Evelyn & Lyndon Pugh, |
Paintings & Poems
(Drovers Press, 2012)
A lot of us who live outside of the UK don't know much about Wales, nor may we encourage this part of the world to creep into our minds very often. As a remedy, this beautiful little book serves up slices of Wales, offering a quiet sense of some of the history and the landscape of the country through both paintings and poems.
Evelyn Pugh is the artist in this partnership. Her watercolors allow us to visualize the wider Welsh landscape as well as selected individual elements of it. While all of her illustrations are vibrant, her obvious talent comes forth when she focuses on the smaller subjects, like flowers. They nearly emit a fragrance, they're so real.
Lyndon Pugh is the poet here. His succinct free verse conveys the spirit behind the scenes in as few words as possible. He routinely hints at something lurking beyond or almost haunting the background. Occasionally additional information is included in order to further explain the sites and stories.
Otherwise, Lyndon's texts and Evelyn's images create a solid contrast. Evelyn's use of vivid colors can evoke calm or pleasant sensations, while Lyndon's thoughts and memories are often deeply contemplative, to the point of even being dense and dark. As an example: On a single page, Evelyn's beautiful and intricate red carnation is juxtaposed against Lyndon's tribute, "Death of a Friend." It's an interesting and telling choice of pairings.
More than two dozen paintings and two dozen poems appear in this 30-page paperback. Sometimes the paintings and poems match up and go together. In these cases, I have to wonder: which one came first, the painting or the poem? Sometimes each person's creativity is permitted to flourish without a contribution or interruption from the other one. I hope this duo will continue to be prolific, both individually and as a team.
Paintings & Poems is much more than the simple title suggests. Printed on high-quality paper with full-color reproductions, this offering is suitable as a gift for anyone who likes paintings, poetry, nature, Wales or something to think about.
book review by
Corinne H. Smith
12 January 2013
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