Saturday, May 31, 2008

Venus like a Visitation

'the state of love in the world...'
...................she whispers

.........tendril of a curl curves
around her cheek, brush
stroke of honey-toned
watercolour; her eyes, full and
frightened, water saffire

..........her lips, parsed & pale, she
hovers on a scallop sea shell
above the waves, though she is tossed
to & fro by the windswept whitecaps

..........her voice a lament,
a soprano singing the ending of
Mahler's Ninth, grief disappearing
but never leaving,
the wind blows more strongly
until she's gone, a pearl of the sea
into the white horizon

..........echoing in the conch shells
held to our ears, her voice
ringing over rising waves, 'we do not
put each other first'

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Films that Inspire

Lately I'm smitten with Wong Kar-wai's movies, oh, what a man he portrays! And every frame is a painting. Beautiful, beautiful women and men. Vivid colour - who else does blues and greens like Kar-wai? Or those florid reds, bursting passion. And his films haunt me for years after. And Tarkovsky, my first love. "Nostalghia" being my favourite film for a few decades, and "Stalker," and "Mirror." The water, the light, the beautiful profound characters, the struggles, the massive sets, the epic proportions of ordinary lives, the poetry of his films I am fully grateful for and can't live without. And Wim Wender's, "Wings of Desire" - this movie has shaped me, my understanding of love, of the scope, the scope of us all. "Sex and Lucia," by Medem is a poem of sensuality, a full moon of wisdom on our fertility - the island with no roots but an interconnected interlacing of tunnels swimming with salt water. Not to forget Hero, by Yimou, lord of the Oriental martial arts movie, that burning story of the unification of China, painterly scenes of airborne dancers and bright coloured fabrics blowing in the wind or the spirited dance of candlelight, and wisdom and its knowing sacrifice. These are among the directors and films that inspire me.

In the Discretion of Inspiration

It's been a long time since I last painted, about a year and a half. Why did I give it up? I think I sacrificed my art for a relationship where it may have been problematic but now I realize not painting was the real problem. Still struggling with issues of creativity, in other words.

I don't mind the painting, quite like its bright colours, find the women a bit detached from one another, but then they are separate poses by the same model over the course of a few hours one evening at a lifedrawing session. If I did them again, I'd like to paint them with the wings of angels... and, who knows, may.

I realized that the figures have composed themselves into pairs - the two on the far right I don't particularly like - the colouring is too thick, but then again they're more earthy than the others, more ripely body, hence more sensual. The central two I rather like, somehow reminding me of the centuries of art looking out at me, it's hard to explain; one looks straight at us, I left the features of her face deliberately delicate, not forceful lines, and the other I happily left with her head in the clouds, almost sculptural, and she's quite androgynous too, sort of like 'The Thinker.' On the left are figures growing out of the swell of sky and earth, colours themselves. They remind me a little of Michelangelo's 'Slaves' who are both emerging from and yet still part of the marble, but my figures are free and lithesome, like flowers dancing in the breeze. There is one rising like a vivid plume, too, who echoes the far right one with the walking stick, herself a figure, in my mind, of the Australian walk-about medicine woman of earthy potent power, bald perhaps from illness she's gone through, but she's there, an onlooker, a protector, one who cares for the soul. All the figures are sensual to my eye. They blossomed on the page like flowers in a wild garden, nature spirits, fertile with the creativity of nature and spirit.

This little painting comes out of the womb of life, the women who are like flowers in the garden we all play in through our years of living.

Overall I'm pleased with this renewed effort to paint again. I have already bought a sheet of paper for the next one...

This is how to do it - to continually have something 'on the go,' bit by bit things get done, you just have to keep dabbling, keep reaching in, taking a moment here and there to add a line of paint, or a phrase, or a little prose poem, and then you find you have a book, or a set of paintings to show.

Inspiration is in the moment, in discreet, distilled moments of time.

I happily share my journey with you.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Women In Spring, process of a painting

Tag at Flickr: Women In Spring - I wonder if it'll work?

Sketch of Sketches

Sketch of Sketches

It's really pale, I apologize. A pencil sketch of sketches from a lifedrawing session in, oh, Nov 06, that's how long it's been! Feeling like painting again...

(25.5" x 19"; 64.7cm x 48.2cm on textured ivory Strathmore Artist Paper)

Women In Spring, first wash of paint

Women In Spring -first wash of paint

Women In Spring, 2008, 24.5"x18", 62.2cmx45.7cm, oil wash on paper (click to enlarge)

In process... who knows. Not what I'd thought I'd do. Painting, like life, is like that.

Colours dart at me. Touch, and pull their washes back.

Can I shroud you in the colours of the background, so you'll fit your pattern, so you're not cut-out from it.

I'm not different from the scenery I surround myself with.

Look closely, there I am.

With my addiction
to you.

Dreaming Truth, detail

Dreaming Truth - detail

dreams are infallible, accurate, true for that situation, that relationship, things change, dreams reflect the changes; nothing expresses the truth of life like the dream; the dream is a clear representation of our reality;

the dream is a clear representation of our reality.

dreams never lie, the dream doesn't lie: it foresees and predicts, even forewarns
encapsulates; explains; never our enemy - nightmares are our fears, turn and face them

the dream conveys its messages in metaphorical language, images that shock, or bewilder, or uplift, that astound, are vivid, direct

dreams guide, our helpers: offering insight, mystical information, a panoramic perspective

ancient wisdom calls to us through our dreams, where our intuition is powerful

Dream Truth...

Women In Spring - detail of first wash of paint

Painting Corner

Painting Corner

How little space for painting! This is the corner. You can see the original sketches from which I composed the composite image of The Women in Spring. What's nice is that if I don't like the way the painting turns out, I can create another one. The painting on the board is influenced by the one on the wall, isn't it. I did that one in Vancouver and it's quite large: Celestial Dancers, 2004, oil on canvas, 4' x 5' based on late Medieval relief figures of the temple art of Cambodia when it was in the midst of a shift from Hinduism to Buddhism. The smaller one on the wall to the left is Celestial Dancer II (31"x35", acrylic on canvas, 2003) based on an image of the Hindu God, Krishna. This nook is about to become all desk as I move the futon couch out and create a workspace for painting and writing...

Women In Spring - finished!

Women In Spring

Women In Spring, 2008, 24.5"x18", 62.2cmx45.7cm, oil wash on paper

It's relatively easy to swoosh paint, Zen-like, and let the image emerge however it does. Only now I sought to include detail, painted lines, to put effort into the composition. I wanted the women, who are one woman, drawings from one lifedrawing session placed on the same page, to be colourful like tulips in the garden. The figures appear in varying stages between perhaps more painterly and a reliance on drawing, and I don't seem able to move away from that, not yet anyway. I outlined boldly in paint tonight, resisting the urge to use coloured pencil, then wasn't sure, then knew that from across the room there would be more definition. The final criteria - can I live with them? Who knows?

The grouping; the way they create the space around them; their relation to each other; the view they allow the viewer; some emerging out of the washes of colour, or disappearing into...

The fecund forces of Spring, who can define it?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Potter's Trestle

Like a potter's lathe that spins. Keeping myself from the position of the shards in the corner of the studio. Reach into the freedom of wet clay, loving the act of love.

Shaping wet rock in my fingers, I resist despair by suppressing memory, reworking the images, a quiet optimism. But it creeps in during the firing. Hidden behind the grate of burning heat, lies spread like cracks in the glaze.

Flashbacks. Stressors break the pots I am hewing for the paint that will colour my life. Angels wings are torn, become iridescence in the glaze. We are forged to be free.

The ground of being out of which we are born and into which we die, this fixing of the centre of the trestle. The making and unmaking spins smoothly.

The heaven that was closed to us by angels with wings of broken clay, when you fell and cracked, opens elsewhere in the scenes of etchings, and you are restored, whole.

It's a magical playground, this studio.

"You better start swimmin', or you'll sink like a stone," sings Dylan.*

The stone turning on the lathe

In "The Times They Are a-Changin'."

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Angel Poems

Gravely, like grated chocolate on the tongue, sensual, erudite, but friendly, warm, inviting...a tang of citrus, oranges, and mango, O yes mango, sweet, ripe, dark chocolate embedded with orange and spices, silken, and I can feel your throat, a sonorous quivering behind the speaking, hum of life, quiet, symphonic in its own way, the miracle of your voice after the malignancy was eradicated, almost a delirium of reciting poetry as if into a lover's ear in the early hours of the morning, like the massage of holy angels soothing us in our sleep in the paradoxes in which we live like babes...

The chocolate a little bitter mixed with honies to give it a quality of sweetness to produce bliss on the tongue, the caramelized orange bits, oh. And so very, very good for us...

This voice, your speaking, thank you dear John.

Monday, May 12, 2008

On the Self-Portraits...

I was born in the middle of last century. The years wear like veils of washed light. Perhaps that's why people dissolve into light as they age, in their eyes, their whitening hair, when the blood that fills their veins flows under their skin like the pale light past sunset.

My brows droop, but if I lift my head high and open my eyes wide so my forehead wrinkles I can see. This is how I took the photos, in the bright sunlight eradicating the crows feet, the jowl, because I wanted to see my own eyes. To read what was there. To read myself.

And I found myself impenetrable. I couldn't put the cross-currents together, how I am composed of opposites.

All I could see was bursting light in the room, flooding the walls, the carpets. The being in the photographs is nearly incidental. Sun on translucent skin. The windows of the eyes filling with flooded light. Solar prominences. Sun-washed fields of light. Disappearing into a brightness of the flaming dance of love.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Inner changes? I'm feeling depressed, most uncharacteristically, which implies withdrawal of energy, transformation of the depths. What I'm feeling is a strength and a softness coming, these already as I define myself - independent and sensitive - but more so. Whatever anger I once had is long washed away; I am one of those people who loves to laugh. When I took these self-portraits today, I wasn't sure who I was seeing, pensive, yes, but lightness too.

Sunday morning: It's passed, only an evening or so, but uncharacteristic and thus important to pay attention to whatever newness is arising. An older layer of thinking passing away for a newer, fresher, more innocent self to emerge. If that makes sense! I edited the blurb to better reflect the inner process... I like the image of going to the depths to find the light, yes, the shamanic, visionary journey, and each time the depths are different and each time the light is a more complete spectrum of understanding.

There is a negative conventional view of depression. It's not seen as part of a larger process of the psyche in communion with its depths, nor the deep changes that may be occurring because it's seen as a problem, as anger turned in, that needs therapy and/or anti-depressants, and so the whole process of inner discovery is truncated. How can we develop wisdom when we are afraid of our shadows?

The sadness has always been in me, it's there in my photos as a young child, it's still there. Yet I am one of those people who loves to laugh, good deep belly-laughing!

I think I'm moving away from any sense of judgment, of applying systems of thought to people's actions, events, the way things are, that layer of thinking is disappearing, dying, thankfully, most thankfully, and a greater strength and softness is emerging.

The moment of 'depression' has passed and I'm feeling my usual quietly exuberant self today, ready to continue manifesting my dreams.

Friday, May 09, 2008

'portrait' & 'in the café'


colour scores your skin
like massage oil,
almonds & apricots,
& magnolia.

I paint you with strokes
of my heart.


in the café

bushel of gold apples,
........some darkly bruised;
bushel of dark purple plums,
gourd of stone vegetables
........fired in kilim
...............zucchini, squash,

polished granite tabletop
woven rattan chairs.

sultry jazz.

custard tart glazed
strawberries, blueberries
kiwi, peach.

sipping espresso
& cappuccino

the late hour
our intense bond.

'Pull Down the Northern Lights for Chandeliers,' Zoom video August 20, 2020

   "I'd dance to death to evoke it." "Who in me writes?" It was a rich, varied poetry evening where we read, talked ...