Wednesday, September 29, 2010


asters in late september field

Much in the fields are drying out, slowly browning.  Yet appearing like this reddish phrase appears in this text,  clumpsof asters  are like emergent jewels peeking out of pockets.  Oh my, bedazzling.  They do not need to move in the light or breeze; still, they can surprise us, startle us, start our hearts.

The small painting is pastel on paper.  I tried for the "startle" effect.  The final, top strokes of color in the field cover much of the detail and some of the asters, and these final strokes are bright.  I keyed these strokes bright, high, fuller of hue than the field's color because the asters are so rich in hue.  If the field's color here were duller, the asters would, I think, become gangsterish, comicbook-like, too toomuch.  Nature has a much wider range than painters do; still, we do what we can to be in the conversation, as fully participant as we can.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

color studies



Working on a large painting takes much time.  I'm on my feet six or seven hours of the day when I paint. And often I paint on the same large work until I see it start to move--some days out from the start-- or until the tone up-lifts, or until something else starts stirring.

I simply pause sometimes:  a small color study or two at my drawing table can remind me that there is a middle and end to image-making.  Then I return to the large painting and usually the path ahead in it appears clearer, the time ahead less clumped to the past days.

The two small studies above are pastel and gouache on paper.  Each study is stylized, individuated, stilled.  Actually, asters and goldenrod are group-dwellers:  many, many, blooms are on each clump and many clumps abide in broad patches in the fields.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

color casting

September field

I did this small painting on September 12th.  I've decided to keep it; I've matted it (so, probably I will not work on it more at a later time).  Already the fields have moved on.

Yellows and golds cast widely in the fields now.  In the treelines yellows and ochres are mixing with the greens.  Cool violets show more: golds can affect the greens that way.  Soon the Autumn Fire Colors will blaze forth.  Til then, this golden field furriness nearly makes my arms shiver.  The furriness moves. Can you see/feel this field/this movement too?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

94 on 9.11

This stanza is from 94, a poem by E.E. Cummings.  The poem appears in a book entitled 95 Poems, first published in 1950.  The book is dedicated to marion, his wife.  M found the poem for me:  Sue and Fran gave us a call to let us know that they recited the stanza's words during their marriage vows.  Let us all give the words an airing:

love is the voice under all silences,
the hope which has no opposite in fear;
the strength so strong mere force is feebleness:
the truth more first than sun more last than star

Friday, September 3, 2010


rising dove

T and his wife Takako just returned from their home town, where they went to celebrate at their temple the death of T's father.  "My father has been dead for 33 years."  Their priest in Akita, who incidentally is both a Buddhist priest and a medical doctor, talked to T about "you."

In English, in western societies, the word "you" represents you here and now.  In Japanese society "you" represents not only you here and now but also your ancestors.  So, he told T and Takako, you need to appreciate your ancestors.

Today, M's Aunt Betty is passing from the here and now.  Her doctor in Chicago took her off a ventilator and other support this afternoon.  Betty has outlived nearly everyone in her family stories.  Ancestral she will become.  With brothers all around her once again, in the same tense with them again.