Last week while in Newcastle I was fortunate to be able to attend a workshop for the Crossings Poetry Festival led by Sinéad Morrissey. The festival was an exploration of crossings between language and cultures, music and art through poetry and the fusion of the written word in multi-genre performances. It was recognised that these crossings stood in contrast to the increasing barriers and borders found in current political rhetoric.
In the workshop as well as outlining other poetic responses to the art of Sean Scully (a master at post-minimalist abstraction who studied at Newcastle University), Sinéad also read 'Pigment', a poem by Sasha Dugdale which journeys through relationships with colour. Emma Holliday, the festival's artist in residence had prepared boards for us with 4 primary colours, Emma also described the mixing of the acrylic paints to make secondary colours for any who hadn't mixed colours. We were then asked to write and paint in response to the reading, it was an easy process as everyone else on the course was supportive of each others comments and questions.
Here is my word-colour poem in response:
‘I always go to the light blue and dare to dream.
Sunburst yellow chases the long shadows and burnt orange flares in the face of melancholy, while grey-green sagely comforts, as if caressed by the bark of an old tree.
The timeless pattern holds on, cracked under fingers, a living Sashiko - indigo gently wrap around my thoughts.
I’m potted, new feelings spring like blades of lime green.
Refreshed, like a sea breeze I meet violet, intense and cherished.
I lift my eyes to the heavens, soaring, winged silhouettes of bronze and teal smile with their gifts. Now the folding to sleep, dark blue, midnight blue, humming ultramarine, peacefully longing for a drop of white. I dare to dream in light blue, radiant light.’
Is this poem allegorical, perhaps... it felt like a meditative process and allowed me to dig deep into my love of colour, a helpful stimulus to both writing and painting, especially when the paint brush or pen just don't seem to function, perhaps you can give it a try too.
More information on the Crossings Poetry Festival:
Further info on Emma Holliday: