Sunday, June 29, 2008

Helen Longland, paintings and drawings

The audience at The Pastels show filed out and I turned to Chris, who could have been forgiven for wondering what I was so upset about. ‘So, Granny died,’ I told him. It happened two days previously, we knew it was coming. When Stephen told his anecdote about the Bearsden cemetery, and during the song which followed, I remembered another time she had been bed-bound, for a few weeks, in her house in Bearsden, where my grandparents lived for 30 years. It would have been the early ’80s, so maybe The Pastels were nearby, spraypainting gravestones, working out how to turn garage rock into something gentle. I was six or seven, and Granny told me that generally speaking it was great to be able to lie around all day, but the toast crumbs were annoying. She liked to put things in a positive light. Writing about the gig afterwards, these were the things I wanted to say, but it seemed a bit tenuous. And scary, as I said at the time. On reflection, though, I don’t see why it should be scary. Someone dear is dead, but thats all the more reason to record these memories and associations. There are connections, too, beyond the circumstantial. Granny was a painter, her aesthetic as strongly impressed upon me as Pastelism, and not even too dissimilar. Think of all the abstract trees which made it on to Geographic record sleeves and flyers. Trees (Argyle trees) were a constant theme of Grannys paintings, and I can’t look at certain straggling types of tree, roots bursting through banks of earth, or moss and lichen forest textures without seeing them through her eyes: 2D cross-sections, but so enriched that they dont seem flat at all. Here is some of her art:




Continued on my Flickr page.

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