Threshold moments: Breathing Life Into my Painting, Sosna - The Pine Tree
It has been a very busy week with several creative projects on the go! I did manage to get a few solid hours of painting time on this one (see below). It moved through its pubescent struggle stage which I spoke about last week and I offered this painting enough of my attention that it moved through into the 'Breathing Life Into the Painting' phase. The Pine Tree painting is sitting on my larger easel at the moment and is awaiting the final gestures of love. I'll complete this painting by weeks end and thinking about submitting it to an up-coming group show along with two other smaller paintings from my 10x10 abstract landscape series, I haven't yet decided, but I only have a few more days to apply so I better figure it out!
Sometimes the reason for a painting coming into being is lodged in the unconscious and it's not until I'm actually seeing it manifest on the canvas that I realize why and where the idea emerged forth. This most definitely occurs in the 'breathing life into the painting phase'. The painting starts to let me know about the story, and where it came from.
Prior to being a 'painter', I have also been a singer my whole life. In September of 2019 I joined The Bowdoin Chorus here in mid-coast Maine, Director Anthony Antolini. We performed a number of very moving Russian works this past December: Tchaikovsky, Bortniansky, Arkhangelsky and Rachmaninoff to name a few of the composers. One particular piece by Rachmaninoff stayed with me emotionally, and while singing it, I often would visualize the images and tone of the poem. Here is the excerpt written about The Pine Tree (Sosna) from our program guide for the concert followed by a translation of the poem.
"Sergei Rachmaninoff Six Choruses for Women's Voices, Op. 15 were written between 1894 and 1896. At the time, Rachmaninoff was teaching at the Maryinsky Academy and it may have been his students who inspired him to set the six poems to music. The first five choruses appeared periodically in the magazine Dyetskoye Chtenie (Children's Reader) over a period of a year before the complete opus was published in 1896 by Jurgenson. There is no record of a premiere public performance or the songs until 1973 Rachmaninoff centenary celebrations, with the Yurlov State Chorus conducted by Yevgeny Svetlanov. "
I think for anyone of us living in the North, (and especially the Pine state, Maine) we appreciate and identify with The Winter Pine Tree with its globs of snow weighing down its branches and in the quiet moments, dreaming and yearning of seeing or being near a Palm tree in a far away warmer climate!
The Pine Tree
In wild northern country
there stands unprotected on
top of a mountain a pine,
and dreaming while rocking
in robes made of snowflakes
her raiment is priestly and
fine. In dreaming she sees
far away in a desert a
kingdom where dawn is
aglow, alone and forlorn on a
a mountain so scorching a
beautiful palm tree must grow.
If you would like to hear The Bowdoin Chorus singing Rachmaninoff's Sasna, The Pine Tree, you can see it on U-TUBE here. You can forward to 20:10 minutes into the concert.
I'm looking forward to the final stages of this painting and hoping I can continue to create a 'glow' that I have been seeing in my minds eye as I breathe life and motion into the painting. It is past the point of no return and this Pine is saying what it needs to say. I'll be sure to post the final painting when it is ready. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog this week on painting.