Archive for writing

Surreal Thing Happy Birthday Dali!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2020 by echostains

Dali is a superb draughtsman.  Some years ago I visited the Dali Universe, County Hall, London. salvador-dali-quotes-famous-best-sayings oneThis 3,000 square metre space housed sculptures, (1935 -1984), lithographs, drawings and wonderful  furniture inspired by Dali: gold and glass objects and  even copies of the famous lobster telephone and the Mae West lips sofa!

There were no major paintings on display, apart from the oil he did for Hitchcock’s ‘1945 film ‘Spellbound‘.  I took great delight in looking through Dali’s drawings which are simply exquisite and show not only his draughtsmanship skills, but how exacting and precise his execution of drawing was. His imagination may have been wild, but his skills struck me as very honed and precise, not something I associate with Surrealism.  Surreal, I know!


Dali and his wild cat Babou


Too much has been written about this famous Spanish artist: some by myself (please see my earlier birthday posts here and for further Dali eccentricities here ).

Dali loved wild animals.  His favorite pet was a wildcat, an Ocelot, called Babou whom he would take to restaurants, tethering the animal to a table and causing alarm to fellow diners.

The surreal image below shows Dali emerging from the Paris underground taking two Anteaters for a walk (1969).  Andre Breton, (Founder of the Surrealist movement) who was known  as ‘le tamanoir’ – ‘the anteater’)  used this image as bookplates for several books and Dali was to depict the style of the anteater in his famous 1929 painting ‘The Great Masturbator’

Dali taking a Parisian walk with his pets Dali taking a Parisian walk with his pets


One of Dali’s famous stunts was staged at London’s International Surrealist Exhibition, 1936 when he gave a lecture whilst wearing a deep-sea diving suit. He very nearly suffocated.  His wild exaggerated gestures were mistaken for his usual amusing form of eccentricity.  Luckily for him a poet, David Gascoyne rescued Dali – with a spanner!

The Great Masturbator 1929


A mysterious fire broke out in the artist’s bedroom in 1984, fortunately Dali was rescued by a friend, Robert Descharnes.  Dali was returned his beloved  Figueres , Spain (his birthplace), where his friends and  artists looked after him. In November 1988 he went to hospital with heart failure.  On 23rd January 1989, the artist died of heart failure at the age of 84.  He is buried in the crypt in his Teatro Museo in Figueres, much loved and much admired by most artists and non artists alike.


Images, with thanks are from here and here     the Ocelot image here, others from here    and here   

For historical characters with unusual pets here

Here’s some stuff you might not know about Dali here


Disappearing Trick

Posted in RANTINGS, WORDS AND COMMUNICATIONS, WRITING AND BLOGGING with tags , , on August 16, 2010 by echostains

I bet Harry couldn't do this trick

A few minutes ago I typed a post about Jack Butler Yeats with images.  Now I thought it was weird when there was no ‘post tags’ area, – but still, I saved it  thinking that  I could tag it through the ‘quick edit’.  Needless to say, I lost it, BUT I did manage to get it back in the ‘revisions’ (but with no images).  I closed my blog without saving the post and when I returned it was as if this post had never happened.  It was not in my drafts.  I’m a bit cheesed off with it really!  I’m only posting every other day now – but even so, the thought of trying to go back over what is already prepared is daunting to say the least:(  I will post something else tomorrow and call it a day (or…er something).

Houdini imaged from here

My 550th post


I’ve reached a little milestone with this post, and the last time I looked back was on my 500th post.  So I think it’s time for another look over my shoulder.  I’m still blogging every day (in fact I need to look back when I first started this daily blogging and see how long it’s been).  New categories have been added (Behind the paint and Art discovered and uncovered, Bodies in preservation (oooh forgot about that one – must do another post on this very soon).  I also did my first blog spotlight and am working on my second at the moment.  I hope to do interviews with all my blogrollers.  I’ve also started putting some poetry that I like on (whilst neglecting my own efforts on Bookstains:C )  Here’s some memories of past posts (the posts are still there in the categories.)

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My 483rd post is here


where my heads at

Looking back through my past posts, I realised that I haven’t done any summing up since my 427 post.  I like to do this so often as it gives me new ideas and alerts me to areas of the blog which I have either abandoned or neglected.  Some of the categories are outdated now, but I’m still going to keep them, maybe put them under a big generic umbrella – like all the holiday ones in ‘Places’.

gormenghast trilogy

Since my last summing up, there have been a few changes.  For example my other blog ‘Bookstains’ where I am putting my book  reviews (though I’ve not done much of that for quite a bit).  Reading challenges also go on Bookstains.  I have finished both ‘Titus Groan’ and Gormenghast now and am miles behind writing about Titus and my impressions.  I started that blog because of that, but I am enjoying myself writing poetry too much….

I'm no Byron

Having resurrected my interest in poetry, I have now written a few  in different styles and also a bit of Haiku – which I’ve never done before.  The poetry is also on Bookstains’. 

the ones which went before

Another category which I have started is about the preservation of the dead.  Strange, you may think but I am fascinated by all the different ways the body can be preserved and usually by nature.  I am very interested in geneology and have found out so much about myself from looking at my past.  I am the sum total of those who have gone before.  Art quote is another new category and does what it says on the tin.   I’m trying to pick artists who have made a lot of quotes and who I haven’t featured in ‘birthdays’ or ‘Art I LOVE’.

Behind the paint

A very recent category is called ‘Behind the paint’ and takes a famous painting and looks at the ‘clues’ to understanding it.  Teapots still interest me, but unusual ones are getting harder and harder to find.  The weird and Wacky design’ section is quite a popular one.  I like to put the objects into groups so there is at least a cohesive theme running through them.  This takes a bit of time…..

Branwell Brontes Barbers Tale by Chris Firth

Bronte Bites is a section that hasn’t seen much action recently.  I do have new photos which I took earlier this month and which I will get round to putting up on here soon.  I’m still having trouble with the formatting, but I can’t see me changing the theme as I think it suits my subject matter.  Oh well, onwards and upwards, as they say.

Disappearing images

Posted in Uncategorized, WORDS AND COMMUNICATIONS, WRITING AND BLOGGING with tags , , on March 19, 2010 by echostains

I don’t know if it is my browser of what, but I had reason to check some old posts today (Comments) and noticed that some of my images had just disappeared!  I am at loss with this.  Yesterdays images are ok and a few more days back, but further back, these images are just not loading.

I have also been on a fellow blogger’s site (a regular visitor to mine) and couldn’t see her latest post either!  It seemed that others could as they commented.  I don’t know what is going on, ‘m hoping its WordPress and it clears up tomorrow.  In the meanwhile, as a test, I am going to load an image…..can anyone tell me if they can see it – and who it is?


On with the Motley

Posted in ART, HOME, POETRY, WORDS AND COMMUNICATIONS, WRITING AND BLOGGING with tags , , , on February 25, 2010 by echostains

I’ve been very busy at the moment doing all sorts of things.  Some of it  involves getting my house straightened, which is boring, boring, coconut flooring.  Still blogging on Bookstains  (not as much as here) and have written quite a few poems lately (my Arachne rising seems to have arisen again after all these years!).  It may be fun (for me) to get some very early work out and look back on the airy fairy stuff I did in my teens (here’s a post about an early influence) and contrast them with some not very pretty punk lyrics…er ‘The Life of Charlotte Bronte’ springs to mind and would not win me many Bronte fans lol! another one was ‘I Trouble’ and ‘Voodoo dancing’.  I wonder what happened to them?  I might actually come across them in the sort out.  If I do, I’ll put them on Bookstains for a bit of fun . I’m experimenting with different types poems at the moment and enjoying it – which is the whole point of my blogging! 

   The latest one is HERE and very different in style than the other

Jester by William Merritt Chase


It’s good to stand back from time to time and summarise your thoughts and these types of posts help me do just that.  I really need to neaten this site up too – there’s lots of niggling things I can see, not to mention the erratic formatting that STILL goes haywire from time to time.  I keep telling myself that I should change my theme – but I like it too much, so I must persevere.   Blogging  is taking up quite a bit of my time (well, the way I’m doing it),  I must admit I have spent rather a lot of time on some  excellent blogs as I love reading (and seeing) and commenting on what others do.  I fullly  intend to keep  my daily blogging up: I have promised myself that I will post every day this year and I want to keep to this.  I  want to concentrate on my Bookstains blog too, continue to write a bit of poetry, carry on my book reviews and challenges.  And I’m still  working on a separate place for my personal art  which shall be launched this year.  So  on with the motley ….lots to do eh!



Poetry of the past and present

Posted in POETRY, WORDS AND COMMUNICATIONS with tags , , , , , , on February 24, 2010 by echostains

vanitas by Edwart Collier

I’ve read rather a lot of poetry lately.  Mostly off some excellent blogs that I have discovered.  I used to write quite a bit myself.  I still do occasionally (usually if I’m a bit squiffy).  Unfortunately, when I come to read it the writing is very scrawling and almost ilegible.  This seems to be a quirk peculiar to my handwriting in general.  I start, nice and neat, then the more carried away I get, the more erratic the writing gets.

The pied Piper of Hamlin by Robert Browning illustrated by Kate Greenaway

But I digress, as usual.   I won’t bore you with my latest poem here (you can go over to my Bookstains blog for that lol).  Since the poem here on Bookstains, I’ve since written another one in a humourous vain (at least I hope its humourous…).  One of the proper poems we had to learn in school was ‘The Pied Piper of Hamlin’ by Robert Browning.  How I love that poem with all it’s mystical fantastic imagery!  I love the rat a tat tat of the metre:-


They fought the dogs and killed the cats,

And bit the babies in the cradles

And ate the cheeses out of the vats,

And licked the soup from the Cook’s own ladles,

Split open the kegs of salted sprats

Made nests inside mens Sunday hats

And even spoilt the women’s chats

By drowning their speaking

With shrieking and squeaking

In fifty different sharps and flats……..

The piper who was promised a thousand guilders, rid the town of the rats.  But the Mayor reneigned on the deal and offered a mere fifty.  Of course, this did not go down well with the piper who got his revenge in luring all the children (except one) away into a magical mountain – never to return.  I think the moral of this story is to keep your promise or the piper, sooner or later must be paid.  If not, he will take payment in kind…

Read the whole poem here

Walter de la mare a wonderful childrens writer and poet

Another rat poem which we had to learn in school was ‘Five Eyes’ by Walter De La Mare.  This time cats are featured:-

Five Eyes

In Hans’ old Mill his three black cats
Watch the bins for the thieving rats.
Whisker and claw, they crouch in the night,
Their five eyes smouldering green and bright:
Squeaks from the flour sacks, squeaks from where
The cold wind stirs on the empty stair,
Squeaking and scampering, everywhere.
Then down they pounce, now in, now out,
At whisking tail, and sniffing snout;
While lean old Hans he snores away
Till peep of light at break of day;
Then up he climbs to his creaking mill,
Out come his cats all grey with meal —
Jekkel, and Jessup, and one-eyed Jill

Read the whole poem here

Pre Raphaelite Holman Hunt Lady of Shalott

Besides the famous ‘Daffodils by Ullswater’ by Wordsworth, I also had quite a liking for the romantic poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson ‘The Lady of Shalott’  I had a tiny leather-bound book of this poem.  The illustrations were beautiful.  I was very much into the tales of King Arthur and his knights of the round table (Lancelot being my favorite knight)

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell’d shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn’d like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro’ the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow’d;
On burnish’d hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow’d
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flash’d into the crystal mirror,
“Tirra lirra,” by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces thro’ the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look’d down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack’d from side to side;
“The curse is come upon me,” cried
The Lady of Shalott…………….


The-lady-of-shalott by fellow Pre Raphaelite waterhouse

‘Out flew the web and floated wide; The mirror crack’d from side to side;  The curse is come upon me’ cried the Lady of Shalott….  What evocative words eh.   The quality of this poetry is stunning. It does come from another age though –  a lost romantic age……

The whole beautiful poem here


Bogged down

Posted in BODIES IN PRESERVATION, HISTORY with tags , , , , , on February 4, 2010 by echostains

I've actually met Lindow man - and I know exactly how he feels. Well, perhaps not...

I feel really fed up and bogged down today.  To make it worse it is snowing yet again!  I hope it’s gone by tomorrow.  I have been toying recently about putting my art on yet another blog – but I’m not sure…..  Although this is an art based blog, I think it might be more appropriate to put my own stuff in a separate space.

peat-cutting time

Everyone seems to have their own particular category that they like – and I’ll be sticking with these and still posting every day.  But as I am doing more art work now, it makes sense to have a seperate space especially for them.  If I had included my own art from the beginning, it would be different, but I’ve only recently started putting work up.  Abstract art isn’t everyone’s cup of tea I know, but it was a natural progression in my work. However, it’s not the only form of art I do by any means.

always be creative with your leftovers

And so (just like that and so typical of me) it has been decided!  The move is underway.   Don’t worry though all the artists birthday shall stay here, the weird and wacky –  all the categories which make this blog ‘Echostains’ everything apart from my own stuff.  I feel happy with that.  It won’t be an everyday blog either, just when I can get time to put work up.  Bookstains will stay the same – occasional ramblings about Gormenghast and the occasional poem, plus authors I have read ,  (which are proving quite popular).

Croft house Skye Museum HERE