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January 19, 2022


I don,t know if you intended the effect, but the contrast between the leaves you outlined in black and the areas you didn't choose to do that gives the picture a swimming, three-dimensional quality very similar to what I’d see with my glasses off. I'm very impressed!

Your blog and paintings made me think of that poem by WH Davies which starts "What is this life if, full of care /We have no time to stand and stare." Your blogs always make me stop, look deep and think. I had to look up the poem - my mind is a ragbag of beginnings. It goes on

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care / We have no time to stand and stare

As you know, since August I've endured two separate surgical procedures (one comparatively minor, the other major) at two different NHS hospitals on the border between England and Wales. What surprised me was the comparative calm in both. Absolutely no evidence of the Covid-related problems so gruesomely recounted in The Guardian and by the BBC - both reliable sources of info. When I enquired (you can't keep a good journo down) the answers were vague. mainly centring on the fact that both counties involved - Herefordshire and Worcestershire - are sparsely populated. In both instances I was treated comprehemsively and quickly. Made me wonder what all the fuss was about elsewhere in the UK, notably the north-east, certain large industrial conurbations and the London area. Do you have any first-hand knowledge (ie, from patients who have recently had hospital treatment) that confims the gloominess in the media?

The painting is beautiful and I am oddly fixating on bringing in the rosemary for winter as it winters over fine here in Portland.

The tight focus on the last image created the "aha": chaos and colour fill the frame, and absent the the implied "order" of the room, I immerse in it. In times of any kind of chaos, it's been useful to draw in my focus, choosing a framework I can live in, not taking on the whole buzzing thing.

That's what yoga does for me, too.

You know, Beth, I somehow thought of my old friend Mary Boxley Bullington, who I've known since I was 17 or 18--maybe it's the black outlines mixed with strong tints, the energy and exuberance, the freedom and color...

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.