Dark Angels at Henri Matisse’s old house, Villa Reve, in Vence – April 2019

Dark Angels Note 164

Dearest Friends

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



Today in 1954 French artist Henri Matisse died (31 December 1869 – 3 November 1954).

He was a pioneer of the Fauvist movement in French painting, taking its name from les fauves meaning wild beasts, a style “characterised by strong colours and fierce brushwork” – Tate.

Initially a lawyer, Matisse had no intention of being an artist. It was only through a temporary period of enforced bedrest that he took up the pastime and fell in love with painting.

His work includes paintings, prints, sculptures and his famous ‘cut-outs’, which he produced later in his life when his declining health meant that he could no longer paint.



Matisse made 300 cut-outs in his career, a technique that he developed to “link drawing and colour in a single movement”.

Read: The evolution of Matisse’s magical cut-outs on Reader’s Digest.



Matisse likened poetry to oxygen –  “just as when you leap out of bed you fill your lungs with fresh air” – he would read poetry every morning before starting work.

Think of a poem that nourishes or energises you. Can you create a piece of art inspired by the words, either based on the subject or the sentiment of the poem? Perhaps a simple cut-out or collage using newspaper or magazine scraps.

We’d love to see what you come up with if you’d like to share.



Jamie Jauncey will be giving an illustrated talk about his book Don Roberto: the Adventure of Being Cunninghame Graham at the Anglo-Argentine Society, Belgrave Square, London, Thursday November 9th, 6.00pm.

The talk is in aid of two Argentine charities and the ticket price includes empanadas and a glass of wine. Get your tickets here.


Keep sending us any 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 again 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.


Come to The Lab

Join Neil Baker for an afternoon of improvisation, spontaneous creativity, and gentle mucking about at The Lab, in London on Friday, December 1 for just £30+VAT. Tickets and more info here. They’re selling fast, so best to get yours quick.


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

From everyone at Dark Angels



Photo: Dark Angels at Henri Matisse’s old house, Villa Reve, in Vence – April 2019