Here is a photo of a man largely responsible for the creation of this new book! He is my employer, singer/songwriter Steve Bell.
Ten years ago, when I started my job with Signpost Music, Steve travelled to Ethiopia and India with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. He came home with hundreds of beautiful photos of faces that I could not resist, and this jumpstarted my picking up the paint brush. Steve is a photographer with a creative eye, and he loves art. He’s always supported my “habit”, and has been a mentor to me.
Steve introduced me to Malcolm Guite in 2011, and the inspired paintings continued, with Malcolm’s artful poetry and face gracing my canvases. Thank you also to Lancia E. Smith, who allowed me to use her photography of Malcolm to use as reference, time and time again.
I’ve done many portraits of Malcolm and abstract paintings incorporating his words and handwriting. This led to Malcolm suggesting we work together on the art book “Seven Whole Days,” and I spent a year painting 63 pieces based on each line of his seven roundrel sequence inspired by the Genesis account of creation.
My boss has graced the book with a lovely “Foreword.” Here is what he wrote:
As a songwriter, having worked with the poetry of Malcolm Guite, I know something of having my own artistry deepened by another’s. It’s a wonder really, to find yourself delving into regions you’d never have come to on your own, and yet the work is still yours. Alternatively, as someone whose artistry has inspired paintings by Faye Hall, I also know something of what it’s like to have one’s work taken up by another and transmuted into an entirely different form. I’ve literally “seen” my songs as paintings: colour and shape and motion and contrast and texture and… well… mystery. It is enough to leave one still and silent in awe.
Imagination, mutuality and exchange between artists can be a delicate and powerful phenomenon, and I suspect the reason it moves us so is that it
gives us a glimpse into the inner workings of the Holy Trinity whose dynamic relationality has resulted in a riot of far flung galaxies all the way down to ant hills, bird song, and salmon runs.
What you have in your hands is a human mirror of a divine activity—a fruitful exchange—and I am more than pleased to commend it to you. – Steve Bell