It was evening all afternoon.It was snowingAnd it was going to snow.The blackbird satIn the cedar-limbs.
This is a digital painting I was working on yesterday, and it uses detail from a painting of the 19th century, by Martinus Rorbye on view at the National Gallery of Denmark, and online here
If you view the original painting, you will see the artist has painted a view of Copenhagen harbour from the window, which I have eliminated, as well as other internal detail of the room from his parent’s house.
The original painting displays the artists position of viewing a horizon full of opportunity and new experience. He is looking out from a very comfortable position and seeing only possibility, ships to take him away and a safe harbour of the delightful room to return to. There are no shadows.
My feelings are much more trepidatory at the moment. I have the comfort of a secure position, but the view I look out on is more blank – it has no ships sailing in it, the expanse is unwritten. Inside the room there are the tended plants that are blooming, having been nurtured, and the book is open on the table, still being examined. But the shadows are there too, they are close and dark, as real as the view, as experienced as the comfort.
This then is a more accurate picture of my view, and I am grateful to the National Gallery of Denmark for sharing their treasure and allowing the use of the material to be reshaped and made into something new and different to share.
Here is a statement from the website that explains the use of Public Domain images
Here you can find information on how you can use images of Public Domain artworks in the SMK collection.
Statens Museum for Kunst is Denmark’s National Gallery and main museum of art. The collections span 700 years of art history, presenting works from Denmark, Europe, and the rest of the world. A large share of these collections are in the public domain. They are part of our shared cultural heritage and have been around for so long that they are completely free of any copyright restrictions. This means that you have the right to:
Share the images – i.e. to copy, distribute, and transmit them.
- Remix the images – i.e. modify and reuse them in new contexts.
- Use the images in any context – e.g. teaching, research, lectures, publications, film productions, etc. This includes commercial purposes
I feel so lucky to be in an age of enlightenment!
I loved collaging this together – I couldn’t get out of my mind the conundrum of art imitating life, or life imitating art, which is the right way round? So off I went and mashed together a lovely lady from William van Kooi’s ‘The Love Letter’, with a room from Jacobus Cornet, added a side table and a pot of flowers (Manet). I made the lady in the room less lifelike than the portrait of her on the wall, just to underline the point!
All the originals can be viewed in their full glory at the Rijks, but my digital collage is viewable on the Society 6 site.
How does a man live well? That is the question that I think Ernest Hemingway considered, and it is his tragedy that he never lived up to his vision of what makes a man good. Hemingway’s father committed suicide, as he would do himself after suffering ill health and depression. The legacy of suicide is a cruel one, and Ernest’s son Gregory would take his own life too, continuing the impression that life is not always worth living or struggling through.
After much reading, and there is plenty out there, I come away feeling a pathos toward the writer, a sort of kinship in the confusion of what being human means. He is a glorious mixture of different impetuses, just as we all are. He wrote about it and he wanted you to read that. He loved Shakespeare and Tolstoy, admiring their acuity in reading human motivations and characteristics. Shakespeare was his ‘undisputed champion’ and in the New Yorker’s profile of Hemingway, he is reported to have said I started out very quiet and I beat Mr. Turgenev. Then I trained hard and I beat Mr. de Maupassant. I’ve fought two draws with Mr. Stendhal, and I think I had an edge in the last one. But nobody’s going to get me in any ring with Mr. Tolstoy unless I’m crazy or I keep getting better.
The man was complex and although he lived a brash life in many ways, hunting, fighting, fishing – in actual fact his impulse was to write, and his personality was far more introverted than may appear to the casual reader. I believe this tension in living differently to his nature provoked much of his later problems with alcohol and depression. He wrote with intensity and authenticity, and it is these that promote his work into the ‘greats’. I get the feeling that he despised much about himself, having a self awareness without that accompanying level of delusion that saves most of us.
For a more thorough life story , look to the biographers, of which there have been plenty, but for the man, look to his writing. You will find him there, not always in the obvious, but in the characters he draws there are pointers.
What do I do all day? – I was asked this the other day, and thought about it – how do I spend the majority of my time, once the domestic chores are completed, or more likely ignored? I have to admit to the privilege of being able to dictate how I spend the majority of my time once I have discharged the responsibilities of housekeeper, wife, mother and dog walker. And I love it. I love the space of being allowed to meander amongst the various pathways of my mind and the plethora of material available on the internet – a real benefit for a curious mind. I love the opportunity to create my versions of hand made books and to sometimes have the privilege of collaboration with a commission.
Once upon a time I felt somewhat guilty for not having a more productive endeavour, but no longer. Now I revel in the opportunity to sometimes spend time doing what I like, how I want to.
Time – its the most precious commodity we have, so watch where you invest yours. And when someone asks me now, I tell them how it is, without apology. Took me a while, but I got there.
If you want to see more of my creative endeavours, then pop in to my Etsy shop or my Society 6 store page. I would love to have your feedback too.
Enjoy your day, your week, your life.