May 302008
 

The Old Trysting Tree I

The Old Trysting Tree I

It’s spring, the beginning of a long riding season!

I’ve been working again on the idea of an out-of-the-way trysting place, where lovers met on horseback or on foot and in secret. I was inspired by a print I bought in an antique store I was passing in Minnesota — it must have been on a calendar or the illustration for a literary magazine — and bought because I loved the idea.

This painting is my first effort, perhaps I should say “installment”. The model for the girl is my daughter’s friend, Katie, on her horse, Dillon. (For Portrait of Katie, see Polishing Her Boots in my Gallery at nonahyytinen.com.)

This past weekend I tried another pose, with my daughter, Iphigeneia, on her horse, Pelee. I imagine her finding the place and touching it’s barely discernible initials carved into the bark of an old oak. I’ll post it as soon as I’m finished. In the meantime, I’m still working on the Bust of the Girl on the Red Chair.

Here’s a lyric of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s:

The Betrothal

Oh, come, my lad, or go, my lad,
And love me if you like.
I shall not hear the door shut
Nor the knocker strike.

Oh, bring me gifts or beg me gifts,
And wed me if you will.
I’d make a man a good wife,
Sensible and still.

And why should I be cold, my lad,
And why should you repine,
Because I love a dark head
That never will be mine?

I might as well be easing you
As lie alone in bed
And waste the night in wanting
A cruel dark head.

You might as well be calling yours
What never will be his,
And one of be happy.
There’s few enough as is.

The Old Trysting Tree I, 8×10 on canvas, $160.00 USD

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