the rapture, completed remembrance sunday 2011

The Rapture

The Rapture

2011 – Acrylic on Panel – 153 x 122 cm


The Rapture

Earlier that day, sensing something

archangelic in the air, they cordoned off


the cool piazza, locked the domed

basilica, closed the crossing


to the island charnel house and church.

When the quattrocento stage was set,


they sent the scapegoat out, the lure –

fishing-rod in hand, patched terrier


to heel – and drew the blackout curtains

close. When he walked in later,


brilliant as the fish he held, they gathered

round to touch his suit and sun-bleached


hair: So did it speak? they asked, afraid;

What colour were its wings? And did it


burn? No words, he said, or fire;

but from that height I saw beyond


the valley to an exit road where drones

then jetplanes strafed a speeding column


black, and men crept into holes, their

pounded flesh the many colours of his wings.


Damian Walford Davies 2011

27 thoughts on “the rapture, completed remembrance sunday 2011

  1. Love to see all the process, progress and thought that has gone into each stage of this piece. It must be quite a wrench selling your paintings as so much goes into them that the viewer can never really know….. They can appreciate its richness, but without your showing us we could never guess. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Pingback: jack-in-the-studio | Clive Hicks-Jenkins' Artlog:

  3. Congratulations, Clive. I’m moved by both the painting and the poem, and even more so by your letters to one another. Being human, and not angels, we can manage without one another, but when we allow that flow from one heart into another, I think we are closer to our true selves, don’t you? I definitely think Jack is the way into the painting, and it’s odd how many times I’ve thought of him, hanging there, during the days you’ve been working on this. Bravo, also, on the architectural details and aerial perspective!

    • Jack and I were napping on the sofa in the book room when your e-mail pinged in. (I’ve been like the walking dead since finishing the painting on Sunday. However a break must wait a little while yet as I still have another work to finish, though luckily not a large one.) He was in the crook of my arm, on his back with the rough pad of one paw pressed into my cheek. I heard the ping and a moment after it a small gruff woof, just to let me know. Lying there happily in the warm winter sun with the little chap was a moment of great pleasure. I wouldn’t be without him. Now I must climb to the studio and get working again.

      Yes, collaborating with Damian has been a marvellous experience. He entered into the spirit of it, not at all put off by the seat-of-the-pants rush to complete in time for the printer of the invitation card, and unruffled by the challenge of conjuring a poem for a painting even as I worked on it. He is ‘the right stuff’. He once wrote to me ‘I’ll be your wing man’ and he’s certainly made good that pledge. There has been ‘flow’.

      Glad that you like the aerial perspective and architectural detailing. I particularly enjoyed making those parts of the painting.

  4. It is splendid! Wonderful to see the whole thing, it’s been a pleasure to watch the painting evolve in small parts over the past weeks. I think Jack is my favourite part, the look on his face is perfect!

    What a lovely companion the poem is to it, too 🙂

    • Raphael is lost in reverie and Tobias faces away into an unknown future, while Jack alone acknowledges that he is being observed and meets the viewer’s gaze. I decided early on that the little dog would be the way into the painting. I hope it’s worked.

  5. Clive, it is simply stunning. I am lost with words, it is so potent and so beautiful. Amazing that, even though we had the great delight in seeing this image grow right from its very conception, this great reveal is still so wonderfully fresh and awesome, as if the image we saw develop over the last few weeks were not this painting at all but so many other different versions and reflections (if that makes sense, I am never sure if I do). All in all, sublime!
    And married to the words of Damian’s poem like the way veins run through marble. Bravo my dear friend!

  6. You’ve outdone yourself again, Clive. Is there no limit to your imagination and skill? Of course, there isn’t. Love, love, love the aerial point of view and the dense patterning. Also the dark, dark sky. And the D W-D poem is a perfect companion for it. The progressive peep show, at least, always pays off in the end…. just when we fear we may have run out of coins!! The process for us art lovers is like reading a bodice-ripping romance novel. But, of course you know that, you crafty seducer.
    xoxo. AM

    • That is the sweetest comment Anita. Thank you so much. The engine here is genuinely running on fresh air right now, having been drained of fuel in the white hot frenzy of finishing The Rapture. Were it not for the fact that a couple of days ago the road took a turn downhill so that the vehicle could coast in neutral, I think it may have slowed to a stop about a week ago!

      I’ve got to a point where I really don’t know what to think of the painting. I have no judgement left. As I wrote to Philippa this morning:

      ‘Finishing a painting like this is a bit of the shock to the system. Little bits of it are as I envisaged, but most of it not. I’m not saying that’s bad. More like looking at a new-born baby that is entirely and wonderfully itself and thinking ‘Well that’s all very well but it’s not what I was expecting!’ It’ll have to grow on me. I like flying Jack and Tobias’s right foot best!’

      Your ‘crafty seducer’ made me laugh. The crafty seducer is walking around in a daze looking wilted and lost. You could wave any number of enticements ripe to be seduced in front of me, and I’d probably elect for a cup of tea and a snooze on the sofa. I’m knackered and fit only for an early night!

  7. This painting and the poem are both so amazing. Even after having read your process posts, I still almost believe that this painting just floated down from the sky, already complete, it’s that good.

    • That’s a most generous comment coming as it does from another painter, and I greatly value it from your perspective of insight. (You know what it takes to make something look as though it is completely itself, almost without manufacture.) Thank you Jodi.

  8. I think it’s stunning. The ultimate revealing of the whole painting is as startling as the ultimate revelation in Damian’s W-D’s poem.

    • If we can startle you Philippa, then I know that Damian and I have done our jobs well. (I mean that very nicely!)

      Do click on the image and then click again for it to load in a magnified version you can scroll around. Peter has made a smashing job of the photograph given our primitive lighting set-up.

    • Thank you Leonard. This has been far more of a collaboration than Damian and I have had in the past. In this instance although he was writing as I was painting, seeing only what was appearing on the Artlog, the printing deadline for his finished poems meant that he completed The Rapture a few weeks before I finished the painting, and thereafter the poem guided what I did in the studio. In fact I changed some of what I’d done better to bring paint and words together. I also adopted his poem title for the painting. It was definitely a two-man and a two-way process.

    • ‘Wow’ does very nicely thanks Thom. I think Damian did a wonderful job. He finished before I did, and thereafter his poem helped me get the painting to a state of completion. But BOY am I tired now. I’ll certainly sleep tonight.

  9. WOW, wow, wow. Astonishing to see the painting finished. I had no idea about the perspective and the depth. It almost makes you grasp to the supports of your chair. (think I’m Dutch and than translate it to your own feeling) I regret it weekly that I live too far away to see more work for real, but yet I think I am lucky to have one of your works to look at daily. Amazing how art can change your life. Colour it. Wow, wow, wow.
    Matt x

    • So you like it then!


      Mathijs, thank you so much for your generous response. I suppose the danger of showing a painting in small pieces as it’s being worked on, is that when the full composition appears it may be a disappointment for some. I gather from your triple ‘wow’ that this one has passed muster for you. Good. That makes me happy.

  10. So here I am mooching about your site when my blackberry pings and I realise I’ve had a message, and its from you!
    Well wow! I am speechless – and it doesn’t happen very often!
    I’m sure you have friends who are much more eloquent than I but it really is just an amazing piece, those colours just sing and those wings, and the suit, and…. and thanks Clive for sharing it with us. The words too take one on further, brilliant collaboration. x

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