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Exchange of Values

Exchange of Values
acrylic on board 48'X96'

"Structure of Color Perception"

"Structure of Color Perception"
48'X96' acrylic on board

Thursday, February 21, 2013





Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh.  Arles, 28 September 1888

“My Dear Theo....It does me good to do difficult things. It does not prevent me from having a terrible need of, shall I say the word - of religion - then I go outside in the night to paint the stars and I dream ever of a picture like this.” 

This poem is the second in a series of lenten reflections.  I will leave it to y’all to make any necessary connections.  Obliged


Dying For Beginners (a guide from the stars)

Eta Carinae: No. 4U 1037–60 (A 1044–59)

From the catalogue of dying stars
I chose Eta Carinae
To pray for
Experts are predicting her death
Within the next 3 million years
But her core is already collapsing
Ending this cycle of her life’s journey

She is beautiful
I have seen the pictures
It was Rublev the Russian astronomer
(Not Rublev the painter of God’s shadows)
That first described her beauty
Mapped the contours of her body
But also foretold her dissolution
And later reduced her to a numerical coordinate
It is harder to pray for a number

The Chinese once called her “Heaven’s altar”
Noting In the Book of Jin
That she was second in glory only to Sirius
But she was first named
‘The Vermilion bird of the North’
Her changing colors were believed to
Predict the future of our lives 

Bandits from the north ringed the city of Jiankang
They demanded gold and young women
Or they would destroy the whole town
As the gate began to fall
And all in the city faced destruction
The brave young woman called Ming-huá:
Chose to sacrifice her life for her people
She Leapt from the high tower over the gate
Stretching wide her arms as she fell
Miraculously they were transformed
Into vermilion wings of fire
All witnessed the blazing flames and fiery embers
Tracing the arc-light of her flight through the night sky
Burning enemies to cinders and ash 
Then she soared up into the near-eternal heavens
Nesting in the Northern sky
Where she still watches over her people, for now

There she has birthed her own offspring
A luminous blue variable
Together they dance as they die
Flinging into the cosmos all their matter and light
Giving their masses over to disintegration 
A display never seen before by human eyes
Stars spiraling in a magellanic cloud of witnesses
As Sirius weeps for the loss

I am told by the doctors that
When she dies there will be 
One magnificent burst of light that
Will outshine the entire galaxy
In that momentary flash
All her energy will dissipate
Transforming again into elementals
What makes stars what they are 
Heartbreakingly beautiful

It takes 80,000 years
For light to reach us from Eta Carinae
But prayers travel faster than light
We have time to seek divine intervention
Even if what will happen has already happened
Time is no matter for a God
Of colliding galaxies and falling sparrows 
It is a great gift and sorrowful burden
To be given a heart 
That can mourn the death of stars
Like our own mothers

***********************************************************

Note*  I am sorry that the word “awesome”
was no longer available for use in this poem
But Like stars words also dissolve and die
Though it may take years for our ears to notice

Later in this same letter Vincent writes:  “...The Benedictine father must have been very interesting. What would, according to him, be the future religion? Probably he would always say the same as the past.  Victor Hugo says God is an eclipsing lighthouse, and certainly now we are passing through that eclipse.  I only wish that someone could prove to us something calming which comforted us, so that we stopped feeling guilty or unhappy and that we could go forward without losing ourselves in the solitude or nothingness, and without having to fear every step, or to nervously calculate the harm we may unintentionally be doing to others.  In odd Giotto's biography it said that he was always suffering and always full of ardour and ideas.  I would like to arrive at this assurance that makes one happy, cheerful and alive all the time.”

Ever Yours, Vincent."

Up above is my latest painting. It is pretty big at 8 feet by 3 feet (perhaps I should consider selling art by the square foot?). I was inspired by both Caspar David Friedrich’s “The Monk By the Sea,” and Rublev’s, ‘The Trinity,‘  though I aught let others recognize and say that.  It was said of Friedrich though that, “Here is a man who has discovered the tragedy of landscape.”  I was not trying to evoke tragedy here but I will not deny it if others find it there.  I don’t have a title for the painting and I would appreciate suggestions.  Ever yours, Daniel and obliged.    

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