Arnos Vale Cemetery

A landscape painting of Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol.



Coming up from the back of Arnos Vale through the park, as I emerged from under the canopy of trees which marked the border between the cemetery and the park, Life Is Fine by Rainer Ptacek came on my iPod as the sun ran upon the tall grass and onto my face. The gravestones of peoples friend\'s and family past came peeking through the undergrowth as a soft breeze washed across the scene, making the thick layers of foliage bend and sway as tho all one unbroken ocean upon which these ships of souls sailed. The scene reminded me of the studio ghibli film i\'d watched again some time in the recent past, a scene from Porco Rosso, wherein the protagonist is recalling the day he was cursed; a wartime pilot, he\'d been late getting up for a scramble in which many died, and as he rose above the clouds he briefly saw the planes of his fallen comrades and enemies, all flowing in peaceful procession on into the horizon, into... wherever it was the souls who were the cause of these sail-like stones, sailing on a sea of rye towards the horizon, have ventured... It was a strangely beautiful moment which has stuck long in the memory. As a result i went back several times to paint the scene, resulting in an accumulation of experiences of greater nuance in the behaviour of this landscape with time, light, weather, etc. The resulting sessions [as is usually the case when painting] helped to crystallise the meaning of the piece for me, whereby through counterfactual thinking imbuing a personal sense of meaning into the overall choice of composition, the relationships between the subjects [both within and without the \'brane of the canvas [\"\'verse\"?]] or the individual brushstrokes which build and work together to coney the overall flux upon which we each project our own meaning or instance of experience [which, being tempered by our psyche -experiences, personality, frame of mind - and the environment of experience - gallery, front room, time of day - takes on a temporal aspect, whereby we build personal meaning around these structures of repeated experience [similar to the experience of music - e.g. when you hear a song from your youth, and it brings back memories of many different times and experiences, the experience of a song is a unique moment each time due to these same variables - they are recurrent structures [as is our want, tailored to our individual tastes - we listen more to music we like, music we think relates to us, which \'gets\' us, emotionally. emotion being a strong stimulant, we remember emotionally charged moments more, so a self-referential structure [*fractal] builds around the artistic event [song, painting, tv program, book...], serving as a foundation for a grander linking of experience which helps us to relate to the world and our place within it*.


*"Art for art\'s sake is an empty phrase. Art for the sake of truth**, art for the sake of the good and the beautiful, that's the ideal i'm searching for." - [Bacon?check quote: Is it George Sand?]  


Additional Info

  • Media: Oil on canvas
  • Location: Arnos Vale Cemetery, Bristol
  • Dimensions: 357 x 256 mm
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