Well, this sprang in part from the freedom and joy I felt painting the last botanical abstract and in part I dreamed her. It happens sometimes. I am often reminded of the Picasso quotation “inspiration exists, but it has to find you working” – definitely if I hadn’t painted that day, the image in my head would have floated away. The painting is strange and weird and I kind of love it.
Tom’s wonderful poem reads almost like a riddle.
She’s always there, within the lurking trees
about to surface, coming into light
where the forest stirs in absent breeze
and the darkness sparkles in the night.
Perhaps you’ll catch her passing swift behind
a walking shadow, dancing with an elf,
or vanishing before your very mind,
until you wonder, “Is that… or myself?”
Her eyes are watching all and seeing naught
but beauty where there’s nothing else to see:
she’s always there, but never seen nor caught
by merely mortal eyes within the trees.
She moves the world, although she does not move,
she is the First, by which all things are proved.
I shamelessly took the name of this small oddity from the poem Tom wrote for it. Every now and then I am moved to paint what I think of as botanical abstracts. I love the colours and the way this one shimmers.
Tom ran with the image and created a delightful accompaniment for the painting. It even has bees’ knees in it!
The forest of the night is fine
with its flaming tyger’s shine
lighting up the trees.
But I prefer the copse of day
wherein strange hybrids grow and sway
attracting stranger bees.
They buzz within the thickets tangled,
with their legs is pollen wrangled
in between their knees.
Passing to each generation
the joys of novel combination,
mixing by degrees.
And from such vigor in the roots
we’re blessed by all the diverse fruits
that do our palates please!
Here is another small painting very loosely inspired by a William Morris pattern. Love that arts and crafts movement!
Where I see flowers and vegetation, the poet saw something very different!
Drawing in toward shadowed realms
beckoned on in to the depths
swift turning pathways overwhelm
a universe where warp and weft
lay flat upon each other’s weave.
The twist of space undoes the sleeve
of care that’s gripped by time and place
and loose it runs, increasing pace
until its speed exceeds the law
of these benighted lost dimensions
bound by forces in contention
vanishing in wormhole’s maw:
past the barriers of light
beyond the open doors of night.
I was happy to get back to the easel after being out of town for a few days. This is another in my abstracted botanical-fantasy series.
I love Tom’s sonnet for this one …and I’m seeing my own painting with fresh eyes after reading it! (The painting’s title comes from the last line.)
The leaves of night unfold behind
the sunshine of this summer’s day:
beyond blue sky the stars await…
when evening comes they’ll have their say
on matters deep and manners mild;
on things domestic, also wild;
on blossoms speaking truth to power
gently swaying in their bower
reminding Night of Day’s domain
for starlight is but Day afar
on other worlds ’round distant stars
where damsels woo their swains.
Balanced ‘tween the dark and light
Bright flowers bloom on summer nights.
I was trying something quite different for me with this piece. I didn’t have a visual reference, scene or photo – rather, I woke up the night before with an image in my head that I wanted to paint. While this painting is related to that image, it isn’t it – so I’ll likely be playing with the idea for a while. And that makes me happy because this was pretty much the most fun I’ve ever had painting. It was a very intuitive process, much more like how I approach drawing the mandalas. It ended up playful and rather extravagant!
Tom’s take on it was different from mine which is to be expected with an abstract. After reading his poem, I see different things in my painting too.
…in chaos bright the universe is born:
incandescent streamers past the dark
before the stars. Space and time are torn
from nothingness and into quavering quarks
existence pours from portals of the night
where the walls of Now are pierced by Then
letting through the angels in their flight
from Heaven as the Where becomes the When.
Blue shifts to red across the broad expanse
long ropes of stars form loops and empty turns.
Stems rise up, each energetic lance
rides across the the field as giants burn.
Galaxies collapse and swiftly spin
as the doors swing open and now in…