Thursday, October 08, 2015

Poetry in prints

Jackdaws at Carrick Luz (detail)  Carborundum and Drypoint
Landscape, its nature gives such wonderful delight, and so many artists are drawn to try to capture spirit of place.  One artist who has succeeded absolutely for me is Anita Reynolds, who brings immediately to mind the feelings I have experienced when in the different parts of the South Western peninsula of England. 
This afternoon I completed my first (I'm sure of many) reading of her recently published Outline South West - the story and the resulting art of her walk round the 630 miles of the South West Coast Path. 
The art - the prints she has made of this extraordinary exercise I find stunningly evocative, more alive than most photographs, and beautiful - inspiring too, spurring me to try to achieve.  The book is a splendid account of the walks, the difficulties and the achievements, with descriptions of how she worked, as well as reproductions of all the prints - one per day as well as extra monoprints, photographs of details, and a lovely photo of her collection of pebbles, rocks, and oddments - including 30 Namibian dollars in notes (!)- she picked up each day on her way round.
And then to top it all, the book also includes poetry inspired also by the words - one per day that Anita Reynolds distilled from the experience.  The poem which seems to me to resonate so closely with the work and the book is by Ian Royce Chamberlain:

Picture This

A chronicle of wind and foxglove
wild garlic valleys, mud and jackdaw
mist off the sea
the sticks of fishermen
like punctuation
in the paragraphs of surf
cormorants propped like question marks
on semi-colon rocks
beneath a lighthouse exclamation
dashes slitting rain from sunshine
buttercups and oysters
campion, thrift and gorse
and larks as commas
slipped in breathless sentences
on a woven paper sky
apostrophes of black-backed gulls
bracketed with stacks of slate
in a blur of headland squall
where a hatch of undercliff becomes
a pencilled underlining
to a signature of scratch.

Hawthorn, Sorrel & Campions  Monotype (All images from Anita Reynolds' website.)
I found this to be a brilliant book over and above the thoroughly splendid art - it is available through Anita Reynolds' website


  1. I enjoyed following her blog about her travels and the making of the prints, probably from a link on your blog list. Wonderful work indeed.

  2. I'm glad that you like it Marja-Leena.

  3. I think I will have to track this one down. It sounds a fascinating mixture to get lost in. One could enjoy any one part as its own book but combining all of this into one? Project indeed!

  4. Sheila, this book has made an impression on me not only because of the quality of the contents, but also because the landscape is one I know and love. And I have some experience with her drypoint and carborundum printing technique..
    It was indeed some project all in all.