Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Coleurs de Provence a Rousillon and new nettles poem

Unfinished portrait of biker buddy with beer

Unfinished portrait of an imaginary woman

I'm not sure if I mentioned that my daughter Sara and her husband brought me artists' pigments from Rouisillon in Provence, France.

I finally started experimenting with the artists pigments last night.
I was up the absolute entire night with insomnia and decided, since I
couldn't sleep, to try doing egg tempera.  I'd done some at the MOST (Museum of Science and Technology) as a
workshop for kids, but when I read online about it, I got rather
daunted and fearful, but hey, why not try, I thought.

In the first one, of Keith, I drew an India ink sketch on watercolor
paper which I glued to cardboard.  In the second one, I painted
directly on the cardboard.

I was afraid those tiny containers of pigment might only be enough for
a single painting (and if I made oils--that MIGHT be true?), but with
the egg tempera, a tiny bit went a really LONG ways, and in fact, I
had to throw some of it away, as it would have dried before my next
session.  The second painting I started to use up the leftover paint
I'd made, and I did not make a sketch ahead, I just painted directly
onto the cardboard. ("carton")

Neither one of them are done yet--the paint is transparent, it requires
several layers and you have wait for it to dry between layers or it
picks up some of what you've already laid down for a patchy effect
(notice Keith's shirt.)  I've only used 5 colors so far, green, blue,
black, pale yellow ochre, and fleshy yellow ochre.  There are, of
course, a number of other colors, but the process of opening them and
mixing them is slow so I thought I'd start slowly as well, especially

since I don't know what I am doing.

It is interesting (to me, anyway), that when Dave and Julie were here
for the reunion, we went to the Cranbrook art museum and viewed an
exhibition of egg tempera paintings done by
Zoltan Sepeshy, a figurative painter, and Wallace Mitchell, an abstractionist, which really impressed me.  I did
not like all the pieces, but was excited by maybe about half of them,
and particularly excited by about 10%.  They made me interested in trying egg temperas.
Additional reports will probably follow.

and, since I was up all night (literally), I also wrote a poem.  Here's how it starts:

A Gift of Nettles

I plunge into a thicket of nettles, nettles so rich
they tower over my head.  Even with my arms
clutched . . . 

I need to stop "publishing" my poems on my blog, because many of the journals now require that poems have not been "published," even on one's own blog.  I would like to try publishing some of my poems in paper and online journals, so if you would like to read this poem  say so in the comments and leave your email in a separate but related comment (I will delete the email comment), unless I already have it, and I will send along the poem.  It will be a draft, whatever draft is current.

Writing a new poem each week is on my "goals" list, but I didn't mention the egg tempera, although doing art is also on the list.

Again, I apologize for some fairly severe formatting issues that I cannot seem to resolve.

"I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being." Hafiz of Persia"



 I didn't trust it for a moment
but I drank it anyway,
the wine of my own poetry.

It gave me the daring to take hold
of the darkness and tear it down
and cut it into little pieces.

-- Lala, 14th century Persian poet


John said...

I admire you Mary in so many ways not least of all because you are an adventurer at heart, never afraid to try new things and to take on new challenges. Your nettles poem resonates with me too, finding that special place.......................

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Thanks so much, John!!!! You are incredibly kind and supportive.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I've worked on these several times since I posted them, but have been too busy to repost. Hope to do so soon! They are quite different now.