So this is why I’m not getting much writing done at the moment. My attention has shifted towards the visual and I’m working on painterly things. Learning materials and techniques and experimenting.

I remember someone telling me years ago that the first thing you create should be given away. I released this little beauty into the world last night. A golden gift for a golden anniversary.


relax, walk, watch the sun set 

It’s that time of year – two more weeks of work – then the summer holiday. This is the time of year when I have time to slow down, and reflect. It’s the time of year when I used to explore new ideas, try out new pursuits. 

What I’m proudest of this year is that I’ve made time, taken time, for personal interests throughout the year – specially the latter half of this year. I’ve started drawing and learning to paint. I’ve noticed that as I shift into this visual world my writing has gracefully taken a back seat – but I’m sure it’s going to surface again soon. 

What I’d love for next year is to find a way to combine paintings and text into artworks that balance both sides of my soul. 

3 day quote challenge : Day Three

So far I’ve chosen a singer/songwriter, and a poet, and I wanted to round out the set with a visual artist, and another male. (I’m thinking of exploring this challenge again, drawing from female sources of inspiration.)

Day Three

I’ve chosen a quote from Marc Chagall (1887-1985).

“I had only to open my bedroom window, and blue air, love, and flowers entered with her”.

(Chagall, quoted in M. Chagall, My Life, London, 2003)

And I wondered – who is “her”? His muse, his imagination, inspiration? His wife died in 1944 – perhaps he refers to his memory of her, her spirit?

I loved the imagery of his words – how they formed a poem in their own right, and how they seemed as much a work of art as his paintings.

I had only to open
my bedroom window
and blue air,
and flowers
entered with her.

I can’t remember when I first discovered the work of Chagall. I don’t know how old I was, or what I was doing at the time, or how I first saw his work – book, postcard, gallery? … no idea. But I do remember being equally enraptured by the dream-like quality of his work, and then confronted by his used of colour. There are only a few pieces of his work that I could probably live with on a daily basis – but then – that’s not the point of art. The fact that I find much of his work unsettling and confronting is what draws me back to it.

And then to look for quotes by this artist, whose work I’ve found so powerful, was another discovery. I love the way he talked about colour and its importance to him.

When searching for the source of this quote, the following link was suggested by the mysteries of Google:


The Christies sale catalogue situates the quote with a brush and ink a from 1954, “Grande nu à la fenêtre”, showing a naked woman standing in front of a window, and in front of a man sketched into the background. However, I felt a closer connection to another work pictured in the catalogue, L’inspiration de l’artiste” (circa 1980). For me, although there is no window evident, this work contains both literal references to the quote – someone flying into his space, flowers and the blue air/sky, and the sense of movement, energy and anticipation in his words. And love – well – the more I read, for Chagall, love was in everything he did.


Today, the sky was a clear vivid blue, the colour so bright it was almost tangible. The air was crisp and cold at the start of winter, here in the southern hemisphere. If I could paint, perhaps I would try to capture the icy chill, maybe using the cleanest, clearest white I could find.

If I were Chagall, perhaps I would use a colour that represented the feeling of cold – maybe a bright orange, or magenta – to show how fingers, toes and nose, once exposed to the cold, actually start to feel as though they are burning.



flavour : poetry : day 7

six thousand photographs
taste of time and love,
pain and determination
who would have thought
these black and white
relics could taste so rich?

these small portraits
are bitter-sweet
and speak of a time
when you used colour
to flavour your life
paint became the spice,
the chilli, the salt, the honey
the canvas became the table
on which your life was served

love and art and pain
are the three fire dogs
on which your life was seared

scrape the spines from the nopales
crunch the slices between your teeth
slice open the papaya
roll the seeds around on your tongue
split open the watermelon
quench your thirst with the sweet juice

leave the fire dogs sleeping
live life in the raw

there is passion
in the ripe fruit,
the soft flesh
the spiky skin
describe the body
you live within

hold the bitter chocolate
in your hands
until it melts
and paint
with that
then lick
your fingers

heat the tortilla until it curls
wrap yourself inside it
like a funeral shroud
Xochiquetzal the goddess of painters
is your guide
as you walk through marigolds
Mizcoatl, Tozpan and Iiutl
the fire dogs stand guard
Huehuetéotl the old god
lights a new fire
ensuring your purification,
your transformation,
your regeneration

it was never your intention
to live within convention


© Claire Griffin 2016

flavour : #introtopoetry : day 7 : found poetry

I saw an exhibition a few days ago – “Frida Kahlo: Her Photos”, just a day or two after reading the next challenge was “flavour”.
I sat in the exhibition and wrote the first six lines. After that, I remembered the paintings of fruit and other foods, and the connection to flavour was made. Searching for information on Mexican food, I found references to the old gods of Mexico – I hope they don’t mind the way I’ve included them here.
So I’ve taken some liberties with this challenge – reinterpreting the intent of “found poetry” by finding text and inspiration in the exhibition, in her paintings, and in websites describing the food of Mexico, and I used all these to inform the poem.