Monthly Archives: November 2008

The Angel of Music

Night time sharpens, heightens each sensation.
Darkness stirs and wakes imagination.
Silently the senses abandon their defenses….

I’ve had a blast painting this scene inspired by the Phantom of the Opera. Christine, the aspiring young opera singer, is taught by a spirit she sees in the mirror of her dressing room, whom she believes is the Angel of Music. Alright, she’s a bit naive, but it’s sooooo romantic, especially set to the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. (Yes, I listen to inspirational music while I paint. Sarah Brightman is singing as I write this.)

I had two wonderful models, Steve and Julia, who brought the emotions of the Phantom and Christine to life. My profound thanks to them! It was interesting painting candlelight. It’s warmer than the northern daylight of my studio. (See Girl Without a Pearl Earring and Girl Reading Gerard Manley Hopkins.) This painting will be on view at Bohlin Gallery in Mineral Point for Gallery Night, December 7.

I’m not blogging as often right now because I am working full time at Lands’End during their Peak Season. I’m looking forward to the new year though, when I plan to open Rosewind Studio and Gallery one day per week on a regular basis. See the Mineral Point Website in future for which weekday it will be.

Here’s a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay that references the season:

That chill is in the air
Which the wise know well, and even have learned to bear.
This joy, I know,
Will soon be under snow.

The sun sets in a cloud
And is not seen.
Beauty, that spoke aloud,
Addresses now only the remembering ear.
The heart begins here
To feed on what has been.

Night falls fast.
Today is in the past.

Blown from the dark hill hither to my door
Three Flakes, then four
Arrive, then many more.

The Phantom in the Mirror, Oil on Canvas, 24×36, $1500.00 USD

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Apple Tart

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:

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.


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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German Chocolate Cake

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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