Malcolm Guite’s face has driven me to the easel for the fifth time. This charismatic, humble wordsmith has been the source of inspiration to many of my text-based abstracts as well. (see video below)
He has never once solicited a painting – I’ve sought his and photographer Lancia E. Smith’s permission to create the first three portraits, The Journey, Mozart at Greenbelt, and Saying the Names. The fourth portrait, Together at the Source, was my own creation from a photo I took of Malcolm and Steve Bell at Song & Sonnet, a 2013 concert by the duo at the West End Cultural Centre here in Winnipeg.
For a time, I thought I’d exhausted my Guite paintings (although I admit I avoided reading his poetry for fear of another compulsive painting), until I saw a photo of him on Facebook taken by fellow poet Grevel Lindop, in a rowboat on the waters of Derwent, UK.
The image hit me like a pail of the lake water thrown in my face – here was my next painting, and I was helpless to resist. In fifteen minutes, I had the emailed permission of Guite once more, to use his photo.
I discovered that at the time of the photo, Malcolm was revelling in his admiration of the poet, philosopher and Christian sage, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The painting of Malcolm Guite in a rowboat will become “In Coleridge’s Wake”, the name he had used for his Facebook album of photos.
I was due for some updated photography, so I asked my friend, photographer Ebonie Klassen to include some shots of myself working with the new painting. It is a joy to work on this piece, and Malcolm’s friendly face makes me smile whenever I enter my tiny studio.
In this photo, only the face is pretty well complete – lots of work to do! 🙂