12 Nov 2009

Year of the Flood and a Beard

Recently a beard has waxed and waned across my features.
It wasn't looking too bad the day I acted with Margaret Atwood, playing the part of Adam One in the promotion of her new novel: The Year of the Flood.
It was a lovely evening - and, regardless of any acting skills, I enjoyed hearing my voice boom out through Ely Cathedral.
In my mind the whole time: the oil painting of Blake's 'Tyger' that loomed magnificently over my childhood - and the gratitude that life can throw up some weird and wonderful moments...

15 Oct 2009

Ryoanji Lunch

Ryoanji rock garden, Kyoto. January 2002.
After 25 years waiting I had finally made it, and watched in wonder as the garden seemed to get bigger with every minute I spent looking at it. Afterwards Y. and I sat in the quiet tofu restaurant and looked out at the falling snow. A woman sat in front of us - her gaze too lost in the brightness beyond the picture windows.
A trick of the memory: some time later we couldn't agree on whether the snow had been falling straight down - or blowing horizontally.
Whichever it was, we did both remember it as a day of utter tranquility.

12 Oct 2009

Arthog August 19th 1999

Wind and cloud curling over Cader Idris.
Oil pastel for quick capture of light and colour. This drawing, one of many similar ones that year, became the starting point for some twenty paintings. Opening it just now I found a small piece of chocolate wrapper - ah! the immediacy of the sketchbook... can still remember how the light was blooming up off the Mawddach estuary that day, who was there, everything.

7 Oct 2009

Wicken Fen has a Vision

Last year I spent a lot of time drawing at Wicken Fen Nature Reserve in Cambridgeshire - and am now working them up into paintings.
The Fen is a glorious and inspiring place and a vital haven for endangered flora and fauna. It's also a perfect place to recharge the soul - listening to the wind in the reeds and watching the clouds drift.
The Wicken Vision aims to buy up exhausted intensive agricultural land - as it becomes available - and re-establish various habitats, from wetland to managed grazing. This will then provide greater security for threatened species, a much needed 'green lung' for Cambridge and will also help with carbon sequestration.
To help counter some rather misguided and inflammatory local opposition, a local supporter has set up a pro-Vision epetition on the No.10 site.

5 Oct 2009

Remembering a friend from a corner on Ginza, Tokyo

It's five years today since my good friend Yoshio died. By way of remembering him I was flicking through old sketchbooks from Japan. This scribble of a drawing from Cafe Doutour, Ginza was done between mouthfuls of extremely good chocolate cake, as I watched the endless pulse of traffic and pedestrians. It's a late February afternoon, 2002, and rain threatening and I'm waiting for Yoshio to finish lecturing his rather reluctant students. Opposite is the entrance to Mitsukoshi where one day, two years later, I will go with my wife and young boys after watching kabuki and buy a floral dog collar for our neurotic German Pointer.
When Yoshio arrives to meet me his seventy year old head is full of plans for our trip to Greece and future creative projects...
It's not much of a drawing. But looking at the lines, I can remember and vividly feel the moment - and all the other moments that happened around that intersection - and the importance of that friendship.
And still taste the cake.
Some other drawings and images from those days are at: www.juliansedgwick.co.uk/Welcome.html