Posts Tagged ‘paint’

In Memory

Friday, November 4th, 2016

The following is part of a poem by Abraham Lincoln. I feel it’s slightly analogous to what I was trying to say in this painting, even though the painting, by comparison, is but a shabby and decrepit simulacrum. His meditation may not express quite the degree of optimism I tried to hint at in this image, yet I still feel both works share some little things in common; albeit his words are far, far more powerful than my chaotic daubs. And now, Mr. Lincoln, sir, the floor is all yours.

My childhood’s home I see again,
And sadden with the view;
And still, as memory crowds my brain,
There’s pleasure in it too.

O Memory! thou midway world
‘Twixt earth and paradise,
Where things decayed and loved ones lost
In dreamy shadows rise,

And, freed from all that’s earthly, vile,
Seem hallowed, pure and bright,
Like scenes in some enchanted isle
All bathed in liquid light.

As dusky mountains please the eye
When twilight chases day;
As bugle-tones that, passing by,
In distance die away;

As, leaving some grand waterfall,
We, lingering, list its roar –
So memory will hallow all
We’ve known but know no more.

Near twenty years have passed away
Since here I bid farewell
To woods and fields, and scenes of play,
And playmates loved so well.

Where many were, but few remain
Of old familiar things,
But seeing them to mind again
The lost and absent brings.

The friends I left that parting day,
How changed, as time has sped!
Young childhood grown, strong manhood gray;
And half of all are dead.

I hear the loved survivors tell
How nought from death could save,
Till every sound appears a knell
And every spot a grave.

I range the fields with pensive tread,
And pace the hollow rooms,
And feel (companion of the dead)
I’m living in the tombs.

Where Lethe Runs Dry

Friday, September 30th, 2016

This is an old oil painting. It’s not good, even by my low standards, and I can’t deny it might even be kitschy. It was just an experiment, and an experiment is what one does when one doesn’t know what one is doing. I wouldn’t have posted this painting if I had chanced upon a more successful piece on the same theme. The reason I’m posting it now is because I’m reading a biography on Henry James and I’m at a part where many of his family and friends are dying. That brought to the fore remembrances of people I knew who have passed away. They weren’t expatriate literati or cosmopolitan aristocrats, but they certainly deserve some sort of memorial. This piece is not ideal, but it’s all I had on hand to pay a silent tribute and pensive farewell to all those who have stepped over the threshold. “And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

In the Grasslands

Saturday, July 30th, 2016

This was done eight years ago. I assume I made most of the colors drab and sunken hoping that the contrast would make the white feather and yellow flower stand out. There’s precious little, hardly a single brushstroke, that I wouldn’t radically change if I were to paint this image now. Still, despite the somberness of the colors and the figure’s expression, it was obviously done just for the fun of it. Since I hadn’t looked or even thought about this piece in almost a decade, I can look at it now without any prejudice or vanity. Thus, I can, with cool disinterest, state that the piece is certainly no masterpiece, but it does succeed, in some measure, in being a “just fun to look at” exercise, which is what it was obviously supposed to be. Despite its flaws, I like it.

In My Wanderings

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

Another hesitant attempt at landscape. I think the yellows are more pure and bright “in person,” but, sadly, outside of that, this is not too deceiving a reproduction. And yes, it is inspired by those the-soul’s-journey-through-life paintings so popular in days of yore.

Herodias

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

I painted this in 2005. Kathy hated it then and she hates it now. I, conversely, am inordinately pleased with how it turned out and wouldn’t mind if I could paint more pieces in the same manner.

“A Merry Old Soul (to Life!)”

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

“Like God did God make man; male and female made He them.”

Albeit but a pale and stunted imitation of the Eternal’s, a father’s love for his children still defies earthly measurement or mortal description. To celebrate Sarah’s arrival into the world and her maturing, I’d hoped to do a series of paintings based on nursery rhymes. I was only able to paint a few over the years, the first one being Old King Cole. Together he and I welcomed new life into this old place. And the years tumbled by and my newborn infant was suddenly a toddler, her hair matted with peas and applesauce. And now that toddler stands suddenly before me a radiant young woman, her hair still matted with peas and applesauce. She so takes after her mother. Once another Old King Cole and I bid a joyous greeting to baby Sarah; now this one and I join in wishing her a wistful farewell as she becomes an independent adult. It seems only a few days ago I brought her into the world and now she’s all ready to go out into it to find her own place and make her own mark. I know from experience that it’s a scary old world but I also know from experience that Sarah can be even scarier. Through these all-too-short years, you’ve made this old man very merry indeed, Sarah. Go get ‘em, girl!

One last bit of purple prose pontificating. Nothing is symmetrical in this piece, Sarah, everything is lopsided. That’s my preemptive visual sermon if someone should ever tell you that your life should be perfectly balanced, predictable, safe and unvaryingly pleasant. Such a fate may be fine for a goldfish in its bowl, but it’s a miserable lot for a human being. Almost everything in this life is slightly out of plumb, asymmetrical, off-kilter and askew. It’s rare to have a perfect fit. Although that might be irritating at times, it also means that no door can ever be irreversibly shut in this life, it’s always slightly ajar — and that’s part of the adventure that makes this life worth the living.

“Ol’ Bossie”

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

This was just a fun piece done when Sarah was fascinated by dragons. I kept thinking if dragons were real, much to Sarah’s disappointment, they’d probably be more akin to cattle than anything else.

“The One Less Traveled by”

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

This painting is based on a Barb Stork photograph of Sarah and two of her cousins. Since the meaning is obvious, I’ll just do some rambling of my own.

When I was young and on a summer amble, I’d often stand admiringly before a tree. By evening, when I’d finally put pencil to paper, the real tree had metamorphosed into an imaginary old man, with the intricate woody bark now changed into a network of wrinkled flesh and the insentient physical strength now turned contemplatively spiritual. “I see men as trees walking,” as it were. Now that I am old, this work shows my woeful inexperience in describing nature as itself. Hard as it is to tell, that’s supposed to be nature surrounding the children. Ah well! Maybe next time.

A Quiet Conversation

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

This is an older painting. I dimly remember someone, I want to say
Maxfield Parrish, jokingly expressing amazement that his paintings never
exploded. I can say the same about this piece. It’s an experiment of
random glazes, arbitrary scumbles and meaningless mixtures that a
rational soul would know better than to employ. It may not be much to
look at, but I am proud that it has survived all these years without
spontaneously erupting.

Rumpelstiltskin

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

Is this garish? Boy, is it ever! But then, it’s Rumpelstiltskin, and that makes everything all right.