As regular readers may have deduced, quite a lot has been happening here in the week that has passed since my last blog. The ‘hang’ at the National Library is well underway, the apparent chaos of paintings emerging from travelling-cases having been swiftly organised into Peter’s master-plan for the exhibition. A stroll around the space will take any visitor through sections on Still-life, Place, Maquettes, the Miraculous, The Temptations of Solitude, The Mare’s Tale and a separate gallery showing my work in collaboration with The Old Stile Press. White-gloved National Library staff have been on their knees for days condition-checking paintings and frames with all-revealing lamps. Massive glass display-cases are being assembled to hold maquettes and the toy theatre. In the Old Stile Press room twelve display cases hold the books and an array of related material, including my project-books and studies, and for the first time some of the engraved glass cliché verre plates that the images for The Affectionate Shepheard were generated from.
Last Tuesday the first of our guests, Marly Youmans arrived from the States. After supper that evening we digitally recorded Marly in the dining-room at Ty Isaf, reading her poem The Blue Marches. She was game for this despite being jet-lagged, and I greatly admired her pluck and fortitude in agreeing to be subjected to such a trial when she was reeling from weariness. (Her getting-to-grips with the pronunciation of Welsh names was particularly impressive.) In the gallery her voice will be relayed from an audio-hood above the painting that was her source material for the poem.
An add-on to the exhibition is an animated short that I’m making in collaboration with the film-maker Pete Telfer. In it some of my maquettes will spring to life in brief stop-motion sequences designed to show how I use them in the studio. A little crazed to be embarking on this in the final gallop to the finishing-line, but hey, what else was I going to do over the next few days? I’ll post more on this project before too long. With Pete’s permission maybe I’ll even be able to show the film on the Artlog. Watch this space.