Archive for February 22nd, 2023

Songs From the Wood

9919197 Faces From the Wood sm

Faces From the Wood

I wish I loved the Human Race;
I wish I loved its silly face;
I wish I liked the way it walks;
I wish I liked the way it talks;
And when I’m introduced to one,
I wish I thought “What Jolly Fun!

― Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh

I have been looking at the painting shown above, Faces From the Wood, this morning which is kind of a weird thing to be doing at 5:30 AM. But something made me want to really examine it closely so here I am. Made me realize that the photo above doesn’t fully capture everything in the painting which is often the case with my work. The colors are deeper and darker which gives it a much more intriguing patina, adding a level of depth to the faces.

I used to sometimes gauge my newly finished work by imagining that I come upon it in some distant future garage sale. Would I look at this and think that I had stumbled on a unappreciated hidden treasure or just another piece that would forever pass hands in garage sales? It might seem a strange way to judge one’s work, I don’t employ it much any more but it was effective for quite a while. But holding this painting this morning, I once again pretended to be at some future yard sale. All I could think was how excited I would be to find this piece, if only for the working of the surface. I would think I had found a hidden treasure. As I said, the image above does not do it justice.

It also made me think of posting it this morning with an old Jethro Tull album from around 1977 and its title song, Songs From the Wood. I borrowed a bit of the title for the painting above and I can see many songs in it. Looking up when I last showed this painting, I found that it was less than two years back on a morning when I was not too happy with mankind as a whole– like most mornings.

I normally wouldn’t replay such a current post but it made me chuckle. So, needing a chuckle, here it is again along with the Jethro Tull song below it.

On a morning when I am feeling more than a bit misanthropic, I thought I’d express it in the lightest manner I could muster. I guess the verse above from English poet Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh (1861-1922) might do the trick.

I don’t know much about this particular Raleigh and, feeling as I do this morning, don’t really care. Don’t know if he was descended from the more famous Walter Raleigh, the one I best knew from seeing his face on my one aunt’s cigarette packs as a kid. I would imagine so but what does it really matter?

For those of you more interested, this particular Walter Raleigh was a professor of literature at Oxford and that bit of light verse was titled Wishes of an Elderly Man, Wished at a Garden Party, June 1914.

It might be titled Wishes of a Near Elderly Man, Wished in an Art Studio, August 2021.

I thought of going with a different piece of verse this morning, like this short bit from Ape and Essence, the lesser known dystopian novel from Aldous Huxley:

The leech’s kiss, the squid’s embrace,
The prurient ape’s defiling touch:
And do you like the human race?
No, not much.

Or I guess I could have went with this simple quote from the great German painter Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) which might best describe my feelings:

You call me a misanthrope because I avoid society. You err; I love society. Yet in order not to hate people, I must avoid their company.

It’s not verse but maybe it gets closer to the bone. Perhaps even closer is this passage from Sinclair Lewis, as laid out it in his It Can’t Happen Here:

… he loved the people just as much as he feared and detested persons…

That might best describe my misanthropic urge this morning. And every other morning.

I like and love people individually but on the whole very much dislike persons in the collective sense.

I am not talking about you guys. No, you’re okay.


I hope you will excuse my curmudgeonly behavior this morning. Now get out of here.

And stay off my lawn…

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