Friday, July 25, 2014

Elstir's Harbor at Carquethuit

    "...the eclipses of perspective."

On the beach in the foreground the painter had contrived that the eye should discover no fixed boundary, no absolute line of demarcation between land and sea. The men who were pushing down their boats into the sea were running as much through the waves as along the sand, which, being wet, reflected the hulls as if they were already in the water. The sea itself did not come up in an even line but followed the irregularities of the shore, which the perspective of the picture increased still further, so that a ship actually at sea, half-hidden by the projecting works of the arsenal, seemed to be sailing through the middle of the town; women gathering shrimps among the rocks had the appearance, because they were surrounded by water and because of the depression which, beyond the circular barrier of rocks, brought the beach (on the two sides nearest the land) down to sea-level, of being in a marine grotto overhung by ships and waves, open yet protected in the midst of miraculously parted waters. If the whole picture gave this impression of harbours in which the sea penetrated the land, in which the land was subaqueous and the population amphibian, the strength of the marine element was everywhere apparent; and round about the rocks, at the mouth of the harbour where the sea was rough, one sensed, from the muscular efforts of the fishermen and the slant of the boats leaning over at an acute angle, compared with the calm erectness of the warehouse, the church, the houses in the town to which some of the figures were returning and from which others were setting out to fish, that they were riding bareback on the water as though on a swift and fiery animal whose rearing, but for their skill, must have unseated them.

Excerpt From: Marcel Proust, Terence Kilmartin, C.K. Scott Moncrieff, Andreas Mayor & D.J. Enright. “In Search of Lost Time.” The Modern Library.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Resemblance the book is no longer available. My thanks to all who bought it. I hope it has given you pleasure and I hope it will continue to do so.

Making the book was an experience like no other. A great deal of time elapsed between starting to paint the characters of À la recherche du temps perdu and eventually watching others look at them in a finished book, but the span is bridged by all that occurred from start to finish, including personal loss and artistic redemption: the book came from the heart, the mind, and the hand, it was good work to do. For this I thank Marcel Proust.

The experience became elaborate in New York. Missing the curb and the hand of the doorman at an apartment on Central Park West as I got out of a cab and broke my left femur at the knee seems full of hubris, but I will never again enjoy the pleasure I felt, unconcerned with pain for half a block, flying down the side walk three days after the fall, my arms in the air, my book in my lap, as I was pushed, and then released, freed, by a friend who rolled me along in a wheelchair and let go and ran beside me. We were laughing, on our way to a party...

Five months later, after physical therapy and acupuncture and the ice-packs and crutches, and the walker the leg is healed but still cranky, and my cane, left hanging and forgotten on shopping cart handles is repeatedly returned in parking lots outside stores by considerate clerks who call me sir.

I have left the hospitality and comforts of the Casa Eureka and have moved back to Carmel Valley after an absence of forty-two years. The return makes me very happy. It is quite beautiful here. I am very lucky.

The house, 50 yards from the river, is on the border where the coastal fog melts into the warmer open sky of the interior. The river, narrowing where the hills gather is mostly dry stone-bed and leaks along slowly through low pools. Wind blows up and down the stream, cottonwood flowers sail over and around leafed out willow, poplar and blooming Scotch broom, a laurel or two flash silver between
pines, and across the draw, where the pleat of the ravine climbs a rise, a stand of 24 eucalyptus bend to the west inhaling sea air, then let go and bend to the east exhaling the scent of crisp honey.

There are birds, frogs, deer. Two rabbits live in the vegetable garden, old friends live minutes away. Gone eighteen months from Redondo, rested in France, exhilarated by Cabourg, encouraged by New York and Berkeley, I am setting up a studio again, in the place where, as a young man, I first tried to make a home of my own away from my parents.