She belongs in the War of the Seasons collection.
She is the same size as Winter Resisting Spring,
on rice paper. Enormous. (approx. 25″x35″)
Unlike Winter, Spring is content and expectant,
having no inkling of the fast approaching
summer heat. Unlike the lot of
us who are in the midst of it.
(This is cropped from the center of a much larger painting)
In a season of acute uncertainty, the woman came first to my mind.
I saw her on tiptoe. I saw her shoes thrown over her shoulder.
I did not know where she was standing. The table I was working
on was just inside a window facing west. When I finished painting
the woman who was, at that point, floating on the white space
of the paper, the sun was low in the sky and a shadow from
the paned window and the Japanese maple leaves from the tree outside
surrounded her. I painted the shadows. Instantly, she stood before
an immense glass wall in dappled shade. Now the sun was even
lower in the sky and it was casting rainbows through the
beveled glass in my front door on the floor. I put the paper on
the floor and painted the tiny rainbows and then made the
rainbows into wings. Taking a break, I got the mail.
In my mailbox was a postcard from a friend in
Paris. She told me she had been praying Psalms 91 for me every day.
I did not take the time to read the Psalm, nor did I have it memorized
to know its comfort.
The picture on the postcard was an aerial view of the La Defense sector
of Paris, which is exceedingly modern and, in terms of romantic aesthetics,
not something I would ordinarily think of painting. However, in the
center of the postcard was what is referred to as La Grande Arche de la Defense
which was built in 1982. If one stands in the center of the Arche looking west,
one can see Napolean’s original Arch D’ Triumph. La Grande Arche de la
Defense is so immense that the entirety of the Cathedral of Notre Dame can
fit within its cube. Suddenly, I knew where the woman was meant to stand.
After giving her the solid foundation of La Grande Arche de la Defense,
I surrounded her with tiny buildings and narrow streets. Floating in the
surrounding air are motifs of my experiences in Paris. After the painting
was completed, I thought to look up Psalm 91 and read it with open mouth.
…..“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the
shadow of the Almighty…..He will cover you with his feathers, and under
his wings you will find refuge…”
(Unframed Original 22×36 $500.00)
War of the Seasons
“Now you will have noticed
that nothing throws him into a
passion so easily as to find a
tract of time which he reckoned
on having at his own disposal
unexpectedly taken away from him.”
( The voice of Screwtape in C.S. Lewis’
Notice how fiercely,
Winter in her icy garb fights to remain,
while Spring in the background patiently
lobs snowballs hoping to driver her away.
Sometimes Winter has stayed so long
she has taken on an air of entitlement.
But Spring will persist. The warmth is
driving Winter to the northern regions
to wait her turn at command. The
geese will soon have their wings free of
ice. (This painting is on rice paper.
It is approx 25×35. It is one of 4 but
can be purchased on its own.) The
framed original is 1200.00. Because
of the intricate detail this condensed
version makes it difficult to see. I
would be happy to schedule a viewing.
The river is a heaven-cried tear only Jesus turns to stone.
We are hatched from ice, born from glaciers.
But we are not water.
This is what we must remember: The water is other than us.
But we can stand on the bullrush banks where rivers merge,
some salt, some fresh water.
We can be freedom’s fireflies,
can toe ourselves in, give ourselves,
join our bodies with that of the river’s.
We can flood the banks.
All the while remind ourselves, we are not the river but it’s students.
Beneath our immersion, let our tears sprout wings, let our weeping fly,
listen to its lapping words that tells us how to care less about some things,
more about others.
We can stop making things up.
The important things are already happening.
Be a dam, be a funnel, be a moss-crusted bank,
be a pillowed shore.
Stroke, stroke, be the truth we say we believe.
Cry. Laugh. Remember.
Say please and thank you to good.
To the innocent, yes.
No and stop to evil, (lips close to the mic and screaming.)
Keep swimming even in sleep.
Don’t chart your way on whim except when it comes to love.
Be a sail.
Be an oar.
Be a boat.
Be a ladle.
Leave the dying to stones.
We were walking down the same road and we were both crying, Both relieved and disappointed at being alive. We did not hold hands. Did not touch. There was no embracing. And our eyes were closed. As failures in love, the view, let alone an embrace, would have finished us off. The unthinkable truth of our mutual suffocation was best left unsaid. Words in the fierce clothing of voice, mine or yours – would make us tear our tongues out. People do you know. All the time.
Which of us could bear the blood of our fallen worlds, the red stain reflected backwards on faces smothered by too many years. I can’t speak for you. But I couldn’t. I’d worked so hard at not shedding them and you’d treated them as theives. But clearly muscle was not enough and even if it was, my arms were love-lies-bleeding blooms and yours were broken timbers.
But there we were persisting. How we even came close to being in the same dream was a cruelty and a promise. Maybe the fault we’d lobbed between us had fouled out, flown over the fence and would be forever lost in the creosote weeds. We’d somehow slipped under the gate nobody guarded. Now inside how could we bear the agony of waking? The fact that we were there together was a borrowed clemency. Neither of us took credit for the speechless alliance of minds which had never before managed to meet.
About the nakedness: Maybe it means we’d had the courageous weakness to extend forgiveness instead of blame. Maybe we ceased fearing our bodies and killed our pride in the smokey changing room with all those messy clothes. In total nakedness you can make a killing. Which apparently we did.
I watched the flame go out.
It happened so gradually, without last minute sputters and spits.
I sank to the temptation of pretending its warmth.
Instead of naming the dark, I searched for a match.
I spent words striking it over and over but your sweat and my tears snuffed it.
I hadn’t bargained for our skill at juggling dying coals, hadn’t imagined our combined genius.
We lived as ghosts.
You couldn’t see them and I couldn’t send them away hungry.