Villa Sylvia, 2020
Featured in ‘The Open Arms’ – Menu section
The Open Arms
“Milly Thompson is an artist momentarily without studio, currently writing a series of vignettes that stand in for paintings. Each is a scene, which, like a painting, is contained by its edges. Like a painting, each written passage preserves its relationship to others.” Read an excerpt from Villa Sylvia below:
“The flat white stood near him on a table, softly evaporating into the moist cold air. Serge was keen that the two women wouldn’t ever know that he preferred Deidra’s flower-filled beds to Sylvia’s European ‘landscape’ any day. Despite being apparently “easy to look after”, Sylvia’s section of the garden was in fact rather fiddly. And he found the aspirations for it a bit pretentious.
Deidra went upstairs to dabble with watercolours in her large nook. Gazing through the vaulted window she was inspired to try and paint the sky itself, with no structure, no frame, tree or bird – to have a go at a sort of Turner perhaps? The sky had shifted throughout the day between shades of greys: silvers, charcoal smudge, gunmetal and iron filings. Now the clouds took on a morose shade of manganese violet, the air had become hot and thick. It was high time for a G&T. Deidra sipped it then drank it fast, appreciating the effect, and stood before her easel. Again she read the lines from a poem that Sylvia had cut out of a library book and given her last week. The sliver of paper bearing it’s two solitary lines was pinned above a blank sheet of thick cold-pressed paper, mutely awaiting inspiration. After spending an afternoon idly chatting about Deidra’s pictures, as Deidra herself referred to them, painted mainly in unselfconscious blues and carmine, straight from her Windsor & Newton starter set, unmixed and untroubled, Sylvia had been reminded of another snippet of a poem by Mallarmé:
Je suis hanté. L’Azur! L’Azur! L’Azur! L’Azur!
I am haunted by the sky, the sky, the sky, the sky!
Deidra wasn’t really haunted by anything, but Sylvia had enough imagination for the two of them.”