Bank Street Residency Day 3, 5th April 2012

Today was a contrast to yesterday: bright and sunny, but still cold (at least early on). Today’s walk took the following route.

Howard St

Arundel Gate

Furnival Gate

Carver St

West St

Glossop Rd

Northumberland Rd

Witham Rd

Beaufort Rd

Severn Rd

Tree Root Walk

Claremont Crescent

Claremont Place

Glossop Rd

Clarkehouse Rd

Botanical Gardens

Thompson Rd

Ecclesall Rd

St Mary’s Rd

Queen’s Rd


Today I bought Dulux Sea Blue. This choice was inspired not only by the colour of the sky, but also a house painted with blue windowsills I noticed. A lot of my gaze was directed upwards, looking at roof lines and details of soffits, entablatures, corbels, consoles and chimneys, so I decided to place some elements high up on the same wall I used yesterday, using the top line and the spacing of the verticals of yesterdays painting as a starting point. I wanted to avoid the temptation to paint a roof line or anything too literally architectural, so I decided to use a motif I have painted before, which is derived from landscape. I haven’t finished painting out yesterday’s painting, so the photo is of Sea Blue with Isobelle half painted out (I have decided to name them after the paint names, for now). Sea Blue turned out to be a bit darker than I expected, but it doesn’t matter.

Susan Sontag book

The Central Library was selling off vast numbers of books today, and Ioana and I filled both my bike panniers and a rucksack with books. As if we don’t have enough books! I guess they’re good insulation: might save on heating bills. On book we bought is a volume of Susan Sontag essays. The first time I read Sontag was in the kitchen/living room of the youth hostel on the island of Iona. It pissed it down with rain one day, and blew a gale, so we sat in and read some books from the bookshelf. I read Sontag’s book on the depiction of pain in photography, without finishing it. Outside the picture windows was the sea, grey as goose down, and, on the machair a few tens of metres away was a group of whimbrels, poking their long, curved beaks into the soft ground. Inside, it was cosy, with a cup of tea never beyond reach. (The room is clad with wood from dismantled whisky vats). It’s funny that the thought of an American essayist can unfailingly bring up memories of the pleasure of that particular reading (the atmosphere of Iona, the tea, the drizzle, the whimbrels, the undulating machair, the maddening corncrake); and that that pleasure can make me anticipate the pleasure of reading the book I just bought. As if pleasure, like bank interest, or flexi-time, can be carried-forward and invested for the future.

[Written 22 October 2009]