Friday, April 4, 2008

Reading to vision

I'm thinking of the line from
Chaucer "Whanne that April
with his shoures sote
The droughte of March hath
perced to the rote. "
Canterbury Tales. Prologue. Line 1.
It's a wet day, and April is
feeding the garden's roots.
I wrote a long blog already today and lost it through some computer glitch. Or my own mistake. So where was I before I was
so rudely deleted? I was talking about a little evening course I developed called Writing to Vision. When I presented it to artists, and asked them to write on a theme, I was
absolutely flabbergasted at the results.
People fluent in the visual world, slipped easily into writing and were equally eloquent in words.

Of course I confessed that I write a journal entry every day,and now a blog too. (Okay
some days I don't get to the handwritten copy.
But I think the activity that powers my
painting and maybe my life, aside from
all the hours spent laughing with my friends,
is reading. I am reading an excellent book --
City of Rains by Nirmal Dass.
People who are
addicted to reading, read a lot of tragically
disappointing novels. We don't mean to -- but
we have to have something to read to be happy,
and until we buy a better book, or borrow one,
we keep slogging through lifeless prose. Lately,
deus gratia, I've had three good novels in a row.

This novel has everything. The language is poetic
and vividly descriptive. Set in India and France
it serves up a timely escape from the endless grey
and snow of a Canadian winter. The author is
so gifted in his ability to create place, and move
between languages, that it's a treat to read on
a number of levels. Sadly it's out of print, and
was published by Thistledown Press in 2003.
I think we should all call Chapters/Indigo and
request the book. I'll let you know if it continues
to be wonderful, but I think it will.

So this is my answer. If you can't paint, or write, or
vacuum the living room, and wash the kitchen floor,
get a great book and disappear for a few hours.
Settle down in a comfortable spot with a hot drink,
and maybe a duvet, and read. The cats will come and
join you. The dog will harrumph and lie down at your
feet. Outside the squirrels will take the opportunity
to shred and steal whatever you've left on the
back porch for a minute while you read. The house will
look like a tip, you'll be behind on all of your work,
but after you've read for a good long bit, you'll be
ready to paint, draw, write, sleep, tidy, mark,
design, all of it.

The painting is The Red Tie, done in 2003.
But the young man looks like he needs a good book.

Have a reading day.

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Portrait Artist

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at:
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!