My on-line diary began in the 1990's from my studio in the North of England. After a lapse of ten years, I resumed posting from my present studio on the Caribbean island of Dominica.

From the far beginning, the intention has been to give an insight into my working methods, and to share the triumphs, trials and tribulations of work-in-progress.

My diary pages are followed by thousands of artists, art students and art lovers in over 50 countries.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Colour Black…

Forty-five years ago I declared myself as an artist on the pavements of France.  Last Friday I declared myself as a poet at the opening night of the Dominica Literature Festival.  My daughter Tania – the real poet in the family - was also selected to read.  Unfortunately, she came down with a virus and had to stand down.  The Dominica Writers’ Guild had asked for submission on the theme of colour.   Tania’s unread poem was titled, The Colour Of Her Soul and mine, The Colour Black.  

At a cursory glance
All shades are reduced to just that.

But to the painter, poet and lover
A hundred hues compete,
With the jet of her cane-row hair
And the pale saffron soles of her feet.
Put aside your tubes of Scarlet Lake,
And erase cloy similes of peach. 
Look instead at freshly tilled earth
Or a wave-washed volcanic sand beach.

Cinnamon bark and breadfruit leaf,
Coffee beans in the warmth of the sun.
These tints her whole being encapsulates,
With nature’s own colours, she’s one.

From the dark areola of her breast
Brown madder and yellow ochre merge. 
While sienna reds and blues subdued
In deep purple shadows converge.

Bold washes from her shoulders run
To trace the curve of her spine,
Elsewhere they accumulate
To hide a forested secret - that’s mine!

False mascara need not disguise
The warm sepia bloom of her cheek.
And applied loud rouge cannot improve
On rust-red coral - to her lips unique.

Just as her spirit cannot be bound,
To the pallid accepted norm.
Nor can the colours with which she abounds
Deny the race to which she was born.

Thus, to mellow tones my muse awakes
With shades of the islands beneath her feet.
With fervent passion I respond,
My sketch from life is complete.  

I dedicated the poem to Denise, my wife and model. Denise courageously read the work on stage.  A daunting task when your audience includes some of the Caribbean’s finest poets and writers.  Today’s picture shows Denise in her more familiar role, encompassing all shades of The Colour Black.


  1. Wonderful poem! I love the way you have worked in all of the colours of the Caribbean to show that there is so much more for those who take the time to look closely.

  2. I love the poem....great talent!

  3. Reminds me of a long time lover back in the 70's. Carribean girl with green eyes and thighs that have toppled civilizations through the ages.