Richibi’s Weblog

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Tag: van Gogh

something creative

                                   (click on the picture should it fail)

                         “Vase of Flowers, after van Gogh” (2009)
with my suggestion neatly tucked under
his arm, of asking for it $1200.00, 
set off to sell his painting, “Vase of Flowers,
after van Gogh”, the one which has been
gracing my
 living room wall for several
years now
, a convenient place where he
could store it, maybe even indefinitely, 
while he made room for other paintings

the deep rust table, upon which rests the

white marbled vase which holds the

signature sunflowers, matches a somewhat 

lighter shade of it on my wall,
Burning Bush
it’s called, a colour I chose recently for its
associations with the miraculous, to freshen
up that particular corner  
to also see a burning bush every morning,

however metaphorically, as I start my day 



not having any idea what it might fairly cost

Apollo asked for my opinion, something
he couldn’t do by himself for being too intimately

connected, at
an opera evening the following
night at my place I asked my three opera guests,

who were sitting, of course, before the very item,

what they thought


the next day in an e-mail I wrote 
        “since we’re all, you, me, my mom, Claude

          and Yolande, whom I’ve included in these 

          deliberations, in the same position,

          stumped with regard to a price, I thought 

          I’d simply put all our uninformed opinions

          together and divide by 5 


          Claude,     2000

          Yolande,   1200 

          my mom,    700

          me,           1000,  recently upped from 800 

          you,               ?,  which is to say abstention,

                                     so that 5, to be fair, 
                                     becomes 4
                           4900 / 4 = 1225


          but I’ll accept 1200, should you honour

          my call 


          after all, it’s my wall 






perhaps“, he’d asked, “you can make a suggestion 
towards a solution …
I’ll hear from you with something creative
as is your usual style“, he’d written from his own
computer in his own idiosyncratic manner, after
the prospective buyer had been up to my place,
viewed dispassionately, I thought, the painting,
though he’d warmly admired my apartment, then
left with Apollo to, ultimately inconclusively at
that point as it turned out, talk cost
I thought I’d been accordingly creative, not
without some commensurate glee
and quivered at what might be the result of my
creation, though the work might, sadly, leave
its now impressive standing on my wall  
which I knew, however, Apollo, would never
leave deficient
nor, for that matter, would I    
I’m not ready to set a price on it if you can’t 
come up with one, the collector had told
which left Apollo in a fix, until the
serendipitous $1200.00 
this is what Richard said, he told the buyer,
who’d indeed fretted, with noteworthy
consideration, about my having
to lose the painting, unaware that
everything turns to dust, to my mind, little
by little dries up, even in one’s imagination,
if it is to be transformed into other magic
I’d countered that at the right price the
exchange would be a spur to the
burgeoning painter, ready to pursue his
muse with just a little even inspiration,
inspiration an admirer could express in,
notably, dollars  
but I’ll discount down to 900, Apollo said, 
ceding to his insecurities, since I know you 
I’ll buy it for 1000, the man said, I would’ve
payed 2000, and showed him a work they 
both deemed inferior for which he’d payed
that much 
do not, he said, underestimate yourself,
you are a talented artist
later, looking over the entire transaction,
I asked Apollo, when will you acquire more
than tremulous confidence
I’m working on it, he replied
what about now, I said, you’ll only be an 
artist when you call yourself one, own it,
do it, now
okay, he said, today I am an artist, and
raised his arms wide to the open sky,
appropriately, I thought, surrendering
himself, with giddy determination, to
inscrutable heaven       

“Mrs Dalloway”‏

if you’re not afraid of Virginia Woolf
you might enjoy Mrs Dalloway“, the 
film version of one of her novels,
introspective, discreet ever, and 
only carefully and politely ever ardent,
existentially awash in civilities, with
feeble only attempts at philosophically
sounder, maybe, positions, all ultimately,
of course, inconclusive, an aristocratic
inversion of Van Gogh, but with statelier,
which is to say, more opulent, 
surroundings and, of course, corollary
attendant pretensions, all of it, incidentally, 
marvelously filmed  
the performances are all first rate, with
Vanessa Redgrave being, as usual,
but Rupert Graves, as the shell-shocked
First-World-War veteran, turns in a
wrenching performance, one you’re not
likely to soon forget, one pointedly at
odds with the gentried airs of the rest of
the story, a terse, and damning, Woolfian
comment, who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf 
indeed, the institutionalization of
murderous insensitivities, and the
consequent blight of the blunting
of love  
nor did Virginia Woolf survive her own
condemnation, of course, famously
taking her own life in 1941   
all the other performances here are 
impeccable, up, admirably, each, to
the illustrious task  
I could’ve done without the two
time periods, however, Virginia Woolf,
the wordsmith, had it all going in her,
which is to say, Mrs Dalloway’s, 
sedentary head, leading up to her,
their, climactic party
may Septimus Warren Smith meanwhile,
and all others like him, rest ever in
ascendant, and proliferating, peace       

Xlll. And wilt thou have me fashion into speech – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

from Sonnets from the Portuguese

Xlll. And wilt thou have me fashion into speech

And wilt thou have me fashion into speech
The love I bear thee, finding words enough,
And hold the torch out, while the winds are rough,
Between our faces, to cast light on each? –
I dropt it at thy feet. I cannot teach
My hand to hold my spirits so far off
From myself – me – that I should bring thee proof
In words, of love hid in me out of reach.
Nay, let the silence of my womanhood
Commend my woman-love to thy belief, –
Seeing that I stand unwon, however wooed,
And rend the garment of my life, in brief,
By a most dauntless, voiceless fortitude,
Lest one touch of this heart convey its grief.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning


there are circumlocutions in Romantic poetry
that are often hard to follow, and the work of
sorting these out just as often will lead to
giving the poem a pass, how pertinent can
a poem be, you ask, as you cursorily lay it
to rest

unless a line or two, a phrase, a cadence, an
arresting truth you find, becomes enough to
probe it further, to read again with a magnifying
glass this time, checking the entrails, the parts
of speech, the punctuation, their interactions,
the chemistry

this alone is good for your head

the word “rend” upended me here, who, I
wondered, rent, the text is clear but “however
interjects to sow confusion, a comma
after “wooed”, rather than a hyphen, confirms
that she herself is breaking up inside for fear
of speaking out her anguish, a hyphen
would’ve led us to him

still a bit convoluted, but the underlying
sentiment remains incontrovertibly raw
and clear

Elizabeth Barrett Browning is a mess, but
has found a solid anchor in the refuge of
her manifestly masterful, mistressful, if you’d
rather, poems, though I suspect she’ll never
attain belief in her own connubial validity

van Gogh was also so existentially rent

and also Goethe’s Werther, the premier Romantic
hero, who famously foregos his even life for lack
of validating love

Elizabeth Barrett Browning remains to bear it,
live it, for us, iconically

go, I would think, though ever so distraught,
dear and magnificent Elizabeth


“Winter Mood” – Leonid Afremov


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      “Winter Mood
Leonid Afremov 

the thick application of paint in this painting, impasto,
and the disorder of acid colours in the foreground leaves, 
bring to mind Cézanne for me, 
and by inference, I guess, the more appealing, I think, Van Gogh
but the Belarusian Afremov, you might find interesting to know,
is from Vitebsk, the birthplace of Chagall,
studied at the school Chagall founded there,
as did incidentally in their times Malevich and Kandinsky also  
but the poetry of solitude by which this work touches me so
I find most reminiscent of Friedrich Caspar David‘s “The Wanderer“,
no less iconic a Romantic figure in art than Byron, Shelley, Keats became,
not to mention in Germany Goethe‘s tragic “Werther“, or in France, Victor Hugo 
in Spain the much earlier Don Quixote, inspired much later his compatriot Picasso,
whose own lonely horseman is to my mind recalled here, 
and in film more recent lonesome cowboys ride instead of on an open range
an empty street through a park in Paris maybe, Dresden, or Toronto
as on life’s journey they find, and we, each our road to follow 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      thought I’d pass it along  







                                                                                                                                      poring among the possibilities the nearby university had to offer – they’re listed in a catalogue they seasonally send around – one on poetry, of course, how to make one out of a painting, stood out, how to make of something visual, a Monet, a Van Gogh, a Renoir, a poem 

ekphrasis, there’s a word for that, I thought

and ate it up

the picture I got to ekphrase, my word for that, was one of a set the teacher sent around of Kobayashis, snapshots, I’d never heard of him, her, either, Milt Kobayashi, all of them intriguing

I quickly snapped one up, letting my instinct instead of my judgment pick it out – I find it’s usually more accurate – in order to keep the ball rolling, not slow things up

a waif in especially blue, the colour also of chairs behind her – like skies in winter, I thought, when the pressure’s up and the light is pale, colours aren’t crisp but muted – making that sort of association, hoping that wouldn’t be unintelligent

rudimentary roses, wine red, spotted here and there her blue skirt, more like patches than ornamental flowers, a black top the colour of her jet black hair was cut low in a U at her neck, she leaned against a wall, itself nondescript, at the right of the picture, her left, far to that side, and in her own black shadow there splashed upon the wall, a fathomless apparently abyss, seemed to find refuge, a respite, like a womb, pushing herself and it nearly right out of the picture

her arms were crossed, but one reached for her shoulder, lightly resting there, covering inadvertently, or not, her chest, and by my inference her soul, her modesty, her bosom, whereupon, like Michelangelo’s God touched Adam, with love, light and understanding, inadvertently again or not, she touched mine

and her black, plaintive eyes were looking right back

                                                                                                                                     there’s next to nothing on the spartan walls, the table is somewhat set, but light reflected off some glasses there, and dishes, is gleaming, like in Dutch still lifes, artfully, and delightfully

“The Last Table” it’s called, though I’m not too sure what that’s about, a waitress calling it a day, a playful reference somehow to da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” maybe 

that’s what I’d have to make into a poem, ekphrase




finding miracles

these earlier “back tracks“, of which the following is one example, are pieces I consider still to be worth your while

please enjoy


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        November 9, 2006

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  this has been a year of only a clutch of miracles

of course they always abound, but some years, beset by crushing ordeals, miracles seem few and far between, and pale and falter beside the anguish and despair you suffer

 yesterday I marvelled at the colours of the leaves, the reds, the golds, the purples, that still and magnificently clung to the branches of much thinner trees now that they had lost the weight and splendour of their foliage

the sun upon the colours made them quiver, gleam, glimmer

look, I told my walking mate, a painting, and spread my arm across the panoply that contained what I saw

Monet, he replied

indeed, I said, but also Klimt, the gold, the glitter

I could barely listen on for the wonder

and Van Gogh for the branches, I continued, caught up in my world of live Impressionism, crotchety, angular, mad, I described

and there are millions of these leaves, I went on, transported beyond Impressionism into verily awe, not two of them alike, an infinity of numbers

that’s a miracle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     a day earlier a friend had come over to lunch, after which we’d amble on over to the art gallery for an exhibit that was on

a gull sat on the ledge of my window, at my aerie on the twelfth floor

maybe it’s your father, she said

maybe, I replied, but couldn’t then and there make the connection

it stayed long enough for her to mention it again after I’d gone on for some time more, she was facing the window, I was not, I’d returned to our conversation

the gull looked in, on, curious, spirited

but I still saw just a gull

last   evening I remembered that it would’ve been my parents anniversary had my father survived, called my mom, asked her out, we had dinner nearby, the date had slipped me by

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            later still I remembered about the gull, who perhaps had not forgotten




van Gogh – Still Life with Earthenware and Bottles

            Still Life with Earthenware and Bottles, 1885   

                                Vincent van Gogh

several weeks ago I was shown a process on the Internet that allowed me to set most any picture I could bring up from the web as my desktop, rather of course than the usual, generic stuff that is by default peddled, I of course sought out art

should you want to do this, find of course the picture, google it, artist naturally optional, van Gogh, Monet, mostly come up but these two are nearly inexhaustible, very often breathtaking, and will adorn serenely, sublimely, your monitor, turning it into a veritable vase for some time 

you’ll grow from there, in diversity of artists, and aesthetic verve

find the picture, even this one, click once on the right with your mouse, much like Dorothy did her shoes in “The Wizard of Oz”, click again, but on the left this time, on “Set as Background”, like magic

                                                                                                                                                                                                            change your artwork regularly

                                                                                                                                                                                                               this week this van Gogh starts up my gallery, “paintings to ponder”, I’ll call it 

poems also coming up

                                                                                                                                                                                                              hope you’ll enjoy