Archive for the ‘writer pontification’ Category

David Hockney; Lucian Freud

David Hockney; Lucian Freud by David Dawson, 2003 © David Dawson Search for this portrait on the Portrait Explorer in the Digital Space, NPG P1001.

David Hockney; Lucian Freud by David Dawson, 2003 © David Dawson
Search for this portrait on the Portrait Explorer in the Digital Space, NPG P1001.

I particularly like this photograph of the two iconic painters.  We see Lucian Freud’s unkempt studio – paint-dashed floor and walls and we are coming in at the end of the story. Presumably Freud has spent months capturing Hockney. In the photograph Hockney plays the role of muse, while Freud lingers in the doorway clutching his brushes, his overalls – like chef’s whites – dabbed in yet more paint. Freud is in motion, while Hockney gazes out at us. Most of all, I like the double image of Hockney: the real man beside his portrait. Yet, there is another frame: that of the photograph itself. So, really this photograph is a Russian doll series of nested portraits, one inside the other, and it tells a multitude of stories. There is something deliciously novelistic about that.

My novel is structured like a gallery catalogue, each chapter containing a different portrait of Juliet but it’s not simply the painting of Juliet that tells the story, it’s also the process of painting and how it reveals the relationship between the artist and sitter. That’s what I particularly admire about all these portraits – we’re allowed to peek into the artistic process: they are paintings about what it’s really like to be painted.

My gallery of husbands has vanished

Not Mr S. He’s still very much here. Rather I’m at that strange moment when the novel is ceasing to be mine and ownership is transferring to readers. During the writing process Juliet Montague, Leonard, Freida, Mr and Mrs Greene, Charlie et al were mine alone. It’s an intimate and precious time but I don’t write just for myself, nerve-wracking as it is, I want my stories to be read and that means the book must be handed over to readers. At that moment, the characters aren’t mine any more, they exist in the imagination of each and every reader in hundreds and hopefully thousands of guises. There’s no longer one Juliet but a multitude. It’s exhilarating and terrifying and wonderful.

I shall sip a cold glass of something and watch the gliders and birds and the odd balloon over bulbarrow to calm myself.

balloon over Bulbarrow


Dorset Snowdrops

snowdrops at Kingston Lacey

I love snowdrops. Just when January seems endless and grey, the snowdrop appear — a magical all day frost. These were taken during an afternoon *ahem* skipping work when Mr S and I went walking at Kingston Lacey. Kingston Lacey is a fabulous country house in North Dorset, a seventeenth century stately home, more palace than manor. I’ve always loved it – especially after I read Viola Banks memoirs of growing up in the house in the ’20s. I read it when I was nine or ten and stomped about the house when we came to visit, pretending I was Viola and wishing that all the pesky tourists would leave me in peace.

In the last few years they’ve been doing lots of work to the gardens – which even in the depths of winter are rather spectacular.

This is the Kingston Lacey version of a summerhouse — the summerhouse itself is quite similare to ours, only the stately mansion behind is a little grander than our cottage/ hovel.

And then walking in the woods on the way to tea (if only every walk had macaroons and cheese scones at the end) Mr S spied this door into a tree and what we can only presume to be a Hobbit Hole.