Oakland’s Spring and Robert Raushenberg at the SF MOMA

Perfect for spring; blooms in Oakland and inspiration from the SF MOMA…large and memorable, the Robert Raushenberg retrospecitive.

Happy Spring Everyone!!

Here is what’s ‘growing on’ in the garden.

I know, some of you may be rolling your eyes, fed up with the blustery winds, sleet, and snow of this week where you live. But allow me just a few photos of the Northern Pacific Coast to cheer you up; this is what is soon coming your way: warmth, Sun, and color!!

And ever so spring-like, I’m happy to say that inspiration is also coming round to my studio lately, especially for writing and poetry (which is always the precursor, the sister Muse to my musical inspirations. Whew!)  I do have projects to finish this Spring. I think I alluded to the lull earlier; family stuff last year kind of drove things quiet for a bit. I’m not one to to make art in times of intensity or drama. Not for public consumption anyway. So hopefully my Muses will honor me with some quality time this month.

But I’m excited by one major spark to my world lately- seeing the art  retrospective of Robert Rauschenberg: Erasing the Rules at the San Francisco MOMA last month. It roused my artistic doldrums with curiosity about other art mediums, got me dusting off pens and ink wells, and has me journaling lots of late. Woo Hoo!

If you are close to San Fran, you must go see Raushenberg’s work: It’s wonderful! Big color, wild textures, giant works and small zippered pieces, a feast of artistic styles, photography, and sculpture.  I just love it when a museum is filled wing after wing, room to room with the chapters of an artist’s life. Those are always the most powerful exhibits.

Artwork image, Robert Rauschenberg, Port of Entry

In the MOMA’s words “From the 1940s until his passing in 2008, Rauschenberg worked with everything from photography to items scavenged from New York City streets to vats of bubbling mud. More than 150 of Rauschenberg’s artworks, including prints, sculptures, paintings, and Combines (works that incorporate painting and sculpture),” are on exhibit. And he was a rule-breaker of sorts. He “broke down boundaries between disciplines, anticipated many of the defining cultural and social issues of our time, and redefined what art could be…”   Exhibit details.

And give yourself a couple of days to enjoy it all; this really is one of those exhibitions where multiple visits benefit; the shear magnitude of offerings is huge. I know I’ll catch things I missed the next time I see it.

Journeywork of the Stars- Whitman, Rain, Old Books,

So much of Whitman’s work is pivotal to the artist; whether new & looking for courage, or established & needing to kindle the spark through dark nights; Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself & Leaves of Grass make wonderful companions- positive & magnanimous. I like how Whitman essays & poems read like manifestos: not just to pioneers establishing new frontier, but also to the fledgling– daring to wonder (in song!) about his/her own vast store of untapped potential. Celebration. Youth. Joy & unbridled passion. Fearlessness in the face of it all. Blake, Rilke, & Whitman- are all good for stirring the heart and soul this way; an urging for us all to drink down the elixir of our own gifts- with passion and confidence.

rainleavesSky

“I know I have the best of time and space– and that I was

    never measured, and never will be measured.

I tramp a perpetual journey,

My signs are a rain-proof coat and good shoes and a

   staff cut from the woods; …”

“I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journeywork of the stars.
And the pismire is equal, and a grain of sand, and the egg of a wren…”     from Leaves of Grass, first publication- 1855.

Rereading Walt Whitman.  So much of his work is pivotal to the artist; whether new & looking for courage, or established & needing to keep kindled the spark through dark nights; Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself & Leaves of Grass make wonderful companions- positive & magnanimous.  I like how Whitman essays & poems read like manifestos: not just to pioneers establishing new frontier, but to the fledgling– daring to wonder (in song!) about his/her own vast store of untapped potential.  Celebration. Youth. Joy & unbridled passion. Fearlessness in the face of it all.  Blake, Rilke, & Whitman- are all good for stirring the heart and soul this way;  an urging for us all to drink down the elixir of our own gifts- with passion and confidence.  Aaah- if I had read any of these as a child writer, when first searching in the fathomless world…                       But spark & kindling… always here, every day of the week 😉

Timed with the growing buzz of holidays, I crave stillness, more time to read, & books. Big, old books.  And a nesting corner to hold them on rainy nights.  From Pinterest board of Books & Reading Corners.

Dragona V- books n nooksSource

Not sure why, but mid-19th c. authors/books are grabbing me now.  Despite their sometimes crazy blatant sexist, racist, and plain Machiavellian slants of empire- I like the lexicon and language of the day. And the day-in-the-life snapshot of a pioneering spirit.  And I’m wanting to get back to one of those “100 greatest books” lists.  Found a vintage store nearby that has very cool old books… ;).

books

Of course this goes against my streamline-the-library mentality of our last move. But the illustrations in this  1923 Jungle Book…

JungleBook

or this Milton poetry book illustrated by Blake, are tough to pass on. Amazing to read one of these printed in a year near its original publication…Like this 1888 edition of James Fennimore Cooper novels.  I had opened the preface to learn what a “leather stocking” meant, but learned instead of the many biases toward the “savages.”  Ugh… early cultural bias- uncultured & stark awful.

New “Greatest book lists” keep spawning…

100 Greatest Novels: http://www.adherents.com/people/100_novel.html

**World List- 100 Top Books of All Time: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/may/08/books.booksnews

I love the international lists: “This list of the 100 best books of all time was prepared by Norwegian Book Clubs. They asked 100 authors from 54 countries around the world to nominate the ten books which have had the most decisive impact on the cultural history of the world, and left a mark on the authors’ own thinking. Don Quixote was named as the top book in history but otherwise no ranking was provided.”

100 Best Novels- both Random’s and it’s Reader’s lists- are interesting. http://www.modernlibrary.com/top-100/100-best-novels/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2003/oct/12/features.fiction

What have I missed?  Tell me your favorite book lists!