Tuesday, March 11, 2008
My Nod to Calder
I watch the woman of my dreams, the man who was the king, the child who lives through them into the stars and back through clouds into day, and it isn’t easy to pinpoint this day, this moment, when I hear a friend gasp from pain, when I think of others I love who struggle. What is easy is coming into view – the faces, the names, the thoughts we have been in other forms, as the dance of life goes on, changing.
Always, even tonight, the stars come clear and make themselves jewels in the sky. We drove the country highway after darkness came, and the headlights of cars shone as bright as spotlights over ocean waves sometimes.
I watch your face as pain comes over you, enveloping you from the inside like wings, or, more graphically, pain the way a knife must feel as it is inserted and quickly gone. I let the wave wash through me, painless but full of the texture and temperature of every ocean wave I remember, pains I have painted, vessel by vessel, nerve by nerve, blood drop to clean up.
The joy of what comes with morning, of where we go while sleeping, just as we can go while awake as we welcome it, is the art of life. When I study paintings, prints and pictures of them I mean, mostly, I feel the passion such fingers brought to the canvas, the stone, sometimes the twists and turns that each mind made to express that stroke. The harsh strokes, the jagged edges, the bright blights, all show our growing pains, breaking from the forms of thought we have engraved as the way things “are.” The beauty of rolling fields, the luster of skin that glows with life, the rich colors that are irresistible to the eye and all our rods and cones remember – the sky and water invite us in, and every way we express skin invites us to remember our creation.
Every picture does tell a story. Faces in paintings full of sadness, mourning, the patience which waits for the burst of life to revive again, with whatever morning is; faces in stiff sittings for commissioned portraits ready for hanging in grand entrance or doorway; faces in repose, with just the kiss of sunlight and shade; faces full on with the gaze deep as any well dug or imagined. Each color, stroke, detail – a vase on the table in the corner of the room, angled away from the first way a look may go, pulling you in, still – has its life and part of life, the composite opera which plays and plays, silent or not.
There are cycles of expression through time. How do we express honor? The glory of war, the patronage of an artist who will paint the picture as we see it, as we see ourselves? The complexity of life snaking through soil, into the celebration of creation, form after form, limbs curling, clouds wisping, even the whir of wings made by little fingers. This is my nod to Alexander Calder.