Posts Tagged ‘Leaves of Grass’


“Walk in Peace”- Now at the West End Gallery

“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”

–Walt Whitman, Preface to Leaves of Grass

Don’t want to focus on the dangers of the delusional craziness we’ve been experiencing in the past few weeks. It’s hard to believe this is where we are as a nation. But this morning, I want to, like the figure in the painting above, just walk in peace. 

So, I am going to take it easy this morning, maybe heed the words of Uncle Walt and dismiss those things that insult my own soul. 

Here’s a lovely version of Bob Dylan‘s classic I Shall Be Released from Rising Appalachia. The spare feel of the accompaniment from the bass and percussion really accentuate the beautiful vocals here. Nice.

Have a good day. Walk in peace.

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“The untold want, by life and land ne’er granted,

Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.”

Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass


A little short on time this morning (what’s new?) but I wanted to share this new song from an upcoming album by a favorite of mine, Rhiannon Giddens. She has one of those voices that always seems absolute and powerful. A beautiful rarity. I felt that this particular song fit right in with the theme behind much of my work, especially in the line in its chorus :

Don’t know where I’m going but I know what to do

Does anyone really know what they’re looking for in this life? Just doing the right thing and being honest with ourselves is all we can do as we search.

So, give a listen and keep on seeking, folks. Have a great day.


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I too am not a bit tamed,

I too am untranslatable,

I sound my barbaric yawp

over the roofs of the world.


-Walt Whitman, Song of Myself



This new painting,a 24″ by 30″ canvas that is part of my upcoming show at the West End Gallery, is titled My Brisant Bellow. The term brisant bellow is one I have used in the past, my equivalent to Whitman’s barbaric yawp which comes from his Song of Myself in Leaves of Grass.

It is included in the four lines above that have been a guiding beacon for me throughout the past 25 years as I have tried to be an artist. These words instructed me to be only myself, to openly and boldly express my feelings without fear or shame. To not hide my scars, my fears or my weaknesses because they are part of my wholeness and keep me in balance. To not be underestimated or devalued by myself or anyone else. To claim a foothold in this world and bellow out the proof of my existence in my own voice:

Here I am.

There are paintings that I do that are meant to represent this thought, paintings that are meant to be plainly expressions of that Here I am. I consider them icons in my body of work, pieces that fully represent my work and what I want from it. This painting definitely falls in that category. It’s simply put but not a simple expression.

When I look at this painting I personally see myself and all my hopes and aspirations, all that I am or desire to be.

What I hope for this painting is that someone else sees that same here I am in it for themselves, that they see in it those things that make them a whole and perfectly imperfect person with a place in this world and a voice that demands to be heard.

Is that asking too much?





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 Well, it’s here:  the final weekend before the Presidential election on Tuesday. I wait, like many, with a mix of eagerness to move ahead in a new direction and with the fear of having hopes crushed.  There’s a feeling that this may be a pivotal moment in our history, that this may be a decision that may indeed, unlike other such elections, affect our day to day lives for years to come.  It’s at times like this that I always come back to the words of Uncle Walt.

Walt Whitman was shaped and defined by his Americanism and the turbulent time in which he lived.  He spoke to the highest ideals that our nation embodies.  His words ring with a universal truth that seem as fresh today as they were over a century ago.  

This is a small bit from Song of Myself  from Leaves of Grass.  When I first read this (so many years ago) it resonated in my mind.  As I evolved into a painter I carried the sense of these few words with me and often when I look at some of my work, I can see those words in the work.  


 I too am not a bit tamed,

I too am untranslatable,

   I sound my barbaric yawp

     over the roofs of the world.


As always, thanks, Uncle Walt.

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