The Language of Liquid

Evening. Time settles, quiet in the heart, but outside a storm builds. The day was spent inside, working steadily, irritated that even when away from the computer and emails the phone rang, and rang. But work was done, real work, at the drawing board.

This one began with a desire to somehow paint that thick muscled tail of an otter. This one began with a sketch.

Small in the sketchbook, this was a sketch like a map from the mind, to see how the piece would fit the page. Sometimes sketches can be this simple, other times they work themselves up to be more.

This one needed the work to be done fresh, onto the page.

Next came ink and water from the river at Abermawr, a mixture of ground ink and the bottled calligraphy ink that has a texture that eats light.

Next came words, and round and round the words I went, with the names of the otter. And still I only settled them as I wrote, one letter at a time.

It’s such a curious way to write this, breaking the language right down to its elements and things begin to unravel and you question every letter, every spelling.

I’ve been amused that when people talk about The Lost Words pages of absence they talk of a random scattering of letters. But they aren’t random. They are the twenty six. Because that is all there is. Twenty six letters. The alphabet.

Language. That’s the word on this page that I found most strange and beautiful. I love the shape of the g, and to see it used here, two in the same word…. Love the f too.

Anyway, it’s a good lesson in being in the moment, working one slow letter at a time, with no delete button! And even so I lost myself in the words, and there are two Water-snakes, the Anglo Saxon word for Otter.

Not quite finished yet. Needs more gold. There is English, Welsh, Irish, Gaelic in here. Dwr-gi and Dratsie are my favourites. And there’s the language of water and ink too.

Will be for sale. She’s quite big. And I will maybe make prints which will be for sale at £450, signed, limited edition.

Now it’s late. Rain on the roof and The White Cat has a new dog bed. Time to read.



About Jackie

I am an artist and writer. I live in a small house by the sea in Wales where I write, paint, walk and watch and dream of bears and whales. I love to read, have a wish for wings and prefer the company of animals to that of humans, though at times I can be quite friendly. I am learning how to work with wood engraving tools and hoping to show that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
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11 Responses to The Language of Liquid

  1. Bernie Bell says:

    When folk say to me, that the phone demands their attention too much, I say …”Turn the feckin’ thing off!” It is possible, especially with an answer-phone.
    Often, they don’t dare, as they feel they’ll be ‘missing out’ on something – what they’ll be missing out on, is a mystery, but that is the fear which today’s world has placed in them. And they ask aren’t I worried about missing something? – No – I’m not.
    Anyhoo – that isn’t why it makes demands on you, Jackie – but – still, you can……………turn the feckin’ thing off!
    People who know you, get used to it after a while – realise why you need to do it, and stop complaining.

  2. Bernie Bell says:

    PS I forgot to add, that the answerphone has its ringer turned off – so it doesn’t demand your attention, until you’re ready to let it do so.
    Ain’t I a grouchy bear?

  3. Adam says:

    One of the most beautiful pieces I have seen in a long time. The wet ink of the otter’s thick tail. Just stunning. I see my own mother tongue in there too – Madra Uisce (water dog).

    • Jackie says:

      Indeed, and the Welsh is water-dog too. Love that people see it the same in different languages.
      Thank you. More to come I hope. I am so enjoying not working on books. A bit too much perhaps.

  4. Stuart Hill says:

    Wonderful, muscular words, Jackie. Matched by a brilliant picture

  5. Love the whole natural look of this lettering.
    and the dog and cat pile is lovely. I should go hug my dog even though she is sleeping and will not particularly appreciate it.

  6. John Ward says:

    This is marvellous. I do like your letters. And your ink that eats light.

    • Bernie Bell says:

      “Ink that eats light” – that’s a beauty, Mr.Ward – a beauty – Ink That Eats Light – you’ve got me thinking, there.
      An idea for a story? I’m not going to write it – but someone might.
      The ink ‘eats’ the light – then, what happens, within that darkness?
      All kinds of LIFE appears – otters, hares, birds……………..words –
      emerging. And, what stays there, in the darkness, with the light?
      A whole other world.
      Oh, my…………….

  7. Pat Bennett says:

    I love everything about this. Would be interested if you do end up doing some prints.

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