Wednesday, March 30, 2011

J.W.M.Turner - Poet/Artist

I'm reading 'Turner - His Life and Work' by Jack Lindsay . In it, Lindsay talks about Turner's love of travel and adventure. With a knapsack and easel thrown over his shoulder - off Turner would venture into the wild blue yonder to discover the joys of the world. On these journeys he'd sketch and paint (as you'd expect). But, he would also write poetry.

Chapter five of the book is entitled 'The World of Poetry' and it outlines the part poetry had to play throughout Turner's life.

Well, I came across this 'love' poem written by Turner around 1800-1805 and I thought I'd share it with you, along with one of his paintings. I've typed the poem here exactly as it appears in the book. The painting is from Wikipedia with a creative commons license.

I like seeing Turner's poetry and paintings together. I think it adds another layer of complexity. You can feel his intensity through both.

I mentioned yesterday that I struggle with still life, and I think I know why. In my opinion most still life paintings lack emotion unlike other forms. I wonder if Turner painted any still life's? I doubt it somehow. Being pent-up wasn't his style. Or at least it wasn't on the canvas as it may have been in the bedroom. He remained single and forlorn his entire life.

Turner may have been thinking of 'Fisherman at Sea 1796' - the painting below, when he wrote this poem. There's no mention of it in Lindsay's book, but they do appear to complement each other. Lindsay does say that Turner was having problems in his relationship with Sarah Danby at the time. She was married to a friend of Turners, who died suddenly. And Turner filled the void so to speak. So, this was a difficult time for Turner.

I'll toddle off and go and paint my wee 6 by 6' still life now. Light and shade, light and shade, emotion, turbulence.......bye.

Love is like the raging Ocean
Wind(s) that sway it's troubled motion
Womens temper will supply

Man the easy bark which sailing
On the unblest treacherous sea
Where Cares like waves in fell succession
Frown destruction over his days
Overwhelming crews in traitrous way

This thro life we circling tread
Recr(e)ant poor or vainly wise
Unheed(ing) grasp the bubble Pleasure
Which bursts his grasp or flies

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