carolynblackart blog

studio notes: Monday 22 July 2019 8.30am

Monday 22 July 2019 8.30am

The room is beginning to feel like a studio

Spent quite a bit of time in here over the weekend, exploring the x-rays and the landscape outside, using the Kodak Box Camera negative as a viewfinder. Tidying up, I found a huge book I bought in Dusseldorf many years ago of work by Katharina Sieverding. I remember being knocked out by her HUGE self portraits. I found some images that helped me to consider the structure of mine. Images that have veils of shade (as per the icy blue grey borders of the xrays), vertical panels (I have started drawing vertical panoramic’s) and inverted areas too. I decided the camera as a framing device is key, so experimented with that first. 

Photo 21-07-2019, 08 38 27Kodak box white A4 21-07-2019, 14 57 30

I continually gaze at the elegant waving of the branches of the enormous Cedar tree outside. The old studio imac was booted up after months of rest, to use photoshop. Layers, tonal changes, shifts and blends, resulting in some images I find satisfying. That capture my thinking. I’m not yet sure whether they are the beginning, or the end, of something. 

I need to consider this black and white habit of mine. I think it is a leftover from printmaking days. When I painted, or made videos, I used to love colour. It has gone. 

Why? Where? 

Not sure what will happen next. Got lots of other paid work to do for a few days, so less time to enjoy my studio. But it feels good. A new desk is wending its way to me (cheapy from 2nd hand place). Bit by bit bedroom furniture will go and studio things arrive. Must get my easel up too. Now THAT is a challenge, as I bought it, and oils, and canvasses about 3 years ago – and not used them. 

Time for some colour?

New Studio Blog 001

20th July 2019

The fantasy studio:

I will go there every morning with my first cup of tea 

And sit

And think

And imagine

Gaze out the window

Dig into my inner thoughts

Be calm




I will send my attention to my hand

Quietly lift my pencil

Relish it’s wooden feel with my fingertips

Open my dedicated notebook

And begin to write

Or draw

Or simply mark the paper

With my philosophical thoughts

What will today bring?

How shall I pursue my practice

With daily dedication?


Analogue procedures

Banish technology

Return to the haptic

Be authentic

A real artist


The reality:

I gaze through the window

I grab my ipad and carefully film a one minute section of the activity in my garden

While I hold it steady, I enjoy watching the way the different trees move in the wind

The blackbird that settles below me on the rail

Out of video frame


Always seem to miss the action!

I self-discipline

Remind myself of analogue activity

I grab a notebook from the shelf

On its cover, it explains what it is


Yes, this is what I must do

I find a pencil

I open this paper NOTEBOOK

And find in the central pages a photo of an empty desk

This seems very poignant to me

I too have an empty desk

And an empty head if truth be told

I carefully release it from the staples

And attach it to the wall

Just behind my empty desk

And take a photo

From my sitting position


I also take a photo of my NOTEBOOK

As evidence

I intend to write in it

On my empty desk


I print both photos out

And lay them on the desk

Very satisfying

I take a photo of them


I am already distracted from analogue

Too late to pretend

I take one more photo and add it to the others

It portrays my NOTEBOOK

Resting on my MacBook


I discard the NOTEBOOK

And enjoy the way I think

No rules

No boundaries

I write this piece and smile

This is me

My reality

My world

Let’s see where it takes me

This is my line:

I shall take it for a walk


ps the video DID capture the blackbird, albeit appearing to walk along the bottom edge of the video footage. perfect accident. my idea of creativity. 🙂




URGENT: vote for us, help us to Save The George and re-open the gallery & cafe!

I seem to be working on many things at the monent, but this is the one needing urgent attention. It has a deadline – 17th June!

I need you to vote for us to gain £5000 towards refurbishing the kitchen of The George. The George is a local building that closed down a year ago. A group of us got together and formed the Newnham on Severn Community Benefit Society and are trying to buy it back, for the community. Find out the detail here.

We’re selling community shares and hosting various fundraising event. We’re doing REALLY well – but Calor needs more votes to keep us in the top ten. PLEASE give all TEN of your votes to us. It’s a but of a faff to login to – you have to register first. If it doesnt work, clear your browser cache and restart the browser. If it still doesn’t work, email me

Click here to go to our page.

Download flyer with live link here:


calor last shout fler image



Sunday’s Child – a poem to celebrate being European

Sunday’s Child

  1. The church clock chimes
  2. A red brick wall in view
  3. With sunshine on my face
  4. I close my eyes, see blood
  5. Not of anger, but of family
  6. From my Dutch parents
  7. A Courtyard in Delft
  8. Part of me forever
  9. Belonging, in blood red bricks
  10. Birds sing, cars pass
  11. The chiming ceases

The child that is born on the Sabbath day, is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

Written 11am Sunday 5th May by Carolyn Black, who was born European on Sunday 9th December in England


A Thorn (the rooster of Notre Dame

A Thorn

A thorn from a plaited instrument of passion

A barb from Ziziphus spina-christi

Secreted in a weather vane in 1801

Now fallen from a burning spire

Inside a shell tougher

Than any egg


Survived the raging fire that

Roasted the rooster

It’s black twisted body

Wrought but not destroyed

Drenched by hoses and fire

A miracle


Two days later ash and tang of charred timber

Hang in the air

The fund to rebuild Notre Dame

Reached a billion euros

The thorn shall come home to roost on high

Again, a spiritual lightning rod

Belief, Stories and Marketing – how the Rooster story grabbed my attention

Belief, Stories and Marketing

One of the reasons I wrote the Rooster of Notre Dame piece is that I was struck by the story. In terms of marketing, it’s an excellent example of keeping something up there in the public eye:

Stage one – the fire – HUGE worldwide attention

Stage two – the fundraising – another WOW factor

Stage three – the amount of money!

Stage four – the thorn from Jesus’s crown, hidden in a weather vane

The press grabbed it and ran – even Wiki was already bearing the fact of the fire and who found the rooster – Wiki says the relic was saved by Jean-Marc Fournier, Chaplain of the Paris Fire Brigade. The Telegraph claims the rooster was found by a worker at the site. Another says it was a restoration specialist

In storytelling, anything is up for grabs.

As we all keep reminding ourselves – Brexit – you couldn’t make it up.

Which takes me to belief – we all know the saying “It beggars belief” – to be unbelievable or not deserving to be believed : to defy belief.

With a weird turn of my memory, I recall that when I was studying for a PhD I met another researcher who had a theory that Jesus was the first marketeer. Funny how some stories lingers in one’s mind. This now feels like a strange circle of thinking – here I am referring to marketing, in relation to one of the most iconic religious buildings in the world, and I recall that micro-fact.

The truth be told, (if truth exists), is I took a certain delight in hearing about the rooster. The majority of religions have failed to sell their story to me, I just find them impossible to believe. Yet here comes a charred cock, a metal weather vane that apparently holds a religious relic, and I am seduced by it. It drove me to explore the story behind it too, which is pretty plausible.

Maybe it is now gauging my own capacity to believe in something.

Here it is again:

The Rooster of Notre Dame

Fallen from the burning spire


Inside the battered blackened twisted body

Of the rooster

Lies one of the 70 thorns of the Holy crown of Jesus Christ

Concealed and protected

From weather, fire and time

Inside a spiritual lightning rod

The crown a plaited instrument of passion

“We may behold the thorny crown, which was only set upon the head of Our Redeemer in order that all the thorns of the world might be gathered together and broken” (Migne, LXX, 621)

Botanically known as Ziziphus spina-christi,

More popularly, the jujube tree

Tasting of apple

With the appearance of a small date

The pit like that of an olive

In 1238 the Latin Emperor of Constantinople

Anxious to obtain support for his tottering empire

Offered the crown of thorns to Louis IX

As security for a heavy loan of 13,134 gold pieces

But redeemed and conveyed to Paris where Louis IX built the Sainte-Chapelle (completed 1248) to receive it.

There the relic stayed, until the French Revolution

When, after finding a home for a while in the Bibliothèque Nationale

The Concordat of 1801 restored it to the Church, and it was deposited in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame

During the Notre-Dame de Paris fire of April 15, 2019

Two days later, while ash and the tang

Of charred timber

Both hang in the air

The fund to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral has reached a billion euros

To house the thorn

In five years time

The rooster will be re-homed

The cathedral be restored