Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Struggling with Newstead Abbey ..

Well it might be enough to drive me to drink, but honest, guv,  it was just a lunchtime vino blanco caught by the side of the drawing board ...

Might help to orchestrate the perpendiculars and ogee curves better - now there are a couple of words kicking in that I hadn't grappled with since my art history A Level. It's a question at the moment of chopping up the building into manageable proportions.

The trouble is Byron's relatively short life (relative, that is to his fellow Romantics Keats and Shelley) was so packed with places, incidents, characters and animals it is hard to know what to put in and what to leave out. Add to that the impossibly complex character of Gothic architecture and it's an explosive cocktail (to continue the alcoholic metaphor).

I came across a marvellous quotation of Pablo Picasso's in an old sketchbook the other day which sums up this dilemma so wonderfully:
"When one begins a painting one always meets with temptations. One must distrust these, destroy one's own painting, and do it over many times. Even when the artist destroys a beautiful creation, he doesn't really do away with it, but rather changes it, condenses it, makes it more essential. The completed work is the result of a series of discoveries which have been eliminated one by one ...."

Anyway, as you see, (to come down to earth after Picasso's marvellous thoughts) I am going with the Gothic romance theme,  with not one but (possibly) two black friars with a touch of classic Greece in the shape of the Byronic bust for good measure. They may all, of course, be eliminated in due course.

Once I have the house itself sorted out I think working out the foreground and background will be fun. Ghosts, ghouls and an owl or two. Lovely.


  1. So many little pieces! I'd need a glass of wine too!

  2. Yep, and just imagine if a cat jumps on the lot...I am resorting to placing an upturned box on the table at present. Shutting the door would be the best solution but it seems so mean ...