May 212009
 

This subject is a commission and because my first version had a funky composition, I painted the pie again….classically centered.

My exciting news vis a vis a new painting project is that I’ve located some PIGS to paint at last. I’ve need pigs for my rendition of the Circe myth and it’s been proving an obstacle, but this week on my way to my friend Josephine’s house, I passed a pen with a very likely-looking pink fellow in it. I determined to stop on my way back. The “fellow” turned out to be a sow, complete with family, but there did seem to be a husband in the background, a boar with a black middle. I drove into the driveway without hesitation and introduced myself (with business card) at the back door. The Lady of the Manor gave me permission to return with a camera, so I’m thrilled!

For today, another poem by John Donne:

The Triple Fool

I am two fools, I know,

for loving, and for saying so

In whining poetry;

But where’s that wiseman, that would not be I,

If she would not deny!

Then as the earth’s inward narrow crooked lanes

Do purge sea water’s fretful salt away,

I thought, if I could draw my pains

Through rhyme’s vexation, I should them allay,

Grief brought to numbers cannot be so fierce,

For he tames it, that fetters it in verse.

But when I have done so,

Some man, his art and voice to show,

Doth set and sing my pain,

And, by delighting many, frees again

Grief, which verse did restrain.

To love and grief tribute of verse belongs,

But not of such as pleases when ’tis read,

Both are increased by such songs:

For both their triumphs so are published,

And I, which was two fools, do so grow three;

Who are a little wise, the best fools be.

Coconut Macaroon Pie, Oil on Canvas, 6×6

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 Posted by at 4:41 pm
May 162009
 

Coconut Macaroon Pie is a specialty of Brewery Creek, a very popular micro-brewery and eatery in Mineral Point. It’s generally served with a decorative drizzle of chocolate sauce too, but I thought that bit was too perishable to stay perfect while I painted, so I left it off. The whipped cream melted in about five minutes, a good indicator.

Here is another poem by John Donne:

Love’s Diet

To what a cumbersome unwieldiness
And burdenous corpulence my love had grown,
But that I did, to make it less,
And keep it in proportion,
Give it a diet, made it feed upon
That which love worst endures, discretion.

Above one sigh a day I allow’d him not,
Of which my fortune, and my faults had part;
And if sometimes by stealth he got
A she-sigh from my mistress’ heart,
And though to feast on that, I let him see
‘Twas neither very sound, nor meant to me.

If he wrung from me a tear, I brin’d it so,
With scorn or shame, that him it nourish’d not;
If he suck’d hers, I let him know
‘Twas not a tear, which he had got,
His drink was counterfeit, as was his meat;
For eyes which roll towards all, weep not, but sweat.

Whatever he would dictate, I writ that,
But burnt my letters; when she writ to me,
And that that favor made him fat,
I said, if any title be
Convey’d by this, ah! what doth it avail,
To be fortieth name in an entail?

Thus I reclaim’d my buzzard love, to fly
At what, and when, and how, and where I choose;
Now negligent of sport I lie,
And now as other falconers use,
I spring a mistress, swear, write, sigh and weep:
And the game kill’d, or lost, go talk and sleep.

I’m continuing to read about Mary Queen of Scotts and Queen Elizabeth I, this interest inspired by Philippa Gregory’s novel, The Other Queen. Gregory paints an alarming picture of suspicion and fear in Tudor England, where a personal avowal of faith or sympathy could bring an accusation of treason. (In Gregory’s book, this malaise of distrust emanates from William Cecil, Lord Burghley, about whom I was certainly given another view. I’d formerly thought of him simply as Elizabeth’s wisest advisor. From another perspective, he was a man who created enemies where there formerly were none.) I wondered how bad it really was and am reading further to find out. A succinct, fun to read, and enlightening account is Her Majesty’s Spymaster by Stephen Budiansky.

Coconut Macaroon Pie, Oil on Canvas, 6×6, Commissioned

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 Posted by at 9:27 am
May 072009
 

In about two minutes, I’m going to eat this! Today is my first Open Studio and Gallery Day for the season (May through October). I’ll be back later to post a poem, but I’ve got a couple more hours to paint.

I’ve just purchased and begun reading a biography of John Donne, entitled The Reformed Soul by John Stubbs. So with reference to that I’ll post a Donne poem:

XIX

Oh, to vex me, contraries meet in one:

Inconstancy unnaturally hath begot

A constant habit; that when I would not

I change in vows, and in devotion.

As humorous is my contrition

As my profane love, and as soon forgot:

As riddlingly distemper’d, cold and hot,

As praying, as mute; as infintite, as none.

I durst not view heaven yesterday; and today

In prayers, and flattering speeches I court God:

Tomorrow I quake with true fear of his rod.

So my devout fits come and go away

Like a fantastic ague: save that here

Those are my best days, when I shake with fear.

German Chocolate Cupcake, Oil on Canvas, 6×6, $200.00 USD

 

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 Posted by at 3:45 pm
Apr 012009
 

This is a commissioned painting of a very lush cake indeed, which you can buy for dessert at Gundry and Gray on High Street in Mineral Point. I recommend it.

I was hoping to have begun working by now on the “Tunnel” painting I mentioned in my last Blog, but the weather here in Wisconsin has turned cold, windy and wet once more. Good days for studio work. I am opening my Studio and Gallery up to the public from May to October, regularly on Thursdays and often on other days, including some weekends — the gate will open and the Open Sign hung, so please stop in.

This year I plan to do more large pieces, so I will be blogging progress reports. I’m exploring myths and romances with a modern twist. Remember to check back.

Here’s a poem by Cynthia Fuller:

Today you grasped
the stars as
they were slipping off
the edge of my horizon
and shook them back
into the sky.

You are
quicksilver
can leave me
slow-footed
wordless.

My skin is alive
with the soft imprint
of your mouth.
How many miracles
can there be?

As I burnt your letters
the pages spread and curled
bloomed
like fire roses.

Joanne’s Cream Cake, 6×6, Oil on Canvas, Commissioned

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 Posted by at 10:04 am
Nov 182008
 

I’ve been working full time at Lands’ End for the past two weeks and will continue to work 40 hrs per week through the middle of January, so this little painting of an apple tart is my offering for an overdue blog. I continue to work on my Phantom painting, which I need to finish by the beginning of December. I’ve been contending with acute arthritis with a second course of Prednisone, which I can’t keep taking, but am feeling good today. Hurray! It’s always a cause for celebration when the lame one can use her left hand without premeditation, at least for a couple of days.

My friend Josephine and I are reading the poetry of Wallace Stevens and W.H. Auden for Book Club. I’ve decided to blog part of a poem she wowed me with years ago and which has been my only acquaintance with Stevens. It’s called Peter Quince at the Clavier. I’d like to include all of it, but Blog Poems must be more succinct, so I’m jumping from Part I to Part IV:

I
Just as my fingers on these keys
Make music, so the selfsame sounds
On my spirit make a music, too.
Music is feeling, then, not sound;
And thus it is that what I feel,
Here in this room, desiring you,

Thinking of your blue-shadowed silk,
Is music. It is like the strain
Waked in the elders by Susanna.

Of a green evening, clear and warm,
She bathed in her still garden, while
The red-eyed elders watching, felt

The basses of the beings throb
In witching chords, and their thin blood
Pulse pizzicata of Hosanna.

IV

Beauty is momentary in the mind —
The fitful tracing of a portal;
But in the flesh it is immortal.
The body dies; the body’s beauty lives.
So evenings die, in their green going,
A wave, interminably flowing.
So gardens die, their meek breath scenting
The cowl of winter, done repenting.
So maidens die, to the auroral
Celebration of a maiden’s choral.
Susanna’s music touched the bawdy strings
Of those white elders; but, escaping,
Left only Death’s ironic scraping.
Now, in its immortality, it plays
On the clear viol of her memory,
and makes a constant sacrament of praise.

Apple Tart, Oil on Canvas, 6×8, Private Collection

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 Posted by at 12:29 am
Nov 032008
 

It’s been two weeks since I last blogged. The Fall Art Tour was a beautiful weekend and a success. In the meantime I’ve expe- rienced a resurgence of an inflam- matory arthritis I had twenty years ago. My left hand has been crippled, though fortunately I paint with my right hand, but besides working more at Lands’ End, I’ve had to see a doctor and a rheumatologist, which has eaten up some of my studio time. I did finish this still-life of a German Chocolate Cake from the Rolling Pin Bakery in Madison. The plate and the embroidered table cloth were borrowed from my beloved friend, Josephine, who brought out her treasures and said I could borrow whatever I wanted.

With German Chocolate Cake, I should be blogging a poem by Goethe or Rilke, but this poem by Yeats seemed pertinent at the culmination of a presidential campaign:

They must to keep their certainty accuse
All that are different of base intent;
Pull down established honour; hawk for news
Whatever their loose fantasy invent
and murmur it with bated breath, as though
The abounding gutter had been Helicon
Or calumny a song. How can they know
Truth flourishes where the student’s lamp has shone,
And there alone, that have no solitude?
So the crowd come they care not what may come.
They have loud music, hope every day renewed
and heartier loves; that lamp is from the tomb.

The Leaders of the Crowd by William Butler, Yeats 1921

German Chocolate Cake, Oil on Canvas, 8×10, $325.00 USD

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 Posted by at 10:50 pm
May 032008
 

I completed this painting a few days ago, but couldn’t take a picture as my camera was on loan. The Brownie is from Panera Bread, and believe me, it was difficult not to pluck it off the plate and eat it, instead of painting it.

I’ve already written how much I love the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay. Originally I was going to paint one of poems, written on parchment and laid over one of the books, but in the end I inscribed the sonnet onto the journal. I have many such journals. I keep them, writing down the details of each day, so that I will have a testimonial in future years — not that they’ll make spectacular reading — that I acted as a protagonist in my life and not a spectator. I think we all feel at times that the obligations and distractions of life are engulfing the self that matters most to us.

Here’s the Sonnet:

That Love at length should find me out and bring
This fierce and trivial brow unto the dust,
Is, after all, I must confess, but just;
There is a subtle beauty in this thing.
A wry perfection; wherefore now let sing
All voices how into my throat is thrust,
Unwelcome as Death’s own, Love’s bitter crust,
All criers proclaim it, and all steeples ring.
This being done, there let the matter rest.
What more remains is neither here nor there.
That you requite me not is plain to see;
Myself your slave herein have I confessed:
Thus far, indeed, the world may mock at me;
But if I suffer, it is my own affair.
— Edna St. Vincent Millay

Vincent and the Chocolate Brownie, Oil on Canvas, 10×10, Sold

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 Posted by at 1:08 pm