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Come to our 25th birthday party! 30 November 2019

On Saturday 30th November, from 4pm until 10pm, we will having a party to celebrate 25 Years of Two Rivers Press publishing and to launch our new book, ‘The Art of Peter Hay‘.

We have booked the Waterside Centre’s upstairs room which overlooks the river as it’s the closest place to ‘where two rivers meet’ that we could find. There’s a great view from the balcony, although given that it will be nearly mid winter, it will be rather dark… But inside it will be warm, convivial and cheerful! We hope you can join us.

The Wokingham Waterside Centre is at the end of the A329M just on the edge of town at Thames Valley Park, Reading, RG6 1PQ. There is parking available at the centre or on the adjacent Thames Valley Park Drive (free at weekends).

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Trial By Combat- Fry’s Island, Reading: a poem from Damon Young

Trial By Combat- Fry’s Island, Reading

In April 1163, a great concourse of people assembled.
The King himself was there. Essex and Monfort were
ferried over to the island , and were bidden to fight out
their quarrel. Let God judge between them!
Royal Berkshire History
David Nash Ford

Water lapped the island’s edge
and branches swayed in calm.

On banks across the silver-streaked,
carp-brown water, crowds would swarm
anticipating death as righteous judgement.

A faith was placed in truth and falsehood
travelling through the flesh where two men lived.

Startled crows would fleck the near-sky
as metallic crash of combat played.

The accuser’s limbs found ease
in iron confinement and they sprang
heavy-handed blows upon the accused.

Years after disgrace in sinew and muscle,
followed by the ghost-pulse of survival,
came years filled with monastic, faceless living.

The man who’d been Henry of Essex would say
a vision of St Edmund the Martyr loomed

between the island and the clouds,
all vitality draining from his limbs.

Damon Young

Damon Young has been published in a variety of journals, is a winner of the Alzheimer’s Society Poetry Prize, has been commended in the Prole Laureate Prize, long-listed for the Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year and short-listed for The Robert Graves Poetry Prize, The Wells Festival of Literature Poetry Prize, The Brian Dempsey Memorial Prize and the Welshpool Poetry Prize. He helps to run the Reading Stanza of the Poetry Society and Reading’s Poets’ Cafe.

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Regeneration – a poem from Gill Learner

Regeneration
Paintings by Ray Atkins, Reading, 1970–1,
oil on board

From under the artist’s feet, always a chaos
of weeds: fresh lime, ochre, blood-brown.
JCBs sink grit-glossed teeth into chalky slopes,
orange and yolk-bright cranes angle extended necks.
The Holy Brook runs through it all: calm, indifferent.

A new road crushes Victorian terraces;
a retail precinct rises from the wreck of ancient shops.
Day after day, from a hidden vantage-point,
the artist observes, records. In impasto strokes,
today’s impressions cover yesterday’s images.

The swarming navvies, loud-voiced, hard-hatted,
muscles roiling under outdoor skin, cement-dust
blotting sweat, are guesswork: only machines
create these chaotic scenes. It’s easy to conjure
the smells – engine-oil and wounded earth.

The soundtrack must be rev. and roar, crash and clang.
But, as the painter swishes his brushes through
a can of turps, from his small transistor lush Mahler,
icy Sibelius, or the jagged harmonies of Bartok
whine and crackle over all.

Gill Learner

This poem is pinned on the website ‘Places of poetry’:
https://www.placesofpoetry.org.uk

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Peasouper ~ a poem by Elissa Michele Zacher

Peasouper

Late, the bus is late. I wait.
Imaginings skulk out of the 5am fog. A
Fog thick with portent. Disconcerting fog.
Flummoxing fog. An idle fog. A clingy
fog. Fog. Mist. Smog. Vapour. Miasma.
Haze. Murkiness. Gloom. Opacity.
Hulking charcoal shadows of Victorian homes
edge their way into realisation.
A solitary blackbird sings out into the indolent
obscurity. Condensation confuses the timetable
that I read in vain, bleak efforts.
Waiting for the headlights of the Number 21
to break the creosote-laden grey.

~

Poem by Elissa Michele Zacher

Elissa Michele Zacher has written for The Epoch Times, Ottawa Natural, Apt (an online literary magazine), the Essence Poetry Journal, and the Dawntreader Magazine. She currently lives in England, on and off in Reading.

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Cover Story – learn how Julia Trickey created the artwork for the Botanical Artistry book cover

Here is Julia Trickey writing about the image chosen for the cover of her book Botanical Artistry, and giving a fantastic insight into how she develops and perfects her botanical watercolours. Her book contains some amazing botanical art, and beautifully showcases her work and her techniques.

 

The fading anemone flower painting on the cover of this book is used here to illustrate the stages and techniques that I favour when producing botanical watercolours.

Tracing
I tend to draw the image on tracing or cheap paper initially. When I am happy with the drawing, I use transfer paper to transfer it onto watercolour paper.

Masking
At the outset I decide if any part of the image needs masking before I start painting. In this case I have applied masking fluid to the centre of the flower and the stamens so I can wash background colour over this area without having to work around these small shapes. Masking fluid is also used on the back of the petals and stem to create a hairy texture. I favour the more liquid masking fluid and use a ruling pen (shown here) or drawing nib to apply it.

Petals
To create the form of the petals I use my favourite watercolour technique: wet-in-wet. I wet each petal with clear water and, when it has just a surface sheen but no sitting water, dab in the colour and the shadows. I repeat this process on every petal, often needing to revisit each shape a second or third time to strengthen areas or add colour. The main rule is to leave each layer to dry completely before applying the next, and to retrace the shape carefully with the new wash of water.

At this stage I also wash a range of shadowy colours over the masked area in the centre of the flower to create depth behind the stamens.

Veining and shadows
To add detail such as the veins on the petals, small amounts of stronger paint are applied with the tip of the brush. I then run damp colour down the side of these veins to help them blend into the wet-in-wet layers. Similarly, I will use small amounts of damp colour to strengthen areas such as shadows. Getting a good range of tones from light to dark is one of my priorities, whatever I am painting.
Once I’m happy with the depth of colour behind the stamens, I remove the masking fluid. The shapes revealed in this way can look quite stark and might need refining.

Stamens
To paint the stamens, I start by washing greys and beiges over the shapes then, with careful reference to the real flower, add detail to each shape. The centre of the flower is the area to which the eye is drawn so it needs to be painted with particular care.

Having worked up-close on the detail, stamens and the leafy collar, I take a step back to assess whether I need to adjust the balance of tones. Holding the picture up to a mirror is a good way to check this, or I will revisit it with a fresh eye a few days later.