Thursday, October 22, 2015

Looking out. Looking in. (Andrew Wyeth's windows)

Andrew Wyeth

This time of year brings the paintings of Andrew Wyeth to my mind.  I enjoy the colors of his work - whether people, landscape, livestock.  He captures the essence of the subject well.  

Wisteria - Andrew Wyeth

Her Room - Andrew Wyeth
His windows have intrigued and beguiled me forever. The way in which he pulls the viewer's gaze through the window to settle on heavy, hanging gray clouds, fields gone tawny in a late autumn afternoon, the dusty brownish husk of a tree laid bare by winter.  I can imagine curling up on an overstuffed chair, an afghan over my lap and a steaming cup of tea within easy reach and just staring out one of those windows.  Maybe some music playing softly in the background (John Barry's "Across the Sea of Time"?). My brain and heart travel past the panes to places I will likely never see in "real" life, but the journey is breathtaking.

Around the Corner - Andrew Wyeth
Wyeth's windows do another trick in that they seem to invite me to a type of friendly voyeurism.  Nothing unseemly, but I am at once engaged in dreamy speculation about what is on the other side of the partially-shaded window I see from outside. Is there a pleasing domestic scene, lovers embracing, loneliness?  And, at times, I am caught by the awareness that, depending on the light Wyeth employs in creating the window I am looking into, all I may see is my own reflection.   Intentional or uncalculated, his windows open onto endless stories, unlimited possibilities...looking out or looking in.

Wind from the Sea - Andrew Wyeth

Monday, October 19, 2015

Jesse Stuart - Poet Laureate of Kentucky 1954 - 1984

Jesse Hilton Stuart (August 8, 1906 – February 17, 1984)

My dad died recently.  He was born and raised in Ashland, Kentucky and had a lifetime love and longing for the land and the people of his youth.  He had quite a collection of books by Jesse Stuart.   It seems that Mr. Stuart knew my dad's dad so, along with a personal connection, Dad also appreciated the way Mr. Stuart was able to capture, with quiet eloquence and bold imagery, the beauty of the region of which he was a native.  Jesse Stuart's writing is indeed rich and worthy of multiple visits, preferably over  many years, as the words speak to different parts of the heart and the head depending on when they are read.  If you aren't familiar with this poet/author/educator, think about spending a quiet autumn afternoon "dipping a toe or two" into one of his many books.  My guess is you will be transported to an Appalachian locality that might induce you to work the land, compose a ballad, fall in love or marvel at the people who populate this land - a land both deep in poverty and bounty.

Check out the following links:

The Jesse Stuart Foundation :
WVU Library Jesse Stuart Exhibit: