Friday, April 29, 2011

Easter 1916

Easter 1916 is the great, troubling poem about uprisings by William Butler Yeats.  He wrote if after an uprising by Irish nationalists against British rule failed--on Easter Monday April 24, 1916---and all but the one woman of the group who failed were executed.  Great poems re-arise.  This Easter poem comes again to mind this Easter 2011, when questions of nationalism and power are being sorted out in arenas of great human tragedy and violence, as ever, terribly, but newly, especially in the Middle East.

How poignant to think of the woman, here in stanza two as a young woman, before turmoil, destruction.  I share Yeats's ambivalence to this kind of Easter.  A terrible beauty is born.  Here is a link to the entire poem.   I will print here the final stanza:

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven's part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;
Was is needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse--
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spring drizzle

Early morning, drizzle, April

Do you use the word drizzle?  This kind of light rain--drizzle--allows light to come through.  Early in the morning when light is starting, the drizzle casts a kind of grey-green veil.

To get depth, I layered the color, but I did not want to quash the light.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter afterwards

Edge of Spring

Trees and bushes are ready to bloom any moment.  There is so much palpitation all around.  Still, even with catkins, bright, at the outer edges of the trees' twigs, winter-bare branches show and much sky shows through the treelines.  Soon, very soon, color will fill the branches and will fill the sky.  This day after Easter, we are poised for much life around us resurging.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring, almost

Catkins and light in the treeline

The sky was so very blue around noon yesterday, and the sunlight was mixing amid some of the high tree branches.  The treelines have not budded out into leafs or flowers yet.  Still, the dusty red catkins on some of the trees are fuzzy and full.  So the treelines are showing quite a lot of action.

I did a quick pencil sketch and then back in my studio I worked up layers of color into this small painting.  The painting wasn't lively enough last night at 5:30, when I had to stop and get ready for calligraphy class.  So this morning I worked on it some more.  Though the painting is dense with color and abstracted, it recalls--it echoes--for me the sense and sight of an almost fully emergent Spring treeline.  By the way, you can see some ruff and rib of the wonderful cotton rag paper which holds the color here.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

tsunami dog

Tsunami dog

Tsunami dog will forever move in our imagery.  She is still, watching us here in this photo:  go to  Tsunami Dog  and click on PLAY and you will see our dog alive, moving, survived three weeks after the tsunami of Japan.  Our dog is a wonderful story during a terrible time.

Our dog of Pompeii did not survive.  So many and so much were destroyed by the burning lava of erupting Mt. Vesuvius so many years ago.  Pompeii dog remains to us still, unmoving--a replica-cast in a viewing case, a photo, a preserved life, a terrible testament of a terrible time.

Pompeii dog

Though AI-JANE titles itself as "still words and images in a moving world," I consider the image, moving, of Tsunami dog extraordinary enough to be an exception.  You too?