Wednesday, December 31, 1997

Scratchboard drawings, India ink, 1995-97

Wim Hoffman's garden, Vlissingen, Nederlands 1995?

Road Not Taken 1995 (Michael Carey sent me a woodcut by Carl Homestad)

Orchard, Forestville 1995

Celli's Cabins & Redwoods, Forestville 1995

Mucky the Cat Bathing After the Storm, 1995

Plant detail, Building an Ark, prose-poem, 1995

Mt. St. Helena, Sun & Sumi Hills 1995

Mt. St. Helena, Sun & Sumi Hills II, 1995
Oat Grasses, Forestville, 1995
Suicide Rock, Idlewild 1995

Lily (Tahquitz) Rock, Idlewild, II 1995

Russian River Basin, Ukiah Pass 1995
Pine & Russian River, Monte Rio, 1995
Driveway & Michael Celli's Italian Pine, 1995
Cypress & Field, Mayacamas Range 1996 (after a woodcut by B. Bramant)

Mark West Creek meets the Russian River I 1996?

Mt. St. Helena, Flowers 1996 (after Teresa MacLean's April Wind)

Drowned Vineyards, Wholer Bridge 1996?

Submerged Trees in the Russian River, near Monte Rio, 1996

Forestville, after a painting by Fred Meyer, 1996

Mark West Creek & Russian River II, 1996

Oak & Boulder, II, Alexander Valley School, 1996

Oak & Boulder, Alexander Valley School, 1996
Russian River Mouth, After 40 Days of Rain, 1996 (after Tony King's Estero)
Drowned vineyards

Mt. St. Helena

Redwood Reflections, Forestville, 1996

Wohler, & River Road's New Shore, Russian River, 1997

India ink scratchboard painting/drawings from 1995-1997, The first drawing was from the Netherlands, ca. 1995? when Wim Hoffman stuck a blank white scratchboard in my hands and I drew his garden. I was enchanted. The last piece was of Wohler Road during the floods of 1996-1997.

Almost all the drawings were done in situ in Sonoma and Mendocino counties, a few were drawn at Idylwild. Some were modeled after other artists' work. We had a couple of record flood winters. I was housebound and stir-crazy and couldn't get out of Forestville, marooned due to the severity of the floods. It rained for 40 days!

During that time I was also working on a long prose poem, Building an Arc (1995), that kept on growing, so some of these pieces were used to illustrate it. I later had a show at the California Museum of Art at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, Santa Rosa, and another show and reading at The French Quarter, in Rohnert Park, where we used lines from the long poem under the artwork.

Wednesday, December 10, 1997

AT THE WAR MEMORIAL OPERA HOUSE

AT THE WAR MEMORIAL OPERA HOUSE

We sat in paneled boxes waiting
for the orchestra to fine tune itself. 
The tall Nutcracker stared at the audience.
It was like stepping back in time.
I was transported to the Russian Imperialist Court
Remembering how Valera stood outside 
the Bolshoi Ballet Opera House in the snow 
and it was all blue and white, and blue again.
Ya lu blu, he said. I love you.
It was a marriage of snow and sky
in post communist Russia. Dancing bears
and sugar plum fairies.

I was remembering a neighbor's friend, 
Fritz Leonhardt who took me to my first opera 
to see Madame Butterfly. I was dressed in teal
 & turquoise chiffon. My cousin's old prom dress.
Fritz was an illustrator for Macy's and I Magnan's.
He drew his signature long, willowy models
that undulated across the back pages
of newspapers and magazines
with that aloof come hither look 
that would confuse generations of men.
Alien creatures, figments of his imagination.
He drew women of Amazonian proportions.
A gay man's ideal of womanly elegance,
giraffe-necked creatures with legs
that went up to their chins.
I despaired, these were ideals
I could never reach, I was not tall, nor elegant,
not like that social butterfly,Tallulah Bankhead 
who appeared in a peacock sequined gown 
that hissed like a snake when she 
slithered across the marble floor.

12/10/1997
rev. 10/15/2015
War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco

Monday, December 1, 1997

When these prose pieces were written


This is just to say that I rewrote and endlessly revised these West Marin prose pieces so I don't have exact creation dates, just the year, and I chose to post them all during the second half of this year, as they were all thematically related. I also had a lot of free time recovering from the car accident in June, so I worked on these pieces, to keep my mind occupied as I convalesced. It was also a way to collect family folklore, ever an ongoing process.

When these pieces were transcribed to the electronic publication format arena a decade later, I was also posting pieces in my blog thematically vs. by creation date. So creation dates are relative.

Once I went back to school, then another revision process began. And more versions were spawned. I began to lose track of all the dross and bits and pieces—first drafts, for example. Then the quest was: how to deepen the pieces. How to push the edged of the envelope of prose. I was terrified of prose. This was an attempt to quell my fear of prose and also stay true to the poetic voice.

I also was moonlighting at UC Berkeley in the Celtic Studies department, while going back to school at San Francisco State, and adjusting to urban life in the Bay Area. I was holding tight onto the past, while bootstrapping my way into the world of prose. So, there are a lot of Celtic references as I reclaimed my past and made history personal. — MH 3/18