Thursday, July 31, 2014

Two Blues

I have been thinking today about using this photo of Lake Superior last fall as the inspiration for a watercolor. Maybe use removable tape to keep the horizon so straight. And be sure to reserve the whites of the surf with a little preplanning. The soft-edged whites of the clouds should be easier to manage. The water is definitely a greeny-blue, like Thalo Blue Green Shade, and the sky looks like Ultramarine with a touch of red. The foreground and the darks should go in last and I might even use a Pitt pen for some of the twigginess of that tree. And things should be a little simplified. I might even try to do some different versions. I am planning to start my daily art project tomorrow. Today I definitely established that it is too windy to paint on the deck now. Maybe later in the summer when the weather changes and the air is still. (When it will probably be too hot. Given the state of the world today, I am glad to have only such minor problems right now.

I spent a lot more time with the Milosz Collected Poems (1931-2001) today. There is a whole section of early poems, The World, descriptions of childhood surroundings written in the middle of World War II, that are just about perfect--I plan to use many of them here, and to try some descriptions of my home in Scotia, New York from 1940-1950, if I can recall it in such concrete and useful detail.


Still one more year of preparation.
Tomorrow at the latest I'll start working on a great book
In which my century will appear as it really was.
The sun will rise over the righteous and the wicked,
Springs and autumns will unerringly return,
In a wet thicket a thrush will build his nest lined with clay
And foxes will learn their foxy natures,

And that will be the subject, with addenda. Thus: armies
Running across frozen plains, shouting a curse
In a many-voiced chorus; the cannon of a tank
Growing immense at the corner of a street; the ride at dusk,
Into a camp with watchtowers and barbed wire.

No, it won't happen tomorrow. In five or ten years
I still think too much about the mothers
And ask what is man born of woman.
He curls himself up and protects his head
While he is kicked by heavy boots; on fire and running,
He burns with bright flame; a bulldozer sweeps him into a clay pit.
Her child. Embracing a teddy bear. Conceived in ecstasy.

I haven't learned yet to speak as I should, calmly.

Czeslaw Milosz, Collected Poems; 1931-2001, page 429.
This poem is from his book Unattainable Earth, 1986.

Admire the motion of this poem. It contains much of the Twentieth Century in its single page. What a poet!

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