Features Published 12 January 2016

Words and art don’t go together

An experimental response from playwright Eddie Elks to abstract artist Roger Hilton's words and work - as inspired by his time staying at the artist's cottage, with his widow Rose, while researching and writing the play Botallack O'Clock.
Eddie Elks
Dan Frost in performance as artist Roger Hilton in Botallack O'Clock.

Dan Frost in performance as artist Roger Hilton in Botallack O’Clock.

Morning. Late January 2011. Botallack Moor.

Sitting at a desk in a small self-contained guest-building next-door to the Hilton’s coastal cottage.

Books.

Biographies.

Photographs.

Essays.

Poems.

Images of sketches.

Of drawings.

Of paintings.

And lots of letters. The Night Letters.

Start digging.

A list.

A list of rules.

Rules for painting.

And rules for living.

Or both.

Roger’s rules.

Don’t begin until you know what to do.

Look up.

Glance around.

Listen…

Weird.

Back to the books.

Thrilling.

Just don’t fuck it up.

Don’t.

Fuck.

It.

Up.

Make it good.

Make it very good.

Don’t try and make a successful painting or drawing – that is of no interest.

That’s right.

Of course.

Seek rather to learn something.

If you don’t get a clear message do nothing.

Do nothing.

Look up. Listen.

Look out of the window.

A large metal sculpture in the garden.

Then the cliffs of Botallack.

Then the Atlantic.

And then horizon.

Inspiration.

Please.

Never force yourself to do something. It either happens or it doesn’t.

But what if…

And he could…

Which would mean that…

No.

It doesn’t.

Turn on the radio. Radio 3 – already tuned in.

No idea what piece.

It’s dramatic… Dad would have known.

Listening.

Cliffs.

Wind.

Strings.

Fades out.

Soft voice of a lady.

It’s Weber.

Knew it.

Painting is a personal thing like a shit or a fuck – it’s what it means to you. Faith and truth are everything.

Read. Note. Look. Laugh.

Underline. Copy. Tweak.

Read. Laugh. Sketch. Wonder. Laugh.

Write.

Note.

Note.

Note…

It’s not so much a question of what you put in but what you leave out… same in life.

Stop. Breath. Think.

No, don’t think.

Shite.

A poem.

Tell me the time.

The time is Botallack O’Clock…

Note.

Another list.

A desert island list.

Clues… Songs… A soundtrack?

Rely on your instinct. If you think of one thing, do something else.

Pour a glass of wine.

It’s midday now.

Thank you.

Roll a fag.

Light it inside.

Nip out.

Gale. Cliffs. Coast. Expanse.

Come on… Back to desk. Here we go.

Don’t drink and smoke too much

Balls…

and lay off the nudes.

Look up. Cliffs. Sea. Sky. Nudes? If only…

Oh. I see.

Lots of breasts.

All shapes.

All sizes.

And nipples.

Good nipples.

And pubes.

Lots of pubes.

And arse-holes.

And cocks.

Or is it a gherkin?

No, it’s a sausage.

Real size.

A request.

Well… demand.

And so many animals.

Elephants.

A camel.

Horses.

Dogs.

That’s a tiger.

Snakes.

A monkey.

Many birds.

A crocodile eating…

And a bear…

Or is it?

And the colours…

I believe colours can be made to speak.

Wow.

Vibrant. Playful. Simple. Dense.

Revealing.

Intoxicating.

Words and art don’t go together.

Clearly.

And never write about your about your inner artistic mechanisms.

I’m trying not to…

And don’t try and make use of styles that are against your own temperament

Alright.

I’m in London. It’s January 2016. Done.

Balls.

Botallack O’Clock is on at the Old Red Lion Theatre from 12th January to 6th February. Book tickets and find out more here.

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