Art and Light

I love Bloomsbury. In between the tree lined streets and the garden squares you come across the oddest of shops. In that magical way of the best odd shops you feel like you have never seen them before, and that they have been there forever.

This time is was L Cornellison and Son an art supplier for the very serious painter. It had an air of Ollivanders, and the costume shop from Mr Ben, where turning a corner could take you into another world.

It also struck  me as an interesting place to study light – that essential medium for both the artist and the photographer.

v2-1157The staff were a little bemused that I wanted to take pictures, but kindly let me do so as long as I didn’t snap them or any of the customers, which was fine, my interest was in objects not people.

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A case in point was this case, which I half expected to fly open with a selection of wands ready to choose me.

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I kept the light deliberately low on these brushes, there was something about the auburn bristles that was very compelling.

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I liked the play of light against the different colours in the bottles, the only slight change to the setting of the shelf was to twist the Copaiba Balsam to hide the price, because that cheapened the whole composition (although it was ruinously expensive).v2-1159

A drawer full of pastels to round things off.v2-1160

End

Tradesmen’s Crossing

Tradesmen’s Crossing

If you are but an eye aligning scales, and I a weight like coin, then who in truth is God? Should I be awed to know you so capable at trade? A deal done for eternity, and salvation so cheaply purchased.

The sun has burned my shoulders. Photon flail. I found you where the salt of dripping blood and sweat crept beneath the peeling skin.  My wounds. I welcomed them, easy as standing still, unflinching. You offered something other than the grave, and I gave. But the moment of clarity came when my raw flesh cried. A bargain of burn for burn.

Salt proves you capable of humour; a poison to complete each meal.

Your codicil of curses, taunts and ridicule has left me clothed in garbage, waste and humility. I will leave a trail of stench throughout your garden, beneath the laden boughs and grassy banks, but tears and tresses have washed my broken feet. You need not fear, I will not flinch when laughter chimes in harmonies from hanging harps, nor cry when tremens tips my cups across the sward. I do not begrudge the statements of fidelity, the false trails of timidity, the kiss. I forgive them and I forgive you, and the kiss.

This is the moment of transference, for what is done cannot be undone. Long before you raised me up, excruciate, the pit was dug, and light was just a faint reminder of the sun. But as the sweat of toil, the blood of blisters beaded and intertwined my shovel stopped. How was I to know the imperative of bracing walls? they trembled with the threat of falling in. At last you let me learn the art of climbing, fall by aching fall, until back braced on filth I reached upwards and out. Why did you not warn me that the light burns hot as fire?

Is salvation mercy or just a means of keeping busy?

You salved the cuts and placed the pitiless crown upon my head. Fatted calves poured their throat libations: alizarin, carmethene. I was succoured and symbol. Then you hoisted me aloft, hands nailed to heartswood. Everything comes down to price, and I was always too proud to haggle.

You are no God, and I am not your son. You are a merchant, and we have made a trade. Burning, wounds and salt on one side of the scales. I will foul the sweet air of your sanctuary, but tread lightly on the turf.

END

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