It’s A Frame Up

Gerhard Richter Abstraktes Bild. £21,000,000

I am very lucky to know some very talented people. Last night I went to an art exhibition featuring the work of the Hampshire artist Sara Barnes. I often wonder what it would have been like to meet artists like Monet or Turner. Would they have reflected their rainbow of genius as they spoke of ART through the prisms of their isms?  Maybe Monet would have said “What d’ya think of these blue ones I did out in the back garden mon ami?”  Turner might have quipped “I’m trying out a few blurry ones for a change”. The living Gerhard Richter might sidle up and confide “I was doing a job round the corner and I had a few odd bits of paint left…”

What I do know is that Sara paints because she loves what she does and she loves what she sees. The result is a range of pictures that ooze and proclaim the soul of the thing itself. Trees reach up until their tiptoes ache. Poppies bawl out their redness against cornfields. Billowing cumulus cloud  pile and pile in a summer afternoon ecstasy of sun warmed human juice. I have previously described her work as poetry for the eyes and her latest show marches on down that road.

She takes on the female nude, sea-scape, landscape, collage and the odd coke can. She is a painter because she loves to paint and wants you to love it too. You can check out her gallery here. In a week when a Gerhard Richter painting Abstraktes Bild sold for £21million it was a good time to reflect on how we value art. Here are three of Sara’s paintings with haikus arising from my own responses to them.


Ground rooted longing

a calling sky infinite

soul lifts on sap wings






Warmth flowing to cold

horizon sea edge defines

thought kiss beyond mind






A wave break of sun

open yell of heat buzz joy

pulse defies harvest.


Tomorrow I’m meeting the poet Paul Tobin who is one of the star contributors to the forthcoming Gallo-Romano text/audio anthology “Freezing The Frame”. Over the next couple of weeks there will be interviews with all of the poets involved. Since I’m the editor it is all getting rather exciting…


7 thoughts on “It’s A Frame Up

  1. Thank you Jo and Christina. Musicians and painters might as well be magicians for all I understand of their talents. I think I prefer not to understand in order to retain the magic. Does that make sense? Probably not but poets are free to re interpret sense.

  2. I love the lines you made to accompany the paintings…Love them more even than the paintings – no, that’s wrong. What I mean is: they go together, they enhance each other! Which brings to mind something I’ve been suspecting all along. You know I’m a painter I suppose – that thumbnail sketch in green that accompanies me everywhere on Internet is…my autoportrait, I was shy of using a photograph at first, and a painting is always a veil over reality, a distortion…

    Well, what I wanted to say (I’m losing the thread here!) is that painting and poetry probably have the same roots. Bottom line, the sensibility to the inner and outer world is the same. It’s just the tools to express that sensibility that change…

  3. Hi Claude, thanks for stopping by. Yes indeed I know you are an artist and I admire your talent. In an effort to understand fine art I tried painting in order to investigate the mind-set of the visually creative person. What I found was a surprise. Sometimes poetry can be very emotional when you touch some soft unguarded place in the mind. Just now and then a combination of words triggers a physical response which to be honest can be tears. Whilst painting, I found the same effect, as if the art was reducing some emotional abstract down to a physical accessible form. I never became a painter but the whole exercise opened my consciousness to a knowledge that this life – this mystery of self and individuality is connected to a broad truth of emotion within the frame of time. This may sound grand but this truth is the nature of our passing selves and that which is true beyond us. I do not know what this universe is, but I do know that poetry and painting touches something of it that is both what we know and what we do not. This a right old ramble but I think this is what I think.

    • Not a ramble, Oscar, I think that’s exactly what it is. I believe music also draws in the same pool of feeling – because this is not knowledge! we are talking emotions here. Unfortunately, my access to music is limited, a little like when you go to the beach, you admire the sea but you stay there, stranded on the beach. You know because you see it spread out in front you that the sea is grand, it is eternal. But you never set sail, you know you will never board a ship.

      Here, I’m speaking for myself: I have never really boarded the ship of music though I love music – from afar, as if there wasn’t enough time in my life for it and I regret that. Can one live several lives in a lifetime? No, you need to make choices…but you’ve at least boarded the ship of painting, if only for a short while! You’ve felt the similarity, you’ve expressed it and that’s what counts…So, Oscar, that is what meant: this is not a ramble!

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