Quote from Gloria Vanderbilt: “All art, from the paintings on the walls of cave dwellers to art created today, is autobiographical because it comes from the secret place in the soul where imagination resides.” Background image is brown and white cave painting.

Dark Angels Note 157

Dearest Friends

Welcome back to our Friday Note – our weekly collection of writerly thoughts.



On this week in 1940 the Lascaux cave paintings were first rediscovered. An accidental finding through a fox hole by four local lads led to the discovery of this incredible collection of prehistoric art that includes some 600 paintings and 1500 engravings.

The paintings were composed by blowing pigment made of local minerals through hollowed wood or bone and with rudimentary brushes made of moss or hair.

Grotte de Lascaux was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1979 and is closed to the public in order to preserve it.



Interpretations vary as to why this collection of art was created, possibly for celebration or for storytelling purposes.

Newer research speculates that cave art symbols and mark-making were an early form of writing used to record animal behaviour across the lunar calendar.

Read: Could these cave markings be the earliest form of writing? – Smithsonian Magazine.



Think of a story that’s been handed to you, never written down but passed down to you. If you were retelling it, what images would you choose to illustrate the main points or characters?

Create your own primitive cave-art-style drawings to accompany the tale.



Last week we held a wonderful ‘Writing what we hear’ workshop in Highgate Woods. Our very own John Simmons was one of the participants. Here’s a beautiful poem he wrote in response to one exercise:


Heard in Highgate Woods

Vroom vroom, let’s now ignore

the passing of the cars, let’s zoom

down into these woods, the noises

in hearing of this woodland glade,

a buzzing stage where birdsong

rises above the here and the now,

chirping, cheeping, twittering over

conversations below, while far away

but drawing near, footsteps placed

one after another, left foot right

but still crunching out of sight,

what if in anticipation I simply set

my foot upon this much-trodden ground

without making a sound, gentle not hard,

aware of the decay that’s all around,

and we’ll come back another day

but for now my hesitant foot touches

the receptive earth, a respectful hug,

a song of thanks for bringing

this attentive moment into being.



Keep sending us your poems, writings, links and writerly whatnots that you’d like to share with the wider Dark Angels family. We love to read them.





Weekly Tuesday Gatherings

Join us for a reflective hour of reading, writing and communing led by Neil Baker. Everyone is welcome – from the Dark Angels community and beyond. We meet at 7pm UK time. To join us, click here on the night. There’s no need to register in advance.


Return to Aracena, 28 September to 3 October

This is our annual trip to the El Tornero de Rebollar in Aracena. Perhaps you’ve been there with us before, or have heard about its magic. Gillian Colhoun and Neil Baker are taking a small group into a lightly held space where you can explore something meaningful to you. It could be about where your work or business goes next, or how to recharge your creative energies, or maybe you just want to see what emerges when you make time for rest and reflection. Find out more here.


Poetry’s Circle of Growth, 19 October 2023

Dark Angels in association with Bloomsbury Festival 2023 presents an inspiring, uplifting and accessible evening of poetry on 19 October 2023, 18:30 – 19:30 at The Art Worker’s Guild, London. Get your ticket here.


A journey into the Sahara, 19-26 November

This is our intrepid journey deep into the Sahara Desert. Jamie Jauncey and Neil Baker will meet you in Marrakech, and take you east into the Atlas mountains, about ten hours later arriving at a stunning desert retreat centre called Cafe Tissardmine. Contact Susanne to find out more.

Be well, keep reading, keep writing and know that we’re always here.

From everyone at Dark Angels



Photo by Don Pinnock on Unsplash.