archives, fiction

Finding Magic in the Most Unexpected Places.


{Photo credit: Carolyn Stubbs}

{Photo credit: Carolyn Stubbs}

There is beauty all around us, even in what often appears to be the mundane, if only we care to look more deeply, allow ourselves more time to pause, to think.

There is always something extraordinary to be seen even in the very ordinary. The beguiling magical details of life are quite often hidden, yet can be found in the most unexpected places.

I would often pass a rather sad and neglected-looking old car when out walking with my dog. At first I hardly noticed it, a rusting heap of metal with peeling paint and clumps of moss on the dirty windscreen.

Where there were once headlamps and a metal grille, there were now just empty holes, framed by ragged corrosion, nibbled away and long since devoured. Yet it was once somebody’s pride and joy. Maybe it was still loved, as the classic old Ford Escort Estate built more than 40 years ago seemed to be in its final resting place.

Years of undisturbed cobwebs within the interior bore testament to this.

I hadn’t been past the rusty car for quite a while, and so when I next came across it, I was in for a big surprise.

In fact, it almost took my breath away! The whole scene of decay and degeneration had been transformed into an arresting picture of startling beauty. Springing up beneath and around the vehicle was an explosion of tall wild daisies, partly cloaking it with wild flourishes of nature!

The harsh rusty spikes of metal had been softened, and the neglected appearance all but forgotten. I just had to paint it. The contrasts of the rusting car with the springing up of natural forces are particularly symbolic for me. Time and nature had left their indelible marks.

I have often wondered why so many artists are attracted to decay and renewal, by the ephemeral and the transient, the forces of nature. I think it’s perhaps because these subjects have the ability to evoke an emotional or sensual response upon the viewer, making us think about our own mortality, the fragility of life.

The American artist Robert Smithson, famous for his earthwork Spiral Jetty was also intrigued by the idea of entropy, the inevitable disintegration of all objects in nature. The gradual changes over time to the appearance of his Spiral Jetty, ultimately realized one of Smithson’s key themes, that of decay and renewal, degeneration in all things.

Nature will always have the upper hand.

In a world that often seems to be focused on materialism, it’s very easy to overlook the many simple yet beautiful things that surround us; these are the foods that can nourish and uplift the soul, quite like nothing else.



CarolynStubbsCarolyn Stubbs is a British artist and writer, working and residing in the city of Bristol, UK. She studied at the University of England, gaining a BA Honors Degree in Art and Visual Culture. Carolyn also has Diplomas in Graphic Design and Information Technology. Experienced in the field of communication, Carolyn’s written and visual work appears in a wide variety of formats including the web, the UK’s media, magazine publications and books. Living Tavistock was written and illustrated by Carolyn, and dips into the life of a country market town with a foreword by the Marquess of Tavistock. Carolyn’s artwork is frequently inspired by the natural world, and her concern for the planet has resulted in some major art exhibitions that raise awareness of these issues. Yesterday, Today, the Future… was an environmental art exhibition that chronicled environmental damage through time with a vision of the future should we not clean up our act. It won the UK’s Wessex Watermark National Award and a personal letter from Nobel Peace Winner Al Gore was sent to the artist congratulating her on the work. Carolyn’s sculpted paper technique — where she draws an image, then with a scalpel cuts out tiny slivers of paper to create a 3D effect, works very well with birds and wildlife, reflecting their fragility and vulnerability — earned her a place as a finalist in the BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year with her Night Flight image depicting a barn owl and a mouse. The technique also attracted the attention of Bare Hill Publishers UK, and they included her work in The State of Art — Sculpture & 3D. She has written for various art magazines and journals, and wrote the storyline for Underground. Carolyn is also a member of the Bristol Fiction Writers’ Group, and is currently writing a novel called ‘Death Strikes Back’. You could contact her via email or her website.



{Find the Beauty}


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