From my Sketchbook:
Once a home
now haunted by
ghosts of the past
JMW Turner 1775 – 1851 Seascape with Buoy
Staring down at the old brushes and paints in the glass case, I was moved by their time-worn appearance and history. They belonged to the the great English artist J M W Turner, and there I was, actually looking down at them.
There’s something wonderfully magical about standing close to and looking at the tools of a famous artist, writer, or any craftsman for that matter. They hold within themselves something of the mystery of the person’s genius and exquisite talent. To think you’re actually seeing the very objects used by those masterful fingers, guided by a beauty of mind and vision, can be quite overwhelming.
I was at the Tate Britain the other day and saw this wonderful portrait of Margaret Sweeney, the Duchess of Argyll. It was painted by Gerald Brockhurst 1890 – 1978.
As I looked at it, I was mesmerised by her gaze. To me her eyes communicate engagement, but also a kind of detachment and distance, as if she is assessing you and trying to grasp something of your character. It is a connected gaze, but cautious and discerning. Just an outstanding portrait.