Friday, February 11, 2011

The Story Of A Painting

Find the seed at the bottom of your heart and bring forth a flower.

Shigemori Kameoka


The painting I'm currently working on is based on a drawing I did years ago. I was performing "Other People's Money" and while the young woman had a long scene about the doings on Wall Street I was sitting at my desk with a large yellow legal pad and a pencil. My character was supposed to be taking notes. But instead I was drawing. I wasn't drawing her or any object. It was just a free sketch expressing the thoughts and feelings I had listening to her speech. Every night I would add to it.

When the show closed and the set was struck I assumed the drawing was thrown away. But one member of the crew saved it, scanned it into her computer, erased all the horizontal lines from the legal pad, printed it out and gave it to me. I've carried it in my box for years and it's now becoming a painting.

Yesterday my artist friend Bruce sent me the following. With his permission I'm passing it along. It reminds me of my own painting. Please enjoy it as much as I do.

To Paint the Portrait of a Bird

by Jacques Prévert 1949

to Elsa Henriquez

First paint a cage
with an open door
then paint
something pretty
something simple
something beautiful
something useful
for the bird
then place the canvas against a tree
in a garden
in a wood
or in a forest
hide behind the tree
without speaking
without moving …
Sometimes the bird comes quickly
but he can just as well spend long years
before making up his mind
Don't be discouraged
wait even if it takes years 
the swiftness or slowness of the bird’s arrival
have no bearing on the success of the picture
When the bird comes
if he comes
observe the most profound silence
wait for the bird to enter the cage
and when he has entered
gently close the door with the paintbrush
paint out all the bars one by one
taking care not to touch any of the bird’s feathers
Next paint the portrait of the tree
choosing the most beautiful of its branches
for the bird
also paint the green foliage and the coolness of the wind
the dust of the sun
and the noise of the insects in the grass in the summer heat
and then wait for the bird to decide to sing
If the bird doesn't sing
it’s a bad sign
sign that the painting is bad
but if he sings it’s a good sign
sign that you may sign
Thus you gently pluck out
one of the bird’s feathers
and write your name in a corner of the painting.

Translated from the original French by Bruce Kennett


1234 West Side Road : : North Conway NH 03860

Phone 603-447-2338 : : Cell 603-387-3725

Thank you Bruce

(This is not a contest)

What was the most significant event that happened in 2010?

Only 6 responses so far

I await your answer.

1 comment:

Big Mark 243 said...

Most significant event of 2010? My actually getting on a plane at John McNamara airport with a destination for Omaha...

There are moments where I think I am not unlike that bird... sitting here (or flitting there) in my new home...