Monday, November 30, 2009

My daughter's photo of me this morning



A self-portrait from this morning.




My sweet daughter's photo of me this morning.


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Thursday, November 26, 2009

In the Middle of the Summer that Summer

Paint becoming the sediment out of which it was made, a little muddy, silted. A cave painting. I understand the images and the picture is whole. From my personal mythology, where I cohere my experience. Not quite free association but like parts of a dream represented concurrently together. Re-finding who I am through what I lost.


finished painting (click on images for larger size) - it has a powdery quality and a slight glow,
a 'cave painting' sense, not quite revealed...



pre-painting sketch

In the Middle of that Summer, 2008-2009, multi-media: -oils -graphite -water-soluble oil pastels -colored India ink drawings -a self-portrait photograph, and sketch of women with charcoal found on the beach lined in Ink later, both printed on parchment paper glued to the sketch with 'water mixable oil Matt Varnish' -on Arches archival watercolour block, 15"x20", 38mmx41mm, 2008-9. Words from a prosepoem written on the back of the sheet that the drawings of the women on the beach were on: In the Middle of August in the Summer of 2008.



Scans from my notebook, written and sketched on the beach on that day, August 15th, 2008. Yes, I use a Moleskine®.

Women who were standing on the beach drawn with tiny pieces of charcoal found in the sand and later the outlines inked and the sketch sprayed with Krylon® matte fixative. Scanned onto parchment paper and affixed with Windsor&Newton® matt varnish.



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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Angels

File:Cortona Guardian Angel 01.jpgAs a little girl in Lusaka, Zambia, having come out of years of living in the jungle with my geologist father, frightened of so many people, uncomfortable in shoes, my mother enrolled me in ballet. Within a few months 'they' decided that I should train full-time at the National Ballet, do my schooling there, everything. I was 7 years old. I loved to dance! My soul was free!

My mother, however, refused. Not just refused to let me study ballet, which was probably a good decision for my hip bones now, but took me out of the class and hid my ballet clothes - the little black slippers especially I loved (too young for toe slippers).

I remember crying and crying and looking up one night and seeing a beautiful large angel in the window, and I felt comforted and peaceful and loved. And the angel showed me where my mother had hidden my beloved danskin and slippers, and I took them and slept with them under my pillow that night.

Surely a vision of my guardian angel!

When I came back to angels many years later - Rudolf Steiner says your angels abandon you around your 33rd year and then you struggle through on your own. If we can, he says, we need to open ourselves to the wisdom and guidance of our angels. To 'think as our angels think,' and thus we can find them again...

Angels, I believe, are unconditionally loving forces, and yet also protective. Angels guard us, keeping our vulnerable inner spirit of love alive.

Angels are the opposite of despair. Angels are trust and navigation through the intricacies of each day in the multiples of connections we have with each other.

As I learned to commune with my angels, following Steiner's advice, 'my' angels became a metaphor for my 'intuition.'

Like Blake, I've spent many a long hour communing with angels. Mostly what I understand through my 'angels' or 'intuition' is how the intent to do something operates. There is intent not necessarily before action but firing its energy. How intent becomes a way to explain the motivation for our actions, what propels our actions towards each other. And love, oh, yes, how angels most desire that we love each other. If we think as our angels think then we can think and feel love, compassion, blessing, joy.

I'm not a deist, though. I don't try to fit my notions of angels into any religious system of any kind. I used to play with faeries as a child too - and sometimes can still 'see' the playful little jolly trickster beings and nature sprites...

It's all fabulous! Who is ever alone when you are surrounded by angels and faeries........!
__

Milton's Satan was by far the most inspired character of those beautiful epic poems. Satan was where all the energy was. God was imperial, authoritarian, boring. Though Dante's God was alright, come to think of it. By Milton I think the whole endlessly blessedness of the blessed realm had worn thin and it was time to find the rebel.

I'll never forget Satan's fall to earth - so poignant, almost heartbreaking, yet the most exciting moment in English literature and religious studies up to that point.

Milton was never the sensualist Shakespeare was. Milton, the blind genius composing his epic poems in his mind all night and then reciting to whoever would take dictation the next day. They thought him a hack writer, and felt sorry he'd lost his sight, and oh, how he surprised everyone with his vision and his superlative composition. Milton's writing is, for me, nearly perfect.

Once I fell in love with another graduate student, many summers ago, who was in Toronto for the summer from England where he'd gone to do a dissertation on Milton, and he had a photographic memory, and lay beside me in the night reciting Milton by heart for hours... what bliss, I can't tell you.

Milton understood angels in ways that the Byzantine and Renaissance artists didn't. And he understood the Fall as the story of each person's quest to unite the fissures and splits within, as a journey towards wholeness where opposites are united.

Milton was a visionary.

Wim Wender surely is a visionary filmaker too - at least in Wings of Desire, which is probably my favourite film.

In Wings of Desire, the angels who fall, who become mortal for love.

What epic stories!

Are angels a type of simulation? We imagine them - even if vividly as in my case! - but does that make them figments of an ethereal light, an inner light?

Traditionally angels are thought of as guardians, as guides, as helpers. As emissaries of the godhead. Messengers. What is between the human and the divine. Angels are busy workers who concentrate on individual concerns, rather than the rather distant deity whom they serve. At least in the myths that they've come to us through.

I loved the Buffy shows, and Angel, now that was a most interesting way to present the Satan Milton bequeathed to us - angels with vampiric sides.

A literary study of angels, and surely it's been done and done, would not, I don't think, be as interesting as one on the Hell's Angels.

Or the roar of motorcycles.

Milton enriched our understanding of the power of angels considerably didn't he.

__________
Guardian angel, by Pietro da Cortona, 1656.

Not knowing what to post, I posted this piece, which I wrote a year and a half ago in some correspondence.

I have an idea how to keep this blog going since I feel I am running out of steam... inbetween paintings and prosepoetry pieces, I could grab a book from my shelves, any book, and find a quote in it that I'd underlined in pencil. And write something about that book, or when I read it... so many approaches rather than the dry academic essay to what are, after all, collections of knowledge, our beloved books...

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Monday, November 23, 2009

'Time of Recompense' by Ai!R

  

I am a fan of Ai!R, a Russian composer and musician, who I discovered on Jamendo. As I listened to his latest offering, while working on a piece for painting, in the deep night, I wrote images for each of the three tracks:

1)The Time of Recompense.
Like a massive, slow procession of cumulonimbus storm clouds moving slowly and ominously over the mountains, unstoppable, a dirge, funereal.

2)Lullaby for Shadows.
Slashes of sunlight tearing the clouds which gracefully part like curtains to reveal the stage, a grand stage of all life. The artist is playing the music of the grand story of the tableau of life with the tenderness of a lullaby.

3)Escape.
Strings, action. The inner workings of the organ in the silent night. An audience of souls. Ghosts dancing as the heart remembers love, joy, fullness.
Glory. Steady, majestic dance building tonal waterfalls, crests of waves of notes, golden shining through.
Increasing radiance.
Pure love in the final magnificent dance. Rich, timbre echoing to the steady heartbeat of chords until the last ray of sun sets.
The artist gives the gift of his music to celebrate the drama, the gift of life, a recompense. This love partakes.


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