Saturday, April 4, 2020

hockney, spring, light is free, green alkanet, hardy, redemptive

Loved David Hockney's 'Do remember they can't cancel the spring' iPad pictures published earlier this week.

Just lines on a screen? A few blobs of colour? No, the hand of the artist, conjuring memories of the countryside and of the best exhibitions of recent years.

I like that sentiment about you can't cancel spring. I remember the darkest days of my life and me thinking, Light is free. Light and colours, the changing intensities and patterns of brightness and shadows. They're always there. Always gifts to us from the world we live in, no matter how bleak other parts of our lives are.

Am grateful to be in the countryside with fields to walk our dog in (green alkanet seen on one such walk, above).

Read a wonderful review of three Thomas Hardy novels*, recently issued in critical editions by Cambridge University Press, in this week's Times Literary Supplement by Elizabeth Lowry, whose novel about him, The Chosen will be published in 2022. The review brings the novels to life in many dimensions: plot, chatacter, publication history, literary criticism and, excitingly, the practicalities of writing.

I think many writers will understand a passage like this:

'It’s clear that Thomas Hardy succeeded as a writer because he worked. He worked every bit as hard at fiction as the other men in his family had worked at masonry, or his mother at her cooking. There is a telling anecdote about Hardy being asked to Magdalene College in Cambridge on being made an honorary Fellow there in 1913: when he was invited to admire the college’s fine new building, he not only ran his hands over the stone work, but smelt it - he never lost his appreciation of good materials and good craftsmanship, in any medium.'

Hockney and Hardy and their deep connection with the countryside are so inspiring and, dare I say it, redemptive, at times like these.


* Desperate Remedies (1871), Under the Greenwood Tree (1872), The Woodlanders (1886).

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