Thursday, March 11, 2021

Loss and absence, art and nature


From Celia Paul: Self-Portrait (Jonathan Cape, London 2019, p.152)

"A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself." May Sarton

"[W]hen I look at this painting, even in reproduction, even in a black-and-white reproduction, it inspires in me an almost inexpressible tenderness that is close to pain [...] But again, why do I feel like weeping over a glass of water standing near a coffeepot? A real pot and glass of water would never have this effect on me, unless perhaps these objects had belonged to a beloved person who had died [...]
Chardin's body has left its mark on the canvas, and even though for many viewers that imprint may be subliminal, it is felt - the simpler the subject matter, the more opulent the human presence." 
Hustvedt, Siri: Mysteries of the Rectangle. Essays on Painting, Princeton Architectural Press, New York 2005, pp.35f.


Monday, March 1, 2021

Knits, reads, paints


|  Knitting cushion covers in two-purl-two-knit squares and washcloths with leftover yarn from my jumper (bamboo washcloth pattern by John's cousin Lisa. My sister also makes her own washcloths) - I love spotting and noting random beautiful colour combinations, such as this one in my knitting basket: sage green, mint, magenta and silver grey.

|  This is not my current reading list (I am always late taking photos, and I already posted this on Instagram), but some highlights from last year, though not all recent publications. I am trying to remind myself to incorporate what I learnt from James Nestor's Breath (especially taping my mouth at night and doing coherent breathing: inhale for 5.5 seconds, exhale for 5.5 seconds), Glennon Doyle (stop caring what other people think, for example) and of course Pema Chödrön's wisdom. I read so many self-help books, and while I often take notes, once the books are back on a shelf, it is easy to forget the aha moments.

|  Working on a portrait of John: I am taking a lot of photos along the way, as he has given me permission to use this as an example in the online classes I am teaching, and I might add the work-in-progress shots to my website, if I ever revive the art blog I sporadically update on there (I am thinking of merging it with this one). The above photo is cropped; the painting is portrait format and will include seaweed, flowers and a bee when it is finished, symbols of John's love of nature, gardening and the sea and his new passion beekeeping.