Defeated yet emboldened: times and events cry out for us to do more …
This election has pitted a positive optimistic vision from Labour against the miserable inward looking austere negative Conservatives. It’s an uphill battle: hope is frightening, always with the risk of disappointment whereas the Conservatives offer the narrow comfort of savage certainty.
And there really was a double rainbow.
I shamelessly nicked the idea of working in oil pastel and graphite from outsideauthority. OA’s recent pictures have a real sense of place and character and I liked OA’s looseness of working pencil into the layered colour.
My drawing started with shading blocked in from a graphite stick. When I applied the pastel, the graphite was taken up, creating satisfying textures and tones. However, the resulting image seemed lacking in freedom. I scrawled over it in blocks of colour obscuring much of the detail, rubbed into it with tissue and scraped back in with a penknife and hard graphite. I spent a little time later making minor adjustments to the composition so the structures of the lock stood out against the background.
This was an attempt on toned paper to capture the dark reflections of trees in a brook running through the woods.
I see this drawing was done two years to the day from this reflection on the outcome of the 2015 general election. Then, fear of a progressive coalition including the Scots drove the English to give the Conservatives the majority it needed to blunder into the pit of deceit and despair that is Brexit.
This time Labour stand out with a brave and hopeful manifesto of investment in people.
Sadly, the polls still suggest that people will choose the bleakness and self-serving incompetence of the Conservatives: perhaps hope hurts more than savage certainty.
The Secret Garden is a 3 1/2 acre site, a haven amid dense housing, implementing organic permaculture of plants and promoting wildlife. It is run by the charity Mind to provide people with an environment supporting mental health. My son has the great good fortune to be support worker there. He originally trained in 3D design and then horticulture. He is using these skills in a way that makes the garden accessible to individuals and which also reaches out to the community. Weekends during May, they are raising funds through plant sales. My wife, nephew and step-daughter have all been baking cakes for this enterprise.
The beds contain diverse growing frames, some simple and functional, others spiralling out of the ground. I spent a few minutes yesterday sketching, in my smallest pad, first a willow growing frame and then a metallic sculpture turning gently in the wind, both set by the pond, home to newts.