Friday, 13 January 2012

Exploring new landscapes

Like YumYum in Gilbert & Sullivan’s ‘Mikado’ , the moon and I are “very wide awake” right at this moment.  I get a little late with the blogging some evenings!  I’ve become quite friendly with the moon over the years, from watching her progress across the curtains  instead of  going to sleep when told as a child,  to watching humans walking on her surface for the first time, and to gazing at her detail through a telescope with my sons.

The image of the earth from space has become pretty common for today’s children. Seeing deep space pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope has almost become ‘the norm’ in the news media.  Personally, fascinated as I am by Hubble’s output, it’s the pictures looking back at our planet for the first time from space which define our generation.  They have stuck with me so much that I created one of my mega-yarns to express my appreciation of nature’s artistry.  In no way can I way mirror her creativity, but I’ve paid due homage with textured Shetland clouds, Corriedale deserts, Merino and silk waters and many other textures and colours that fill the spaces between.   

NASA is already working towards going back to the moon - they say by 2020 -  this time to create a more permanent presence to help mankind eventually move on out into the universe.   In the meantime,  NASA’s rovers on Mars are still working quietly away on the surface, despite energy difficulties, continuing to investigate their new landscapes.  There’s a lot to be said for quietly getting on with a job as well as you can – be that spinning or Mars exploration.  Both benefit from less ‘Yahoo!’ and more focus, especially when resources, like sufficient energy to function, are limited. 

Exploring old landscapes with a new eye came into my orbit last weekend when the Countryfile programme on BBC1 interviewed artist David Hockney about his forthcoming exhibition at the Royal Academy in London.  It’ll be focussed on the changing seasons here on earth, in his corner of the Yorkshire countryside.  It’s fascinating to watch if you get the chance on the BBC’s I-Player.  Hockney, with his signature boldness, breathes life into countryside art both in paint and on film, using a multi-screen visual to fast-track you through the timeless rotation of the northern hemisphere’s seasons.  The way Hockney brings out the raw base of colour incumbent in every aspect of the country lanes and surroundings will make the exhibition well worth a visit. 

The creators of the star-shaped ceilings at the Alhambra palace in Spain didn’t have our ability to see distant galaxies and colourful gas clouds.  Like David Hockney they took their inspiration from nature near at hand and from the stars visible above. Wherever you are tonight here’s hoping you can find inspiration in the landscape around you, seeing it with new eyes.