watercolour gallery cartoon short story

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All the paintings of my A Camp watercolour series are on Arches 140 pound, 9 x 12 inch cold pressed, hot pressed, and rough watercolour block paper. They are mixed media Oriental calligraphy brush, Chinese ink, India ink, graphite, litho crayon, charcoal, and watercolour sometimes scraped with blades.

The watercolour cartoon comic short story is my analog/digital equivalent of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century spring salon paintings which were done by the impressionist artists from the sketching materials of the previous season.

A Camp is an attempt to complete a 100 year cycle or gyre of progress as Yeats suggested in his poem, Sailing to Byzantium, eh?


...the thing and the metaphor are inextricably intertwined and unified, just as Yeats hoped art and imagination might be. Yeats asks the sages to “come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre” – a reference to the winding or unwinding of thread on a bobbin – hoping that the sages will wind down from some eternal point into his own time.

Tom Hogge, Sailing Towards Immortality


The medium of mixed media watercolours evoke an earlier time but the medium of the show, the internet, refers to Yeats' " Spiritus Mundi" or a Jungian collective conscious of humanity.


The Second Coming -- W. B. Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all convictions, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


I would like to dedicate this show of watercolours and prose poem in homage to Roy Kiyooka my guide to poetry and painting at Sir George Williams University in Montreal. Kiyooka opened my soul to the Japanese art of Haiga and validated my love of comic books and introduced me through his poetry readings and greenrooms to the hip poets.

I am grateful, thank you Roy, you set me upon the path. I hope that this humble offering will be one of the a stitches in the times which will help to prevent the gyre from loosening and drifting and tangling into chaos.

Barry Smylie (barrysmylie@rogers.com)