"Tones of gray and sepia color the music of the cello..." a scene of one sitting, quietly watching poison drip into "the body and breast" of a loved one undergoing chemotherapy. When Bruce read this to me, my impulse was to turn away from the thought, unable to conceive of this treatment being worthy of musical accompaniment, let alone poetic depiction.
The image of the cello stuck in my mind however. We shared a visit to an Atlanta Symphony rehearsal where I fixed the image into a sketch. If you look carefully, you see this cello has no strings. The music had ended.
"I lit a fire, the first this year, partly to warm friends in part to rekindle memories...
Morning fires had meaning -- to light your smile, to warm your hands, to comfort your robed body...
Evening fires were different, a luxury of sorts for warmth was already ours; an intermezzo between day and dreams. Logs crackled, embers glowed and sparked a quiet joy, an enchanting time ..."
a canopy of weathered patina
years of love, of garden walks
under arbors dressed with 'Cornelia' musk roses
we planted and nurtured roses ... and each other.
-from Quarter Peeled Oranges-
The sight of a "rainbow" ascending the wall of the Temple during worship. Wording of the poetry transmitted color illuminated by a loving life together.
We went to the temple to sit, ponder the words of his poem and sketch this scene. My picture in graphite does not capture the emotion filled colors he described. But, hopefully this architectural rendering portrays the grandeur and elegance and mutual blessings, now memories.
"...fixed star, seen clearly on a cloudless night, no longer warmed by candle light."
Paraphrasing words that imbedded this image into my mind.
so reads the memory of roadside picnics, the simple act of using fingernails to score the skin of an orange then to carefully peel the skin away from the sweet flesh found inside. Call it a unique culinary skill. Bruce was smitten with the ease and manner in which this simple act was performed. From this memory, and more, this book of love poems (and my graphite drawing) was conceived ... Quarter Peeled Oranges.
It doesn't seem like 8 years ago that I made a new friend. I had recently taken up drawing; he had taken to poetry. My cause was totally enjoyment and relaxation; his was emotional survival.
He lost his wife after a long battle with breast cancer. Recording memories and thoughts about the love and life together was "prescribed" as a way to grieve, and perhaps preserve her memory for children and grandchildren. It was to become more. It turned into beautifully touching poetry. All who read it , often after wiping a tear from the eye, suggested he should have it published.
I was given the opportunity to display my art in 2010 at a "First Friday Art Walk" event on the Square of Marietta. My first "art exhibit", imagine that! A mutual friend invited Bruce to "get out of the house" and come along to at least look at my art (moral support, I suppose, for both of us).
I sold my first piece of art that evening then, days later, received an invitation to stop over for a cup of coffee on his front porch and discuss collaborating on a book - of poetry and illustrations, ultimately to be titled Quarter Peeled Oranges, ultimately to offer support to women battling breast cancer through the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
The picture shown is from the book, but also where I sat while being touched by his first "reading" from Quarter Peeled Oranges. This month I'll add more illustrations from this book.
I've been busy ... making art and preparing for art to be exhibited. It's a long story, probably best to be saved for another day, (another blog or series of blogs). But I hope to offer more of my recent works in the near future.
Here is a sample: Lesser Town of Prague - Inspired from last year's tour of Czech Republic and Germany and a sketch made while standing on Charles Bridge while clouds were building a thunderstorm. This will be one of a the series, hinted at above.
Just back from a birthday celebration in Boston, and sailing on Boston Harbor. Decided to finally capture this scene from an old photograph which picks up some of the intensity of controlling a broad reach under full sail.
I guess translated from Norwegian, it means Fjord of the Trolls. We entered this long deep fjord while the rain was just beginning to fall enough to obscure the snow-capped mountains in the far end. Steep sides dropped out of the sky to darken the narrow slot of water surrounding the boat, about 200 yards on each side. My sketchbook started getting too wet for drawing so I just watched and snapped a few pictures of this dramatic changing scene.
1200 years ago Vikings came up this channel, I guess paddling to the cadence of someone with an attitude, pounding on a drum. Don't know if there was much to pillage from the village at the end, but the scene and weather certainly charges the imagination. Glad we didn't have to paddle and had the comfort of a throbbing engine and propeller driving us forward, a dry room to sleep in, a stomach full of food and wine to sleep on.
This scene comes out of my sketchbook to no doubt be developed later. Many inquiries made me decide to post it now.