Friday, April 30, 2010

A tender moment between artist and subject

"Cézanne rushed foward: 'You wretch! You have upset the pose! You should sit like an apple. Whoever saw an apple fidgeting?' Motionless as that fruit may be, Cézanne was sometimes obliged to leave a study of apples unfinished. They had rotted."Ambroise Vollard, 1936, on posing for Paul Cézanne.

Cézanne Still Life with a Skull

Or as it will always be for me... ''the obedient model and the fruit that survived him''

Still Life with Plate of Cherries

Here painted with more tendre affection than any of his human subject… except perhaps his dutiful 'Pyramid of Skulls'

And here 'Ambroise Vollard'

That wretched moving cause for poor Cézanne's vexation.

I'm in an odd sort of mood and this fits well with it, that and Cézanne is perhaps my favorite Post-Impressionist painter.

All my love,


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

For what must we forgive our mothers?

In lieu of writing I have taken to reading travel guides particularly ones on ‘Barbados’ oh and I'm see my sister this weekend. She is brilliant at righting my mood with her easy smile and sensible approach. Until then I'll be reading of fun in the sun, that and I came across this painting. I could not stop looking at her.

Franz von Stuck's Portrait of Frau Feez
An uneven break

She holds tight the misery left after the parting seeking in it the familiar
Finding only bitter regret and her misspend youth
That and her children with their face bright with endless possibility
She vowed then never to impart to them the advice her mother bestowed on matters of heart
In fact, she has decided never to communicate her wisdom on love but to allow them their own tragedy
It will soon prove a grievous error and it too she will bear as well as this end

All my love,

Monday, April 26, 2010

The recesses of my mind

I meant to write, even with my editor’s voice in my head causing havoc with my process but I haven’t the heart for it just now, I’m dreaming of holiday and all due to a charming gentleman from Barbados. When he smiles he is perfection. I’m the silliest of creatures I see that, for truth to tell I haven’t even been to the cinema all year, let alone holiday. In fact, if my love ones weren’t so very insistent I would never leave the house but for work. I swear there are days when I hardly recognize the worrisome doubt filled thing I’ve become.

Martin Johnson Heade's A Branch of Apple Blossoms and Buds

All that aside it is lovely here today so I'll tend my rosemary plant. I've brought it out for some sun but the nights are still too cold for me to put it back in the garden. Forgive my descent into self-pity and I vow, I'll post something of genuine interest in a day or two.

My love, my care,

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Prince

''She was free of excess and improved my life with phone calls to people who knew better, handmade shirts, catered dinner parties for my boss and the perfect Christmas gift for my mother. She holds me close when we’re out with her friends and I feel as effortless as she, my friends marvel at her sophistication but aren’t sure if they envy my place at her side.''

Portrait of Prince K. A. Gorchakov by Alexandre Cabanel

Let’s share a silence you and I
Only let it not be one of those silence where I’m dying to tell how much I want out
Or where you are hoping I will say I can’t live without
I haven't the courage to say
I'm happiest when free from you

All my love,

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Ironic Bush

I was out earlier with a few friends when idle chit-chat turned to a most contentious row and all due to a little female nudity. Or to be more specific, the lack of pubic hair on the models in classic painting. Now the contention was caused by one very stubborn lady’s belief that a nude painting of an adult female should include pubic hair. I disagreed, not solely to be contrary mind you but because I believe in artistic licenses.

In Werner's Rowing Boat by Anders Zorn

My reasoning of course fell on deaf ears for my quarrelsome companions had organized with intent to save me from what they called, 'my naïve acceptance of pretty pictures,' over what they believe to be the artist true intent to marginalize women.

There was much reference made to a review by Ms. Young of Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream/ The Complete Centerfolds is a coffee-table book in which the brilliant Ms. Young wrote and I quote.

''...Pubic hair is another delight to behold, appearing first in 1971 and
thriving until 1997. Gauzy coronas of pubic hair, technicolor dreampubes of
every shade. You forget how assertive a healthy growth of hair can look. It
comes as a pleasant shock in the midst of a creamy-smooth expanse.
hair diminishes as the nineties draw to a close. Neat triangles turn to Band
Aid-sized strips, which become little Hitler mustaches or nothing at all. The
modern crotch is a bit prim, a bit less forthright. You'd think that depilation
would lend a youthful look to the genitals but it has the opposite effect
instead, making the girls look older and slightly jaded. (Intimate grooming
signals forethought.) The youthful quality of the early centerfolds

I love what Ms. Young had to say but I still think my friends were off point comparing a classic paint like Botticelli’s Venus to a shaved in the end my belief stays the same and that is we cannot place modern politics on ancient art for it simply was not part of their reality.

'They summed him up on sight, could see his weakness and humoured him the way one does a fellow victim of the same affliction.'

My love my care,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Blue done well

Builds in me an expectation that can only be found in the dark.

Girl With A Nest by Charles Chaplin
How very silly we are
Come now hurry before virtue intercedes and wrap me in guilt
Let me with appetite consume all your restraint so we may play as children in fields of nostalgia
Bind me to the strands of memory that encourages breath so with every breath you take I am remembered
Forgive the injury and the bloodshed
The pound of flesh I forcefully reclaimed was no more than the heart you broke
My love, my care

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A laugh

Gil Elvgren was one of the most important pin-up artists of the twentieth century. His illustrations appeal to the frivolous glamour puss bit of me that comes out to play whenever my dear friend Bunny and I get to play catch-up. She's in love again and we spend the entire afternoon shopping for the pretty this-and-thats that will blow his mind.
He Thinks I'm Too Good to be True

Spring Fling

Pour over me
Leave on me an impression
Burn me like caramel
Hot, sweet, unrelenting
Sink your teeth into me
Leave an impression on me
A permanent tattoo of your desire
Inscribed in my flesh
Whisper it to me
Leave with me the impression
You are worth my broken vows

Who Me

A perfect Sunday complete with homemade hamburgers and a cheeky red wine at Fanny’s.

A lovely week to you all,

Friday, April 16, 2010


Today I had lunch with my friends the elegant astute B.B. and the oh so womanly Fanny. Fanny is the sort of woman that confounds and delight. She is also the sexiest person I’ve ever known. She is ripe with what ever it is that makes a person alluring. It’s in her carriage, her sent and her slow open smile. I marvel at her simple grace and told her so, which led us three to a conversation on what makes one feminine.

William Merritt Chase's A Study in Curves

There was much talk of the youthful portrayal of the feminine ideal in our current society and B.B. scientific argument about the necessary weight of the masculine vs. the feminine but in the end none of us was really certain what it was or if it had much value in our society. Neither did we know how much femininity influenced female beauty and sexually.

I was brought up in a home of women who are physically bountiful and who relished in their femininity. I love the female form and see in it all the wonder of the world but I’ve never been able to understand if that love stemmed from my love of my nurturing environment or the soft pretty aesthetics.

If presse, I'd say femininity to me is my mother with her delicate perfume, smart silk blouse and red lip stain. She would never tolerate me or my sister crying in public or either of us relying too heavily on others so I suppose for me being femininity as always meant quiet strength and thoughtful grace.

All my love,


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday's Child

May your joys outweigh your sorrows
Leszek Kostuj's Crazy Cyclist II

I've bend you to break, consuming you as cure
Certain you were the antidote for pain
Finding in your vagueness the answer to my every queston only to be disillusioned when you are proven human
Here at the end your face awash with your regret and my malice
You call me the storm
I'm sure I'm the shelter
We are both wrong

My love, my care,

Monday, April 12, 2010

In Honour of Artemisia

Artemisia Gentileschi was one of the leading painters of her time. She was trained by her father, Orazio Lomi Gentileschias, artist, follower of Caravaggio and court painter for Charles I of England.

Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting

Artemisia was one of the first female artists to paint historical and religious paintings. Despite her talent, Artemisia was denied access to the professional academies for art due to her sex but she would in her lifetime be the first female painter to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence.

During the arc of Artemisia’s life as a painter there was a growth of naturalism which led to an emphasis on the depiction of courage and physical prowess, she flourished in this technique.

Mary Magdalene

One is able to see the growth of art during this period through the arch of one artist catalogue. With works moving from broader narrative themes to a single dramatic moment that emphasized more violent and voyeuristic aspects but then this was true of the entire era.

'Lucretia' this is my personal favorite

Popular scenes where taken from the Apocrypha and other ancient text on mythology. In these works I’m able to see the birth of the Romantic Movement that would follow two full centuries later.

'Judith Slaying Holofernes' this is her opus magnum

For me her work holds a personal significance I cannot explain beyond saying my soul recognize immediately her intent, if that makes any sense.

'Judith and Her Maidservant' and this follows well her opus
All my love,

Friday, April 9, 2010

Mavis Gallant One of the 100 Women that has Influenced Me

Mavis Leslie Young Gallant is a Canadian writer. In her twenties, she worked as a reporter for the Montreal Standard a position she felt certain she got only because the men were off at war. In 1950 she took her savings, left journalism and went to Paris to pursue life as a fiction writing.

I saw her in interview once talking about this decision and ever the pragmatist she said something akin to, ‘But I was practical I had my savings and I gave myself six or so months to get something published. I submitted a half adozen stories to the New Yorker and luckily they were accepted.’

In her sixty year career she has published only two novels Green Water, Green Sky 1959 and A Fairly Good Time a decade later. The majority of her published works is done in brilliant short stories she admits have sometimes started as novels before being deconstructed in to a more succinct tales.

Gallant has donated her personal papers to the Thomas Fisher Library at the University of Toronto where they will become available to researchers 25 years after she dies. In the meantime, she’s busy editing her highly anticipated diaries. She wisely said, “Unless you have a million dollar endowment, you can’t publish everything you have written.”

Here are a few more of her genius little observation that makes me smile.

This about journalism, “... can keep a writer from getting bored, but it can also result in a writer forming bad habits.”

“Publishers will consider publishing a collection of short stories, but only if you’ve written a novel, or if you’ve produced a New Yorkerish collection of stories. But you have to work a long time to have a collection. They don’t come out of the ground like earthworms.”

“I detest amateurs. Anyone who is an authentic writer and has an authentic voice doesn’t need help from anyone.”

“Happiness, is for pigs and cows.”

And maybe that dog on her lap.

An excerpt from Ms. Gallant's, The Moslem Wife.
“Netta took it for granted, now she was married, that Jack felt as she did about light, dark, death, and love. They were as alike in some ways ( none of them physical ) as a couple of twins, spoke much the same language in the same accents, had the same jokes - mostly about other people - and had been together as much as their families would let them for most of their lives. Other men seemed dull to Netta - slower, perhaps, lacking the spoken shorthand she had with Jack.”t

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"The spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings..."

William Wordsworth born 7 April and was a major English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with the 1798 joint publication of Lyrical Ballads. He was also England's Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death in 1850.

Wordsworth's magnum opus is generally considered to be The Prelude, a semiautobiographical poem of his early years which the poet revised and expanded a number of times for well over a decade but if you like me were a child of the British commonwealth it would more than likely be for you his ode to Daffodils you remember the rest of your life.

"I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud"
I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o'er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Wordsworth was thought poetry by his father who introduced him to the likes of Milton, Shakespeare and Spenser. He made his debut as a writer in 1787 when he published a sonnet in The European Magazine.
In his "Preface to Lyrical Ballads" titled the "Manifesto" of English Romantic criticism, Wordsworth calls his poems "experimental". In 1793, six full years after his first published work Wordsworth first collections of poems An Evening Walk and Descriptive Sketches was published.
Two years later he received a legacy of £900 from Raisley Calvert, which allowed him to pursue writing poetry. That year, he met Samuel Taylor Coleridge in Somerset. The two poets quickly developed a close friendship. In 1797, Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy, moved to Alfoxton House, Somerset, just a few miles away from Coleridge's home in Nether Stowey. Together, Wordsworth and Coleridge (with insights from Dorothy) produced Lyrical Ballads, one the most important works in the English Romantic movement.

The volume had neither the name of Wordsworth nor Coleridge as the author. One of Wordsworth's most famous poems, "Tintern Abbey", was published in the work, along with Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner". The second edition, published in 1800, had only Wordsworth listed as the author, and included a preface to the poems, which was significantly augmented in the 1802 edition.
This Preface to Lyrical Ballads is considered a central work of Romantic literary theory. In it, Wordsworth discusses what he sees as the elements of a new type of poetry, one based on the "real language of men" and which avoids the poetic diction of much eighteenth-century poetry. Here, Wordsworth gives his famous definition of poetry as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility". A fourth and final edition of Lyrical Ballads was published in 1805.
When his daughter, Dora, died in 1847, his production of poetry came to a standstill. He died in late April 1850 he was 80 years old.
My Heart Leaps Up
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
A lovely day to you all,

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Art as always been for me an expression of the human condition

From the profound to the absurd. Here Landseer shows us heart and wit with no more than subject and talent.
Attachment by Sir Edwin Landseer

John Gay's poem: Monkey Who Had Seen The World says well the very same idea only the painting for me says it better. Tell me if you agree.

The Monkey Who Had Seen The World by Landseer

John Gay's poem: Monkey Who Had Seen The World

A monkey, to reform the times,Resolved to visit foreign climes;For therefore toilsomely we roamTo bring politer manners home.Misfortunes serve to make us wise:Poor pug was caught, and made a prize;Sold was he, and by happy doomBought to cheer up a lady's gloom.Proud as a lover of his chainsHis way he wins, his post maintains--He twirled her knots and cracked her fan,Like any other gentleman.When jests grew dull he showed his wit,And many a lounger hit with it.When he had fully stored his mind--As Orpheus once for human kind,--So he away would homewards steal,To civilize the monkey weal.

The hirsute sylvans round him pressed,Astonished to behold him dressed.They praise his sleeve and coat, and hailHis dapper periwig and tail;His powdered back, like snow, admired,And all his shoulder-knot desired.

"Now mark and learn: from foreign skiesI come, to make a people wise.Weigh your own worth, assert your place,--The next in rank to human race.In cities long I passed my days,Conversed with man and learnt his ways;Their dress and courtly manners see--Reform your state and be like me.

"Ye who to thrive in flattery deal,Must learn your passions to conceal;And likewise to regard your friendsAs creatures sent to serve your ends.Be prompt to lie: there is no witIn telling truth, to lose by it.And knock down worth, bespatter merit:Don't stint--all will your scandal credit.Be bumptious, bully, swear, and fight--And all will own the man polite."

He grinned and bowed. With muttering jawsHis pugnosed brothers grinned applause,And, fond to copy human ways,Practise new mischiefs all their days.

He grinned and bowed. With muttering jawsHis pugnosed brothers grinned applause,And, fond to copy human ways,Practise new mischiefs all their days.

My love, my care,

Friday, April 2, 2010

Because sometimes we are our own worst enemy

And on occasion even I forget that in order to pursuit ones passion, be it art or romance one is required to have guts.

I pray you forgive the executioner and allow her sleep

Pray her axe sharp and your pain brief
Pray you are allowed dignity in your final hour
But more than that insist of your god the life of your enemy
Pray you are not survived long by those who would see you without your head
Demand their end is that of a coward
But pardon the woman with the axe and pray her blade sharp and her hands sure
Especially if you are the author of your own end

The Execution of Lady Jane Grey by Paul Delaroche
Somedays constant fortification is needed to be a writer.
A lovely holidays to all,
Warm regards,