More Sketches of Beethoven

Beethoven and ... Rostropovich?  I found this forgotten early drawing from the 1970s, while searching for the two which I have lost.  I used to find it 'easier' to draw him than I do now!

Beethoven and … Rostropovich? (circa 1972).  I found this forgotten early drawing from the 1970s, while searching for the two which I have lost. I used to find it ‘easier’ to draw him than I do now! I love listening to the Beethoven cello sonatas.

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Continuing this “Beethoven series” inspired by Elene’s researches :  this post includes some journaling over the weekend, and portraits of the master by others, and from my new sketches.

First: a detail from my “watershed” series of dreams during the 1970s:

September 1976 – from “Paris and the Hollow Way”
(Watershed Tales)

“Smelling the flowers which grow around the end of Boulevard Malesherbes, I see the bright food in the brasseries, the Gaulish striped canopies over smoked glass. Avenues which radiate from this place are planted tree-deep with bouquets gathered this morning from the tart grass; the dew is still upon them – the waters of a river, where the pit of the railway once was
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“And yet this place in Paris has mile upon mile of shattered streets and dirty weathered brick.  The sorrow moves me, through field upon field of unhoused space, like Liverpool after the war.  As far as I see, no man lives here.  It moves me in strange ways.  I discussed these ways with the old hoardings of scarred planks and corrugated iron which give and take along the road. What tragedian devastated this land?

“No man,” they replied.  No man is an island.  But they live and speak.  Their answer is in nomadic ways, in syllables of philosophy I cannot recall.  They are my notice boards, my inner adversities that talk.

“So I came at last to an arrangement with Beethoven, of whom I was very fond.  I found him in a room without much light, and a musty smell … maybe a Viennese cellar during Napoleon’s bombardment?  I agreed to draw a portrait for him of his daughter.  She’s a small child, and her facial features are very dark.  For hours I toiled with each line and contour.  I saw Beethoven’s light within her, her soul so clear where she sat, but I couldn’t get it right.  The expression of her mouth and eyes, came into me, but I couldn’t connect.  I hesitated. I erased and drew, and erased again and drew.  The difficulty stared me in the face like having to learn all over again to walk, and made me cringe with pain.  I struggled to achieve at length an approximation:  my facility is lost, and I forgot the way.  There are no short cuts I can take.”

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The young child Beethoven?
portrait by an unknown artist, discovered in 1972
and … how might he have looked?

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I was reminded of this, because I had rather a struggle to draw Beethoven over the weekend.  I lost two early sketches of him which I like – maybe I gave them away – so I tried to reconstruct them.  The creative process doesn’t always flow.  Beethoven often had titanic difficulty with his compositions, scribbling and shouting and scratching out and searching for what he heard in the rain and the trees, from God.

Beethoven on a walk ... Pastorale

Beethoven on a walk … Pastorale

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Journal 24 July – Beethoven and Vera
He really is around … two new followers to my blog, who write about him and about pianos – did they come in through Vera Moore?

On Emily’s piano yesterday however, the three or four out-of-tune keys were very noticeable, and I couldn’t ride it well;  it was evening after a long tiring day.  When I played, the flowing faculty wasn’t there, and I stumbled along the up-down action.  I rang the tuner:  he said it could be tuned again in two or three months, but if it gets unbearable he will come and see what he can do.  One small consolation:  my own piano – a Spencer upright – is easier!

Strings and hammers - detail from a larger painting

Strings and hammers – detail from a larger painting

It was a revelation for me the day before, that to play Beethoven we must meditate with love: that is, to wait and let him enter.  He reaches the soul universally and constantly regenerates and sprouts runners along the higher astral ground – a hardy perennial.  The perennial is love – the humanitarian love which strove and strode nobly with his wrecked health and domestic furies.

I need to tune into that love, spontaneously or deliberately, to play him at all.  I have to walk with him and feel the rain, meditate and imagine the wild wind in the trees I see, and the noble themes it whispers onto a sodden notebook page.  The love and the divine beauty had to force a way through discordant tinnitus.

Beethoven walk: by Julius Schmid

Beethoven walk: by Julius Schmid

This must have made the silent sound of the outer world unbearably alluring – to see the movement and feel the wet rain.  On his walks the nature devas counselled him: he sang and scribbled and “raved”.  To rave is to be ravished in the elements.  People who knew him recorded the way his face opened into a raptus.  The raptus of old Beethoven fought the daily cacophonies inside his ears, and strode the serene paradox of the late quartets and the Opus 111 Arietta.

I did long ago, a small oil sketch of B walking in the grass hatless – can’t find it yet – did it get left behind at the red hedgehog?  Yesterday it was clear to me that my enormous labour of love at the red hedgehog in 2011 (a small and struggling concert venue), to clean and sand down and varnish the floors which were filthy, was for Beethoven.  I did it for the Peter Donohoe Beethoven series there – hook, line and sinker:  an esoteric assignment if you will.  If I hadn’t cleaned and brightened the floors, that wonderful Beethoven series might not have happened or touched earth there – a peak symbolic moment.  The sublime got through the chaos – the timeless touch spread fore and aft, and struck its Sound and Glory.

Klein, Franz / Micheli: Beethoven-Maske mit Lorbeerkranz, nach der Lebendmaske von Klein

Klein, Franz / Micheli: Beethoven-Maske mit Lorbeerkranz, nach der Lebendmaske von Klein

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As I mentioned Vera Moore above, suddenly my world with her is here too.  She is with me.  She was my piano teacher in Paris in 1965:  her eternal Life in a rickety household, rather like Beethoven’s – but she lived till she was 90:  her strong caress of the keys, like wrapping a baby – her reverent joy – giving birth to her “son of Art” and bringing him up through the French Resistance and after the war:  her powerful and abrasive personality as a younger woman and single mother – I hear again the obstinate ripple of her voice.  It didn’t bother her if her old Gaveau was out of tune – she couldn’t afford the tuner.

Vera Moore when I knew her - this drawing from memory is from the early 1970s

Vera Moore when I knew her – this drawing from memory is from the early 1970s.  I can imagine her sitting with me, and what she might say about this note or that note, wrapping my fingers round it like a baby with a shawl … her way with poetic images and her LOVE … her instruction to play what I am learning, like a chorale, without any inhibitions – sing it inside, with the touch.

I read somewhere that Liszt could draw forth the heart and soul from an out-of-tune instrument and captivate his listeners.  There must be a way of using those odd sounds.

One of Vera’s students helped her to write a piano Method.  I don’t think I heard Vera play Beethoven, but when Beethoven’s window opens in my soul, I may be pretty sure she will come through it as well.  Her gift like his, is a delicate seed of power, grace, humour and peace, in a turbulent nest.

I think Vera taught her piano students the “horizontal” caress which holds and rolls along the white and black keys, and on rare occasions comes through me in a moment of delight (I soon fall off !).  I believe Liszt played like this, glancing sideways with seductive smile (“isn’t this amazing?”); and Paul Roes aims to reconstruct it in his “Music – the Mystery and the Reality“.

Vera Moore in the 1930s - from Winifred Nicolson's  painting of her

Vera Moore in the 1930s – from Winifred Nicolson’s painting of her.  Search ‘vera moore’ on this blog, for my two posts about her.

I do prefer old uneven character pianos to the mechanically-perfect electronic keyboards.  You can hear straight away, even through a high open window.

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A sketch of Beethoven in his teens.  This one 'works' for me - and took just a few minutes.

A sketch of Beethoven in his teens. This one ‘works’ for me – and took just a few minutes.

silhouette of Beethoven at 16

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Here is a timely message from a fellow blogger:

“Draw a circle
place inside of it
every aspect of your
human experience …
all emotions
all actions
all shame and guilt
all the things you would love to forget
and all that you hope
you will never forget.

“Make it a place where all of it fits.
Let them no longer be strangers
to one another.
Let them take off their shoes and stay a while
rub elbows
break bread
toast to one another’s health and long life.

“When everything that you have experienced
is located in one place
you are
finally
‘One with Everything’.”

Charlie Morris wrote this poem … this morning, about everything in his life, the human texture, difficulty and joy, being in this one room unconditionally and inclusively, which is “God”.  It is not spiritual or unspiritual.

So Beethoven poured basins of water over his head to cool the fire of composition.  Now see and breathe interior peace in and as the room.  Nobody is alive without depending on something or someone for their well being.  No one goes it alone.  Look at what I depend on!  If my path with the Inner School was taken away, where would I be?

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Gallery, working from Kloeber and Carolsfeld’s portraits
– click to view

 

I spent the rest of the day trying to draw Beethoven – three more efforts.  It is much more difficult for me than it used to be – and so is playing the piano.  I found my Robbins Landon book which has lots of pictures, and an interesting photoshop idea online, with B’s life mask.  I got very bogged down and stuck.

I also extracted from my 2011 journals, the gist of Peter Donohoe’s Beethoven series at the red hedgehog (zum roten igel in North London) – I might put it in my next post, with my sketches of PD’s master-class.  Then my energy was all gone.

Gallery – click to view

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Gallery

Beethoven kept this painting by Joseph Mahler on his wall throughout his many changes of lodging.  It must have been among his few possessions – apart from the thousands of pages of his notebooks – which survived.  He will have identified particularly with its heroic quality.  Another of his treasured paintings was the one of his grandfather.

I decided to ‘have a go’ with this one, but quickly found the pose too artificial and romantic to reproduce convincingly!  So I switched to the idea of him conducting from the keyboard – keep practicing !   Keep trying  …

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Helen Ede in 1974, on my last visit to her.  She is knitting a sock for 'Old Bonesie', my grandfather.  Through the window you could see the Pentland Hills south of Edinburgh

Helen Ede in 1974, on my last visit to her. She is knitting a sock for ‘Old Bonesie’, my grandfather. Through the window in Jordan Lane, you could see the Pentland Hills south of Edinburgh

I hear the severe ecstasy of my grandmother, Helen Ede – her face and eagerness shaped somewhat like his. She used to play Beethoven’s Waldstein Sonata on her Bechstein … in whose dusky dark tones I explored his slow movements.  When her memory went, or she fell off a note, she would say ‘h’ai’ crossly.

We spoke together about the Arietta in his Opus 111 – after listening to her old record of Claudio Arrau playing it. Her face lit up: I cannot reproduce her voice, but she said something like this:

“… the long trills where the sun comes out.  You have in the beginning an austerity, and through the variation the austerity slowly relents, letting go of its own form, to melt and smile and dance.  You know that place where the dotted rhythm begins to go around, and around, to break it up – dissolving the form into light without ever quite losing it … ?  it falls open and time stops.  It seems to me that through that light, very gradually emerges again the variation.  The theme didn’t quite disappear, but is transcended and transfigured.  Then slowly the bar lines return, and the theme resumes.”

Beethoven in last quartets mode

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Imagining old Beethoven in private, his deaf face, his pain transfigured, alone in that mess of a room, having just poured another bucket over himself … I hear in some of his piano music, the Dionysian cyclic mandala or mantra rhythm, like Dante’s cosmic rose, dissolving into light.

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“Ochh Jane,” says my grandmother in her Scottish-German accent, “Oh what a sight to see.”

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Claudio Arrau 1986: from the record sleeve of Opus 111

Claudio Arrau 1986: from the record sleeve of Opus 111

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My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

Human Landscape – Refugee Children

What can a war artist do?

Yazidi 1

A photo is quickly taken, sold to a news agency, reacted to in passing by millions, and passed over.  A drawing takes far longer in time and space, to contemplate the condition. I did this one and two others, yesterday.  Some more were done last week, and the rest are from a few years ago. .

Our children are the same for us the world over.  This woman works hard on the land and in her household.  She holds it all together, and carries the weight of water from the well.  She gave birth to her babies in pain and crying out and relief; they are her life, each one.  Her husband may or may not be a strong, caring father. .

Now their homestead and village is shattered:  they wait homeless on the waterless mountain.  She is vulnerable.  In a war zone, you do not know who is friend or rapist – like an earthquake.  Her children are hungry and there is no roof.  There is the tearing pain inside her belly, of anxiety and shock:  the soft smell of her baby:  the bewildered bravery of her daughter as a journalist’s lens draws near.  They are rounded up like goats, by unknown herders. .

She is my sister.  I live in a safe house with interesting things to do, and plenty to eat.  I can only reach out by drawing her, to touch, that she may feel somehow, somewhere that someone knows.  Send her strength …  Even now … wherever she is. .

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Yazidi 2

He’s a father, and they lost their mother.  The children want to help him, and don’t know how.  On their terrifying journey to survival, it is the artist’s way to support them.  Loaded on a donkey they ride off into uncertain night, the first desolate steps through quicksand, of an astounding courage. .

It is humiliating to have your home torn away and to ride with all you can carry on the donkey to God knows where?

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Yazidi child 2

The newspaper said:  She has a badly needed drink.   While I was drawing her – and it took me nearly all day –  I wondered a lot about what blinds a man or boy, to kill or hurt a beautiful child like this in the name of fundamentalism.

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Gaza children 1

I singled these children out from a crowd in Gaza –  two brothers and a sister. They watch perhaps the bombing of their street – evacuated.  A rope to hold back the crowd, threads together each child’s parentless abyss…   the grownups’ broken world

Gaza 2

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refugee children 2

This was a design for a Christmas card some years ago – a refugee camp anywhere and the Star.

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Valerie Brooks

The late Valerie Brooks gave 17 years of her life to support children in distress.  Through her cleaner, (a doctor from West Ukraine who could earn more for her family by cleaning houses in London, than by practicing medicine in her home town) assistance was given also to a poverty-stricken Ukrainian community, through the Maria Relief Fund  http://mariarelieffund.org.uk/ .   A network of friends and sponsors helps to support each family there, and to establish an English class and educational opportunities for their children. .  It is an extended family.

Many large charities lose their definition in administrative overheads.  Smaller charities operate in a grass-roots way through human contact and serendipity.  The Maria Relief Fund is a small registered charity, assisting displaced children around the world.  I am associated with it and also with the Phoenix Aid Centre .  PAC provides accessible therapy and counselling for refugees, victims of abuse and for all who might rise from their ashes and fly. .

A man or woman who brought their family from danger into safety – through the final hurdle of UK border control and language barrier – drew on reserves of superhuman values, to make their quantum leap, and integrate with a new culture.  Such persons have that gift to contribute – when these qualities within them are recognised.  So we should find it within ourselves, to recognise. .

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village child, ukraine

This is a village child in Ukraine.

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refugee children 1

More refugees on displaced borderlands – the children take care of each other.  They are our future – the unbreakable jewel within us.   The Age of Aquarius breaks down old walls.

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Kristina is a talented girl in the Ukraine, whom I help to sponsor.  She lives with her granny and grandad, who worry what will happen to her when they die.

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dancing children, ukraine

Dancers at a village festival in West Ukraine.

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My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

 

Human Landscape – a Portrait

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in hat

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17 July 1999
TEMPO

Dear Poet Philosopher!
you’re an ocean liner on the seas
not a jet plane.

You belong to the Victorian
leisure eccentric class
and you deal in seventeenth century
Dutch gold skies.

You move by hunch, your advances
missing out the modern way.
You are lissome with your romances.
Like a snake they shine, and fall away.

No scrape
has quite the nerve
yourself to drape.

You’re sufficiently moved on the whole, to regulate
your affairs from red into black.
Clearing your daily slate
your warm, flamboyant hand no lack,
nothing piles up

yet in the deep
unruffled, the long drawn out and hidden marge
moves with rabbinic inscrutability –
storms in tilting teacups to submerge.

Your tendency with life
is almost infinitely elastic.
In love with, and un-frightened of your wife,
her naivety sometimes fantastic,

immovably and willingly stubborn,
with a swing of long arms wide, your knack
to welcome it all, is a splash of water borne
from a duck’s straight back.

To wash the dishes and care for the cat
are polite devoted tasks.
You are not touched by any of that,
for deep in your noble squares sublimning, basks
an esoteric quicksilver Knight
whose rhyme into metre quick to appreciate
Castling his King and exchanging port for Poet
‘pon measured modes of black and white
doth square his Circle bright
in such way that patient Lord Yama might,
receiving you into his House, with abashed insight,
himself the Ultimate Question ask –

who Am I?

Dear Poet Philosopher Spouse,
my Alchemystic Solitude
is cradled like an online mouse
in your August Be-At-itude.

Just one turn it takes
of that great ruby Stone
on your little finger
for the knot in your hanky carefully tied,
to forget the ropes and snakes

and know that

all is well,
all is One.
Nothing matters and
who cares?

yeah-say

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We were married for about ten or fifteen years, and remain close friends.   Some readers of my  blog will recognise him, as he is held in deep affection by spiritual seekers and pilgrims.  He has an awesome ability to lay his hand on just the right book for a person’s sadhana, or point to a path which will “ease their doubts”.

 signpost

I drew him dozens of times, and made us both laugh.   Here is a selection from my sketches which celebrate Alan:

GALLERY

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My parents are bottom left, at their instruments, with Lavinia N at the piano, while my sister, brother and I build my father’s new greenhouse just above; neighbours drop in, and Alan surveys the scene

And here is a poem by him – circa 1999:

The Royal Game

On chequered squares of space and time
grey shadows dance their game of mime ;
to slay the self is their cryptic aim –
by tricks of mind to heights they climb. 

“There sits the King, and black’s his name.
Proud ego is his claim to fame.
This cosmic game he’s made to play
helped by his dark, deluding Dame. 

“False bishops at his feet do pray.
Marauding knights have feet of clay,
a swarm of puppet pawns at rest –
all forces poise in gaunt array. 

“The Lord of Light is truly blest, 
a White Goddess his Queen, no less; 
with ancient Sages at each side, 
he waits to enter the celestial jest.

“His warriors noble stallions ride, 
maintaining righteous order, wide. 
In silence, rooks withdraw and meditate, 
enslaved to dream of seek and hide.

“The Self wants Ego checked to mate, 
the rascal fights to thwart his fate 
and kill his foe himself, instead; 
we’ll see a battle tense and great! 

“By laws of nature the rules are led, 
peace conceived by Consciousness ahead.
To wage this war in awesome glory
’til black or white surrenders – dead!

“After ages going grey and hoary,
all lie boxed;  the victory was gory.
When WHO created this sport is ready,
a game begins anew:  another story.”

Alan Jacobs

On one pinhead where the angels dance, dear Alan, my Knight jousts your Bishop.  How can Consciousness be ahead of the game, when “Consciousness is all there is?”

Ah, an answer.  Consciousness or “enlightenment” appears to be “ahead” by the construction of our brain in space and time;  but from birth to death it encircles and is our rite of passage.  The heart and essence of a human life is released in full, when the apple falls.  The joy of a portraitist touches that region;  a hem of the Great Garment.

alan & jacob

I shall follow up this post with the chapter on “Diving into the Heart” from The Holy Task – a booklet we wrote together, in the early days of Ramana Foundation UK.

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My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2013. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

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Human Landscape – Two Family Albums

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babuschka

These sketches were made in 2007, to celebrate a family book created by Kay and Ursula Schlapp.  The family tree descends from Lutherans.  Nowadays they are all string players, they play the lute. There is also a direct line from the 15th century portrait painter Lucas Cranach –  a ‘leonardo’ and successful merchant who pioneered the German Renaissance.  Another of Cranach’s descendents along a different string, is Goethe of Weimar.

Otto Schlapp and Anna Lotze took a walking tour through south Germany for their honeymoon.  They carried these integrated talents, philosophy and love of nature into the academic life of Edinburgh university and the 20th century.  Settling there in 1889, their home became a cultural oasis, where music was played and kindred spirits found refuge.  These values unobtrusively bridged and helped to heal, in a grass-roots way, the warring countries, England and Germany.

The same subconscious gift of dedication remains fertile through their descendents’ activities.  After the first Great War, their daughter Helene married Jim Ede.  He was to become the creator of Kettles Yard in Cambridge – a gallery, a way of life, an avant-garde cultural and spiritual oasis.

During the 20th century, particularly during and after the two wars, there were many such private initiatives to keep the peace.

The Cranach sketch is a copy from Durer’s drawing.  I included Beethoven in the album, because his late Quartets were Walter Schlapp’s inspiration! –  and his sister Helene’s, the way she played the Waldstein Sonata.

With special thanks to Kay and Ursula …

FIRST ALBUM

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alan's magendovid

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The second family album was created at about the same time, in early 2008, to celebrate the 80th birthday of Rachel Levi, in Haifa.  Here too, I rove around in time :  the old are looking back, while the young become older.  What prevails, unchanging?   It is like fishing by a river, keeping still.

The human landscape far transcends the individual.  The genetic tapestry across a family,  springs to life. Catching life to draw, they are for that time my flesh and blood and hinterland:  their features emerge and converse:  a passion to keep the record.  I give them a dash of poetic license:  family life is a mixed blessing.

As a portraitist, I see the parental essences develop in their children and childrens’ children, subtly suggested.  I reflect on their history back through the Book.  This family has roots in Iraq, Israel and Kurdistan;   a surviving sacrament to keep the peace.

Rachel

Rachel

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akasha tejas

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My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

Aquariel Link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

Human Landscape – a picture book

When I am moved to sketch someone, I reflect deeply on their situation and travel a little of their journey with them.  Nowadays I reach a likeness with great difficulty  and much rubbing out and re-doing – so I no longer do it professionally – or very rarely!  It is a labour of love.

Soldier with child

Soldier with child

This soldier with his child or grandchild was a long road this morning.   For a long time it would not come right.  Approaching the likeness, it just began to breathe – it is never exact;  but then I could let it be:  the road with him, so travelled – the connection is honoured.   I pondered soldiers I have known – their families, their destiny, their duties, and whom they have to protect;  and what it is like to be a soldier in today’s civil-war zones, when hell breaks out in one’s own soul at what is done and seen.  I had to stick more paper on, for his hands and the way the child rests on him.  He has been written all over:  the child is still an “empty” book, and was easy to draw.  Portraits are windows of the soul.

The following poem is his.  It is by John Coyote – a veteran of Vietnam and Iraq.  He knows and tells it from inside, through ways of love:  the passion to be kind to each other in the human family paradox.  Here is the link to his work.  I love this poem, recently posted:

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An empty book.

Poem by Coyote Poetry

“Need to enjoy life. A good life is many friends and a lot of laughter.”

An empty book is a lonely story.
The great writer’s lived their life with gusto and no fear.
You can read in their stories a life filled with sadness and happiness.
.
Hemingway went to war as a Soldier and a reporter. Learn of death and fear.
Kosinski roamed Europe as a youth learning the truth about the nature of man.
Neruda wrote about love with experience of knowing the paradise of the kiss
and tender touch.
Gibran wrote with love and kindness. Trying to teach the world a better way.
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We must travel blindly into life and chance with no fear.
Open new doors of friendship. Have long conversation about everything.
Need to dance on the edges of pleasures and take what we can from the gift of love.
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Don’t waste words on people who do not want to hear them.
Learn from regret and move on to better places.
Forgive the people who hurt you and try to seek forgiveness from mistakes made.
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Great writer’s must live and test life.
Need to swim in the great oceans.
Stand with the clouds on top of the splendor of the powerful mountains.
Walk on sandy beaches.
Hold sweet lovers tightly till morning light.
Don’t surrender to fear.
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Good to laugh and cried often.
We create our future and need to make sure we balance our life.
Work and money is part of life. Can’t take worldly things with us.
Love and friendship are what will matter when death is upon us. A complete book is filled with pleasure, pain and story of family, laughter and
great journey. Today is a new day. Enjoy life. Be kind and make a new friend. Coyote
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© 2013 Coyote Poetry

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We meet across blog-land … making friends.  That is the wonder and transmission of this creative global medium.

And now a collection of my own, from old photos.  Some of these – whose names I do not know – were done for a humanitarian society.

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Portrait gallery for Human Rights Foundation

Portrait gallery

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ruth and zak

ruth and zak

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Bryan Herring

Bryan

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Moira when she was young

Moira when she was young

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Paul

Paul

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Marisa

Marisa

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David

David

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Rachel and her son Chaim

Rachel and her son Chaim

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Hector Berlioz

Hector Berlioz

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Black belt teacher

Black belt teacher

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noah and mark

noah and mark

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winter

winter

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The lady in red below, was a child prodigy on the harpsichord until repetitive stress forced her to take her life apart – a born Aries however:  courage.  She too is a freedom fighter.  She became a very interesting artist.

GALLERY

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Here is Ros’s story.  Because she is allergic to paint, she uses strange gritty materials to touch her human essences into life, like sounds from piano keys.  Her portraits and inner landscapes look like rocks.  Each individual is instantly recognised by all his or her friends.  They are her sensual life.  Her life is painfully allergic, destroying her hands’ mobility.  Her psyche is playful, smearing water and the sands of time.

She was a lonely and gifted child in Lancashire.  She ran out of the house and talked to bundled up shoppers and babies at the bus stop, because she was curious about human beings.

The soul’s DNA through the afterlife glows in a magical horse’s eyes.  She worked the horse’s head from wax and dental dust.  It seems to canter eternally by the sea;  it emerges through the mist.  Her creativity thrives on accidentals, and on a wash of mud with sky.  Rocks, essences – her finger pads.  A local miracle, tenderly placed, transcends the public galleries “out there”.  The wider world is not aware of Ros, because she had to give up her music career, but her circle of friends are touched and gilded with her vibrant, bare faced honesty.  When she has an exhibition, those ruthlessly exposed rocks on the mantelpiece come to life.  They arrive from the street outside.  As human beings – her friends – they struggle down the stairs – some of them are very old – and into the room for biscuits and tea, to greet, to recognise, to appraise and perhaps to buy one another.

When I met Ros in 1987, her scarlet specs matched her lipstick.  She inspired my odyssey, because she had twenty years of psychoanalysis, and talked to me openly about it.  Her frustrations and adventures with her demons, her frailty and the playful gleam in her eye, gave me the courage to turn around and look at mine.

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I searched all over the house for the drawing she did of my head, like a rock on the mantel piece, but cannot yet find where I put it.  Maybe tomorrow.  Meanwhile, here is a drawing I did for her:

Hades and Chinaman

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**

My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

Human Landscape – a Portrait Gallery

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Following my portrait-gallery post, last June:

A collection of portrait drawings and paintings done many years ago.  Most of these were commissioned. Some photos of my old favourites, have lost their colour!  To view gallery, click on any image and wait for the carousel to upload.

Further down the page below the gallery, you can follow the artist’s story through the pictures.  Nowadays I do rather less portraiture, as other kinds of creative work engaged my concentration.   Portraiture was for me, a marvellous apprenticeship to humanity – a lifetime in itself.

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The first few portraits date from the 1970s …

1 Dave King portrait '73

Dave King, architect, Liverpool University.  His wife Sue was my neighbour and best friend – we laughed and cried so much together.  She died some years ago.

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2 Self portrait, 1973

A self portrait from the early 1970s.  I had a large bedsitting room in Greencroft Gardens, where I danced and painted, pained and partied.  In the background is the drawing below …

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3 Helen Ede in Edinburgh

… My grandmother, Helen Ede in 1974, at her final home in Jordan Lane, Edinburgh, with a view of the Pentland Hills through the tall window.   She rests in the middle of a sock for “Old Bonesie” (my grandfather).  She might be listening to Bach, or thinking of Hamlet and the open seas, or worrying lest there’s an earthquake at Reading.

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Sketch of Helen Ede

Another sketch of Helen Schlapp Ede …   she was archetypally beautiful, sour, sweet and fragrant.  All through her long life, male concert pianists fell in love with her.

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5 Beethoven plays

and an early study of Beethoven, bent over the battered keys as he tries to hear.

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6 Jim Ede in Edinburgh

This is Jim Ede my grandfather, in Jordan Lane.  In old age he exchanged his sartorial cottons for warmth, and sported quilted jackets, to my grandmother’s disgust – till she began to wear them too.

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7 Heidi in Autumn

Heidi in Autumn, painted in 1973, when she was only fourteen – a very old soul, and turning on.  To her right is a painting of my brother Simon, listening to Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

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Harcourt Curacao

Harcourt Curacao, a gent about town – circa 1982

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8 Chris Norman

An old farmer – Chris Norman, my father’s boss:  the chief manager of a group of Somerset farms owned by Showerings the babycham people.   His wife Hilary commissioned the portrait. The colour has faded from the old photograph.  He was tetchy and cross about having himself painted, but  I settled him in his den with the racing form and cigar, and the portrait was a success.  A farming or domestic matter alerts him – a trick to capture life.   As soon as the “connection” happened, I worked at tremendous speed.

There is a story about Karsh’s bulldog photo of Winston Churchill.  Carefully constructing the pose, lighting and psychological tension of the “smoking gun”, Karsh then reached forward, removed the great man’s cigar from his lips, and pressed the shutter.

In those days, I worked entirely from life.  This portrait of Chris took perhaps a long afternoon, leaving me exhausted and exhilerated.

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9 Teresa Keinan, Israeli Embassy

Teresa Keinan, at the Israeli Embassy – a very strong woman.  She found a spiritual satisfaction and serenity in doing the ironing and keeping a kosher house.  She said it relaxed and disciplined her taut, enquiring mind, and reminded her not to take life for granted.

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10 Joseph Yankson

Mr Joseph Yankson in West Hampstead – from Ghana.  The regal attire and the lion, were a happy touch.   A painting, a great mountain to climb – a conversation needing no words – a humanity.

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11 Mary Craig

Miss Mary Craig, headmistress of Bishop Fox’s School in Taunton, where I did my A Levels.  Years later I was commissioned to paint her on her retirement.  It was a privilege to spend some “adult time” with this woman of character, care and understanding, and to smile over old memories while she smoked.  I was a heavy smoker also.

The characteristic chaos behind her was set up by my sister, who collected “Miss Craig” objects from around our mother’s house in Somerset, and strewed them along the chest of drawers, to let them tell their story.  On the wall is an old map of Somerset.   The research for a portrait’s background is like a wander through google, or the antiques road show, the glee in whatever turns up.   We are each a “surface of the brain and heart” upon a vast hinterland.

Mary Craig at Wade Deacon School, circa 1952

Mary Craig at Wade Deacon School, circa 1952

This photo was supplied 13 February 2013 by Drey Cole, another old pupil.   To see our correspondence/Comments, click on the painting of her, to open.

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12 John Harley

John Harley at seventeen, listening to the Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd).  He is now a gifted art teacher, Unitarian minister and youth worker.

I had great difficulty with this painting.  I unwisely sat him against the light – liking the effect –  with myself at entirely the wrong angle, groping in the dark.  One should have the same strength and quality of  light on the work, as upon the sitter, for it to flow.   But I get sparked off by what happens when the light shines “through the lamp”.

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12a Marisa

Marisa, about eight years old.

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13 bela hatvany

Bela Hatvany – an early computer genius and macrobiotic enthusiast.

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14 Sketch of F.Alan Cheales

Sketch of Father Alan Cheales, a natural rebel, and one of my early mentors.  He celebrated a childrens’ mass in the Aquinas centre at St Dominic’s, the “working mans’ cathedral” in South Hampstead.   He cared for scallywags and didn’t mind applying Christ’s teaching imaginatively.  He had strong gardeners’ hands, an actor’s presence, a commonsense compassion, and was much loved.

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15 F.Alan Cheales

This is the painting I did for Father Alan’s congregation – it hangs at Blackfriars Hall, St Dominics’.  Behind him is his “right hand lady”, Teresa Higgins, and the kids mill around while the grownups drink coffee.  Alan was a member of the Meister Ekhart Society, knew his Jung, and did not get on very well with his Bishop.   At Speakers Corner in his medieval white and black robes, they knew his ringing voice.  It was his spiritual frontline.  He – an Aries – loved hecklers.

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16 Eric Shipton

Eric Shipton, one of my early Himalayan heroes … on Nanda Devi or Everest in the 1930s.  Or he might be exploring a blank on the map, in the distant Karakorum.  Shipton disliked large expeditions.  He was an ardent and sensuous lover of remote topographic arcana “upon that mountain”;  finding ways along the  Shaksgam river to the legendary Snow Lake and Shimshal pass.  He travelled with Tilman, Auden and Spender (brothers of the poets) and a few Sherpa friends. No expedition into unexplored country was worthwhile, unless it could be organized on the back of an envelope.

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17 Mother and Daughter

Mother and child.  Her name was Andrea, and we became good friends, during this.  She was a successful interior designer.  This drawing captures for me, something of the miracle of being a mother.  The child is awake and fully formed:  her destination, still sheltered, at a right-angle to her mother’s:  the newness, and the parent’s slight loss of vitality.

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18 Little girl

Andrea’s daughter – very characteristic of my work with children in those days.  I worked very fast, and these two childrens’ portraits were done in perhaps 20 minutes each.  It was like being an athlete.  Children are easier than adults to draw, because they haven’t yet developed their masks.

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19 Young boy

A young boy.  Both photos have lost their colour and crispness.

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men, car and child

Men, car and child (1983).   My bundle of joy, of course.

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20 sketch general geoffrey 1

Sketches for a painting of General Geoffrey Howlett, commissioned by the Parachute Regiment in 1988.

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21 sketch general geoffrey 2

I spent about a week with my sitter, then brought the painting home to finish it over the next two months.  The General was living in Oslo.  I was flown there in the Queen’s aircraft from Northolt.   A small plane truly flies, tossed through the clouds;  frosty gins and tonics appeared;  the pilots let me sit with them in the cockpit for the spectacular Norwegian landing.

Winter was coming in;  the Scandinavian night sky – a brilliant violet-indigo depth among the stars and falling snow.  I lived it up with the diplomatic community in Oslo – a nightly circuit of joyous European dinner parties through every embassy in the city.  It was fun and far removed from brussels-sprout bureaucracy.  The guests’ gift-wrapped presents to their hosts were re-cycled next week, and never got opened.  Each embassy kept a quantity of them in the cupboard, pulling one out at random as soon as the furs were on, and the car at the door.

22 sketch general Geoffrey

When I painted someone, I became very close to their whole family, as I absorbed subliminal impressions into my visual archive, and listened to their anecdotes about my sitter.  It is a unique intimacy. It focuses on essences, loved ones, losses and family jokes:  a strangers’ privilege.   The artist is “alone”, and yet privy to what makes these persons tick, and in love with it all.   Then, like a gipsy, I packed up my gear and hit the road.   Sometimes we kept in touch.

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23 general Geoffrey Howlett

This is the last big portrait I would paint, for a very long time.  He is wearing his “blues” and all his gongs and insignia.  By 1988/89 I broke through the crust into my interior path’s dharma, and had begun to study Buddha, Kabbalah and Alchemy.  I got an extraordinary pleasure from painting General Geoffrey’s medals and gongs.  The details and symbolism were carefully researched, and to paint them was a meditation.  I applied the same attentive resonance later on to esoteric diagrams and sacred geometry.  The painting was three foot long – almost life size.

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24 Rosemary

This is Rosemary, head-teacher of a prestigious girls’ school in Kent.  This was commissioned for her departure, as she was head-hunted for a school in St Albans.  Again, the bulk of the painting was done from photos – in 2009 – and at my home.   I had a great deal of stress and trouble with it, though it came out well in the end, and the snowdrops are a tour de force.   Rosemary’s cross with a diamond in the middle “centres” the composition like a mandala – an axis for “toutes directions” through the window into the room.

I painted Geoffrey also as a mandala – the flow of vital expression around him is picked up by the brush and palette knife.   A painting is filled with living geologies.

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Jane Adams

My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

Music Lessons with Vera Moore

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Continuing my earlier post “A Woman playing the Piano, and a Child of Art” … I want to say a little more in this one, what the music lessons were like.

Wheels that are close to the core, turn  slow and their arcs are vast.  This is a post for the friends of Vera Moore.

My mother’s piano is tres sympathique.  It was easy to imagine Vera Moore sitting with me, and what she would say about this note or that note, wrapping my fingers round it like a baby in a shawl.   I remembered her way with poetic images, and her LOVE.  That is the magic – her love.  It makes me want to go on playing, and keeps me focused.  I remembered her instruction to play what I am learning, like a chorale, without any inhibitions – sing it inside, with the touch.  

by Benedicte Koudry-Lahlali

by Benedicte Koudry-Lahlali

I am inspired, because the little book Vera Moore, pianiste, de Dunedin a Jouy-en-Josas arrived yesterday, and I began to read it, with the French dictionary.  The book has only one photo in it – of this drawing, which captures her essence in just a line.  I am fired up for another drawing adventure … to explore her youth and beauty.

The website Les amis de Vera Moore has two early photos of her. It is exciting when you have known a person of a certain age, to discover them when they were young, bright and cleanly chiselled:  the spirit.

In my soul she sits at her instrument with an extraordinary stability: a maestro.   I feel the “astral male gender” of a gift behind this woman and her concertizing authority in the 1930s.   I remember now her velvet brown eyes.  I have … what have I? – I forgot what to write …she was born in 1896, 15 August, a year younger than Jim Ede my grandfather. He was one of her close friends.  Vera was 100 when she died in ’96.

Oh yes – in the little book, I have got as far as Occupied France. She and 6 year old John have lost their country cottage and become refugees.  John’s father Brancusi is in his studios in Montparnasse, surrounded by his sculpture, bronze and stone;  she writes to him, just to say they are alright.  They are bundled off to the south, to the unoccupied zone east of Dordogne.

I turned the photo upside down and did this sketch, to begin.

I turned the photo upside down and did this sketch, to begin.

The uprooting and her surviving it and bringing up the child, must have broken her – the dignified beauty of the 1930s in full flower.   The book mentions her carrying Leonard Borwick’s music-scores in her handbag;  I recall her hobbling to the piano to play a concert, with her wrinkled dress, her handbag and her arm in a sling …  and the rapture of her instrument, the way she flows the river, still makes me cry.

Vera when I knew her - in her mid-sixties

Vera when I knew her – in her mid-sixties

Pierre-Alain Volondat calls her his Master.  And I feel her as “Maestro” – the male gift which flows into the woman-vessel and never quite breaks it.

Brancusi’s bright brown eyes shine through the dust that covers him and the light:  the luminosity of his great pebbles, his stones from the sea, the curve of rock and bronze and curtains of white dust from the chisel, in shafts of sunlight;  through the war, he is barricaded safe inside his genesis.  Brancusi the sculptor is an earthenware pot, within which the pianist cradles “the child of art”.  She is loyal to him;  he stays where he is;  she is broken but goes on singing.   Stone has a living emanation when the sun warms it.

Brancusi in Montparnasse

Brancusi in Montparnasse

A Dominican priest, Father Alan Cheales once told me that the man should go to where the woman is, for she bears his child.

Brancusi the genius stayed put;  for that is the way life goes.  His equally gifted woman bore their “child of art” as a travelling minstrel.  In those days, illegitimacy took great courage, and was only tolerated among artists and their helpers.

La Muse by Bancusi

La Muse by Brancusi

I am touched deeper than I can say, for my later situation would have some curious similarities:  a gifted central European, who did nothing for our child, but gave her strength of character.  Like Vera, I believed in him until – in our case – he abandoned his integrity.   I feel a profound and speechless sorrow in this, just now;  but the bird sings and life goes on.

It is poignant also, that Marisa, my “child of art” met the 90 year old Vera, for a moment – Vera was in hospital with a broken hip – we brought her red roses – and she smiled merrily to us both, and welcomed my daughter, and pressed my hand in her strong fingers – the memory.

Brancusi kept his integrity in Vera’s heart till his dying day and beyond, because he was a working sculptor.  For her, nothing must get in the way of Art.  So she carried their child through the Resistance and the mess of life, and providence … protected them.

John Moore photographe

John Moore photographe

Life is rich in the resonances.  At that moment in 1986, meeting Vera again in Yvelines, near Paris, I was not conscious of the threads, the harmonies in the chord;  but I brought my daughter to her proudly, and my heart rejoiced.

The heart knows, unerringly, like iron-filings to the lode-star.   Providence arranges the sinfonia.  Time passes, and with hindsight, I am an older woman too, and I look back and see.   Providence arranges:  Time delivers.   Time and the understanding, deliver in full, the form.  Then we see.

pebbles

pebbles

There is no possession of such a treasure, because the arms for it are always open.  I can but marvel.  It provides an understanding of my breakages with men.  The theme is ongoing, whatever the face.  It provides a musical note, essential to the piece.  I was magnetized to Vera and her situation through our family ties;  later I would find myself re-enacting some facets of it.   To feel, breathe and understand the flavours, releases them in full.  Then life is almost unbearably satisfying.

Head by Brancusi

Head by Brancusi

Destiny’s abundance, like full fruit, presses in from the world, upon the inner life’s expansion to meet it.  It is like the perfect balance of pressure within and outside the vein;  our own against the deep sea so we don’t implode;  the regulation which harbours our planet in the cosmic skies.  The centrifugal/centripetal equilibrium is fluid and self-regulating.  “Keep practicing”.  This is daily Kabbalah.

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Far beyond the events of my life, I marvel and wish to share the principles behind them, which reveal our human Tapestry, a fragment of the Whole.  That is an artist’s work – to try to reveal the Artist.

Several attempts today, to draw her.  This is an early one.

Several attempts today, to draw her. This is an early one.

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The father of a child of art is the seminal principle, or YOD – the force of life.  Sometimes, when he  has done the job, he is put aside, by the powers that be.  But the woman may tend to cling and cling to hope – as I did – and then there is trouble.  Trouble takes time – many years – to enact and unravel.   Finally when the Karmic flood and flotsam is past, there is philosophy, the force of life:  the alchemical Stone which flows as serpent, river, stone through vessels and the valleys.  My daughter suffered. But she survived.  A picture of her – she zooms by my front door to return a key, she’s on her way to work, by bike.  She wears new boots and a flashing red-light bling bracelet on her ankle – hi-viz, her cheeky smile, glowing, bright.

This is a drawing she did when she was nine – shortly after she met Vera Moore in France.  It took her about a month.

Riss's labyrinth

Marisa tells me the drawing began in the top left-hand corner.  She was inspired by  a friend, Tamara Barschak, a music student in her teens.  Tamara showed her how to draw doodles on grid paper, and they sat and drew labyrinths together.  This one is on plain paper.  It flowed along by itself, incorporating things they looked at, from sanskrit letters to Fungus the Bogey Man – those are the tunnels.   The eye happened along the way.

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I was sixteen when Vera gave me piano lessons.  The first piece I played to her was the slow movement of Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata, which I knew by heart.  She heard through this, my soul.  She agreed to have me come and stay with her in Jouy en Josas;  some much needed francs for her tottering household.  Her piano was a French Gaveau, and she also had a Steinway.  The music room was spacious, with exposed timber beams, and the whole house smelled like my grandparents’ pot pourri and sharp ways with art, books and stones.   Jim my grandfather, who introduced Vera and Brancusi to each other – and started all the trouble –  pervades to this day: his penetrating flavour through every part of the world he touched, picked up and put back.

Jim Ede appraises a vessel

Jim Ede appraises a vessel

Jim became John’s godfather.

Vera is sitting to my right… or she may be somewhere behind me, in the fragrant room.  The family legend was that she would fly into a rage and sweep my hands off the keys.  I am enveloped in her silvery voice, and her warm mischief.  She demonstrates the touch, the principles of Tobias Matthay;  I copy her.  Her small silken fingers, a little bent, are full of power.  The distance from key surface to its bed is filled with love, tenderness and authority.  There is no impediment to the composer’s voice when it is loved.   Those same fingertips press my hand firmly, up and down.  We play together, I suppose!   Extraordinary.

The music is not in the digits.  They are supple and they serve.   The music comes from the heart and the base of the spine, flowing seamlessly through the curve of shoulder, elbow, instrument.  When this is clear, and the fingers have the schooled memory,  the music speaks without my “assistance” and astonishes me.

I learned with Vera Moore, to play Chopin’s Berceuse, and Debussy’s Cathedrale Engloutie and Danseuses de Delphe.  She insisted on my learning each piece by heart;  to engrave it in my soul by touch;  reading not the notes on the music-stand, but the inner depth embodied.   It is consigned to the memory.

When Vera played, I witnessed a fusion.  There is nothing quite like the intimacy of teacher and pupil.   Then she sent me outside with the shopping list for l’epicerie at Les Metz or down the flights of steps to Jouy en Josas, to improve my French.  She spoke French fluently like a brook, with an outrageous English accent – “tray bonn”, like my irreverent grandfather’s.   As she came to study in London when very young, there remained no trace of New Zealand in her speech.  I hear her to this day.

Not quite a likeness;  but the sketch has a simplicity I aim towards ...

Not quite a likeness; but the sketch has a simplicity I aim towards …

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Vera Moore adored her gifted pupils – particularly (in 1965) a fiery young pianist called Philippe Ganter.  He lifted Beethoven’s dark wings in her salon-a-musique, one passionate evening.  From her hospital bed in 1986, she spoke joyously of a young talent who called her his “Maitre”.  I think this must be Pierre-Alain Volondat.

As in the ashrams of the Inner School, the students develop their own measure from the “hand-me-down”, or Lineage, and pass it on.  This is fascinating, for we are dealing not with personalities, but with method:  the transmission.

Leonard Borwick

Leonard Borwick

Vera took the baton from Tobias Matthay, and from Borwick, her teacher, who studied with Clara Schumann.  He heard, and carried the young Vera off, when she was  yet unknown and unproven, and astonished the music world.  She “jumped the queue.”   Where there is love for the craft, is the depth to carry the flame.

Vlado Perlemutter

Vlado Perlemutter

In Vera’s teaching, I learned to “hold onto” the keys – a pressure which is a caress.

She admired Vlado Perlemutter’s exquisite precision, and knew him well.  She called him “Pearly”.

Vera Moore 4

Vera Moore 5

I can no longer play the pieces she taught me.  But the Berceuse has a deep rocking motion, which prevails through right-hand arabesques and waterfalls.  I could not imagine being able to play those, and she showed me precisely how:  the fingering, the tool.  Every piece I learned, I first practiced very slowly, each phrase and giving each note its full touch and space like a chorale on an organ … fortissimo, full voice.  For Vera it was a sacred communion.  If I have forgotten the pieces, I have not forgotten the “musicianship” of this principle, to Life.

The secret of a great teacher, is that music is only the means.

I have written of Robert Adams.  He lost the muscular ability of speech, but never the Music.  Ramana’s silence – his dark eyes –  emanates the pure, living stone, water, serpent.  Ramesh explains “the understanding”.  All three are in my music teacher too.

Is it surprising? – just now, my fingers tingle a little.  And I’m a bit shaky, because now I must draw the young Vera.  I knew her in her late sixties, grown plump and faded.

Slowly getting there ...

Slowly getting there … a drawing of the painting by Winifred Nicholson.

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I was scared when I began to draw today – of the aesthetic titans of my grandfather’s world, and the extraordinary persons whom he knew – and so I drew him too, from a photo I found in “Kettles Yard and its Artists”.  I haven’t drawn Jim since his death in 1990.  It felt strange and rather bold, to step into the sanctuary of my childhood gods.

Vera moore 9

In this Vera sketch – not a good drawing – I detect a Botticelli angel.   She must have had this quality, as well as the Leonardo look through her eyelashes:

“The arts” – she said, quoting Brancusi – “have never existed by themselves (outside of folklore); they have always been a prerogative of the religious, and every time religion has been in decline, art has fallen into virtuousity.  To make art which is truly independent, one must be God to create it, a king to order it, and a slave to realize it.”

 

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Finally, this old drawing hangs in my house near the front door:

My daughter with her great-grandfather, circa 1983

Marisa with her great-grandfather, circa 1983

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**

My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

Elisabeth

dandelionseed, by nextbigfuture.com

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Water and sand: Elisabeth Tomalin, 4 November 1912 – 8 March 2012:  her pioneering therapies.

http://www.thecnj.com/review/2009/102909/feature102909_01.html

What are you up to now, Elisabeth?  Do you enjoy my sand castles?  Oh yes, we heard you in the kitchen, that day in July, as tough and dainty as a tiny turning leaf, and clapping with one hand –  the Olympics, and Tom Heatherwick’s torch of Time.

I meant to sketch you, ever since you died.  Now we are in Scorpio, with Saturn and Mercury across the threshold;  a very good time to find and be with you.  I feel your creative presence, your voice now hale, whole and free from the dragging pain of age and failing skin and nerve-ends:  you give me elemental colours – clear peat-brown water, wet rocks and emerald bogmoss –  for the Yin winter, the seed descending deep under the frost.

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I sat straight down, got out the photo, and drew Elisabeth first from upside down …

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then with my left hand …

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… then with the right …

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… and then as a portrait.   This took a while.

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I felt her strongly.  At moments, it was my Self portrait looking out, and back at me.  She would have loved me to draw her when she was alive.  When she was dying in the care home, I was not kind, I didn’t visit her regularly.  I resented the long bus route and felt dead tired.  Her physical and emotional agony, bedridden and “useless” at nearly 100 years old, was heavy going.  Her busy mind craved words, oracles and philosophy;  she was deaf.  She longed interminably to die, and it kept her waiting.   Companionship could be silence, which she did not want.

I am tired of my “good-likeness” portraits.  How to draw an honest line?  Doing it upside down, or with my left, I have no choice but to really look, and not assume that I know better.

Then, like playing something on the piano, remember to loosen and let my arm as a whole move the charcoal, from the spine;  not just the habitual hand.  My hand with the whole arm movement, is sensitive, more humble.   Be conscious how the human is:  stop,  wait, follow.  Be delicate; watchful;  bold.  Keep looking.   Hear her.

There comes a magical power of connection – the living human contour of my friend.  I see and feel her lifetimes, the young Princess Soaja, the sharp and ageless pilgrim, her bandy legs, Scorpio birth,  a Jewish woman of history, the art therapist giving me, right now, an intense sand-and-water session on my dreams.

I see her in her white wicker basket with her sharp nose in the air and all the lines in her face erased:  the utter stillness and relief.  She got there at last.

Then summer came.  Look at her managing the Olympic Games with glee through her “phenomenally gifted” grandson.  Remove all frames of time – ignite the essence!

When Thomas visited his grandmother he sometimes brought his latest architectural plans to show her.   She made suggestions.  She lay in her sore bed the weary hours, visualising and pondering the buildings and designs.   Granny Soaja needed to control things, and she was very difficult.   Yet she submitted to some of her frustrations with a gentle dignity.

Who knows what dandelion seeds caught hold?  Tom’s Olympic cauldron is a child of his Shanghai Seed Cathedral.  In the nation-wide convergence and goodwill of the beacon  bearers, real people came forward with the flame, the seed of light;  the cult of celebrity began to die.

Elisabeth is active beyond her body.  Her irrepressible child dances through the astral plane “across our time”.  She had a passion for the creative lineage through her family, and its survival.  The tugging worry of all that, is now away under the bridge.  She loves her people, her strong daughter Stefany, and her family, and to tell them what to do.

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Honesty to the life line is a soft and crumbling charcoal tip … slowly along acceptance.   To watch the breath as the Buddhists say, is like drawing someone.   Watch it in that way;  like plain water beginning to taste nice.

To so-called watch the breath as a meditation felt meaningless.  I didn’t know how.  The attention jumped off, like a needle from a dusty record.  But the drawing lesson with Elisabeth showed the way for me.  It comes alive, and is not by the book.

Coda

This my poem
a seeding dandelion clock 
is a globe upon a stalk 

and every where 
I blow, the once 
upon a time it tells.

photo by daviddarling.info

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My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.

Sketches of Father Maximilian Kolbe

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I am preparing a new post – my diary while painting Father Kolbe in 1983.  I pruned it right down, but it is still a big document.  So here first are a few newly discovered online photos of him;  and then my old working sketches of him which I rounded up.

The diary of the creative process is interesting, because it demonstrates Father Kolbe’s impact on a circle of life.   It will be published here soon.

I found this photo just now on a site called The Ever Blessed.  It heads an article titled Saint Maximilian Kolbe, and loving Mary too much.  The access now to online images and archives is a marvel …  from the research toil and trek of 30 years ago!

An early sketch … not quite there.

 This  photo is one which I would like to have used for my painting.  It is from “Brothers of Life”. It shows – like the top photo – his profile, forehead and bone structure.  He was a spiritual soldier, a gifted inventor, and a media pioneer.  He founded a global printing press on pennies from heaven, built a town called Niepekalanov – city of God – and travelled as a missionary for several years in Japan.  Working with Buddhist and Shinto sages, he grew the beard.  The Franciscans are clean shaven, but are allowed to grow a beard on missions abroad.

I don’t have the order the sketches were done in, but I think this was an early one too.  Getting warmer!   Working with him was a conversation.

Another one …  feeling my way towards.  I had at the most half a dozen old snap shots in two library books.  The contact develops day by day, with the imagination’s antennae.

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Here is Bruce Heitz painting St Max Kolbe – copyright 2003 by KolbeNet.   I like this portrait!   Beautiful.  It speaks … and the artist looks up, and outward;  the brush, the touch, the coming to life.  They were having a chat, and someone came in.

This sketch “connects” to the painting I was nearly ready to do.   When I worked as a portraitist, there came a point during sittings – live or from photographs/research – which I called “the connection”.   Something altered in the space between us.  Something came down, entered and cohered.   From that moment I knew the painting – whatever the difficulties – had taken over and would do itself.  It came to meet.  The subconscious gets the message, and delivers.  It is a spark of love, and then the labour.

Drawn up into a 
dark cave whose glory drop by drop 
the rain through aeons carved, 
as stalagmite to stalactite 
   my soul evolves
from floor to point of meeting. 
Let us draw time, 
draw together this space. 

My flame drinks wick;  in watered rock 
   my mirrored twin appears ...

I may have quoted this in my earlier post Drawings of Timothy West at the Red Hedgehog, but it serves here as well.

As he loved her so much, here is a copy of a Botticelli Mother of Christ, done when I was about seven years old.   As children we enter the temple of the blessed, and are not constrained.

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After Maximilian Kolbe’s return to Poland, he worked ever harder at his press and newspaper circulation, though suffering from TB.  The Nazis arrested him because he refused to collaborate, and sent him to Auschwitz.   At a random roll-call to the starvation bunker, he stepped forward and offered himself in place of a younger man who had a family.  The guard agreed.   In the starvation bunker, Kolbe helped hundreds of persons to die in a state of grace.  He uplifted them, and kept them singing.  Everybody could hear it. Weeks later, he was the only one remaining alive, and he was put to death.  The man he saved, survived the camp and told the tale.

  You can see Kolbe’s portrait behind them.

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This, and the drawings that follow, were jotted down in a small notepad, on a visit to The Universe headquarters in Farringdon.  They found the photos for me.  Kolbe was quite well documented, as it was the year after his canonization.

On bike.  Father Kolbe is recognised as one of the community of Saints, not only for the way he died, but for the way he inspired and uplifted others all his life, and continues to do so;  and for his spiritual depth.   Intellectually, he was a “renaissance man”, a polymath.  As an inventor, he was practical and “hands-on”.   So strong is his spirit, that his physical frame was a passing show.  Thus he continues to work within us, and to counsel.

 Another old photo …

… and a drawing …

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… and the painting.  I shall get this professionally photographed, so that the detail around the Miraculous Medal and his rosary is clear.   Another photo of it is in my earlier post (15 June) Portrait Gallery One: Father Kolbe, Princess Alice & Others.

When I painted the rosary beads, it felt like a little galaxy:

“I would like to paint the reverse side of the Miraculous Medal – the “M” and the two hearts – very delicately above his right shoulder, as Kolbe is a Knight to Our Lady.  In an odd way, the rosary is his “sword”, especially the angles of the crucifix and the medal, which give “body” to his disappearing left arm.  He helped me place them, and the beads, which can float around them like a galaxy of angels.  I was astonished how well it turned out. 

“My original concept of him had more of a smile – the smiling face of God – but there is here the merest hint of a smile, as martyrdom and realism is in his face, and this is how he emerged.  I shall be able to soften the lines from nose to mouth, just a little, in the coming weeks.  His hand has become a gardener’s hand, rather like Father Alan’s.  From a distance it is strong, but close up the draughtsmanship is weak, especially the little finger.  The form of this hand relies on the effect of light on it.  It is supposed to be a completely unassuming hand, such as St Francis might have had.  I left in a fortuitous shadow of stigmata.  I emphasized the pleats and folds of his habit beneath the girdle, and did a little bit to the creases at his left elbow … and was enjoying Beethoven very much.”

from journal, November 1983

Painting Maximilian Kolbe was my initiation to a way which began to break ground a few years later.  My writings at that time, note a threshold, a watershed from which a river flows.

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And …

“Prayer is not better when it gives consolation, but rather when it exacts greater fidelity to return to what you’re doing.”

“God gives us this white ladder and wills that we use it, to scale the heights to come into his presence.  This is only poetic imagery:  the reality is incomparably more beautiful.”

“To arouse that love for the Immaculata, therefore, by enkindling it in one’s own heart, to communicate this fire to those who live close to us, to set on fire with this love all souls and each one in particular—those who live now and those who will live in the future, to make this flame burst forth ever more intensely and without restrictions in ourselves and all over the earth: such is our purpose. Everything else is just a means.”

St Maximilian Kolbe 1894-1941

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My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.

Odds and Logs

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This drawing again is appropriate …

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Tidying papers and stuff yesterday, a constellation – postcards and pictures – formed a visual “story”.   By gravitation, a community of characters draw together for the tale … a winter’s tale.   What is it to be?

I plan to space out my posts a little .  I’d like to ease the pressure on readers’ emails, and to have more time to explore other blogs – they are treasure – but the new adventure, to receive as to give, flows in – from every direction, the river.  Responses meet my reservoir, and new picture stories happen.  Floating my paper boats into swift veins of the waters, one at a time, I follow others likewise, in the Worshipful Company of Bloggers!   As in R L Stevenson’s poem “Dark Brown is the River … Where go the Boats?” … they all come home, right here, today.   Wherever thou art, I am.

Give it all time.   Where is it going?   It knows.   “Tha’ knows …”

… my tiny fleck on this great river.

Fresh from re-exploring my Coastal Paths, I found these two old postcards, the lighthouse from my mother, the mudmaid from a friend …

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 “Boat and Lighthouse”, by Martin Wiscombe, painted on driftwood

and “The Mudmaid” by Sue and Pete Hill – on the woodland walk at Heligan

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 This man is called Bryan.  He loves to follow old trains.  He is a Friend of the Human Rights Aid Foundation.

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And this is the late Valerie Brooks, whose posthumous portrait I drew for the Human Rights Aid Foundation – a devoted supporter of lost children during her lifetime.  H.R.A. is a charity dedicated to assisting displaced persons, children and communities all over the world.   If the children are our forgotten thoughts, be tender to each one.  Let them come through, to breathe …  to melt and fly.

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Heart to heart talk – on a footpath in Arizona.   Sherlock Holmes used to reply, “I see what you see, but I notice what I see.”   There are as many cells in the brain as there are stars in all the galaxies, and more.   Until quite recently, maps of the brain included a very large vacancy – “Here be Dragons”, indeed.    The white-coats now believe that every atom of the intercranial space is consciousness and alive.   There is no vacuum.   That is progress.

As today’s story unfolds, an engineer arrived at this point to fix my printer, and we discussed Ramadan, Muslim burial ceremony, and the brain.  He said all souls at death, as at the gate of birth, meet Allah alike, and dressed in white.   A space is made in the coffin for the departed to sit up to receive the Judgment.  Then, my email PINGED! – and this arrived:

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Brain cell, Universe.

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River stone flow snake – this picture also, I show again.

I have three or four big posts in the pipeline, in particular the one about The Field of the Dead;  it concludes with Ramana Maharshi’s birthchart, who was born during full moon eclipse.  My backlog schedule is almost complete.  New themes arise as well, in response to feedback and situations.  The reservoir filled up my valley over many years.  Straight is the small gate for the waters to come through.

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On  my windowsill in the morning – the Sun in the Stone.  The wise winged philosopher was a birthday gift in about 2003. The flecked granite behind him, is from a beach on St Agnes, Scilly.  Those giant round pebbles there, like dinosaurs’ eggs, begin to glow when the sun is setting.

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Botticelli’s Aphrodite copy (1992).  She comes in from the Sea

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Dakshinamurti, the sage of silence.  His statue sits in a niche, near Ramanasramam, south of Arunachala.  Ramana Maharshi referred to the Self as “the smallest of atoms, the biggest of big things.  The hail stone falls in the ocean.  It falls as a small drop.  At once it melts and becomes the ocean itself.  The source of the Self is a pin point.  When it is searched for, it disappears and only fullness remains.  Hence, the Self is called the ‘atom’.  We are like the icebergs floating in the ocean of ananda … Mouna (silence) is of four kinds:  silence of speech, silence of the eye, silence of the ear, and silence of the mind.  Only the last is pure silence.  The commentary of silence is the best … only silence is the eternal speech, the One word, the heart to heart talk.  Silence is the flow of electric current.  Speech is like obstructing the current for lighting and other purposes.  However much a jnani (wise one) might talk, he is still the silent One.  However much he might work, he is still the quiet One.  His voice is incorporeal.  His walk is not on the earth.  It is like measuring the sky with the sky.”

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Pilgrims in the Ganga, on hampstead heath.   Ah!  how brave we are …

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… and Aphrodite with Ares

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I light a candle for Heather.  Heather, with our love,

and at first, our tears, go well.

Go well, and free.

Be well.

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My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.