Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Sound Of Time Passing

Yesterday was a bright day, not too cold (my furnace isn't working properly, but I have a wood heater too), Tosca was on the Met Opera live broadcast; it was a great afternoon for painting.

I began a new piece, even though I know I can't finish it for the upcoming show -- but I could see it in my head, already completed, and needed to get something down. I'll have to put it aside for awhile, return to other projects while it dries, before I can continue. It's the nature of oil paint, and the way I use it. I had mixed exactly the right amount of my blue, just a smidge more than needed to complete the first pass - that's one of those mundane satisfactions, like making a nice stack of wood, or asking for 1/4 pound of cheese and watching the vendor cut it within a gram.

The image for the painting derives from a drawing I posted here a few days ago, so I will title it with something alluding to the words I wrote on that sketchbook page. I am usually thinking of titles at the very beginnning of a piece, because I work on several at once and keep a notebook that tracks their progress; having a title helps if I decide to go back to see what pigments I used for a color.

The words under the drawing are "Decay, of sound, as it slides away from time." A couple things I am often thinking about while painting: Time, how I experience it and how it is measured; how it is limited and how it is not. And the ever-present (in my mind) threshold of the metaphysical powers of paint and the decorative ones. I am not so avoidant of the decorative properties in my paintings as I was a couple decades ago. I still want to express visually my questions about the metaphysical aspects of life, but am embracing my pleasure in the decorative arts: tile work, gameboards, toys, and the joys of visual patterns and color.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Today my homage is to Anne Truitt, with thanks to the Matthew Marks Gallery in Chelsea (NYC), for this beautiful installation in their elegant gallery in 2010. I had great pleasure in absorbing this work then, and in photographing it. Here is an apt observation from a piece by Charlie Finch in Artnet:  

"There are two interpretive elements to Truitt's sculpture, a forbidding armor which blocks out the viewer at first glance, and then a slowly revealed intimacy which invites further discovery."

"Artists have no choice but to express their lives. They have only, and that not always, a choice of process. This process does not change the essential content of their work in art, which can only be their life." ~ Anne Truitt

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"To gaze at a river made of time and water/ And remember Time is another river."

The Art Of Poetry, Jorge Luis Borges

To gaze at a river made of time and water
And remember Time is another river.
To know we stray like a river
and our faces vanish like water.

To feel that waking is another dream
that dreams of not dreaming and that the death
we fear in our bones is the death
that every night we call a dream.

To see in every day and year a symbol
of all the days of man and his years,
and convert the outrage of the years
into a music, a sound, and a symbol.

To see in death a dream, in the sunset
a golden sadness--such is poetry,
humble and immortal, poetry,
returning, like dawn and the sunset.

Sometimes at evening there's a face
that sees us from the deeps of a mirror.
Art must be that sort of mirror,
disclosing to each of us his face.

They say Ulysses, wearied of wonders,
wept with love on seeing Ithaca,
humble and green. Art is that Ithaca,
a green eternity, not wonders.

Art is endless like a river flowing,
passing, yet remaining, a mirror to the same
inconstant Heraclitus, who is the same
and yet another, like the river flowing.

[photo: the Connecticut River from Sunderland, MA, 2010]

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Decay: Of Sound, As It Slides Away From Time

Ravenna Taylor, 2010 graphite drawing, 14 x 11 inches

Ravenna Taylor, digital photo

Ravenna Taylor, 2012, painting detail, with light

Ravenna Taylor, 2012, painting detail, with light

Monday, January 23, 2012

Beginner's Mind

I woke with one memory of a dream: Myself speaking, "I like beginnings."

I like Monday, it's filled with possiblities, and the wrong turns or detours I took last week are behind me. Like hiking in the desert, I don't see obstructions; I see the hill I mean to reach, and it seems possible to get there with what I have in me to go that distance - an illusion that reveals itself as such by Thursday; somehow the hill stays far even as I approach nearer. I repeatedly must re-learn to appreciate the patterns in my path's surprising intersections, the detours that might run parallel.

Ravenna Taylor, "Not Yet," 2011, assemblage, 7 x 4 inches

Saturday night I attended a wonderful performance of Bach cantatas by Dryden Ensemble. The vocal quartet was comprised of members of Tenet, and as a singer I was particularly inspired. To sing a Bach cantata in such a quartet is like that mountain in the desert that I will never reach. I have to enjoy my own journey, and the view in the distance.

I am beginning ... I am a beginner.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

How I Listen Is How I See

This collage is about 35 x 25 inches, including paper, ink, watercolor, acrylic paint, gouache, and chalk pastel.

I have been working on it along with a number of other pieces, both collage and oil paintings, in preparation for an upcoming online-only exhibition, with a concurrent open studio. The online exhibition will be with Galerie Cerulean, Abstract Art Online, beginning at the end of February; I hope to have the open studio near the end of the show, in March.

This piece will probably not be part of the online exhibition, although I will show it in the studio. It is a "revisioned" piece; I've been doing a lot of that lately. My work is changing so fast now that the place where I began is like a different ecosystem from where I am now traveling. I am not concerned with consistency, as I trust my work to have its own logic, and harmony within itself. But for the condensed and abbreviated experience of such an exhibit online, I will prefer that the individual pieces blend in the way a chamber chorus would. It tempts me to keep working on this piece so it will belong in the chorus; but maybe it would rather stand on its own.

I'm listening.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Canoe Is Another Fine Word To Put In

Sunday my friend said he was thinking of making a blog, and I said "me too!" He said he was stumped by what to call it, which surprised me as I hadn't even gotten to thinking about that yet; but I realized how much that did matter to me. I wouldn't know what to call it without knowing what I was going to do with it - I have some blogs I follow and each has a particular purpose. I had to think about what my purpose would be - but as is so often the way with me, I need to find the purpose in the doing. I just knew I wanted to move on from the kind of posting I'd been doing on that social network we all know, or think we know, until they change it again.

I woke at an odd hour and couldn't go back to sleep. I saw in my mind an aerial view of our beautiful planet, with water coursing, threading, soaking: springs, rivulets and streams, rivers, marshes and bays, and the sea. I saw an estuary, a tidal marsh, where sometimes the water is flooding in fresh, and sometimes it's washing in salty. It goes both ways, and makes a fertile home for fin and feather.

"Lagoon," because I like the word, I like the coupled circles of O preceded by the Romantic Article. And it will be about things I see, pictures of those things, art and nature, or things I make for you to see. What washes in and what seeps out. But just don't expect me to be as regular as the tides.

Here's a wonderful poem by Czeslaw Milosz. I took it from the internet and regrettably don't know the translator's name, but maybe I'll find it later. It is too apt for my mood to not post tonight.

LOVE (Rescue)

Love means to learn to look at yourself
The way one looks at distant things
For you are only one thing among many.
And whoever sees that way heals his heart,
Without knowing it, from various ills -
A bird and a tree say to him: Friend.

Then he wants to use himself and things
So that they stand in the glow of ripeness.
It doesn't matter whether he knows what he serves:
Who serves best doesn't always understand.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Revise re: Vision

Welcome to my new blog.
This blog will collect random recordings and stochastic stories, and maybe meandering musings as well.

"Stochastic" was the word of the day sent to me, via serendipity on this same day, from the website Wordsmith.