Black stone no 6

Within the stone

deep in its heart

delicacy like a thumbprint

whorls and textured lines

traces left behind by

gentle sponge


texture of fur

the marks of nature

evanescent, set,

like tiger stripes

a fan, masks with headdress

peacock tails

like patterns left by sea,

lines on a cliff face

dendrites, deltas,

starry sky

nebula cloud

meteor tail

stalactites, swimming sperm.


A world of beauty in a stone

that starts out looking like a splotchy heart shaped patch on black.


To see all this, you need to approach the print, nose almost to glass, and scrutinise it for a stretch of time, with imagination let loose! I don't know much about print making but the delicacy in the heart of the stone is not what I expected.

There were other very different prints, expanses of colour, often incorporating collage, with that colour occasionally drizzling, trickling, fountaining beyond the edge. The printmaker was a true collaborator with the artist and an artist himself: the collage elements had a dimensionality that made one ask “Was this stuck on later?”


For more of Robert Motherwell's prints, have a look at