Saturday, September 24, 2011

In the Bay of Biscay

I finished this piece yesterday, letting rip (as opposed to snipping) with my store of papers. No, I did snip the background which is a patchwork of greys, meant to vaguely represent the sails. And the boat itself, the Maria Crowther, which took Keats and Severn to Naples in September - October 1820. But the rest is torn, the best way I could approximate to what physically and possibly mentally overtook the dying and deeply depressed poet en route to Italy and his grave:

"In the Bay of Biscay," wrote Severn recalling the voyage, "we encountered a three day storm. The sea swept over the ship all day and night, and the rushing up and down of water in the cabin was a frightful sound in the darkness..."

And again: "The waves were of enormous length, and so high that the effect was like a mountainous country:"
Severn himself painted a serene picture of the Maria Crowther which I used as a source and there are strong echoes of Alfred Wallis, one of my favourite naive artists in there too.

Working it out

I used fragmented pieces from photocopies of some of Keats's last magnificent heart-breaking letters too.

I have still to get to grips with being able to crop photos, so I'm afraid there is a bit of worktable all round this picture for the time being until I master that particular IT art.


  1. Love it! You've captured the storm perfectly. I feel quite seasick!

  2. Perfect - the seasick feeling was what I was after. Must say I felt a bit that way making it deb.