— Ecogeographer

Yellow, Sun, Winter (painting)

Detail of European Gorse DissectionIt’s winter.
I am currently painting in a land that is winter yellow; Cornwall. It is surrounded by harsh explosive yellow gorse, then shades of yellow daffodils, prissy pale primroses, followed by powdery yellow willow.
I’m finishing a willow dissection, which harbours a gorgeous squat yellowy glistening nectary.
But first showing here is European Gorse dissected. The Gorse gave me beautiful objects to paint. I know Derek Jarman would appreciate them, especially the above detail.
The mechanical hinge of the keel is illustrated below.

…its five petals form the keel, wings and standard – the wings and keel interlocking. If we carefully dissect a flower we can see at the base of each half of the keel a great tooth, and a similar one at the base of each wing, by which the interlocking is effected. We further discover that all the stamens are here joined into a tube round a minute pod; they are monodelphous – “in one brotherhood” – say the botanists.*

European Gorse Dissection
Plant family: Fabaceae
Plant genus: Ulex
Plant species: U. europaeus
Plant cultivar: NA
Held: Eden Project Florilegium
Artist: Dominica Williamson

A friend and colleague, Matt Groshek, remarked, ‘Your work is reminding me of Jarman’. The last year I had periodically clutched his Garden book. It must have seeped in. I hadn’t realised.
Jarman would look at this not only for its form, he would wonder at the colour. It would take him to Prospect Cottage. It’s yellow window frames and the very way he framed the house with Gorse.

‘The milk-white sap bleeds, the yellow flowers turn brown in death.’
‘Daffodil yellow. Primrose yellow. The Yellow Rose of Texas. Canary bird.’
‘Spring comes with celandine and daffodil. The yellow rape sends the bees dizzy. Yellow is a difficult colour, fugitive as mimosa that sheds its dusty pollen as the sun sets.’
Yellow Lines the Kerbside. Yellow earth-moving equipment with flashing yellow lights, cutting a wound in the landscape.
excerpts from Jarman’s Chroma 1994

And it’s Matt who indirectly, through Leslie, took me to the Yellow Wallpaper. What a book. I think it’s because it shows the two extremities of the colour in huge depth – the two polar opposites of what the colour can do. Life and joy versus death and despair – summer versus winter. And now I am thinking of Jarman again.

Yellow has long been my favourite colour, and I am sure always will. (I believe it is Leslies too.)

* Quote taken from Knolik

1 comment
  1. Sarah Poland says: August 27, 20119:29 pm

    That’s right, Life and joy versus death and despair – summer versus winter, that’s why yellow was dominant in my show ‘Tuath’ at Belgrave Gallery, along with black. Black being definately there, a positive mark, something to feel with, existence, nothing, darkness. See ‘Disturbing A Sleeping Carn’, ‘Make It Happen’ and ‘Fired Moorland’.
    I’ve been trying to find a quote by Van Goch but have failed. I think it goes something like ‘…yellow is the colour of the sun, of happiness and of madness’.

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