#O132: Sorrows of Distance

In my recent paintings I have been using mostly thick impasto paint. This image started as a playful exploration of sky and land without a clear horizon line. Because I was not sure which direction the image was going to go, I kept the paint quite thin.

I liked the shapes and values of my initial lay-in. Even though I had no specific image in my mind – only a certain mood of sky and wetland – this image emerged and I had the temerity to say “this is it” and stop right there after the initial lay in.

I did wipe away a little here and there to reveal that warm Raw Sienna under-painting. I like this image and the mood it conveys, even though it is probably only for my own personal collection (along with everything else I paint!)


I recently enjoyed reading Meditation as Contemplative Inquiry by Arthur Zajonc. Here is a passage I highlighted among many others:

Contemplative practice means, among other things, becoming practiced in solitude. This does not mean brooding or self-indulgent musing, but instead practicing a special form of recollection of the past, mindfulness for the present, and envisioning of the future in a manner that is enlivening, clear, and insightful. We learn to be properly solitary, and to carry the depth of our solitude into the world with grace and selflessness.

I am also at present reading a biography of Wallace Stevens and Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography. I am just at the start, but already impressed with his knack for prose. Here is how he describes his teenage encounter with his father’s demons:

At forty-five he was friendless, and due to my pop’s insecurities, there was never another man in our home except me. He spilled his heart out to me. It shocked me, made me feel uncomfortable and strangely wonderful. He showed himself to me, mess that he was. It was one of the greatest days of my teenage life. He needed a “man” friend and I was the only game in town. I comforted him the best I could. I was only sixteen and we were both in way over our heads.

Finally, from time to time, at the end of my morning coffee in bed, I progress a bit further into my copy of David Hinton’s Classical Chinese Poetry. Here is the last poem I highlighted:

We share all these disappointments of failing 
autumn a thousand miles apart. This is where 

autumn wind easily plunders courtyard trees, 
but the sorrows of distance never scatter away. 

Swallow shadows shake out homeward wings. 
Orchid scents thin, drifting from old thickets. 

These lovely seasons and fragrant years falling 
lonely away—we share such emptiness here.

Po Chu-I (772-846) translated David Hinton in
Classical Chinese Poetry


Thanks for visiting my blog!

11 thoughts on “#O132: Sorrows of Distance

  1. Beautiful painting with minimal detail, the essence and spirit of a painting. I particularly like how you bring the sigh to a close on that horizon line. I think that I might purchase that book by Arthur Zajonc, right up my alley. Sounds like you are a reader as well as an artist, are you on Goodreads?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Margaret. The book by Zajonc is very good, but can get hard going at times. Worth a try for about $10 on Amazon. You can also try Richard Rohr’s books if you have not already. They are written in a more Christian vein, though still largely “spiritual”. Zajonc’s book is fairly Buddhist centred, but only in a pragmatic way, if that makes sense!
      I am not on Goodreads, I normally start from books I like on Amazon and then follow the thread to others.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was thinking of giving it a try. I have given Buddhist books a whirl now and then, I lived through it ;). What do you mean by “hard going”? I am not sure if I have read any of Richard Rohr’s books yet though I do believe that a few are on my to read list.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. By ‘hard going’ I mean it can be hard to follow (for me) at times. Some pages are like exercises and need applied thought. It is not a casual bedside read in my opinion.
        I can recommend Rohr’s book “Falling Upwards” especially if you come from a Christian viewpoint – lots there to ponder for the second half of life (I know I am being presumptuous about your age!)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. hehe…..well, I am in that part of the “half of life” point, no shame right? especially when it has been hard earned! I do believe that I have read one of Rohr’s books, though I am unfamiliar with Falling Upwards, I’ll look into that.

        Liked by 1 person

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