Robert Browning, Maria Popova and Zara McQueen

From Robert Browning via Maria Popova to Zara McQueen. From time to time I would like to share with you moments of inspiration on others’ behalf.

Maria Popova on her website posts wonderful articles and thought provoking clippings that are definitely worthy of the share. I would highly recommend you follow her on Instagram for a dose of interviews, recollections, musings and passion.

If you follow this link you will fall deep into the rabbit hole that is Brainpickings and a perfect example of why theWonderBook is so keen on recalling the ‘story’ as part of the artistic journey to recognition. The revelations of the relationship between Robert and Elizabeth Browning not only have resonance with the impact of their work (for, of course, after reading this article I rifled my bookshelf looking to remind myself of Browning’s work) but the tender intimacy of their love accentuates and amplifies the volume of their words.

It is not just academic or critical dialogue that promote worth in any creative’s effort but how much of themselves they are willing to release alongside the work. The story of their time spent while deep in conversation with themselves discussing the colour, shape, right word or musical note; where they were, their first thoughts during the day …. the more you reveal the more you tell the story.

It is a promise, that as human beings, we do not really wish to hoard material objects but the story of a thing; how it came about, is something priceless. It can never be taken from us or forgotten.

The Letters of Van Gogh

Another perfect example of how the history of an artist’s thoughts illuminate and help a work ascend is highlighted in several of the letters of Van Gogh.

Which other painter has been so heart-wrenchingly honest in their unflinching challenge to themselves? His ever present call to God and in this letter of 1879, his rally to Theo (his brother) in the most humble defence of the role of the artist. I am certain it is no coincidence that in having Van Gogh’s letters available to us, his paintings, consequently are ranked as some of the finest in the world. The epistolic sharing of his journey describing his creativity; agony and ecstasy has rendered him all the more appealing.

Click the image to go to the site

I know no better definition of the word Art than this, ‘Art is man added to nature’, nature, reality, truth, but with a meaning, with an interpretation, with a character that the artist brings out and to which he gives expression, which he sets free, which he unravels, releases, elucidates.Van Gogh, June 1879

Zara McQueen

And so to the latest success for Zara McQueen, an artist I have known for a few years. She has overcome challenges and still copes with ailments which might have faltered many other people’s efforts. But recently she posted news of her latest success.

I like Zara McQueen’s work very much and I would urge you to take a look at her portfolio as it stands The development of her technique is impressive but it is the profound sense of place that I would offer as the most vital component of her painting.

It is not love or admiration for the Dorset countryside in which she is surrounded, but I feel a belonging expressed in urgency. Her marks, to me, are like the scratches of wild paws digging at the soil and not for a moment do I doubt that they belong exactly where they are. I can feel, in her work, the badger smelling the wind or the keening of the hills by a hovering bird. There is a sense of survival in partnership with the land … a land from where we all come, briefly play and laugh, and then return.

And in Zara’s work I sense the urge of a story being told and I would love to know more.

So, a call to Zara McQueen, I wonder if we might organise an interview as a podcast?

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