NIGHT 53 – THE STORY OF KING UMAR ‘IBN AL-NUMAN AND HIS FAMILY

A City of Blocks, the Willow Pattern and we’re taking shape in the dome.

The City of Blocks.

Block City – I needed to see the 3D form a city would take for perspective reasons so I used my child’s blocks!

The Willow Pattern takes shape.

The Willow Pattern – Chinese but not Chinese. Famously and erroneously thought of as Chinese in origin, it was actually dreamt up by 18th century English ceramic artists to look quintessentially Chinese, so it’s a form of Chinoiserie. Known in the US as Blue Willow, they also conjured up a story in order to make it more romantic: two lovers (the daughter of a rich man and a poor young accountant) are prevented from being together by her father who wants her to marry a Duke on the day the blossom fell from the willow tree. The Duke gives the lady a gift of jewels and one evening she and the poor young man escape over the bridge with the jewels, the Duke running after them. They make it to an island where they live in bliss until the Duke finds them and kills them both, whereupon they turn into two doves that are united in death at last. This story was so enduring that it was even turned into operas, movies and plays.

Two birds flying high,
A Chinese vessel, sailing by.
A bridge with three men, sometimes four,
A willow tree, hanging o’er.
A Chinese temple, there it stands,
Built upon the river sands.
An apple tree, with apples on,
A crooked fence to end my song.

Sunlight on the dome.

Old photo of me escaping from a mysterious onion-domed wardrobe (location unknown – forgotten!).

The mysterious onion-domed wardrobe made its way into the painting in front of the ice caves (part of the Kubla Khan painting ‘those caves of ice’). Funny how parts of your life resurface into your work unexpectedly.

Floating islands in progress – standard motif of mine.

An airport and a sky cloud dragon blowing three circles (‘Weave a circle round him thrice’).

Strange fellow, strange pose ~

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