I’m reading The Marches, Rory Stewart’s book of Border walks. In the second part he sets out to walk from Cragg in Cumbria to Broich in Perthshire. He is joined by Cumbrian painter Julian Cooper in the Lake District and observes that ‘when he [Cooper] walked he did not lift his head’. It prompts an exchange.
‘What do you think of the view?’ I asked.
‘Oh, yes, the view!’ He paused. ‘I haven’t done views. There is no need for any more of them is there?’
…I pointed to a branch over a narrow beck, trailing dark sessile leaves, and asked if he might paint that. He shook his head. It’s too obvious,’ he said. I mean I can’t look at that tree without thinking, “There’s no point.” I couldn’t think of anything new to do with it.’
I know that feeling.
Julian says, ‘I now want to fill the whole frame with the raw stuff. … Behind the flat surface are the hidden forces of physics. Gravity is holding it all together.’