“a crescent of glittering steel, about a foot in length from horn to horn; the horns upward, and the under edge evidently as keen as that of a razor” Edgar Allen Poe, "The Pit and the Pendulum"
What is more chilling than things that go bump in the night? How about the beating of the tell-tale heart? And the eerie repetition of an enigmatic raven? Will you drink from the cask of Amontillado? This season of Halloween and haunts and the Day of the Dead is perfect for calling up the creative contributions of Edgar Allen Poe. He was a master of his craft, an apologist for poetry, inventor of the detective stories, foreseer of quantum physics – and the writer of stories that chill us to the bone.
On the occasion of Poe’s bicentennial of his birth five years ago, I was invited to participate in an art exhibition depicting scenes from his stories and poems. Most of the artists painted ravens! Despite the fact that “The Raven” is one of my favorite poems (inspired by the raven that Dickens invented for his Barnaby Rudge), I wanted to create something more challenging. So I went with “The Pit and the Pendulum”. After several close readings of the story, I selected the scene in which the sharpened blade is swinging ever closer to the bound victim. Most of the story takes place in darkness, but the narrator describes the weapon like this: “a crescent of glittering steel, about a foot in length from horn to horn; the horns upward, and the under edge evidently as keen as that of a razor” inexorably descending with a hiss. Dread, horror and the agonizing passage of time – both too fast and too slow – dominate the story.
The close up shows the detail of the pendulum, slightly askew, as it would be seen in swift motion by an observer only anticipating the worst. Look closely and you will see I have included phrases like “tempus fugit” and "take some time to just be".
I will be bringing the original of this collage “Tempus Fugit” to the Market on Sunday, with prints of it in various sizes as well. We will be celebrating the upcoming spooky holidays.
I will also be working on my new piece, the second in the Coral Reef series.
And, Hooray for Chicago!
Go, Cubs, go!
Come along – if you dare!
Love and Peace
Autumn leaves in a New Mexico are golden: from the daisies in the fields to the aspens in the hills, everywhere we look, we see fields of yellow. My hike this week took me up to the ski basin where aspens have transformed the landscape. In Santa Fe, when greeting friends, or even strangers waiting in line at the store, one whispers, “Did you get up there?” meaning, have you made a pilgrimage to the aspens? This year’s aspen season is especially beautiful and especially long. Even though the peak has passed, the yellow continues to deepen and spread, winding into high slopes, curving down in to canyons.
I know a Japanese phrase, which means to find solace and restoration in the woods, shirin-yoku: forest bathing. Walking in autumn in aspens is poignant - the sunlight filters through the golden leaves and bathes us in a golden light. I stood under the aspens as the sun was setting and looking west, I saw a wall of shimmering gold – nothing to see, only yellow, as far up, as far down, as far side to side as was possible. No meaning, only feeling, bathed yellow.
Aspens have inspired my collage for the last few years – whether viewing them from afar standing in the chamisa-filled arroyos, bathing in their golden light, or doting on my little backyard aspen. Here are a few samples from my “Autumnal Haiku” series.
This photograph captures the last leaves clinging to the branches, reflecting the setting sun; to my eye, I see stars splayed in a galaxy. Who knows? Maybe that will be my next collage…
Meanwhile, I continue to cut and paste and assemble my new series (I have BIG PLANS for that!)
My little backyard aspen has not taken on its autumn color yet; when it does, I always invite friends over to sip a little wine and bask in the “aspen glow” – if you’re in town, swing by and we can shirin-yoku together.
Meanwhile, see you at the Railyard!
Love and peace!
D E C O
Art, news and thoughts from Santa Fe, New Mexico.