Posts Tagged ‘Gerard Manley Hopkins’


March 11, 2017


Elected Silence, sing to me

And beat upon my whorlèd ear,

Pipe me to pastures still and be 

The music that I care to hear.

Gerard Manley Hopkins, “The Habit of Perfection”

One of my precious friends, Dian Dar, a retired English teacher, recently shared with me poetry from Gerard Manley Hopkins, and the timing was sublime. Spring Break has arrived, and I slept in soundly this Saturday morning, waking to a dark and rainy day.  The watercolor above I have just delivered to the Texas Friends and Neighbors Regional Art Exhibit to open in Irving, Texas April 29.  About half of the remaining 75 pieces had already been submitted and I was able to peruse the gallery and see them up close.  The show is a very strong one, and I am honored and humbled to be included. This evening I plan to attend the gallery talk given by the juror and view the slide show that has been assembled of all the works. I’m sorry to wait a month and a half for the exhibit to open.

Spring Break has arrived and I certainly need the rest.  Today has been burned up by delivering art work and catching up on all my college grading that was a week old.  I still have week-old high school stuff to grade as well, but I guess it can wait another day or two. Strangely, I’m not in the mood to paint today though my heart is filled with artistic aspiration, strange as that may sound.  I have been more inclined to read, and especially to spend time lingering over poetry.  Hopkins certainly has not disappointed me on this gray day.  He and Paul Tillich have filled my weary soul with ideas that are uplifting and satisfying.

I devoted some considerable time to staring at this painting before delivering it, because I won’t have it around for viewing for quite a long time.  That is the downside of exhibits–it’s nice to know others are looking at my work, but I do miss some of the images when they are no longer on my living room wall.  I still remember the hours spent in the garage (man cave) studio when I worked on this one.  And I recall the thrill of finding the creel in a Missouri antique store, of my good friends and fly fishing buddies lending me the antique fly box to open and include in the show, of the bamboo fly rod given me by an equine instructor in Colorado whose father had it custom made for him when he was a teeanger.  The hat has spent years on my head, and I took delight in baptizing it in the Atlantic, Pacific, Aegean and Adriatic waters.  The chair I found in a Missouri antique store. This picture just overflows in personal memories, and I was attached to it ever since I saw it taking shape beneath my brush.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Saturday Morning in the Studio with Watercolor and Gerard Manley Hopkins

August 11, 2012

Saturday in the Studio

Good morning.  I finally decided to tackle a 22 x 28″ watercolor of a downtown scene, featuring a coffee shop and hotel.  I just finished laying in the sky and am waiting for it to dry and set up so I can get to the building details (plenty of ghost sign work lies ahead, and I love tinkering with that).

Gerard Manley Hopkins has seized my attention of late.  I will be teaching a little senior English in the coming year, and gave it my best shot during summer school, and found myself in awe of British poetry (I’ve been stuck on American writings for over a decade, it seems).

I have a background in theology, and was interested in the dimension of Hopkins writing poetry as a Jesuit priest.  One of his early works, “The Habit of Perfection”, opens with these words:

Elected Silence, sing to me

And beat upon my whorled ear,

Pipe me to pastures still and be

The music that I care to hear.

. . .

Be shelled eyes, with double dark

And find the uncreated light:

I love these words, because I have always welcomed the “inner” music emerging from the Silence of my studio, and as an artist and student of the history of ideas I have pondered throughout the years the Medieval Schoolmen’s notion of “uncreated light” (lux increata) which some have said was a reference to the creative energy of God’s mind.  I am still moved by the opening words of Genesis, describing a pre-created world of chaos.  The text says that the spirit of God, like a wind, moved over the face of the primeval waters, and then the light broke.  There is so much mystery in the words of that Hebrew text.  This motion, or spirit, or wind of God moved.  The word can also carry the connotation of “brooded, or hovered, or lingered.”  There seems to be something intimate here in this story of that divine creative act.  I believe that Hopkins had that text in mind when he wrote “God’s Grandeur”–

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Hopkins has given me much to ponder as I paint today.  By now, I believe the sky has dried, and  it is time to return to the watercolor.

Thanks for reading.