Monday, July 26, 2021

One thing leading to another / "Blue Horse with Couple"


There were two blue horses at the top of the mandala that I just finished.  Before the mandala was finished, a friend of mine suggested that I put horses in the mandala.  I laughed at his suggestion because I couldn't see any place to add horses.  Before long, though, I realized that there was a place that I could put one or two horses that were like that red horse I had drawn at the center (the beginning) of the previous left-handed mandala.

Once I decided to add a horse or two, the next question was what color would I use?  Nothing seemed right except blue.  One horse didn't seem right but two did.  When I showed the finished mandala to my friend, he said something about blue horses in art history.  I could picture a painting of a blue horse but I felt embarrassed because I could not remember who the artist was, only that he had been a member of Der Blaue Reiter.   My friend tried to remember the name of the artist that came to his mind.  The only artist's name that came to mind for me several hours later was Delaunay and when I Googled "Delaunay," I got my answer -- it was not Delaunay but Franz Marc who painted the blue horse that was still in my mind.  That was about a week ago.  Yesterday my friend texted me, "MARC CHAGALL!"

Early this morning, I Googled "Marc Chagall" and "blue horse."  O my goodness!  There were numerous blue horses in Marc Chagall's paintings!

In September 1982, when I was 32 years old and had just graduated from college with a degree in English Literature and Studio Art,  my father offered to take me and my mother to New York City and Washington, D.C., with the main goal of seeing as many art museums and art galleries as possible.  The experience was one of the high points of my life.  Among so many other wonders, we saw Marc Chagall's "I and the Village" which you can see here.

We visited the Stature of Liberty.  My father took a photo of me and I took a photo of him where he had stood in September 1936.

My father's father, a professor friend of his, and my father began an extensive road trip from Minneapolis in the first week of September 1936, just before my father's junior year at the University of Minnesota.  The purpose of the trip was to visit historical places and photograph them for a lecture the professor, T. E. Odlund, planned to give.  My father was to be the driver and photographer. They drove through Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Main, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island,  New York City, New Jersey, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Illinois and back to through Wisconsin to Minnesota during the next three weeks.

Somewhere there is a photo of my father taken by his father in the same place we stood near the Statue of Liberty in 1982 and a street scene taken in Harlem where a relaxed-looking young man smiles at my father who is taking the photo.  Where could those photos be?  I thought I knew, but they aren't where I thought they were.


The week that Marc Chagall died in 1985 was the week when I was visiting my parents in Northern California.  Friends of my parents, a couple who were in their late 80s stopped by to visit my parents and when I showed them photographs of my drawings, the man said, to my great surprise, "Ah, a new Chagall!" That, along with R. Allen Jensen's appreciation of my drawings, was the encouragement that I needed.  I had taken a series of drawing classes from R. Allen Jensen at Western Washington University between 1980 and 1982.  I liked my drawings but continued to be startled when other people besides family and friends liked them, too.  

"The dignity of the artist lies in his duty of keeping awake the sense of wonder in the world. In this long vigil he often has to vary his methods of stimulation; but in this long vigil he is also himself striving against a continual tendency to sleep."
(Marc Chagall)


I'm grateful to my mother for introducing me to the paintings of Marc Chagall when I was in high school.  I believe that he was her favorite painter.  Along with Jacob Lawrence, Marc Chagall is high on my list of beloved artists who have inspired me in my art work.


My friend who suggested adding horses to my most recent mandala attended art classes taught by Jacob Lawrence at the University of Washington.


Take what you have gathered from coincidence -- Bob Dylan

“We know that attention acts as a lightning rod. Merely by concentrating on something one causes endless analogies to collect around it, even penetrate the boundaries of the subject itself: an experience that we call coincidence, serendipity – the terminology is extensive. My experience has been that in these circular travels what is really significant surrounds a central absence, an absence that, paradoxically, is the text being written or to be written.”

― Julio Cortázar, Around the Day in Eighty Worlds


Colette said...

Fascinating. One thing really does lead to another. Connections seem magical. I'm enjoying how inspired you are by this recent mandala.

Anonymous said...

Oh thank you for reminding me of Marc Chagall's paintings. I so love his work. I love knowing that you were inspired by him. Yes, one thing does lead to another. It's that wonderful bit of connectedness that often surprises, delights, and inspires.

ellen abbott said...

so much here. I've been using my left hand to use the mouse but have never attempted to draw with my left hand. took too long to learn to do it well with my right.

Sabine said...

I just admire your detailed work and now I see the connections.

Many years ago, on a holiday near Saint Paul de Vence, in the southern Provence, I actually visited Chagall's grave and stood with my teenage daughter for a long time in front of his La Vie painting out mysteries we discovered.