This is my first oil painting in about a week. This is an invented landscape, reflecting a place felt or seen through a poem by Wang Wei. The poem and thumbnail sketch is below.
As you can see from the thumbnail, I started with a basic abstract shape – a dark, somewhat mysterious shape which forms the center of interest in the lower left quadrant. In my thumbnail this was an old, craggy tree but in my under-painting it became an old twisted tree stump – all that is left of an old Eucalyptus that battled with the seasons for many years.
When my oldest son was about four, he once sat in front of me and Kate at the edge of a shallow stream running over rocks. He puddled around in the water for a while, then became very still and sat looking into the water for the longest time. After a long time we called him to leave and both saw he was in a sort of trance – very unusual. When I questioned him he answered – and Kate is witness to this: “I missed my life”.
What mystery is this life? I cannot understand what it is in me that is drawn so deeply to scenes like the one depicted in my painting. Also a childhood moment perhaps, when I lingered late at the edge of water and saw into a deeper truth.
I quoted the following poem in an earlier post, but I cannot help doing so again:
To Magistrate Zhang Late, I love but quietness: Things of this world are no more my concern Looking back, I’ve known no better plan Than this: returning to the grove Pine breezes: loosen my robe Mountain moon beams: play my lute. What, you ask, is Final Truth? The fisherman’s song, strikes deep into the bank. Original Poem by Wang Wei (translated by J.P. Seaton in The Poetry of Zen, by J.P Seaton and Sam Hamill)
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