Toads at Night Paintings 2012
In East Sussex I saw a home-made sign by the side of a narrow road. It said, simply, ‘Toads at Night’.
Something inside snapped to attention when I read the words, a sensation like stumbling across something magical and hidden, for seconds I held my breath. My location and sensations were very different from being on top of the chalky Downland. There was no panoramic view. Instead, this was a narrow country road flanked by flood plain. The sign simply stating a fact of Toads at Night was positioned just before the road entered a wood.
I was in an ancient landscape, a place with white cliffs, with beaches and land where black flint had formed in a process that still hasn't been unravelled by science. A strangely intimate place of Downlands that seemed tethered to the sky and open floodplains and woods filled with mysteries. Even names on the map suggest mystery, Cuckmere and Ouse Rivers, High and Low Wealds, and in the towns, the unusual word Twitten for a path or alleyway. It is a place of magical and mysterious energies where what seems to be the sound of colour vibrates a strange and simultaneous anchoring and dislocation. The very texture of the statement ‘Toads at Night’ seemed to hold the essence of all I felt about this place.
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