SKETCHES FROM AN UNSCRIPTED JOURNEY.
A travel diary by Michael Carroll.
Launch - Allan Sisley and Frannie Hopkirk.
A good drawing is like a song. Like a lingering melody continuing to sing even after the music has stopped.
These: the songs, the drawings, the music, the paintings and poems are the things we can’t do without. These are parts of the balancing act it is to be human.
This is Michael Carroll’s book.
The songs and the drawings, the things dealing directly with memory – the road ahead, letters, post cards scribbled in coffee shops, lightning sketches, reminiscences of home, all return you to the romance of the journey.
This is Michael’s book.
The pleasures of remembering - shared moments, conversations, a glance or a touch, something in the shape of love, happiness at the sight of a tree, a face, or a building, a room, or walking into a church at evensong.
The gift of Michael Carroll’s beautiful book is that he shares all of this with us.
His romantic wandering spirit, his jubilant and searching eye, gently and humbly, he gives to us.
A life of travel spanning more than fifty years is serious travel. But for a painter it is especially significant. The sheer volume of images accumulated on paper and in his brain over half a lifetime involved a gigantic editing process, plus the added time spent reliving those experiences and places. All this challenged him as he put his book together.
The result is gentle book, a charming memoir in pictures and random notes. There are no complaints of bad food, late departures, rude tourists. His sensitive nature is reflected. The drawings are tender and wise.
Michael Carroll is Gulliver, the wanderer broken free of his bonds. Travel is in his blood and being n artist is his ticket of leave. From Asia to Italy to the Mediterranean to the Australia desert – the traveller owns the world.
The brevity of a sketch has its own truth. Drawing on the run leaves no time for introspection or uncertainty. The work and scholarship of an experienced artist has already been done. When he aims his pen, charcoal or pencil. He is ready.
He is ‘fixing’, as with charcoal, in the notebook of his memory. Fixing images, making them permanent, emotional, unchanging, indelible, valuable to their time and place. This is the merit of making marks on paper. Once drawn never forgotten.
Michael is the shy artist looking, thinking and working, happy in his own company, doing what he does best, what he was put on earth to do, relishing his aloneness, his independence. This makes him a lucky and a happy man. Belief in himself informs the work, making it strong.
He draws architecture with a Lloyd Reesian understanding of proportion. A pencil in his hand demonstrates the mastery he has worked to achieve. The delicacy of a pencil line on paper suits him, like silk on a beautiful woman. His drawings of trees are a marvel. His needs are simple: pencil, paper, and a vehicle to get him there.
The great value of a book of this kind is that it offers you images so personal, so true and natural that you can almost smell them. The book lets you gaze and gaze, it DELIVERS you the world.
This artist is a romantic in the pathological sense of what that means. It does not mean a heart carved into a tree, or a bunch of violets, a hot night in Paris, or a love letter. It implies a deep sense of being where ugliness has no coin. It is an entire state of being, an emotional isolation where the ordinary cannot easily intrude. It is a fragile state, easily crushed.
The romantic see the world through his own lens. If this is
violated he is likely to become distracted or depressed. This is what separates artists, poets, musicians. They are not like the rest of us. They are legitimately different.
Michael Carroll stands before you and says: I give you this, my heart. Tread softly lest you tread on my heart.
I commend Sketches from an Unscripted Journey - a gentle book from a gentle hand. It takes you where your dreams could hope to go.