Sunday, December 02, 2012

shadow of a girl

It's been cool and raining off and on all day ~ the clouds threatening above as the dogs walked me quickly around the block. I have to admit, this is my kind of weather. I'm just a dark and rainy day kinda girl. It makes me cheerful.

It's been ages since I've had the time to enjoy the better part of a Sunday just playing in paint. I used to love such days when my husband was around, laughing, critiquing, always encouraging. Now it seems there are constant chores and responsibilities to be dealt with, the serenity of a quiet weekend all but lost. Too much quiet, too little serenity.

But recently I've been indulging in an occasional mixed media art class in old downtown Orange with the lovely and talented Erna van Dyk, who kindly guided me through this copy of her painting of a darkly elongated lady. As usual, I could not finish it by the end of a (generously extended) class; I am hoping to someday understand how to blend acrylic paints on canvas, as I seem to be horrible at it right now. One must work fairly quickly before the paints dry, and I can't even think as fast as paint dries. Too busy watching it, I guess. Fascinated.

Still, I worked on it today and, even though it is a lesser copy of someone else's art, I really like having my own 'shadow' of Erna's elegant lady. The slender figure seems to see something in the darkness, and I am grateful for her company on a quiet, rainy day. Serene at last.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

the moon, my shadow and me

I haven't been writing very much lately, or painting or drawing or anything else of much consequence. I have, however, been doing my share of drinking, which I like to think of more as a hobby than a vice. My way of making the world a little happier place. You know, for me.

I am drawn to wine labels, not for their pedigree but for their design, which makes me an object of oenophiliptic contempt*, but one must amuse oneself somehow. I soak them off when I can, which lately is not as often as it used to be. They seem to be using some sort of rocket glue that cannot be removed with the help of blow torches, water, vinegar or time. They either remain pointlessly clinging to their vessels for all eternity or surrender completely, dissolving at once into nothingness. Existential bottles. Choose your path wisely.

When successful, I glue the more pliant labels to paper and doodle around the edges. Sometimes in the morning I like how they look. Sometimes I don't, but it doesn't really matter. Mostly, I am drawn to the moonlight and the shadows and the flowers and the wine.

Drinking Alone Under the Moon
A translation of a poem by Li Bai (701-762 CE)

Alone among the flowers with a jug of wine,
Without a single friend to drink with me,
I lift my glass and invite the bright moon to come
Join in—now the moon, my shadow and I make three.

I know the moon is not a famous drinker,
My shadow’s toast no more than mimicry,
And yet for a little while the three of us
Carouse in springtime camaraderie.

I sing, and the moon sways to and fro in rhythm;
I dance, and my shadow floats in harmony.
Drinking, we share our joys with one another;
After, we’ll need to find them separately.

Let’s meet again, at the end of the Silver River, 
And there, my friends, resume our revelry!

* a phrase I have almost certainly made up, and quite like