Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Influence of Art upon the Soul
I have always loved paintings. It stems from my grandmother’s home. Granny had these magnificent paintings of dramatic country scenes. Rushing waterfalls, jagged rocks, birds in flight over a lake. I wish I knew what happened to them.
Coming from the city and living in an area of streets of terraced houses with no tree in sight, these paintings conveyed another world for me and stirred my imagination. I dreamt of fairies and princesses being rescued. I remember seeing the picture of Ophelia in Millais’s painting and being entranced by the beauty of it. The visual arts have always awakened something magical inside me.
A painting that always inspired me was the one of his sisters by Branwell Bronte (National Portrait Gallery). Every time I went to London I had to go and gaze at this painting. It’s quite good rather than very good (that’s my opinion) but it was the sitters who intrigued me. If any writer influenced me as a young and untried writer it was those sisters.
I was fortunate enough, when I was about fourteen, to go and stay for several weeks at an Aunt’s in Halifax, Yorkshire. The moors were not far away, and each morning I would set off with the dog and we would wander at will. I was always a Bronte sister in my mind, hoping to run into Mr. Rochester or Heathcliffe. I only met the odd sheep as it happened.
Of course the movies had a great influence on me too. I went at least three times each week, and often with the help of friends, produced, directed and starred in scenes from the films. My cousin Stuart, often reminds me of how frequently we played scenes from the film “Tycoon” He would be John Wayne and I would be Larraine Day, while a friend was always the character Curly, who was hurt in a mining accident, and had to pretend he was on a stretcher dying. Hardly a grand part but he always did it willingly.
Of course, I never stuck strictly to the script and would improvise. It has all been grist to the mill for me.
There you have it – art has influenced my craft – I am not sure about my soul!