Greengates is the fourth in a series of recent paintings exploring a more fluid approach utilising both oil and acrylic. The starting point for Greengates was an unloved oil landscape partially sanded back which provided an almost abstract texture to work on. Atmosphere and composition was then created quickly utilising acrylic and ink and finally enhanced by oil. The painting was finished with satin varnish.
The painting is framed and available for purchase at Enjoy Art Gallery based in Marsden. Other works in the series include: Pennine Sunset, Neighbour and Holiday Home all of which are currently available through my Artfinder shop.
And finally, inspiration this month comes from The Lumineers who recently played an amazing sold out show at the very excellent Albert Hall in Manchester (not to be confused with the Royal version).
Brand new for 2016 – ‘Tile Art’. Images are created through a variety of processes using artist’s watercolour paint and finished with a coat of varnish. A selection of paintings are currently on display at Enjoy Art in Marsden near Huddersfield. I’ll be adding more to my Artfinder shop soon. Thanks for looking.
I was disappointed that the anesthetist didn’t ask me to count to ten so that I could try to beat the drugs so instead I focused on the clock directly in front of me as I felt the familiar sharp scratch on the back of my hand. It was ten past nine exactly as I began to count the seconds. I think I got to seven before they pulled the tube from my throat and offered some more oxygen. It was ten to ten. A heavily bandaged knee gave the game away – the operation was done and so, hopefully, was two years of increasing pain and decreasing miles.
It turns out a pesky little bit of bone (now gone) and a twangy little Plica – no neither had I – (also now gone) had been the root cause of my ever increasing vicarious lifestyle over the past couple of years.
Whilst I don’t often blog bout walks and adventures – there are far more better blogs out there already, see Mark Kelly’s excellent halfwayhike for instance – they do remain the backbone of this blog (title, clue) and the source of inspiration for much of my creative work. So it’s fair to say that I’ve been getting a little grumpy and not being that productive.
Hopefully a course of physiotherapy should deliver me back on to the hills by late autumn. In the mean time I’m using the time to finally get to grips with Lightroom – I still miss the old darkroom techniques – and for the first time in over twenty years I’m exhibiting photographic work alongside some excellent photographers from the Marsden Photographic Group. The exhibition runs throughout July at Marsden Mechanics Hall. For those unable to make the show both my prints, Power Lines and Crosby Sands are also available through the excellent photo4me.com site where you can purchase the images as canvas and framed prints.
I’m also delighted to be part of holmfirthartweek which runs from the 5th to the 11th of July by exhibiting two brand new paintings in the main exhibition. This is the first time I’ve exhibited in the main hall during art week so apart from not being able to walk, the last couple of weeks have been very exciting. News of the paintings which I’m displaying are on my Facebook page here, facebook.com/davidcoldwellart.
Whilst I usually like to finish by pointing towards some music that I think all the world should hear, this post is a little different. In the wake of Kanye’s performence at Glanstonbury I couldn’t help thinking that, from an armchair point of view, this year’s festival was missing something. I then came across this video which somehow seemed to fill the gap.
Say the names Cuckoo, Moonraker, Leadboiler and Lily anywhere outside of the Colne Valley and people might just nod their heads slightly, smile politely and step aside. But any mention of these names along the banks of the river Colne and locals will be more than happy to recount stories of wilful birds, contraband, boiling water and persecuted Huguenots. These are, of course, the stuff of legends and each of the legends proudly belong to one of the four villages along the valley. So for those not in the know: Marsden is Cuckoo, the Lilies belong to Golcar, Linthwaite lead boils and Slaithwaite proudly rakes the moon. If you want to find out more about each of these stories and see some wonderful paintings that illustrate the tales follow this link:
The legends are celebrated in various ways: Marsden goes Cuckoo for a day in April (which is slowly becoming Cuckoo weekend), Golcar enjoys Golcar Lily Day in May (which is still just a day) and every two years in February Slaithwaite steals the show with the Moonraking Festival (which now lasts for a whole seven days).
It’s now thirty years since the people of Slaithwaite first paraded the streets of their village with hand-made lanterns towards the canal where a paper moon was raked out to the delight of the waiting crowd. Each of the proceeding festivals have had a theme and to celebrate this landmark year the theme for 2015 is, coincidentally, ‘Landmarks’. In recent years competition to build the biggest and best lantern has become fierce and the themes have led to inspiring paper lights in the shape of Dr Who’s Tardis (time), a mouse and clock (nursery rhymes) and our very own star (which managed to hold its own against any number of themes until it finally disintegrated in a snow storm in 2013).
This year the festival runs from the 15 – 21 February and includes lantern making, music, story-telling arts and crafts and culminates in the unique finale on the Saturday evening when thousands of people will line the streets of Slaithwaite with their lanterns to watch the moon raking. Don’t miss out – Slaithwaite Moonraking has quietly turned into one of the best local arts festivals and is great fun for all the family.
To celebrate this year’s Landmark festival the painting, Where We Start which features Marsden and Slaithwaite’s very own famous landmark, Shooter’s Nab, is now available to purchase. The painting was completed in response to the poem, Tuesday Afternoon which was written specially for the now legendary Write Out Loud Poetry Jam at last year’s Marsden Jazz Festival. It was really heart warming to get so many requests for copies of the poem following my reading so in lieu of publication I’ve decided to make the poem available below. As a special treat – a handwritten version will accompany the painting when it is sold.
In other arts and poetry news, a small selection of my work will feature in the Hand Made Trail as part of the Moonraking festival – this will be in the form of a pop up gallery created by the excellent Enjoy Art gallery from Marsden where a more permanent collection of my work is still available to view. The Art Finder shop is slowly coming to life – you can follow my exploits by pressing the big button on the left hand side of this post.
In poetry news, I’m very excited to be reading alongside Tom Clearly and Steve Anderson at the Square Chapel, Halifax on Thursday 12 February. Wordplay has become a popular monthly event that also includes five open mic spots. The nights are hosted by the fabulous Keith Hutson so please come along if you are in the area.
I’m also really please to see that the Little Book of Poems has finally made it to publication. This was an idea dreamed up by local resident Jennifer Smith-Wignall to help raise funds for our local hospice, Kirkwood. The anthology features my poem Clocks which some may already be familiar with and a brand new poem, Bradley Woods inspired by the artist, Peter Brook. You can find out more about the project here:
From the halls this week we celebrate local duo O’Hooley and Tidow who launched their amazing album, The Hum last year in Marsden and have just been nominated for Best Duo in this year’s Radio 2 Folk Awards. The duo will also play a sold out show at The Watershed, Slaithwaite on Thursday 19 February as part of the Moonraking festival.
They are twelve, just. It is May
and the sky seems restless; the sun
rooting out the last of winter beyond
the dry stone walls and farm gates.
It gets their necks, warms their backs,
delivers a thirst that’s like nothing
else. The puddles they walk through
sparkle in the sun, a dizzying collection
of stars and clouds and sky.
They are heading to the mountain,
or Shooters Nab as one day they might know it,
climbing the fence that holds back the moor
letting their shadows stray beyond reach
over bog cotton and peat. Here they turn right,
follow a path and let the village drift from sight.
Red flags hang motionless in the distance;
they signal the firing-range; something they’ve
only heard about. There is no sound, no distant
echo of gunshot; just laboured breaths,
footsteps and the birds, still unknown, that cry out.
From a distant window the quarry beckoned;
a last frontier; a no-man’s land beyond
the snow line. Up close it looks like teeth.
They are out of bounds, beyond their limits,
amongst cathedrals of stone abandoned
to the moor. A ghost of a road
leads them to shadows where names and dates
exist between man-made scars.
There is nothing here: secretly one had dreamed that
beyond this place he would see the ocean;
a new land from which to escape. The other considers talk
of radio signals and strange night-sky activity but says nothing.
They both listen to the sound of their own breathing
and search the wind for the hum of the village.
There is nothing. The cold sets in as they search
the furthest corners where, in the darkness, they find snow;
just a tiled piece of earth no bigger than a child’s
blanket discarded by winter; alien ice
that they now dare each other to touch
to fill their pockets, scratching at the stuff as though it
might burn before they give in and run
from the place, downhill, criss-crossing
the path were invisible sheep bleat and
where ice mixed with dirt is launched to the sky
so that they blind themselves just to see where it falls
before shaking the cold from their fingertips and scraping
mud from their nails. The red flags begin to snap in the wind.
Beyond the wind sounds rush in: friends playing in the street,
neighbours shouting, cars, buses, the mill turning out
or the Earth turning, skipping a beat.
They are twelve, just. Out of time
as they run, letting the weight
of their own bodies carry them, letting the wind
rush over them as they jump the fence, jump
into light above a valley that twitches to realign
Not only was the (nearly) full Glastonbury line-up announced this week but, more importantly, I was finally allowed to release details of the first ever Cuckoo Poetry Jam taking place in Marsden later this month. Advertised as a fringe event to the world famous Cuckoo Festival, the Cuckoo Poetry Jam organised in association with Write out Loud and Kirklees Libraries, takes place on Saturday 26 April between 11.00am and 1.00pm at the Railway Inn, Marsden. Full details can be found at our very friendly Facebook event page by following the link here, Poetry Jam
If you’re unsure what a Jam might look like then don’t worry. The Write Out Loud YouTube channel has a fantastic seven minute video edit from last year’s October Jazz festival Jam showing the great variety and superb atmosphere created by our compere and host, Julian Jordon. Julian will be back again for the Cuckoo Jam as will guest readers Steve Ely,Kim Moore, Michael Stewart and Michael Brown with more names being added to the list as I type. Many open mic spots available so if you are in the area please pop in, say hello, and enjoy some wonderful poetry for a couple of hours.
And to celebrate:
I have two very fine 2013 Templar Poetry Anthologies to give away. Peloton contains a selection of the best poems from submissions to the annual Templar Pamphlet and Collection Awards and I’m very proud that two of my own poems, The Cat Stone Cast and Late September, feature in the anthology. To get your hands on one of these fine books simply send me your name and address via my contact page and two individuals will be selected at random. Simple. All emails will then be deleted and not used for any other purpose. I’ll post details on the Cuckoo Jam Facebook page as to who can expect a book in the post.
The Cat Stone Cast is a Marsden poem, set around the Sparth reservoir on a hot summer evening. It’s a poem about discovery and in some ways, loss of innocence and comes from a sequence I’m currently working on provisionally titled, Down On Grange. The whole sequence works with the idea of you were there but what if you had never been here and looks at our relationships with people and places. It’s heavy but in a 1970s Vision On Polaroid kind of way. I had a wonderful surprise recently when Dagda Publishing selected another poem from the sequence as their poem of the day. You can still read Dark Side of the Street on their fantastic poetry blog.
Don’t forget, as well as exploring the landscape of the Cat Stone, you can also take in other poetry delights on Mark Kelly’s brilliant Marsden Poetry Trail which I would heartily recommend if you’re visiting the area through Spring and Summer.
This weekend, after many years of trying, I will finally be attending an Embrace secret gig which, unfortunately, is all I’m allowed to say. Have a look on YouTube if you want to find out more; Sunday is going to be wild! It’s a great buzz to be going. We’ve seen the band live a few times and I’ve been a fan since they were signed – local lads done good kind of thing – so no doubt I will have some tales to tell next time round.
For now, it has to be the come back record of all time; gifted to the band from Chris Martin as a way of saying thank you for allowing Coldplay to support them on tour before Michael Eavis discovered them and yes – I was in the bar.
Keep the headphones on. It was about this time last year that I made a surprise appearance on Mark Radcliffe’s Music Club with my first, my last and everything – a section in the show where you tell the story of the first record you bought, the last record and the record that means everything to you. Simple really and at least fifteen minutes quality airtime on national radio. I say surprise because to be honest I’d completely forgotten I’d written the piece and did slightly cringe at the few Black Sheep enhanced descriptives but, nevertheless, it was great fun arriving home to a barrage of text messages and emails (3) saying how much people had enjoyed my selections. Unfortunately due to cutbacks the show is no longer available and as I can never change my first record I’ll give you that one – Le Chic with Le Freak. And, I suppose, a complete fluke that 2013 turned out to be one of Nile Rodgers biggest years. The other two you’ll just have to guess but to be fair they have now changed.
Although proudly sporting a little yellow Music Club badge is great fun, the selection criteria was a little restrictive. What music fans really want to tell the world about are the lost and unknown gems or the turning points in artists’ careers. In other words; have you ever heard this? Or, they were doing this, and then did this and that’s what led to this. See what I mean.
The idea of this little feature came to me after reading Mark Kelly’s excellent new Marsden Poetry Trail in which, I’m delighted to say, he has chosen a poem of mine together with other more famous Marsden poets to create a stunning nine mile walk. If you’re thinking of visiting the area in the future then I would heartily recommend the walk, not only for the poetry but the truly wonderful landscapes that we are lucky to be able to call home. I smiled at Mark’s summary when he talks of leaving the poets behind on the hills with David (me) and Simon (Armitage) discussing obscure bands from the eighties. I smiled because, although I can’t speak for Simon, certainly this Marsden lad has had many of those discussions amongst the heather and cotton grass.
By Mark’s own admission the trail is a work in progress with notable absentees including the wonderful, Jo Haslam. There’s very little of Jo’s poetry on line which is a shame because she deserves a much wider readership. No doubt it’s because of the digital absence that Mark found it difficult to align a place to the poetry. If available, I would recommend Jo’s heartbreaking first collection, The Sign for Water from which I’m certain The September Swimmer would find home on the trail somewhere. In the meantime, from the equally wonderful collection, On the Kiso Road, here’s the poem Woodbine courtesy of Josephine Corcoran’s great blog, andotherpoems.
In other poetry news I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be joining those fantastic folks at Words on Tap to take part in an open mic showcase as part of the Headingley LitFest on Friday 14 March. I’ve been working on a collection of new poems and this will be a great opportunity to release a few back to the wild.
So this episode’s choice track is The Tenant which comes from Japan’s second album, Obscure Alternatives (good title, I thought). The album was released in 1978 six months after their debut release, Adolescent Sex. The track, The Tenant marked a turning point as the band began to move away from the New York Punk inspired industrial soundscape and Sylvian began to take more control over production values. The sound indicates the direction Sylvian would later pick up on his solo albums and also showcases Mick Karn on fretless bass and saxophone. One year later, Quiet Life was released and the rest, as they say, is history.