I’m currently listening to the recorded book Charles Darwin’s “The Voyage Of The Beagle beautifully read by Barnaby Edwards . As I currently live in Uruguay, and have travelled in various parts of the South American continent (it will never be ‘enough’ as there are still many places I’d particularly love to visit, though tempus fugit) I’m finding it a pleasure to listen to Darwin’s writing about this part of the world, and sense the wonder he felt about everything he saw and experienced as a land and ocean traveller in the 1830s. It’s amazing how widely he had read other travellers’ observations and experiences through books published at that time and how often he referred to the journals of scientific organisations he contributed to. I recommend reading his books, but if you want a taste of how interesting his writing is, read some excerpts here Reading or listening to his writing, the greatest thrill comes when he starts talking about somewhere I have actually been, or in the case of this photo, flown over!
Exactly eight years ago I returned to Montevideo after a week in The Falkland Islands, which was perhaps the most exhilarating week’s solo travel I’ve ever had. One of the most thrilling things I saw were the hills like this one, their surfaces marked with stone runs like this. I’d never heard of ‘stone runs’ until that time, even though I did a few geomorphology units at uni, and for many decades have been married to an exploration geologist who’s expanded my knowledge of many things terrestrial since we met in March 1965.
Other runs look like rivers of rocks winding along at the bases of hill; but these slopes were the most fascinating as they look more dynamic, Nature in Action, sort of thing. I was airborne, so of course I had a different perspective from Darwin’s view from being mounted on horseback or walking along, as he often did, closely observing the ground beneath his feet and looking at everything between him and the horizon. His diary frequently reveals that he was constantly thinking about the possible connections between what he knew or had observed elsewhere, and what was in front of his eyes much time and distance removed..
Landscape shapes and textures feature in my art as repeated units of abstract patterns in fabric, thread and other materials, an enduring influence from my brief period of learning about and making traditional patchwork quilts in the late 1980s.
I’ve produced several small works on grid layouts in the last few months, and am currently auditioning treatments for the surface of another larger work that is about formal order (the grid) calming colour (in soft light earthy shades) and precious values (metallic glitter always denotes ‘preciousness’ to me, though of course, all that glitters is not gold)