This Impressionist painting is in a French museum. I grew up going to the Art Institute in Chicago several times a year. While I’ve seen amazing Impressionist paintings at the Louvre and at the Courtauld in London, the Art Institute also has a gorgeous collection. My favorite painting there is by Caillebotte. Impressionism used to be my favorite style. Now my taste leans more toward Surrealism and Symbolism. Since I have been immersing myself in Surrealism by writing ekphrastic stories inspired by Remedios Varo, I really needed to zap myself into a different mentality first. So I ate some Ruffles and French onion dip. Get it? French chip dip, French painting.
I decided to write a tanka about the man in the painting who is the husband of the painter. I discovered that he was a painter himself, and the brother of the more famous Manet. He apparently was very supportive of his wife’s career as well as that of his brother. I found that to be very inspiring, especially since I am reading a novel about Varo’s life and how the male Surrealists treated the female painters. Not as colleagues.
You see a cup on a pewter dish and a thornless rose. Actually the rose looks like more of a fantasy rose whereas the cup and dish are realistic. I found watching the video to be an amazing experience.
I wrote a haibun.
The Realism of Winter, The Fantasy of Spring
In this portrait of a cup of water, I find my mind focusing on the slivers of light on pewter and pottery. I have to be directed to see the large shadow on our right that is so obvious once pointed out. Then I note its power. The water looks refreshing enough to dive into if only I could make myself smaller like Alice. In fact, I feel myself becoming both smaller as the scene looms bigger in front of me and also larger as the space in my mind that this painting inhabits grows. Eventually I have to recognize the two aspects that poke at me, pay attention to me, they say. One is the fantasy flower with petals so curvy they could be dying or so unreal as not to include thorns. The other is the handles of the cup are misshapen. They don’t match, and only a child’s fingers could enter their spaces. Only a fantasy child like Alice.
Shadows of winter
once greeted bring forth treasures
of fantastic spring.
My girl Kana is the Box Queen. She is the one of my five cats who finds a box or bag the minute it enters the house. The other day she went one better. I set a buckled belt I am using for an exercise on the couch. When I turned back to it she had climbed in it.
On another note, I had a banner/header made with my two full-length poetry books and my two chapbooks made by someone who knows what they are doing because I clearly don’t. It’s for this blog and my social media. What do you think?
Colleen at Wordcraft poetry suggested writing a syllabic poem about a color using a word from a color chart she provided. I chose orange because it is close to my favorite color which is coral. For a word I chose joy.
Last year I posted a photo I took of one of our gorgeous Arizona Flame Skimmers, or orange dragonflies. This beauty is my inspiration.
Here is my tanka:
On a day of cares,
when the water heater leaks
and I am in pain,
I step outside and notice
with joy orange fairy wings.
The following photo is a closeup from the free photo library.
I love that Colleen wrote: “REMEMBER… don’t just describe the woman… we can all see her. Like all of us, this woman has a story. Write THAT poem….” I have been working on my ekphrastic poems, as well as syllabic, so this was a fun exercise. I chose to write a Reverse Cinquain. And, I’m sorry if this seems like a strange response, but all I could think about once I put myself into the woman herself is how uncomfortable I feel wearing this outfit. Then, my second thought was, but I sure feel beautiful (and I can’t wait to unhook my bra and the spanx and take off my shoes, etc.).