Wednesday, May 21, 2008

JUST TO BE ALIVE























For the benefit of those new to my blog, and I hope for older readers, I'm going to do a re-run of my retrospective, now a 42-year retrospective. Last time around, that process resulted in new paintings, drawings and insight into my older work.

My fate as an artist was sealed with the above drawing which I made when I was 5 years old and for which I was praised. I am grateful to my mother, who was an accomplished horseback rider, for saving this orange, purple and red-violet horse. I wonder why I chose the color blue for the number 5.

This time, I am including the drawings and paintings of my old friend, RTN, making this a two-person retrospective, given that he has been the inspiration, in one way or another, for all my art work. In a letter from the VA Hospital, he wrote that he was proud of me for my art work and hoped I would continue my work as an artist.

Last week, I finally was able to go to the photo lab in downtown Bellingham so I could order some prints of my old friend and his art work to send to his sister. As I was standing at the counter trying to explain my project, I heard Bob Dylan singing. I stopped talking to listen to him sing. When I tried to talk again, I couldn't because I started crying. The young woman clerk was playing Bob Dylan's album, "New Morning," which is what I listened while my old friend was in Vietnam and what we listened to during the short time we lived together in 1971. The clerk was playing the ALBUM (!) on a turntable and handed the album cover to me. More than a coincidence. How else could that happen? "New Morning" is a great album. Ends with a beautiful song to God called "Father of Night." The song that made me start to cry is "If Not For You."

Now it's "New Morning In The North Country."

7 comments:

Loren said...

Looking forward to this retrospective, am, and hoping it inspires some new work.

tarakuanyin said...

Oh, this is so beautiful. All of it. The horse picture made me smile. It captures the spirit of the horse from the child's perspective so well, those flicked back ears, listening to the rider behind, perhaps; the wide, startled eyes, always watching; the supple muzzle, reaching out to touch or kiss or eat or love. And the Bob Dylan coincidence, like my heron stories, so deeply meaningful.

I 'm so happy you're doing the retrospective. I can't wait.

Lee's River/Zlatovyek said...

praise be to your mother, am. And to your fine and nurturing talent. I'm looking forward to the retrospective.

Anonymous said...

and what a wonderful connective lyric to lead into all this "if not for you.." the sense of wonder (to borrow from van) of the connections and gifts one's art bring to others
kjm

robin andrea said...

That was quite a moment at the photo lab. A beautiful reminder.

I wrote poems when I was five. They were much like your horse, a perfect expression.

Dale said...

(o)

cbb said...

I think it was Jane Austen who said, "Everything nourishes that which is already strong." That seems somehow connected (at least in my mind) to the synchronicity of the album.

It also makes me think of TSE in the "Four Quartets,"

What might have been and what has been
Points to one end, which is always present.

That wonderful, full, synchronous, blessed now.