Gorilla House LIVE ART: November 7, 2012

Ok…so, back to the easel and rockin’ with the Gorilla House animules!  I had a wonderful time.  I took the pressure off of myself by bringing a reference.  I knew that no matter what the themes, I wanted to recognize Remembrance in some way…remembrance, memory, family.  Given my huge interest in family research, I also wanted to bring into the mix at least one character, intimately…some one I have come to know through my research.

Here are the themes as received from the wheel of doom…some connect to my intentions…however, not directly…you decide.

1. school yard wimps and…
2. judgement
3. watching reality t.v.

I began by setting down the words to W.B. Yeat’s poem, A Dialogue Between Self and Soul.  As the words lifted up…I moved the lines upward…as they fell, I moved them down.  This is just a spectacular poem.  I know.  I know.  It’s long and you have stuff to do today.  Trust me.  Read it and you will be somehow changed.

Dialogue Between Self and Soul
By William Butler Yeats

{My Soul} I summon to the winding ancient stair;
Set all your mind upon the steep ascent,
Upon the broken, crumbling battlement,
Upon the breathless starlit air,
‘Upon the star that marks the hidden pole;
Fix every wandering thought upon
That quarter where all thought is done:
Who can distinguish darkness from the soul?

{My Self}. The consecrated blade upon my knees
Is Sato’s ancient blade, still as it was,
Still razor-keen, still like a looking-glass
Unspotted by the centuries;
That flowering, silken, old embroidery, torn
From some court-lady’s dress and round
The wooden scabbard bound and wound
Can, tattered, still protect, faded adorn.

{My Soul.} Why should the imagination of a man
Long past his prime remember things that are
Emblematical of love and war?
Think of ancestral night that can,
If but imagination scorn the earth
And intellect is wandering
To this and that and t’other thing,
Deliver from the crime of death and birth.

{My Self.} Montashigi, third of his family, fashioned it
Five hundred years ago, about it lie
Flowers from I know not what embroidery —
Heart’s purple — and all these I set
For emblems of the day against the tower
Emblematical of the night,
And claim as by a soldier’s right
A charter to commit the crime once more.

{My Soul.} Such fullness in that quarter overflows
And falls into the basin of the mind
That man is stricken deaf and dumb and blind,
For intellect no longer knows
i{Is} from the i{Ought,} or i{Knower} from the i{Known — }
That is to say, ascends to Heaven;
Only the dead can be forgiven;
But when I think of that my tongue’s a stone.

II
{My Self.} A living man is blind and drinks his drop.
What matter if the ditches are impure?
What matter if I live it all once more?
Endure that toil of growing up;
The ignominy of boyhood; the distress
Of boyhood changing into man;
The unfinished man and his pain
Brought face to face with his own clumsiness;
The finished man among his enemies? —
How in the name of Heaven can he escape
That defiling and disfigured shape
The mirror of malicious eyes
Casts upon his eyes until at last
He thinks that shape must be his shape?
And what’s the good of an escape
If honour find him in the wintry blast?
I am content to live it all again
And yet again, if it be life to pitch
Into the frog-spawn of a blind man’s ditch,
A blind man battering blind men;
Or into that most fecund ditch of all,
The folly that man does
Or must suffer, if he woos
A proud woman not kindred of his soul.
I am content to follow to its source
Every event in action or in thought;
Measure the lot; forgive myself the lot!
When such as I cast out remorse
So great a sweetness flows into the breast
We must laugh and we must sing,
We are blest by everything,
Everything we look upon is blest.

Then…the painting.  Although the chin area isn’t resolved…and some other things…I captured a gesture of my great uncle, Walter Haddow as he was photographed at Camp Borden in 1915, before heading out with the 40th Field Artillary Battalion to war.  He was one of the lucky ones.  He came home.  My great-grandfather did not.

Thank you, Peter, for purchasing this piece at auction and I’m so glad that this served as a reminder of your grandfather.  Also, thanks to the many individuals, new to the Gorilla House, who stopped by and spoke to me about the poem and about the painting, my process and the subject matter!

Beautiful Words on an Autumn Day

The Song of Wandering Aengus  
by W. B. Yeats
 
I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.   

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.   

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

Autumn Detail on my Table

 A sad thing about no longer being a child, is that I am not assigned the task of collecting autumn leaves and arranging them on a poster board.

 

The Wild Swans at Coole by William Butler Yeats

 
 
 
 
The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty Swans.
The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.
I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.
Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.
But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?
 
 
 
Portrait by W. B. Yeats painted by Purser, Sarah (1848 – 1943)