collecting colours over a cup of coffee...
Friday, November 30, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Friday, November 09, 2007
Girl at Sewing Machine, Edward Hopper
It must be warm in the room, walls the color of over-steeped tea,
the sun high,
coating the yellow brick exterior of the apartment building,
angling in on
the girl, stripped down to camisole and petticoat, sewing.
She's a busty girl,
soft, no doubt perspiring, slippery under her breasts, moisture
trapped on the back
of her neck under all that chestnut hair. She doesn't notice,
though; you can see
she's intent on her seam. She doesn't slump over the machine
but bends from the hip,
her body as attuned as her hands. Her feet, though not shown
in the painting,
are bound to be pudgy, are probably bare, pumping the treadle
ka-chunk ka-chunk ka-chunk
but that's unconscious. Her point of concentration is the needle,
its chick chick chick chick chick, necessity to keep the material
in perfect position,
position. What is she making? The fabric looks heavy and yet
whipped cream, or cumulus clouds; certain girls, while large, move
with grace (when nobody's
there) but in public, conceal, or try to conceal, their bodies
beneath long clothes.
They favor long hair, feeling it wimples and veils embarrassment.
Yes, I know this girl.
Only in her room, only when unseen, can she relax at all, peel off
a hot blouse,
a brown skirt, like the one heaped on her bed in the background,
take pleasure in
a good hairbrush, the bottle of scent on the dresser, the picture
of her own choosing
on the wall. Whatever she's making--let's go ahead and say it's
a dress for herself--
she is not, as you might think, dreaming of a party, a dance,
or a wedding. No, she's
deciding to flat-fell that seam--time-consuming, but worth it--
I'm sure she knows by now not to expect much attention from boys.
She's what? twenty?
eighteen? She will, in time, use many words to describe herself,
not all of them bad;
but not once will one of them be "pretty," or "lovely." Those
aren't for a fat girl
though she can take a mass of cloth, and a cast-iron machine,
and make a beautiful shape.
PS- Sincere Apologies for the back-log last week.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
The Dance or The Peasant Dance, Brueghel
In Brueghel's great picture, The Kermess,
the dancers go round, they go round and
around, the squeal and the blare and the
tweedle of bagpipes, a bugle and fiddles
tipping their bellies (round as the thick-
sided glasses whose wash they impound)
their hips and their bellies off balance
to turn them. Kicking and rolling
about the Fair Grounds, swinging their butts, those
shanks must be sound to bear up under such
rollicking measures, prance as they dance
in Brueghel's great picture, The Kermess.
-William Carlos Williams
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Slavers throwing overboard the Dead and Dying - Typhon coming on (The Slave Ship), JMW Turner
Before You Read the Plaque About Turner's "Slave Ship"*
See the bare canvas. A pure white
bone that splits the sky's
weak, warm skin of colors.
What will be left on the ocean floor,
What will be left under the swells,
What will be left is unspeakable
and vivid and not the vicious beauty
of cracking masts against the atmosphere
writing lines of blood. Not the blended light,
or the curious gulls. Not the market's
Not the gods' desperation to include us in this disaster,
without our will. But the bare, bright,
smoothed bones of many, many hands,
so cold, down where the master
could not imagine,
could not light
the darkest depths.
~ David Wright
Note: This is one of the most intense paintings I have seen, in real tiem and space it is imposing on consciousness. And with the content on conscience.
Also, couldnt manage to publish to original spacing of the poem, Html challenged sorry.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
The Great Wave, Katsushika Hokusai
The Great Wave: Hokusai
But we will take the problem in its most obscure manifestation, and suppose that our spectator is an average Englishman. A trained observer. carefully hidden behind a screen, might notice a dilation in his eyes, even an intake of his breath, perhaps a grunt. (Herbert Read, The Meaning of Art)
It is because the sea is blue,
Because Fuji is blue, because the bent blue
Men have white faces, like the snow
On Fuji, like the crest of the wave in the sky the color of their
Boats. It is because the air
Is full of writing, because the wave is still: that nothing
Will harm these frail strangers,
That high over Fuji in an earthcolored sky the fingers
Will not fall; and the blue men
Lean on the sea like snow, and the wave like a mountain leans
Against the sky.
In the painter's sea
All fishermen are safe. All anger bends under his unity.
But the innocent bystander, he merely
'Walks round a corner, thinking of nothing': hidden
Behind a screen we hear his cry.
He stands half in and half out of the world; he is the men,
But he cannot see below Fuji
The shore the color of sky; he is the wave, he stretches
His claws against strangers. He is
Not safe, not even from himself. His world is flat.
He fishes a sea full of serpents, he rides his boat
Blindly from wave to wave toward Ararat.
Monday, November 05, 2007
The Village of the Mermaids
Who is that man in black, walking
away from us into the distance?
The painter, they say, took a long time
finding his vision of the world.
The mermaids, if that is what they are
under their full-length skirts,
sit facing each other
all down the street, more of an alley,
in front of their gray row houses.
They all look the same, like a fair-haired
order of nuns, or like prostitutes
with chaste, identical faces.
How calm they are, with their vacant eyes,
their hands in laps that betray nothing.
Only one has scales on her dusky dress.
It is 1942; it is Europe,
and nothing fits. The one familiar figure
is the man in black approaching the sea,
and he is small and walking away from us.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
The Man with the Hoe
God made man in His own image
In the image of God He made him.--Genesis
Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans
Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground,
The emptiness of ages in his face,
And on his back the burden of the world.
Who made him dead to rapture and despair
A thing that grieves not and that never hopes,
Stolid and stunned, a brother to the ox?
Who loosened and let down this brutal jaw?
Whose was the hand that slanted back this brow?
Whose breath blew out the light within this brain?
Is this the Thing the Lord God made and gave
To have dominion over sea and land;
To trace the stars and search the heavens for power;
To feel the passion of Eternity?
Is this the dream He dreamed who shaped the suns
And markt their ways upon the ancient deep?
Down all the caverns of Hell to their last gulf
There is no shape more terrible than this--
More tongued with censure of the world's blind greed--
More filled with signs and portents for the soul--
More packt with danger to the universe.
What gulfs between him and the seraphim!
Slave of the wheel of labor, what to him
Are Plato and the swing of Pleiades?
What the long reaches of the peaks of song,
The rife of dawn, the reddening of the rose?
Through this dread shape the suffering ages look;
Time's tragedy is in that aching stoop;
Through this dread shape humanity betrayed,
Plundered, profaned and disinherited,
Cries protest to the Powers that made the world,
A protest that is also prophecy.
O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
Is this the handiwork you give to God,
This monstrous thing distorted and soul-quencht?
How will you ever straighten up this shape;
Touch it again with immortality;
Give back the upward looking and the light;
Rebuild in it the music and the dream;
Make right the immemorial infamies,
Perfidlous wrongs, Immedicable woes?
O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
How will the future reckon with this Man?
How answer his brute question in that hour
When whirlwinds of rebellion shake all shores?
How will it be with kingdoms and with kings--
With those who shaped him to the thing he is--
When this dumb Terror shall rise to judge the world,
After the silence of the centuries?
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Just outside the frame
there has to be a dog
chickens, cows and hay
and a smokehouse
where a ham in hickory
is also being preserved
Here for all time
the borders of the Gothic window
anticipate the ribs
of the house
the tines of the pitchfork
repeat the triumph
of his overalls
and front and center
the long faces, the sober lips
above the upright spines
of this couple
arrested in the name of art
the sun this high
ought to be
in mortal time
about their businesses
Instead they linger here
within the patient fabric
of the lives they wove
he asking the artist silently
how much longer
and worrying about the crops
she no less concerned about the crops
but more to the point just now
whether she remembered
to turn off the stove.
Friday, November 02, 2007
It wasn't until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, when scholars studied Rembrandt's oeuvre as a whole, that it was discovered how very many times the artist had portrayed himself. The number is still a matter of contention, but it seems he depicted himself in approximately forty to fifty extant paintings, about thirty-two etchings, and seven drawings. It is an output unique in history; most artists produce only a handful of self-portraits, if that. And why Rembrandt did this is one of the great mysteries of art history.
Most scholars up till about twenty years ago interpreted Rembrandt's remarkable series of self-portraits as a sort of visual diary, a forty-year exercise in self-examination. In a 1961 book, art historian Manuel Gasser wrote, "Over the years, Rembrandt's self-portraits increasingly became a means for gaining self-knowledge, and in the end took the form of an interior dialogue: a lonely old man communicating with himself while he painted."
quoted from Rembrandt and his Self Portraits.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
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