On moss and poetry

Category : Philosophy
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Date : 04/02/2018

So what is ‘poetry’ really? Let’s first look at literature, a sibling to painting in the big nice family of creative beauty. Looking into the word itself, it comes from greek and simply means creating, making and was earlier used for creative literature generally speaking.

What makes the difference between poetry and other writing?

Not necessarily the rhymes and rhythms with those specific names we learned in school… but there is rhythm somehow. There is a condensation. Nothing is there that does not have a meaning, not a single unnecessary letter. In German, writing poetry is ‘dichten’, meaning concentrating. I used to write poetry earlier and loved this condensing work, taking away, moving around. Painting with words.

Mossy forest floor.
Hylocomium splendens, glittering woodmoss. Graphite drawing approx 20x20 cm (8x8") 2017.
Hylocomium splendens arrangement for painting.

In this concentration the magic happens, that it also opens up! Breathing, leaving space for the reader/viewer to take active part and communicate. The careful choices of elements does this and in that way it works the same way as advertising! Just with such different intentions and results… There is always a manipulative element in advertising, whilst in poetry it is not. You, as reader or viewer, are free.

So, earlier I painted poems with words, now I write poetry with watercolour paint…

Poetry is about giving significance to the seemingly unsignificant.

I don’t ever have that as an intention! It just happens, because I see things that fascinates me and I want to share it to others.

Later on, when painting it, I staged this piece up on some kitchen paper, on a saucer filled with water and lay two large, heavy nails across the base, to keep it upright. Then I carefully painted freehand with watercolour mixes I can’t remember now… but mostly plant pigments, that I know.

Hylocomium splendens, glittering woodmoss. Partly with plant pigments. 25x25 cm (10x10") on Arches paper 2017. Available as print.

This finished work shows the 5 cm (2 inches) high, unsignificant piece of forest floor in it’s splendour, honouring the latin name ‘splendens’. You can see it in the gallery and there are small giclee prints, framed or unframed.

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