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…These tears lie hard as diamonds on my cheeks
Fire within and ice without… Continue reading
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The colors of water are richly varied – there to be observed and shared… Continue reading
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Summer this year means sailing, exploring, observing… Continue reading
The holidays are just past. They’re a time for playing, so I spent some time playing with one of my toys – a digital drawing program on my phone. Creating shapes and playing with color are a pleasure, and when even the act of creating is pure play then creating can only be pure pleasure – and the process more important than the results.
And then I played with words:Sunrise, sunset, rolling over night to day to night. beginnings, endings, renewings – smile hello, wave goodbye, cry hello again…
It’s all endings and beginnings, and life flows on in between.
Last year ended with storms of wind and snow and icy rain. This year is starting with winds that toss the waters and sing in the window cracks, making cold into bitter cold. Old year, new year, the days come and go in much the same way, and weather doesn’t care much for our attempts to corral and predict it with dates and times and seasons. It has its own cycles.
And so do we – wake and sleep, give and receive, work and play, birth and death. Each part of the cycle has its place.
So let us not neglect play, an activity ripe with possibilities and full of joy and discovery. For life, like weather, doesn’t care much for our attempts to corral and predict. As John Lennon said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans…”
Wonder what life will bring this New Year?
Every artist, every person, needs opportunities to experiment and room to grow.
For Renoir, painting flowers was that opportunity: he could experiment, work differently, try new ideas.
“When I paint flowers, I feel free to try out tones and values and worry less about destroying the canvas,” he told the writer Georges Rivière. “I would not do this with a figure painting since there I would care about destroying the work.” (quote from the MetMuseum)
This is one of those paintings of flowers, and it is a study in contrasts. We see combinations of dark and light, warmth and coolness, texture and smoothness.
The composition looks formal, centered. The flowers are impressionistic, shapes and petals and the interplay of light and dark suggested with strokes of warm color. If you look closely you can see the different colors that, together, create the dense surfaces of the lighter shelf beneath and darker wall behind the flowers. The glossy-looking surface of the vase that holds those flowers, the precise curve of its side, contrast with the softness of the rest of the painting.
It’s a beautiful painting – but then if it had been a failure chances are we would not be looking at it now. I wonder what his failures, the paintings he would have destroyed, looked like? In the end it doesn’t matter – what matters is what he learned along the way.
What we do see is the sense the freedom that comes with worrying less “about destroying the canvas”. It is a freedom that everyone needs from time to time.
Wishing you the freedom and the room you need to try new things, learn, and grow.
Marc Chagall loved Bella Rosenfeld. In 1914 he came back from Paris to Vitebsk to woo and wed her. In 1915 they married and she became integral to his art and life.
She is woven into his art. His images of her are full of love, fantasy and romance. He frequently shows them soaring over the mundane world around them. Each time Chagall creates Bella’s likeness he shares the beauty he sees in and through her, his passion and their joy.
For the twenty-nine years that they were married she was his companion, his link to his roots, and his muse. After she died unexpectedly in 1944 it took time for him to recover his desire to paint. Then he returned to painting by creating new images of her.
Because no matter what the future held, her place in his life had to be affirmed.
Links to a couple of my favorite paintings: