The Thank You

My thanks to the collaborators: to Jordan Morley, who modelled and encouraged, to Jeffery Beam, who wrote the glorious poetry, to Pete Telfer, who filmed, edited and supported, to Sarah Parvin, who never stopped believing, to Peter Byrom-Smith who made the music, and last but not least among the collaborators, to Maria Maestre, who inspired and cheered all of us from afar.

The Arts Centre staff have been wonderful. Eve Ropek, together with Tim Walley and Jen Loffman, worked tirelessly to produce, present and run the exhibition to the highest standards. It looked fantastic, better than I dared hope.

My framer, Anthony at Oriel y Bont, danced around my crazed schedule of delivering new works right up to the finishing line. His care and attention to every detail of the presentation of paintings and drawings, meant that I was able to pour my energies where they were most needed.

Finally the exhibition was ready and it was time to throw open the doors to the gallery.

Poet Gillian Clarke enthralled guests with her opening speech. Mary Ann Constantine wrote the preview for Planet Magazine, and later during the run of the exhibition expertly guided the evening of ‘Conversation’ in front of an audience in the cinema auditorium. Francesca Rydderch introduced Dark Movements in the handsome fold-out presented to visitors to the gallery. Eric Roberts, Damian Walford Davies and Mary Ann Constantine read the poetry of Jeffery Beam and Catriona Urquhart to visitors at a gallery event, and Damian read an extract from his libretto for The Mare’s Tale, the 2013 chamber-work by composer Mark Bowden based on my Mari Lwyd drawings. Eric, who had performed the original piece, sang to close the event, and we were all without words after his hauntingly beautiful performance.

Finally, I come to Peter Wakelin. Without his support there would be no Dark Movements. Let’s face it, there wouldn’t be anything. He is and has always been my rock. When I’m preoccupied, driven and obsessed, I know I cannot be an easy person to be around. Most of you see the best of me, but he gets all the dark stuff too, and yet he continues, unwavering.

On Saturday July 25th I’m to give a maquette-making workshop titled Illusions of Life at the Arts Centre, and at the end of business on that day, the gallery doors will close and the exhibition Dark Movements will be over. I’ll try to organise a few minutes alone in the space before I walk away from it. I imagine it will be rather like taking leave of a group of friends brought together for a special occasion. So many of you are tied up in the exhibition in so many ways, and your presences have been felt there… even those of you who because of great distances weren’t able to come… woven into the warp and weft of the work.

After such an intense period of collaboration and sharing, I know it will feel very odd indeed when the curtain has come down and the show is over. There will be a crash for me of some sort, and I must work out strategies for getting through it. This one feels as though it will be painful. I have never before in my practice as a painter worked quite so extensively and so enjoyably with so many. It will be the oddest sensation not to be daily in the company of such a group as this one has become.

Your support and creative energy have been fuel to the work. Your streams of e-mails and messages have kept me fizzing. There are other projects to look forward to, and the friendships will continue, I know. But this particular party, which I have so enjoyed, will be over.

Work begets work, and ideas develop from what gets made. I intend to continue building on what was started in Dark Movements. I feel the dance isn’t quite over yet.

21 thoughts on “The Thank You

  1. What a wonderful post. Congratulations Clive, to you and to your team. The show looks fabulous.
    Work begets work. I must remember that! Thank you for another inspiring post.
    ps: I always love how much you acknowledge your partner.

    • Hello Priya. Thank you for your kind words. It was a great team. The staff at the Arts Centre made a wonderful job of the exhibition. I felt wonderfully supported.

      Sending love from storm-blown, icy Wales!

  2. I am not a man of many words, as you know Clive. Sometimes my vocabulary seems lacking even though I know english well enough to express the strange and wonderful exchange that has happened between us. To think that posting a seemingly simple “like” on a maquette you made for “The Soldier’s Tale” would lead to this. We’ve both listened and exchanged more than our share since that day in August. Let us continue down this path learning, laughing, and challenging what we create without fear. Rest my friend. The exhibition closes tomorrow and with that the sadness of loss. This chapter is only the beginning. I took a peek at the proverbial table of contents and there is much more to be had. *hugs*

    • Jordan, it’s been a revelation on every level. The quiet industry of working together, the listening and sharing, the laughter and the tenderness. Thank you for your generosity and encouragement. I can honestly say that I can’t imagine having made this work without you. You are Dark Movements.

  3. It looks so stunning. So sorry I missed the event but pleased to have shared a bit of the journey via the blog. You inspire me in my humble artistic endeavours every time I pop by.

  4. May the dance long continue and why shouldn’t it?
    Keep bending the fingers, flexing your imaginative muscles and taking leaps of faith assured that you’ll have those of us who love you urging you on.
    Yours, at a distance but ever near.
    B xxx

  5. If I were a horse I would be kicking up my heels. Instead I’m flying through a red and blue universe swirling in a cosmic horse whisper. Clive, you know and certainly many of the other collaborators know, what an immense fount our working together has been at a time that I needed it to regain my own strength and vision. A Holy Well. I can never ever ever thank you enough for the poems you led me to: a pony taken to a Edenic field of the most delicious grasses (all planted by The Green Man, Khidir, himself). I am especially grateful that the collaboration has brought us closer as friends across such a big pond (the miracle of the internet) and that with or without future collaborations we are bonded, bound, and yet free to keep kicking up our heels together. My thanks too to Jordan, Sarah, and Maria for all the gifts of words, images, and ideas they gave to me during Dark Movements. Yesterday I gave a reading of Bee poems at the North Carolina Botanical Garden, and a friend with whom I had shared the whole Spectral Pegasus Dark Movements manuscript (with image), and who has followed my work for 30 years kissed and licked my ears with enthusiasms and praises for both of us and what we had created. He kept saying, “A BIG book. I’m waiting for the BIG book.” I told him to be patient and if the Mari Lywd had her/his way it would manifest. Surely it will. I’m delighted to see that feel you have more dancing to do with the Mari and can’t wait to see where she takes you next time. Blessings to Peter for all he does for you. Having Stanley here and unwavering allows me to understand just how important his role is in your manifesting your gifts. Bravo Peter (and Jack).

  6. Thank you Clive, and Thank You all for having included me in this wonderful experience. I would have loved to have been able to be there in the presentation, and meet so many extraordinary people, But thanks to Dark Movements, the Artlog and the e-mails, I feel close to all of you.

    Come September I shall have my own private book. Pages sewn and bound in kid leather, with the Artlog photos of the paintings and with Jeffery’s poems beside each image, to read out loud by myself. And I shall imagine the people there, and the music, and the film, and the toy theatre. ( What happened to the little white horse? Did the person who had pinched it repent and put it back?)

    I hope that in a while there will be a proper book, with a DVD of the opening and of the closing down. And that the DVD shall include the music score, both as the a background to all the voices, and on its own. I shall visit the real book and then my own book, and then come back to the Artlog and read all the Dark Movements posts, from beginning to end, and it will be great every time. I shall feel alive and young while I do that. And at this time in my life, you can’t imagine how good that sounds to me.

    So Thank you Clive and Peter, and Jeffery, and Sarah and all of you. Including Jack.
    Love from torrid Madrid


  7. My thanks go to you Clive for all that you have inspired in me and also how your work has helped me with my own grieving process.

    As I have said before, you work in a way which is both intensely personal AND supremely collaborative, which means we are drawn like moths to your bright flame. I have found it a life-affirming experience to be included in the ‘Dark Movements’ collaboration and I have made some wonderful new friends in the process, much to my delight.

    It was a privilege to finally be able to experience the results of the creativity that has been flowing in so many directions, with you at the centre of it all, when I visited the exhibition earlier this month. It is my hope that your Mari story will continue to be told and that all your collaborators – and many more people – will have an opportunity to experience the work for themselves before too long.

    I KNOW this is definitely only the beginning of so much more. (-:

    • The entire experience has been a positive one in terms of the collaborations. It felt like the best kind of dinner-party, with everyone sitting around a table and the conversations flowing freely in all directions. This was unexpected. It took me by surprise. But a wonderful and wildly creative surprise.

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