Thursday, February 25, 2010

tulip, tulip

As I was painting the tulips, I noticed they were starting to straighten and rise in the vase, and open. Here is the painting, oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches, done quickly and stylized, yes.  Also, it is somewhat fleshy, the paint in the leaves, do you think so?  And emblematic, the image seems to me, in a simple way, so I have called it  Easter 2010 .

I had been drawing tulips before and after the Easter painting.  Good thing.  Yesterday I set up to do some small gouache paintings of tulips.  But when I came back after a lunchbreak to actually start, the tulips had burst open in their vases so far that petals were flattened like an open hand.  Some petals were already fallen onto the table.  I did these two sketches anyhow, from my memory of the white tulips and from my drawings.

Whenever I pause to look at paintings of tulips, I think of a wonderful book, Still Life with a Bridle by Zbigniew Herbert (translated from the Polish).  The book is small, 8 x 4.5 inches, 165 pages of writing; it is exquisite and sturdy.  Its subtitle is Essays and Apocryphas.  Herbert wrote the book after he travelled to Holland to explore the Dutch seventeenth century through paintings.  One of the chapters is titled The Bitter Smell of Tulips  and it starts with this line:  Here is a story of human folly.  The one image of our edition is on the cover:  a tulip.

By the way, it is said that tulips do not have a smell and I think this may be so.  Yes?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

winter and spring

sumac & spring light, sketch

At least ten inches of snow have fallen in the last week, and none melts during the day.  Winter is still here. Yet, when I stopped to quickly sketch a particular sumac, pine, tree, and treeline in the snowy landscape, I noticed an unmistakeably bright glow of spring light above the band of clouds, above the snowy land.  The pastel painting that I did later has some of the "springiness" that I felt in the air.

sumac & spring light, pastel

Friday, February 5, 2010

returned mourning dove

This mourning dove, which first appeared here in January in the "lighted river birches" blog entry, has recently become a Toughdove.  He turns toward us, from his perch on the charcoal branch, here and there,  You might have to search a bit to find him at the site.  Or just view him, watching us, here!