April 29, 2009

looking in no. 3

looking in no.3, originally uploaded by Mark Horst.

piling everything on an altar

“To see God everywhere is to see Him nowhere. We go from day today, one day much like the next, and then on a certain day all unannounced we come upon a man or we see this man who is perhaps already known to us and is a man like all men but who makes a certain gesture of himself that is like the piling of one’s goods upon an altar and in this gesture we recognize that which is buried in our hearts and is never truly lost to us nor ever can be and it is this moment, you see. This same moment. It is this which we long for and are afraid to seek and which alone can save us.”

from The Crossing
Cormac McCarthy

April 28, 2009

nourishment like light

from Rumi
(Sheikh Sarraze comes in from the wilderness)

…There is nourishment like
bread that feeds one part

of your life and nourishment like light for another. There
are many rules about restraint

with the former, but only one rule for the latter, Never be
satisfied. Eat and drink

the soul substance, as a wick does with the oil it soaks in.
Give light to the company.

April 23, 2009

journeys still to be ours

A group of us were painting in Pepin, Wisconsin last weekend at Barbara McIlrath's farm. I found this poem at Barb's. It's how I feel painting: "imagine! imagine! the long and wondrous journeys still to be ours." The poem is Mary Oliver's.

Last Night the Rain Spoke to Me

Last night
the rain
spoke to me
slowly, saying,

what joy
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again

in a new way
on the earth!
That’s what it said
as it dropped,

smelling of iron,
and vanished
like a dream of the ocean
into the branches

and the grass below.
Then it was over.
The sky cleared.
I was standing

under a tree.
The tree was a tree
with happy leaves,
and I was myself,

and there were stars in the sky
that were also themselves
at the moment
at which moment

my right hand
was holding my left hand
which was holding the tree
which was filled with stars

and the soft rain—
imagine! imagine!
the long and wondrous journeys
still to be ours.

Mary Oliver

April 16, 2009

the light that I love

It is a certain light that I love and melody and fragrance and embrace that I love when I love my God—a light, melody, fragrance, food, embrace of the God-within, where for my soul, that shines which space does not contain; that sounds which time does not sweep away; that is fragrant which the breeze does not dispel; and that tastes sweet which, fed upon, is not diminished...
Augustine of Hippo

April 15, 2009

how the light gets in

how the light gets in, originally uploaded by Mark Horst.

24" x 24", oil on canvas, 2009.

how the light gets in

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Leonard Cohen

April 6, 2009

why paint?

My painter friend, Katherine Treffinger, asked me to say something about this question for her blog: “What I am wondering is why do you as an artist show up in front of the canvas? How does just the act of creating art hold enough meaning for you to show up and what is that meaning?”

If there weren’t something that remains hidden from us much of the time, something precious and wild, I don’t suppose I would bother with painting.

I do love paint. I love the smell of the linseed oil and the raw colors squeezed from the tube. And I do love painting: standing before the easel; the open window of a fresh canvas; the first brush stroke of paint dripping and clear; the deliciousness of seeing shapes and patterns and shifts of value and intensity.

But for me painting is—above all—a way of being present. It is the daily practice of paying attention with enough intensity that when the hidden world steps closer, I have a chance of noticing it; so that when the wolf stops to sniff the air outside my window, I can catch a glimpse of her.