
Untarnished by time
The labyrinths / that time creates / vanish. / (Only the desert / remains.) / The heart / fountain of desire / vanishes. / (Only the desert / remains.) / The illusion of dawn / and kisses / vanish. / Only the desert / remains. / Undulating / desert.
Almond blossom is the colour of my brain
(White rose with flecks of blood and dream) the heart
Trembles in the penumbra when every muscle works
To understand season on season of toil; a woman sleeps
As my heart is, / so you are, / my mirror. / Garden where my love / is waiting.
Dreaming of her husband and child before it is too late
Fennel, serpent, and rushes. / Aroma, trail, and half-shadow. / Air, earth, and apartness. / (The ladder stretches to the moon)
And she is awakened by the stillness of her wheel.

The film can be viewed here: http://www.mountainbikeworldwide.com/bike-tours/spain