Mountains with trees and rocky landscape in the Ticino region of Switzerland

Dark Angels Note 177

Dearest Friends

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



This week marks the anniversary of the death of English artist Ben Nicholson (10 April 1894 – 6 February 1982).

Although remembered as a pioneer of the abstract movement, Nicholson made his artistic debut at the age of 10 when his dad, the painter and set designer William Nicholson, gave one of his drawings to J. M. Barrie to use in the poster for Peter Pan.  It’s now thought by some to be offensive.

Nicholson is associated with the St Ives School, cited as one of its founding artists. St Ives became a centre for abstract art after he and his wife Barbara Hepworth moved there in 1939 and were soon joined by other sculptors and artists.



The indistinguishable connection between living and painting, a distinct difference between writing and painting, and finding the “only worthwhile success” in art, Nicholson answers questions about his work in an interview with The Times in 1959.

Read the typed transcript here on the Tate archive.



In the above interview, Nicholson talks about the effect the surroundings have on his work. How the Ticino landscape contains a “visual poetry”.

Choose a landscape that you know well. Spend five minutes making a list of words, symbols or marks to represent the different elements of the landscape. Can you use these as a basis for something more?

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



This week’s Sharing come from Ettie Holland.



after Chris Isaak

We slunk grey-faced downstairs and jammed the empty ouzo bottle into the

bin – normal bin back then, before anyone cared about saving the world –

gingerly replacing the dog-eared outer cabbage leaf that was

hanging over the coke can hiding mum’s butt-ends – it’s not on,

you said you’d quit – then retreating fast, like virgin cadets facing enemy fire.

That night we’d done shots from the cracked blue eggcup, me butterfly-legged and

bright-eyed, gripping the bottle with the soles of my feet. We had no

patience then for life to unfurl. You sloshed sticky-sweet spirit over one

side of the bed and we fell back, crushed together like anything could

happen, one of those heavy, thick moments that you want to save

but only exists in a flipbook. Flushed and laughing, you kissed me

or I kissed you, our pale legs tangled together and twisted in sheets but

graceful somehow. Your breath was hot liquorice and those days, all I had was you.


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.


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

From everyone at Dark Angels



Photo by Camille Brodard on Unsplash