10 Nov 2006

Love Poem to a Hostess.

 Love Poem to a Hostess.

Forget me not,
Miss Crystal Blue C,
As you soar through the skyways
That released you from me.
Cure the sky of its blues,
Bathe your eyes in its hues,
And keep precious the one thing
You've taken from me.

Don't look back at the ground,
Miss Blue Jean in C,
At dull road sign directions
You're not destined to be.
Let your silver winged graces
Leave white trails and traces
To fade in the sunset
Now setting on me.

All text copyright ian g craig

2 Nov 2006

Thoresby Gallery


"Sunflower Seeds". My first painting to be exhibited since leaving full time employment, though I'm happy to say there were many in the past.

This means a lot to me. Thoresby Gallery is a short walk away from Perlethorpe Primary School in which, as a child, my first paintings were once pinned on a wall.

There is however a slight “cheat” here, because this painting was actually done c.2000.

All text, pros, photos & artwork, copyright Ian Gordon Craig.

16 Aug 2006

The Gift

 The Gift.

Tick tock from the mantelpiece
Measuring time,
A gift from the council
At the end of the line.
Forty years loyal service,
Giving his best,
A gift from the council
Now measures what's left.

Chimes through the household
Punctuate every hour,
A gift from the council,
Mini mantle clock tower.
The day passes slowly
To its soap opera end,
A gift from the council,
A clockwork cold friend.

All text copyright ian g craig

20 Jul 2006

A Figure on the Beach.

 A Figure on the Beach.

The sun is low, the summer season passed.
Pale knee reflections in multiple rock pools,
Are caught and left stranded by the retreating sea.
Head scarves, hitched-up hem lines, and much stooping,
Peering into puddles, whilst lover's cuddles
Cast lengthening shadows across seagull screech beaches,
Their toes pressed in cold sand.

Everything feels distant on an out of season shoreline.
White grey light shimmers from the ripples,
The coastal breeze sketches the edges
Of her autumnal silhouette against the skyline.
Colours fade as the amusement arcade falls silent
Behind padlocked shutters, to return next summer,
Like a much favored toy from its box.

Circus posters in the streets are fading.
Local residents are now reclaiming their town
From departing holiday makers, dodgem car shakers,
As she leaves the sea's breakers for the comfort of a Cafe.
And then, tea for one, maybe a warm scone
“With a small jar of jam on the side?
“I shouldn't really, oh go on then".

She sits alone, looking beyond the window glass,
Her mind focused on something past,
Another season, long ago.
On an out of season seaside beach,
A solitary figure and a silly dog.
The kind of dog that seems to belong to everybody,
Just for one day.

All text copyright ian g craig

6 Jul 2006

Skegness, first trip.



For me, there was a real sense of exhilaration upon leaving full-time work. Partly in the realization that freedom extends beyond the weekend; partly in the challenge of what to do next; partly in thoughts about those times and places I once knew before adulthood took me away, wondering what they must be like today.

As a child I never went to Skegness, but I think it might become a place for annual day trips. I am lured by the sense of nostalgia which permeates all British seaside resorts. These sketches are just the preparation for a painting I am considering.

All text, pros, photos & artwork, copyright Ian Gordon Craig.

27 Jun 2006

Newstead Abbey, first attempt.

 Newstead Abbey was one of my first location as a subject for painting after leaving full time employment. I am struggling with colour.

The oil pastel studies below (one showing the view from behind the waterfall), were more successful even if the palette is a little too intense.

All text, pros, photos & artwork, copyright Ian Gordon Craig.

1 Jun 2006

Oak trees and late night thoughts.


Oak in a clearing.

Her life can span centuries. In death she can provide sustenance and shelter for a myriad of creatures. Her timbers once put roofs over English halls, and the keels of galleons which carried both the literary delights of Shakespearean culture, and the terrible blood lust of Crusading soldiers, across the globe. All beauty is scarred.

She stands alone, isolated within a forest clearing created by a lifetime of casting shadows on those close by. We could learn from her example.

Late night thoughts.

Tick, tock.
It's worth being up late just to hear the ticking of the clock, unspoiled by the constant soundscape of urban life. It's the big white one through the square window above my head. My mother once said I would never be alone as long as I had the tick of a clock to listen to. I suspect that was a voice of experience. But my child's Timex wristwatch had a very short life span. Now, alone is fine. Feeling alone would not be fine. Thankfully there have been very few times I've felt the latter.

Tick, tock.
Creativity is like a companion of sorts. It occupies your thoughts like a cerebral conversation, your mind exploring the possibilities each idea presents. And then at the end of it all there is this whole new creation, occupying a space where nothing previous existed. "A companion" is the closest I could ever get to a description of "doing art". It's like you were born with a double, but that double is only there, making you feel complete, when you’re creating something.

Tick, tock.
I bet the two old ladies in the white cottage opposite my childhood home, who had button boxes and tin tea caddies on the mantlepiece above their log fire, listened to the clock of an evening. Or maybe the radio? We only ever listened to the radio on a Sunday lunch time: "Round the Horn", consisting of double entendres I was far too young to understand, but which sounded hilarious just the same. Radio was mostly a holiday event for us. Me and big sister in caravan bunk beds, with Radio Luxembourg phasing in and out: "When the mist’s arising and the rain is falling, and the wind is blowing cold across the moor, Johnny Remember Me”.

Tick, tock.

All text, pros, photos & artwork, copyright Ian Gordon Craig.

30 May 2006

Shirt Tails in the Rain.

 Shirt Tails in the Rain.

Yesterday's child shakes the rules and runs wild,
Shakes her tips from the boys at the bar.
Spends her night on the street, where she's trained in deceit,
Spends the day with her dolls and her Stars.

Did you fall so from grace someone's taken your place?
Did you think yourself safe in his arms?
Don't you think it's a crime someone wasting your time?
Did you place so much faith in your charms?

She parades her self-fix like a fake crucifix
And the snow howls like ice through her veins,
But it won't free her mind in the cold winter time,
You might think that she's lost, but she's lame.

Oh Jane, in your bold shirt tail stance
Can you make jewels dance in the rain?
Or would your feet turn to clay
If you heard pipers play
"Will Ye No Come Back Again?"

copyright ian g craig

29 May 2006

Camcorder Highway.

 Camcorder Highway.

Camcorder highway, Tape ribbons on night's breeze,
Can't break the habit, Cold turkey's do time.
Heart on the handbrake, Lust in the fast lane,
Chasing the fade, to the end of the line.

Crows on the skyline, Call to the fox wind,
Clouds on their journey, yellow stone sky.
How did you find me? Hands in the bathrobe,
Welcome mat embrace, Linoleum grime.

Two sides to the story, No end to the circle,
Four beats to the bar, One word to the wise,
A child born on Wednesday is woeful and weepy,
A tambourine someplace, plays out of time.

Empty like glass, Lost on a bookcase,
Rain on a Tuesday, in market stall time.
Caught between conflicts, Eyes in the headlights,
Pink lace and shirt tails, nevermore mine.

All text copyright ian gordon craig

28 May 2006




All the paintings I exhibited during the 1980s / 90s were made using a very restricted palette: Alizarin Crimson, Yellow Ochre, French Ultramarine, and Titanium White. Now, as a “free man”, I perhaps should star with exploring Colour.

Below: It was so nice to sit out in my own garden, no work to go to, sketchbook and oil pastels in hand..


All artwork and text copyright ian g craig.

19 Jan 2006

A New Beginning.

After resigning as full-time teacher / Head of Art.

 The January sun never quite reaches the patio doors of my modest two up two down town house on the edge of the city, but rather reflects off the red urban brickwork opposite, to cast its orange glow throughout my lounge. It is a Monday morning, but one unlike any other Monday morning that has gone before. Normally, at this early hour, on the day which traditionally heralds the start of the working week, I wouldn’t be here, and it’s hard to shake the feeling that I should not be.

As I go from room to room each one feels like it is harbouring the same sense of confusion: Why was the alarm clock silent? Why no radio? Why no hiss from the kettle nor metallic spring from the toaster? The click of the key in the lock? Or the clang from the garage door? Today these rooms are wondering what the hell I'm doing here and perhaps, just for a moment, so am I. Monday morning's carpet is an unfamiliar place for my bare feet to find themselves. Indeed, the whole house seems so very unfamiliar on a weekday; so totally silent, as if it's been caught out in some act of great secrecy.

Taking to my seat in the corner of the lounge by the staircase, I press “start” and my computer stirs to life, causing Google's homepage to further illuminate the room in readiness for a coffee and laptop breakfast time. There are no emails, and I’ve never really been sociable enough for social media. So, I swivel my chair around to further peruse this environment I’ve owned for a couple of decades but never yet felt I’ve truly lived in.

The CDs along the shelves present themselves in orderly straight rows, precisely arranged according to artiste. Apart from their silence they remind me of the rigid rows of passenger seats I once sat amongst at this time of day on my way to work, or the formal rows of desks I was responsible for once I arrived there. I wonder if the people on the bus, or those seated at their desks, are now wondering where I am? They, still having a clearly defined purpose in life, and I, wondering what mine might now be. It's been a long time since I had the sheer luxury of Time; the time to sit awhile and truly listen to those CDs, feasting my afterwork ears with glorious music. But for the moment I decide not to disturb their plastic perfect display, just in case I’m mistaken and this place is not actually mine after all. Instead, I address the room and its contents out loud: “Don't you remember me? I'm the person who used to live here. I’m the person who used to live here and paint like fury over the summer months, blinds drawn against the sun. I’m the person who actually used to exhibit my art”.

The first sound to break the room’s silent response came with the morning post. Although startled for a moment, I do like the sound of letters as they tumble through the letterbox, and I wonder if they’ve always made that same sound across the years when this kitchen was empty of a weekday, with no-one here to receive nor hear them. I like letters. Opening a letter is like opening an oyster. Sometimes you find a pearl. But only sometimes. I think maybe last night’s dream contained a pearl; a pearl of wisdom.

I dreamt I was walking across the village green at the place I used to live. In the centre of the green were people I once knew, all engaged in a game of cricket. When I approached, they greeted me as if little or no time had passed at all, handing me the bat and saying “We were wondering where you’d got to. Come on, it’s your innings”, and all of them most eager to resume a match my absence from which had apparently caused a delay. The irony is that, not only have I never played a game of cricket in my life, neither have I ever indulged in sentimental visits to people or places past. The saying is true: “You Can’t Go Home Again”, and neither have I ever wanted to. Memories of once upon a times and “good old days”, no matter how cherished, are simply just that. I believe the “good old days” start every time your first foot hits that early morning carpet. And that’s what I think the dream was all about: I cannot go back, but I can surely reconnect with the person I used to be, the one that even I myself was perhaps “wondering where I’d got to”.

With the sun now a little higher in its crisp blue clear sky, I finish my second cup of coffee, shave, and get dressed. This new life which starts today, permits a favoured and faded pair of weekday jeans, relegating the collar and tie code of my previous profession to the depths of a wardrobe drawer. A new life, like a blank canvas. But what lines to pursue to give it shape, colour, and purpose? I’ve worked on many large canvases in the past, but none as large as this, its size determined only by however many years lay ahead. I am home. I am ready for the new challenge.

All text, pros, photos & artwork, copyright Ian Gordon Craig.

17 Jan 2006

Leaving School.

 Leaving School.

Those red brick walls that once caught the sun,
On fields where friends lay,
At lunch mid-day,
All eager to stay
On the breeze swept, time blessed,
Hips pressed grass
Where obstacles were run, in sporting fun,
By generations past,
Arriving first and leaving last.

Behind those walls, on oak-dark beams,
Where clock tower dreams
Left names deep scrawled
On creaking boards above the hall,
We silently passed,
Amidst Bakelite wells, with ink-black spells
Like dust on glass.
Where once was the present
There now stands our past.

A silent space, where Last Supper meetings
Left tracing paper relics taped to the ceiling,
And art student angels cast off logo labels,
Favoring paper and paste wings of pure flight.
Where card games were lost, each a forfeit would cost,
Paid back in a pool, cobalt in hue,
Causing Alizarin blushes, and a ripple or two,
Whilst musicians would play on a desktop stage,
Locked in Time Capsule secrets from view.

But where once we would learn are now taught to churn,
Avoiding all risk if it’s not on their list
Of things told to do, and so must exclude,
Adhere to the chill of curriculum rules, making fools,
Keep it straight brained, tepid and tame
Acceptable styles, all spark but no flame,
All lacking in spice, like safe turpentine,
I copy yours and you copy mine,
Familiar shapes, conventional lines,
It’s all a fake, but not a crime.

Therein now, between corridor doors,
Clip frame arrays display examination board chores,
Showing how to pass mine, same as how to pass yours.
Straying too far from these, like to be a lost cause.
But do not blame, or make any claim,
On souls that now pass, amongst spirits past,
Like sleeping mice behind specimen glass.
They may not share our distress,
They may not stop the press,
But for their moment in time, they will echo no less
Against green brick tile of no particular style,
From infantile child to adult false smile.

They are happy to take what they get from the State,
And show no concern for the chips in the plate,
If the menu is poor the salt compensates.
It’s not in bad taste, it’s just sealed in fate,
To arrive on the breeze but leave by the gate.
For myself there is now nothing barring my way,
Whatever my future I trust it to fate,
And this final “Goodbye”, it’s not hard to say.

All text copyright Ian Gordon Craig