These two paintings started as an experiment and turned into two quite intimate pictures. For me, they have to be seen in the right light to be appreciated. On both these paintings, I was actually putting down an imprimatura and just pushing some deeper value into some areas – wiping away here and there – and the landscape emerged.
It is all very thinly applied, almost just stained. The anonymous overall color contributes to really make that patch of blue pop out (see below).
Both these paintings remind me of an old farmhouse in South Africa. I spent time there as a child – the sort of place with a grandfather clock, a crochet blanket over an old couch and the .22 rifle on a rack between framed black-and-white family photographs. Meat-hook at the end of a chain outside; hanging from a branch, glinting in the moonlight.
T.S. Eliot wrote, in Burnt Norton:
Time past and time future Allow but a little consciousness. To be conscious is not to be in time But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden, The moment in the arbour where the rain beat, The moment in the draughty church at smokefall Be remembered; involved with past and future. Only through time time is conquered.
These poignant, timeless moments are central to the Four Quartets. Kenneth Kramer commented on this verse:
After timeless moments are directly, albeit briefly, experienced, then later retrieved from memory, when revivified in time through a disciplined imagination, the poet is liberated from himself. For this reason, the poet, throughout the Quartets, attempts to distance himself from the deleterious distractions of his personal, historic, and artistic life, in order to pass back into life with maximum potency.
Kramer, Kenneth Paul. Redeeming Time
I can imagine it was a similar timeless moment that prompted Ryokan to write this poem:
Autumn night - unable to sleep, I leave my tiny cottage. Fall insects cry under the rocks, and The cold branches are sparsely covered. Far away, from deep in the valley, the sound of water. The moon rises slowly over the highest peek; I stand there quietly for a long time and My robe becomes moist with dew. Ryokan, translated by John Stevens in One Robe, One Bowl, the Zen Poetry of Ryokan
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