journal page – 10/18/08
October is the month of small migrations, when the air moves with restless, nervous energy. The wind picks up, sending down a tumbling shower of ochre, carnelian, and diarylide yellow that collects on the ground like a richly-woven Persian carpet. The sky, now broader through the thinning canopy, changes face hourly; misty in the morning, baby blue with streaks of clouds by midday, searing acid blue in the afternoon, pink-tinged charcoal near evening. Even on still days, some leaves (they know it’s time) let go and drift earthward on gentle currents.
Grackles in great noisy flocks populate the land beneath the trees, conversing loudly with one another as they pick berries and seeds from among the leaves. Suddenly spooked by a movement, they rise in a flapping cacophony of screeches into the trees and wait warily as I pass along the path, silhouetted against the sky like black-cloaked beadles. Geese move overhead in v-formations and sparrow flocks dance through the air in brown waves before landing in a line along a wire. Clinging and falling, noise and silence, movement and waiting, formation and breaking rank…
The ancient maple behind the house creaks in the breeze as if to say… you want to stay, but it’s time to go.
I see my own soul in Nature, every day, every season.
How long have I been sleeping
How long have I been drifting alone through the night
How long have I been running for that morning flight
Through the whispered promises and the changing light
Of the bed where we both lie
Late for the sky
The 8″ x 10″ journal page above – which is part of a special Autumn book I’ve been working on – was done with oil paint-sticks and acrylics. The background contains some collage elements and the nature printing technique I recently learned in a workshop with my friend Lenna Andrews.
Peony silks, in wax-light: that petal-sheen, gold or apricot or rose candled into- what to call it, lumina, aurora, aureole? About gowns, the Old Masters, were they ever wrong? This penitent Magdalen's wrapped in a yellow so voluptuous she seems to wear all she's renounced; this boy angel isn't touching the ground, but his billow of yardage refers not to heaven but to pleasure's textures, the tactile sheers and voiles and tulles which weren't made to adorn the soul. Eternity's plainly nude; the naked here and now longs for a little dressing up. And though they seem to prefer the invisible, every saint in the gallery flaunts an improbable tumble of drapery, a nearly audible liquidity (bright brass embroidery, satin's violin-sheen) raveled around the body's plain prose; exquisite (dis?)guises; poetry, music, clothes. Nothing needs to be this lavish. Even the words I'd choose for these leaves; intricate, stippled, foxed, tortoise, mottled, splotched -jeweled adjectives for a forest by Fabergé, all cloisonné and enamel, a yellow grove golden in its gleaming couture, brass buttons tumbling to the floor. Who's it for? Who's the audience for this bravura? Maybe the world's just trompe l'oeil, appearances laid out to dazzle the eye; who could see through this to any world beyond forms? Maybe the costume's the whole show, all of revelation we'll be offered. So? Show me what's not a world of appearances. Autumn's a grand old drag in torched and tumbled chiffon striking her weary pose. Talk about your mellow fruitfulness! Smoky alto, thou hast thy music, too; unforgettable, those October damasks, the dazzling kimono worn, dishabille, uncountable curtain calls in these footlights' dusky, flattering rose. The world's made fabulous by fabulous clothes.
|Couture – Mark Doty (1953 – )|