Ted Hughes once described February as ‘the month of the potato’.
He was a keen vegetable grower, and once wrote in a letter to fellow poet Charles Tomlinson:
my potatoes are rumbling in the earth like contented elephant herds, my beans full of bear’s nests & cottages, my peas wandering the neighbourhood & assaulting the local beauties, my turnips groaning, my radishes booming like bitterns in the dew, my onions threatening the house, my spinach singing quietly.
Cohmghall O’Casey Sixteen Potatoes Oil on Canvas 33 x 40 cm.
Comhghall (pronounced ‘Coel’) is a native of Northern Ireland, a piece of land synonymous with the growing of the February vegetable.
And of course it would be almost heretical to include an image of the humble spud portrayed so beautifully without quoting Heaney (again) from At a Potato Digging:
A mechanical digger wrecks the drill,
Spins up a dark shower of roots and mould.
Labourers swarm in behind, stoop to fill
Wicker creels. Fingers go dead in the cold.
Like crows attacking crow-black fields, they stretch
A higgledy line from hedge to headland;
Some pairs keep breaking ragged ranks to fetch
A full creel to the pit and straighten, stand
Tall for a moment but soon stumble back
To fish a new load from the crumbled surf.
Heads bow, trunks bend, hands fumble towards the black
Mother. Processional stooping through the turf
Recurs mindlessly as autumn. Centuries
Of fear and homage to the famine god
Toughen the muscles behind their humbled knees,
Make a seasonal altar of the sod.
Bath is gorgeous in the low winter light. It is not too inclement now to choose a pew near the Abbey and watch the world go by, read a good book, before you stop in for a visit with us !!
From 26 February we will have the paintings of Stewart Edmondson in the gallery.
Stewart is originally from Yorkshire, though his work is a love affair with the wild and windy woods and moors around his Dartmoor home.
Stewart Edmondson Big Rock, River Dart, Acrylic on Paper 85 x 97 cm.
We will also have on display the moon jars of West Wales potter Adam Buick:
Some but not all of the new work for both artists is shown on the website. They will be updated in the week prior to the exhibition
Please contact the gallery if you would like to be notified when new work is added.
And finally. As potatoes are to an Irish poet then an all-weather in situ painter is to the words of John Muir:
The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us. Thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fibre and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing. The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls, and every bird song, wind song, and tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song, our very own, and sings our love.
Stewart Edmondson All This and More, Acrylic on Paper 94 x 96 cm.
Thanks for reading.
Beaux Arts Bath