Camping Out

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The feeling of being present with new life fills the senses. Blue sky greets the call of the returning chiffchaff as the daffodils rival the trumpets of Jericho in their unashamed glory. Time to dig out the shorts, the barbecue and the tent as the call of the wild bubbles in accord with the heartbeat of a changing season.

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Anna Karenina

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This bookmark was produced by Jocelyn Geraghty of┬áthe University of Queensland for a reading group that’s settling down to a year long study of the Tolstoy classic “Anna Karenina”. Jocelyn asked me if she could use my charcoal sketch of Tolstoy to illustrate it, and a great job she’s made of it too!

Leo Tolstoy – architect of the soul

Leo Tolstoy

charcoal sketch by keith fitton

I’m a bit of a conservative when it comes to books.Three of my most loved reads are Jack Keroauc’s epic “On The Road”, Tolkein’s “Lord of The Rings”, and without any shadow of doubt, Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”. The latter caught me off guard. I read it whilst at university secretly hoping it would be crap – simply (and stupidly in a crass radical way), because it was so heavily touted as being a great novel. Well, it certainly is. I quickly became immersed in the canvas that Tolstoy paints of life in Russia in the early nineteenth century as experienced by a cast of characters that Tolstoy depicts with immense humanity and colossal artistic breadth. This is an immensely satisfying and moving read – on all counts. Tolstoy himself was/is a fascinating man. Born into wealth, he became a foremost political philosopher, a Christian anarchist, a social reformer, an influential educationalist, an environmentalist and a passionate lover, along with being a writer without peers.

So I’m thinking of Leo Tolstoy and maybe its time to read another of his books…..

Seeing the world in black and white

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Working in charcoal reduces everything to its elemental state. But the real life lives in the shadows, where the light paints the dark and chases it into shape. In this drawing I’ve used blackboard chalk to give some contrast to the darks, in the absence of any artists chalk. Like our own personalities its often unclear where the shadows lie, but ignoring them means living more of a two-dimensional life. Too much light can blind, too much dark can darken the soul. Its the play of the two that brings balance and harmony. Perhaps!