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May 15, 2021


I think you’re showing how much of succession artwork is in the eye rather than the hand. Looking at the clumpy new leaves of a poplar in front of me, I am not sure I could reproduce, or even just imply a growth pattern, but looking at all the drawings, I can see where you and the others did. Awesome.

I love your drawing a lot, and identify so much with the impulse you describe: "feeling grief and anger over the situation in Palestine... Wanting to do something consuming, even obsessive, that would occupy my mind for several hours". I think there's a similar impulse and pleasure in my current quest to learn to write Petrarchan sonnets - something I've not had the confidence or patience to tackle before. And now that I've written one I'm not unhappy with, as a start, I have just the same impulse to look again to the masters and mistresses of old as I hope to keep learning. So I was moved to find this post today.

Funny, I was waiting to see to if your next "Anglo" was a Gainsborough but you were right to go with a second Constable. Gonna give The Hay Wain a thousandth look, concentrating on just the trees. (Two minutes later) Yep. No big surprise; he's no slouch with oils.

Must say, you have a real affinity with trees. It's not true what they about God.

I too was struck by your transforming grief and anger about Palestine (yes yes yes) into concentration on drawing trees, their gnarly, infinitely complex, convoluted contortions perfectly suited to both expressing and sublimating those emotions, channelling them into a fruitful direction. Thank you, Beth, that's a profound direction.

What other tree knows better about this world's grief than the twisted trunks of thousand-years-old olive trees? They humble us, they force us to remember.
I love that drawing most, but also all your other trees and thoughts here Beth!

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.