Reflections and notes on the relationship of art to nature and of nature to art from along Warwoman Creek, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Katuah Province of Turtle Island, where the light, the dark, the seasons, the time of deep past, deep present and deep future all mix in alchemal mists to reveal and hide and transform these slopes, shaded coves, bright rivers, deep forests and me, and together sustain me and my art.

Monday, December 31, 2012

My Wheel Barrow of Time

                                                             It has been said:

                                                            "so much depends
                                                             a red wheel
                                                             glazed with rain
                                                             beside the white
                                                                              - William Carlos Williams

           "For we are not pans and barrows, nor even porters of the fire and torch-bearers,
but children of the fire, made of it, and only the same divinity transmuted, and at two or three                  removes, when we know least about it."   - Emerson, 1844, "The Poet"

                                                          In my wheel barrow
                                                          of time - the compost
                                                          of past and future.

                                                          In the longest night -
                                                                    the end of the world
                                                                    the beginning of the world.

                                                         In this night
                                                                   we who live by fire
                                                                   we who live by dreams -
                                                         in this light
                                                        we are all but mirrors.

                                                        © Laurence Holden, 2012

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Fall falls

This is my 67th year. Fall fell with solemnity. The light dimmed. It’s spectrum shifted from viridians, cadmiums soaked in pthalos toward umbers and manganese violets soaked in ultramarines.

I live in a great forest that reaches across the upper fifth of my state of Georgia in the Southern Appalachians of the U.S. The trees have given up their tremendous harvest of hope in fallen nuts and leaves, the leaves blazing just before their descent. In this, an end and a beginning are folded in one another’s hands. I suspect they probably always are in life. It is a hard truth which I never seem prepared to fully accept.

I walk to the river nearby, over and over again, in all the seasons, to see this plainly there in front of me, this truth about this joining of beginnings and ends, and to ask over and over again - just how this can be?

I often return with poems to sing, but always the question too, raw and abiding. Sometimes I abandon my clothes and immerse myself in the river to feel what it’s like to be part of it. But I always climb out, it’s surface behind me mirroring and recalling my shape, without ever managing to leave that question behind in the water- how is it that beginnings and ends are enfolded one in another? And then the greater, nagging question: what does this mean?

I ask my oil paints this same question too. Like a river it flows, yet stays and says: this is presence. What does it mean?

                                                   "Summer Trees, Morning Rain," 2012, o/c

                                             SUMMER TREES, MORNING RAIN

                                                                Summer trees,
                                                                morning rain.

                                                               Beside the river

                                                               all that is
                                                              goes this way.

In this 67th fall, I am closer to my beginning and my end then ever.  I’m often afraid that time is a river that runs only one way - to its end. But this is not what the river says. It runs, but never abandons its beginning - it merely stretches. and in its tremendous elasticity creates and affirms it’s enduring presence. This is difficult to grasp. Our lives are so ephemeral, so soaked in transience. But perhaps it’s not just us - perhaps everything is this way - it’s just the way Creation works. All our names are writ on water. We all follow, inextricably, undeniably, from noun to verb.

So I converse with the river, with its song, with the song I sometimes take away with me, with the paint., and with the words. It’s all a great language, echoing. Everything in the Universe echoes - language is filled with water, water is filled with language.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


A new version of "A River of Words & Images:"  Poetry and Music by Laurence Holden/ Images by Honor Woodard - new music by me!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Winter: a time, a space - of the world, of the mind, of thoughts and feelings. Winter - empty spaces, silent intervals, as if the connective tissue that connect events (color, sound) has withdrawn, retreated, retracted, and there appears in its place an emptiness. But no - it's something else, something that goes and something else that returns, and perhaps beneath both, something that stays, remains, abides - this is what I'm after to bear witness to here.
The silences of winter. I intend to create a space for this silence, to welcome it as a messenger of something I'm not quite sure of, but which is of value - especially in these times we live, when silence has been all but banished.As a result, a great emptiness intrudes on our lives. This is to say that these silences are not empty.
I often think my poems are surrounded by a great silence, a great fertile silence. The words come out of that and condense into sounds and words. But these paintings - I think there is a great silence within them, and it is out of this they grow. My series "The Garden of the Golden Sections" grows out of something else - a dynamic energy coursing through the gift of the world. But these winter paintings here perhaps echo the other side of this. The mystery of how the world works - through both.  
 In This Space of Winter, 2008. o/c 11"h. x 14"w.

Mountain, 2006. o/c 36"h. x 24"w.

The Pool, 2009. Pastel on paper 22"h. x 30"w.

Winter Trees, 2004. o/c 36" x 36"

What's Needed, 2009. w.c.

I Am This Stream, 2010. Acrylic on canvas. 42"h. x 59"w.

Into That Good Night, 2011. o/c 16"h. x 20"w.

Winter Song, 2011. o/c 11"h. x 14"w. 

In the Wintering of Willows, 2012. oil on birch panel48"h. x 48"w. x 4"d. 

Lost Codes in Winter, 2012. o/c 50"h. x 56"w.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Short slide show featuring Marie Dunkle on cello - Let Us Gather at This River

"Let Us Gather at This River" Performance with Marie Dunkle improvising original music at The Mountain Heritage Center, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, N.C., January 19, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Performance of "Let Us Gather at This River" January 19, Mt. Heritage Center

January 19, 2012 7 pm. at the Mountain Heritage Center at Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, N.C. Laurence will perform his long poem “Let Us Gather at This River” with original music by Marie Dunkle at Gary Carden’s “The Liars Bench” a monthly presentation showcasing Southern Appalachian culture in all its richness and diversity.