Tag Archives: poetry

Back in the saddle with eight legs

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Back in the saddle with eight legs

Back in the studio after lots of time working on other projects — OK, yeah, a little TOO much time.  Got a bit of an artistic block, I think.  Too many ideas, too little motivation. After all, my next show isn’t for another —-  FEW WEEKS!!!  HOLY TIME SINK, BATMAN!  While online project management stuff can be really good, it can take ALL OF YOUR TIME just to learn and organize.

In other words, procrastinate.

But it’s all good.  I’ve got show applications in and am starting to hear back on the earlier ones, at least through early May.  First one (unless I get REALLY stir crazy before then) will be in Morristown NJ – at the Spring CraftMorristown show again.  Then maybe Syracuse, maybe Gaithersburg MD, definitely Rockville MD, and WE’RE OFF!  Oh, uh, off as in Off to the Races, not off as in time off. Outdoor show season — I’m looking at another 20-25 this year. Watch my calendar for the latest updates.

Where was I?  Oh, yeah. Back in the studio.

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Watercolor on paper with a layer of clear acrylic above it with the last chapter of Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea written in ink as contour, texture and shading.

Octopuses (that plural doesn’t look right… is it?) are amazing creatures. Intelligent, curious, and alien. Well, not really alien, but kinda.  You understand, right?  Anyway, this piece isn’t part of my Endangered Species series, even though a few of the critters I’ve painted are classified as Threatened, including several of the coral reef species and the sea turtle. But this is more a celebration of underwater life, and how really stunningly different most of the rest of the planet is from our usual home environs.

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To wit: couch, dog, spouse:

Not that I’m saying that my home environ is anything to take for granted. On the contrary, I am DAILY thanking my lucky stars that I have what I do.  But I’m also incredibly grateful to be a part of this amazing planet, home to us and the beautiful alienish creatures we share it with.

 

The art of the sale, or the sale of the art?

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Despite my best efforts to sabotage myself as a successful artist, I sold another piece of my artwork today.

 

Today was the second of the First Saturdays, a new venture to spread the joy of the Greater Ithaca Art Trail to the rest of the year. Because I’m technically “off the map” I don’t get a lot of visitors to my studio; hence I show most of my work at Salmon Pottery in Trumansburg the majority of the year. Last month I had no visitors, but that was OK… nobody had really heard of First Saturday Open Studio yet.  It was a good time to work quietly, or not-so-quietly, in the studio, working on a number of pieces in various stages of completion.  The studio was pretty much a disaster, and it was a good excuse to straighten up a bit.

 

For today, I pulled a few pieces off the shelves at Salmon to show in my studio; I realized that my walls are looking rather bare.  My new exploration into shadow art — etching poems into glass so that you can read the shadows in direct light — has been so successful that I’m having a bit of a hard time keeping things on the wall!  So, I needed more finished examples in the studio.

Two visitors came in on this bright and blustery day, and we had a lovely time (well, I did… I guess I shouldn’t speak for them) talking about art and travel and birds… I introduced them to my and Gordon’s artwork, and we kept talking while they looked around.  When the woman asked about pieces that are not for sale, I commented on the fact that there are a couple of pieces in the studio that do have NFS on the label… not at all thinking that what she was asking was “why don’t these have price tags?” and “how much are these pieces?”

Um, duh? The Art of the Sale class offered by the Ithaca Community Arts Partnership has been something I’ve been intending on taking, but for the same reason I hadn’t thought about putting my own price tags on my art or printing out the text for all of the pieces on the wall, I haven’t gotten organized enough to sign up.

Then, despite my complete inability to sell myself or my work, I sold Bronte’s Tree, a central image with the writing on the treetrunk on the back side of the glass so that the poem How Still, How Happy was written backwards.  I remembered where the sales book is, and miracle of miracles I remembered the password to my Square account so that I could accept a credit card.  I was hoping with all my will she would not ask what poem was written into the piece because I kept drawing a blank, and I had left the display text at Salmon Pottery.  She didn’t ask, but I promised to mail them the text.

She even granted me visitation rights, although I think that’s going a little over the edge… maybe a bit.

 

 

First Saturdays Open Studio, March 3 from 10-2

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The Greater Ithaca Art Trail is holding its second of the new First Saturdays!  Come this Saturday, March 3, to any and all of the artists opening their studios to the public.

Come visit me at my studio, 5851 State Route 227 in Trumansburg, NY from 10-2.  This weekend, 10% all glass pendants by Nathan Bonnet.

Click here for pdf with list of artists: First Saturday Flyer March

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What the heck is an angwangtibo?  Here’s my take on the lemur-ish critter, using Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “Morning Song in the Jungle” as the text.  My second of two pieces so far using markers for the coloring.  Just for kicks. Text below.

 

“Morning Song in the Jungle”

One moment past our bodies cast
  No shadow on the plain;
Now clear and black they stride our track,
  And we run home again.
In morning-hush, each rock and bush
  Stands hard, and high, and raw:
Then give the Call:  "Good rest to all That keep the Jungle Law!"

Now horn and pelt our peoples melt
  In covert to abide;
Now, crouched and still, to cave and hill
  Our  Jungle Barons glide.
Now, stark and plain, Man's oxen strain,
  That draw the new-yoked plough;
Now, stripped and dread, the dawn is red
  Above the lit talao.

Ho! Get to lair! The sun's aflare
  Behind the breathing grass:
And creaking through the young bamboo
  The warning whispers pass.
By day made strange, the woods we range
  With blinking eyes we scan;
While down the skies the wild duck cries:
  "The Day--the Day to Man!"

The dew is dried that drenched our hide,
  Or washed about our way;
And where we drank, the puddled bank
  Is crisping into clay.
The traitor Dark gives up each mark
  Of stretched or hooded claw:
Then hear the Call:  "Good rest to all That keep the Jungle Law!"

– Rudyard Kipling

Kipling’s Angwangtibo

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One of three pieces done in pencil and ink; all the lines, as usual, are ittybitty writing. This piece available at Salmon Pottery in Trumansburg, NY, or on Etsy

The Buried Life

Light flows our war of mocking words, and yet,
Behold, with tears mine eyes are wet!
I feel a nameless sadness o’er me roll.
Yes, yes, we know that we can jest,
We know, we know that we can smile!
But there’s a something in this breast,
To which thy light words bring no rest,
And thy gay smiles no anodyne.
Give me thy hand, and hush awhile,
And turn those limpid eyes on mine,
And let me read there, love! thy inmost soul.

Alas! is even love too weak
To unlock the heart, and let it speak?
Are even lovers powerless to reveal
To one another what indeed they feel?
I knew the mass of men conceal’d
Their thoughts, for fear that if reveal’d
They would by other men be met
With blank indifference, or with blame reproved;
I knew they lived and moved
Trick’d in disguises, alien to the rest
Of men, and alien to themselves–and yet
The same heart beats in every human breast!

But we, my love!–doth a like spell benumb
Our hearts, our voices?–must we too be dumb?
Ah! well for us, if even we,
Even for a moment, can get free
Our heart, and have our lips unchain’d;
For that which seals them hath been deep-ordain’d!
Fate, which foresaw
How frivolous a baby man would be–
By what distractions he would be possess’d,
How he would pour himself in every strife,
And well-nigh change his own identity–
That it might keep from his capricious play
His genuine self, and force him to obey
Even in his own despite his being’s law,
Bade through the deep recesses of our breast
The unregarded river of our life
Pursue with indiscernible flow its way;
And that we should not see
The buried stream, and seem to be
Eddying at large in blind uncertainty,
Though driving on with it eternally.

But often, in the world’s most crowded streets,
But often, in the din of strife,
There rises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life;
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force
In tracking out our true, original course;
A longing to inquire
Into the mystery of this heart which beats
So wild, so deep in us–to know
Whence our lives come and where they go.
And many a man in his own breast then delves,
But deep enough, alas! none ever mines.
And we have been on many thousand lines,
And we have shown, on each, spirit and power;
But hardly have we, for one little hour,
Been on our own line, have we been ourselves–
Hardly had skill to utter one of all
The nameless feelings that course through our breast,
But they course on for ever unexpress’d.
And long we try in vain to speak and act
Our hidden self, and what we say and do
Is eloquent, is well–but ‘t#is not true!
And then we will no more be rack’d
With inward striving, and demand
Of all the thousand nothings of the hour
Their stupefying power;
Ah yes, and they benumb us at our call!
Yet still, from time to time, vague and forlorn,
From the soul’s subterranean depth upborne
As from an infinitely distant land,
Come airs, and floating echoes, and convey
A melancholy into all our day.
Only–but this is rare–
When a belov{‘e}d hand is laid in ours,
When, jaded with the rush and glare
Of the interminable hours,
Our eyes can in another’s eyes read clear,
When our world-deafen’d ear
Is by the tones of a loved voice caress’d–
A bolt is shot back somewhere in our breast,
And a lost pulse of feeling stirs again.
The eye sinks inward, and the heart lies plain,
And what we mean, we say, and what we would, we know.
A man becomes aware of his life’s flow,
And hears its winding murmur; and he sees
The meadows where it glides, the sun, the breeze.
And there arrives a lull in the hot race
Wherein he doth for ever chase
That flying and elusive shadow, rest.
An air of coolness plays upon his face,
And an unwonted calm pervades his breast.
And then he thinks he knows
The hills where his life rose,
And the sea where it goes.

Matthew Arnold


The Buried Life, in pencil and ink

Why am I thinking cockroaches?

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Someone help me here… what does this MEAN???  I mean, I like it, but WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Cupid’s Darts, Which Are A Growing Menace To The Public

By Unknown


Do not worry if I scurry from the grill room in a hurry,
Dropping hastily my curry and retiring into balk;
Do not let it cause you wonder if, by some mischance or blunder,
We encounter on the Underground and I get out and walk.

If I double as a cub’ll when you meet him in the stubble,
Do not think I am in trouble or attempt to make a fuss;
Do not judge me melancholy or attribute it to folly
If I leave the Metropolitan and travel ‘n a bus.

Do not quiet your anxiety by giving me a diet,
Or by base resort to vi et armis fold me to your arms,
And let no suspicious tremor violate your wonted phlegm or
Any fear that Harold’s memory is faithless to your charms.

For my passion as I dash on in that disconcerting fashion
Is as ardently irrational as when we forged the link
When you gave your little hand away to me, my own Amanda
As we sat ‘n the veranda till the stars began to wink.

And I am in such a famine when your beauty I examine
That it lures me as the jam invites a hungry little brat;
But I fancy that, at any rate, I’d rather waste a penny
Then be spitted by the many pins that bristle from your hat.

Unknown.

Wanted: Language

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Wanted: poetry and cool/interesting/mindblowing prose.  Public domain.  I’m getting lazy. Actually, I’m getting tired of poring through collections of Victorian Poetry and all the Thou’s and Thee’s and Thy’s.  The way I’ve been doing this is bass-ackwards, and is causing me terrible aggida. (BTW, don’t look up the spelling of “aggida” on google… not worth it.  Trust me.  Just like looking up “magic underwear” on Ebay. Don’t.)  I’m more of a visual artist that likes unique turns of phrase.  I have a harder time finding good turns of phrase from which to start thinking of a visual interpretation.  So, bass-ackwards means that I have an image in mind, and THEN I have to try and find text that fits, or speaks to the image.  Yeah, not so much for me.  I have the attention span of a goldfi-

Works In Progress

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“Wind and the Sea” – a gorgeous poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar, first nationally known African-American poet and writer from Ohio, born in 1872. The etching is on the front and back of a single 3/8″ pane of glass, 12″x16″.  Next up comes some chemical etching to add texture and even a bit more depth.

The Wind and the Sea

I stood by the shore at the death of day,
As the sun sank flaming red;
And the face of the waters that spread away
Was as gray as the face of the dead.

And I heard the cry of the wanton sea
And the moan of the wailing wind;
For love’s sweet pain in his heart had he,
But the gray old sea had sinned.

The wind was young and the sea was old,
But their cries went up together;
The wind was warm and the sea was cold,
For age makes wintry weather.

So they cried aloud and they wept amain,
Till the sky grew dark to hear it;
And out of its folds crept the misty rain,
In its shroud, like a troubled spirit.

For the wind was wild with a hopeless love,
And the sea was sad at heart
At many a crime that he wot of,
Wherein he had played his part.

He thought of the gallant ships gone down
By the will of his wicked waves;
And he thought how the churchyard in the town
Held the sea-made widows’ graves.

The wild wind thought of the love he had left
Afar in an Eastern land,
And he longed, as long the much bereft,
For the touch of her perfumed hand.

In his winding wail and his deep-heaved sigh
His aching grief found vent;
While the sea looked up at the bending sky
And murmured: “I repent.”

But e’en as he spoke, a ship came by,
That bravely ploughed the main,
And a light came into the sea’s green eye,
And his heart grew hard again.

Then he spoke to the wind: “Friend, seest thou not
Yon vessel is eastward bound?
Pray speed with it to the happy spot
Where thy loved one may be found.”

And the wind rose up in a dear delight,
And after the good ship sped;
But the crafty sea by his wicked might
Kept the vessel ever ahead.

Till the wind grew fierce in his despair,
And white on the brow and lip.
He tore his garments and tore his hair,
And fell on the flying ship.

And the ship went down, for a rock was there,
And the sailless sea loomed black;
While burdened again with dole and care,
The wind came moaning back.

And still he moans from his bosom hot
Where his raging grief lies pent,
And ever when the ships come not,
The sea says: “I repent.”