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.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

This is the Way it Is.

This is the way it is:
I live at the foot of Rainy Mountain. It is dreaming of a fullness that has always been. The Reindeer Age has come and gone, and so too the sorcerers of Les Trois Frères. I have been painting and writing about it now for almost sixty years.

Michelangelo has just dropped his chisel, chipped and its edge long worn away. He has walked away into the ever more, dreaming of it in Carrara marble dust.

Rembrandt has just used his thumb to smear the light below an eye, to smudge its clarity, and bring it back into the rough and tumbling, sighing world.

It is a late August afternoon near Arles. and Vincent is trudging home along the graveled road, leaning into the rising mistral, his paint box strung on his back. The mistral has muddled all the light. Later, Frances Bacon remembers this moment as still and forever.

In his last studio, wanting the light to come only from the sky, Claude removes his green tinted glasses to see through the last of the paintings for the L’Orangerie. In a way he does not recognize, the sorcerers of Les Trois Frères are still there, shimmering in the light that were water lilies.

Henri, in his robe, in the silence of the chapel, reaches out with his charcoal fastened to a long stick, high up onto the wall to make an arching mark that echoes the back of an auroch, but which will become too, the slope of a mendicants robe

Bill, in the cool winter light of his Long Island studio, a wide house painter’s brush in one hand, a spatula in the other, moves quickly toward a large canvas. He leans forward over his right foot, stabbing his brush into the wet paint and shoves it forward in an arc over, over, then down, trailing, twisting into a point. He leans back over his left foot and says NO! and with his other hand round the spatula sweeps away this last trailing gesture of how things are - always coming, always going. Life rises, life falls, lifts and expands, and falls again.

In the Lascaux caves, along Via Ghibellina, on Breestraat,  in Arles, at Giverny, in Cimiez, out on Long Island, the image is still, yet always moving in the yearning eye. The words are moving, yet echo a still and abiding presence. There is an emptiness that remains in always, a silence refusing encryption. And yet, and yet...

I live in a secluded cove just below the Blue Ridge Escarpment. My studio faces the North Star. The deep slopes, roaming mists, shaded forests and bright rivers here, the light, the dark, the round of seasons; these singing of the time of deep past, deep future, are all gathered here in a deep present. They all are speaking/singing /glimmering around old camp fires of an ancient encampment.

                WE ARE ALL VAGABONDS

                We are all vagabonds
                on this earth, wanderers
                with hungry hearts

                looking for a home
                we never had.

                At night we gather
                to distant fires
                of scavenged wood and brush

                to stir the ashes there
                and seek answers in the stars.

                In ceremony
                we mark our faces
                with our dream of want -

                flames and crosses and circles.

                And we carry this into all our days
                even into the desert of our lives

                dreaming into each new country
                our home again.

©Laurence Holden, 2018