Dark Movements: ‘the quickening’

Here I show the early stages of work on the painting The Quickening, currently underway. I’ve included images from other paintings and drawings that I’m referencing into it. You might call this post a combination of mood-board and progress report.

Below: the briefest sketch shapes the composition

before being worked out more completely

Below: key aspects get worked out in more detail

Below: the foliate-patterned ground to my recent cover for Marly Youmans’ new novel, is sticking like a burr to my coat-tails, and is set to be reinvented to play a significant role in the new works…

… as is the rendering of the bird

Last Year’s Hervé and the Wolf series of paintings, set the tone for ‘Dark Movements’

Underdrawing for The Quickening. (detail)


So many things are meeting in these new works: my original drawings for The Mare’s Tale (and my family history that underlies them), the recent collaborations with my model, Jordan Morley, themes of greening and renewal, my love and use of toy theatre in my practice, and of course, that old discipline of mine, long behind me but always present in my mind… and in muscle-memory… the dance.

I am pleased to announce that the composer Peter Byrom-Smith, will be providing a soundtrack of new music to accompany the exhibition, both in the gallery, and as a soundtrack to the animated film Dark Movements that I’m working on with my regular collaborator, film-maker Pete Telfer of Culture Colony. The film will be screened in a dedicated space within the gallery. There will also be new work from the American poet Jeffery Beam, who has been closely watching my progress on Dark Movements, and has produced a poetic text to accompany the recent paintings.

Composer, Peter Byrom-Smith


Poet, Jeffrey Beam

13 thoughts on “Dark Movements: ‘the quickening’

  1. Quickening indeed. So many energies in our dark movements. The anticipation of the paintings now is almost more than my ache can take. And now I’m seeing Jordan’s pony-tail and scarf as flames from the tower from the stage. Marly’s beautiful cover now living in the creation too is quite exciting. Jordan falling into some fertile fecund above ground Hades. Thank you for welcoming me as part of this.

  2. “Dark Movements” seems like both an ending and beginning to me, as you bring together so many elements of your past, present and future in what promises to be an intoxicating mix. Like my fellow Artloggers, I am delighted to hear the news of the addition of three such illustrious accompanists to Jordan and the Mari in their celestial dance.

  3. It’s so interesting seeing how it all comes together, the thread of an idea linking all. It’s really fulfilling to see how naturally you create your compositions. Your drawings are wonderful as always. Poetry and music and art, you cannot beat that combination! I love your “like a burr to my coat-tail” analogy too.

    • Liz, more and more I think of an exhibition as being an entire realm of the mind into which the public are invited. I never thought, at the beginning of my career as a painter, that it would be quite so much like working in the theatre. But I find the experiences are remarkably similar.

  4. A great entry !!!

    This is ‘total art’, what Wagner dreamed of when he wrote his Tristan, his Lohengrin. It will speak to the mind, and to feelings, through the images, through the words, and through the music…

    Pity that smell, the most evocative of senses, is not yet transmissible at a distance. I imagine it all with a perfume of wood, of old leaves, of grass, of fire, of horse, of incense, of musk, trying to prevail agains the other perfumes, in different scenes…

    • I like the image that you conjure with your ideas of perfumes. What you describe is an immersive experience, where all the senses are engaged. Alas, scent cannot be a part of ‘Dark Movements’, as the exhibition has not been conceived in that way, though I will certainly think about the idea for the future. Horse-sweat is an abiding memory of my childhood, and the smell of stables and the ‘dubbin’ used for leather.

  5. wow! i really love that underdrawing, and the tones of herve and the wolf are, of course, right up my alley… how exciting to hear about the poetry and music, too, i think people need more events like that, to immerse all their senses and *be there* with the work. such a mysterious theme, too!

  6. What a wonderful post Clive; beautiful maquettes, drawings, paintings, book cover design, and to cap it all a glimpse of new work and music to come – you’re spoiling us 🙂

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