How cool are these Saga bamboos!
A picture of refreshing air!by Matsuo Basho (1644 – 1694)
What stillness! The cicadas’ voices
Penetrates the rocks.by Matsuo Basho (1644 – 1694)
A few weeks ago I’ve stumbled over an interesting article about art and artists, How to Be an Artist, by Jerry Saltz, the New York Magazine art critic. The whole article lists thirty-three points and is worth reading in full. I have inserted below a few points that resonated with me. Especially the last one. LOL.
- Tell your own story and you will be interesting.
- Your skill will be whatever it is you’re doing differently.
- Writers need editors.* No exceptions.
- Life is your syllabus: gather from everywhere.
- The best definition of success is time – the time to do your work.
- Be delusional: I have one solution to turn away these demons: After beating yourself up for half an hour or so, stop and say out loud, ”Yeah, but I’m a fucking genius”.
* My comment: definitely; it’s sufficient to compare Andy Weir’s The Martian (self-published) to Artemis (published by Ballantine Books). QED. I love Science-Fiction and I did read the whole Martian. But I wished all the time for an editor. I almost grabbed a pen and started editing it myself.
Some villages have no sea-breams, no flowers;
But tonight’s moon is seen in all villages.by Ihara Saikaku (1642 – 1693)
Nothing can be willed into being, only waited on, for, or waited out.A.K. Ramanujan from “Journeys: A Poet’s Diary”
I often find myself thinking of Ramanujan‘s words, especially when the blank page stares at me, the cursor steadily flickering its accusatory blink. I delete more than I write. The inner critic is always on duty. But write I do, in the end. After all, “you can always edit a bad page; you can’t edit a blank page”. Jodi Picoult would know.
Why make so much of fragmentary blue
In here and there a bird, or butterfly,
Or flower, or wearing-stone, or open eye,
When heaven presents in sheets the solid hue?
Since earth is earth, perhaps, not heaven (as yet)—
Though some savants make earth include the sky;
And blue so far above us comes so high,
It only gives our wish for blue a whet.
by Robert Frost (1874–1963)
Cultivate the habit of zest. Purposefully seek out the beauty in the seemingly trivial. Especially in the trivial. The colors and shapes of the foods you eat. The shadows a vase makes on your table. The interesting faces of the people on the bus with you. – Karen Salmansohn
I snapped the image above with my iPhone (remember, the best camera is the one that you have with you) on my daily walk. A play of light and shadows, tree branches over a parking spot.
I’d make this the first rule of photography: always bring the camera; and your attention.
One of the joys in otherwise a pretty bleak summer (hey, COVID-19!) has been the re-opening of Millesgården. Not only for me but apparently for a large number of other people. I’ve been there several times since the re-opening at the end of April, and there were a lot of people every time. Mostly Swedish tourists though, usually there are busloads of foreign tourists. In any case, it’s good to see Millesgården open again, and so many people enjoying it.
The Venus Fountain (1917) showing the godess’ birth from the sea.
The Middle Terrace with its’ row of lemon trees.
Middle Terrace – on the right hand you can see The Genius (1940).
The statue is a replica of a grave monument to the Swedish actor Gösta Ekman.
Cymbalaria muralis grows on the steps of Olga’s Terrace.
Olga’s Terrace, Carl Milles tribute to his Austrian-born wife. Olgas was an artist too; she was a painter.
The Aganippe Fountain (1955). The indoor fountain was created for the Metropolitan Museum but has later been moved to Brookgreen Gardens (South Carolina). I like how Milles re-interpreted the Greek myth and changed the muses, typically portraited as women, to young boys.
The Water Nymph, part of the The Aganippe Fountain.
The Aganippe Fountain: the musicians (and in the background, the painter).
Rose is a is a rose is a rose. (Gertrude Stein)
Small flowered clematis on the upper terrace.
The wonderful flower beds on the Lower Terrace with St. Martin sharing his mantle with a beggar in the background. The statue of St. Martin is part of the St. Martin Fountain from 1955, Carl Milles’ last completed work of art.
The flowerbed has been created by Ulf Nordfjell, a well-known Swedish garden designer. The theme this year is Bumblebees and bees go pink.
You have no idea how hard it was to take this photo. This is a small service area, and water hoses, buckets, wheelbarrows, or other garden tools are very often strewn about. This time there were two wheelbarrows and one huge waste bag (the kind of bag that has to get picked up by a truck due to its weight).
It is a quite pleasant spot, when not encumbered with wheelbarrows and the like, and I really wanted to capture it. I know that many people would just retouch the photo and remove the stuff, but that’s not me. I like a challenge, and making the most with what there is, not create an illusion. I also think that creating those composite photos, adding bits and pieces to create one fantastic image, is not what photography is about. As all artists know, creativity thrives on constraints.
The large flowers of angel’s trumpets Brugmansia suaveolens. All Brugmansia species are amongst the most toxic of ornamental plants!
Lemon trees in from of Anne’s house, a two-room house built by Carl Milles for his secretary.
I’ll stop here for now (congratulations if you’ve made this far!), but you can be sure there’ll be more Millesgården posts on this blog.
In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy, and soldier on. And don’t forget to laugh.
The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. He who does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer feel amazement, is as good as dead, a sniffed-out candle. – Albert Einstein
This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. This is how civilizations heal. I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge – even wisdom. Like art. – Toni Morrison
As always, books are comforting. Both to write and to read. To give away, to loan, or to borrow. To read aloud or listen to. A shelter from the madness outside. Consolation. Oh, the “sweet serenity of books” as Longfellow puts it.
I write a bit, I delete a bit more, I pause, I stare through the window at the rough sea and the white clouds of surf. A blackbird jumps back and forth on the grass, looking for worms. The cat suns herself, lazily licking her paw. I write away the virus, the anxiety, the madding crowd.
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