Thursday, November 30, 2006


Down by the Salley Gardens
William Butler Yeats

Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.

In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Erev Shabbos

From 13 August 2006. Then, late in afternoon, Erev Shabbos. Simple and singing. The greater light and the lesser light, whitish square, yellow oxide square alongside, dot of gray in between. Small bird below, watching. Haven’t done something for erev shabbos in a long time. Maybe needed…essential, even…

From Sunday August 15. This morning: Erev Shabbos on the easel. Yes. Scanned and sent to just a few friends. Note from Dick in Paris—Delcroix, Corot and a Korean woman in the Louvre…the meaning of gestures…

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Dark Sunday, late fall. Beautiful gloomy air. Something to do with a forest—maybe from Margaretta Lovell’s course description. Evocative, half-read… Narrow birch tree to the right—just the trunk, and opposite, flame-like leaves, but very muted. Something like that.

Happy Valley

From 25 June 2006. Rather, an expanse of color, surface, weight. As in Minervalaan, from last week (the park in Amsterdam in summer of 1991). Or the pair Sheung Wan and Happy Valley… (The name used by the Chinese people of Hong Kong is Horse Racing Ground; that's where the British set up their track. Also known locally as Wong Nai Chung, Yellow Mud Stream, from creek of the same name. This fits well with feel of the painting, although curiously I didn’t know it at the time… In fact, I stopped initially at “Happy Valley” because it takes such getting used to…)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Persimmon Tree, Autumn

Persimmon Tree, Autumn. Delta fields, somewhere beyond Isleton. Two lane roads give way to dirt, pools of water on either side, endless furrows... All the colors of brown, jostled together in a wide stillness... Misty light, veiling the sun, even at mid-day, water in the air... Old marinas, after summer's fun--Owl Harbor, for example--with an ancient PT boat moored in the shallows, Navy gray against river mist . Thanksgiving day--this is how it is--a celebration, but out here, just a few Spanish-speaking men, fishing from levee rocks, their small fires banked against the chill. Down below, in the fields, a bevy of pick-ups--large-sized Dodges and Fords--pulled up in a farm house lot. Everyone inside, you'd imagine, gathered round the table. Leaving us the empty roads, the late afternoon light, the wind...

Monday, November 13, 2006


Golden temple against muted blue-gray sky. Early evening. The inset doorway green with incandescent light--glowing, like the faces of the worshippers, who pour out onto the street, some seated on smooth courtyard stone (also gleaming), their backs to us, tan and pink and yellow rust, costumes white as they near the door. A burst of light above one tower--interlocking rings, also gold--which dissappear into the darkening sky. Rangoon--it's the name, perhaps, the lilting air, warmth so very close to our own--enveloping...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sorrows (After Po Chu-i)

From 8 August 2006. Today: again, raw sienna mixture for ground, lantern shapes emerging, but not really lanterns. The idea of the sentence. (B, last night: “What is syntax?” “The way the parts of a sentence fit together, and the rules that govern this.” Where did this come from?) / Last phrase this morning (OnPainting256): Pirates all. I did hesitate, I admit. But we are all part of all. / Today’s painting: back and forth. Very meuzy, but I like it this way. Nothing too definite. Sorrows (after Po Chü-I).

After Cavafy


That we’ve broken their statues,
that we’ve driven them out of their temples,
doesn’t mean at all that the gods are dead.
O land of Ionia, they’re still in love with you,
their souls still keep your memory.
When an August dawn wakes over you,
your atmosphere is potent with their life,
and sometimes a young ethereal figure,
indistinct, in rapid flight,
wings across your hills.

C.P. Cavafy

Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Andrus Island

White water bird on bluish field. Sandhill cranes in autumn. Much too pure for that—their muddy roughness, on land, hidden amongst the furrows in late light—two of them rise up to dance, so naturally unexpected—all spindly legs and spreading wings—as if in their temporary stay they would be forever… All else vast quiet, low light on low waters, stubble of field, brackish edge… Loping power lines strung above, pole to pole, into the distance. Hardscrabble road—rutted gravel, a car feels out of place in this run of air. Far distance, haze, silhouette of Mt. Diablo, now seen from the east. All late light and quiet, Delta breeze…

Monday, November 06, 2006


From 14 August 2006. Gray morning, touch of fall. A Nederlands tjalk--shallow draft, inland seas... Pulled up on the flats at Volendaam, early autumn, misty light...all the colors ochre and brown...even the air a neutral shade, as if moderation were all... A world of social relations--the give and take of daily life...cargoes and trade, needed things--hemp, flax, bolts of cloth--barley, millet, rye...carried on quiet waters...maybe a song....

T'ao Chien would have known as well...

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Dutch ship on a Dutchman's sea... Roiled waters, late afternoon, golden sunlight through the crest of each gold-green wave, and the general chaos of changing tides... Berkeley fishing pier, often just this same vision, like something out of the old paintings--Hobbema, Cuyp, Van de Velde--the solidity of wood--beam and draft, long metal bolts to hold the load, augered through. Lee-board down, into the wind, Nordzee...

Hangzhou Rain

Just over three years now, since Hong Kong and Guilin--overland to the border, then the mad explosion of Shenzhen, supersized--and miles of gray, tear-stained apartment blocks, each balcony strung with laundry, the roads packed, ox cart to Audi--unrelenting. An overpass with Western faces, looming above, vacant media smiles, while Hakka women in wide black cloth hats bend patiently, hoeing, at the side of the road...

A love for the past--even never having known it (maybe better that way). Knossos, Zamoscz, Hangzhou rain...

Blue Flag

From August 10 2006: Drawing this morning, in copyshop. Youngish woman, small top, narrow but rounded figure… Leans back, massages her arm, then lower part of her back. Feeling of self…taken so for granted. Also—black oversized earphones, narrow wire to bag alongside…

At Moe’s. Late Milton Avery...

Working back into painting begun yesterday. Orange shape with darker rectangle below, partly washed away. Cooler gray painted around. Shape of flag appears, but condensed—made stubby, that is. Like in monster cars, maybe. A kind of (rhetorical) sentimentalization of form itself. Happens with toys all the time. (Chunkier than need be.) Pale blue painted stripes. Patriot? As in phat.