• Art Making
  • Barbara Weir: Grass Seed Dreaming

    Barbara Weir is one of my favorite painters. As an aboriginal artist, she approaches her work with a different set of expectations and intentions than is typical in the Western artistic canon. Like other women from her community (including now-deceased Minnie Pwerle, Barbara’s mother, and international art star Emily Kame Kngwarreye), her work is closely […]

  • Wisdom
  • The Self, Undivided

    Meditation garden, Osmosis Enzyme Bath If we fall into hell, we go through hell; this is the most important attitude to have. Just sit in the Reality of Life seeing hell and paradise, misery and joy, life and death, all with the same eye. No matter what the situation, we live the life of the […]

  • Poetry
  • Fight, Fiddle, Ply, Muzzle

    First Fight. Then Fiddle. First fight. Then fiddle. Ply the slipping string with feathery sorcery; muzzle the note with hurting love; the music that they wrote bewitch, bewilder. Qualify to sing threadwise. Devise no salt, no hempen thing for the dear instrument to bear. Devote the bow to silks and honey. Be remote a while […]

  • Art Making
  • Third Acts

    This morning I received an email from George Wingate, an artist and my first roommate in Manhattan oh so many years ago. He sent me an excerpt from a page torn from an old New Yorker that he found while cleaning his studio barn. Kenneth Tynan comments on the death of Janet Flanner in 1978 […]

  • Nature
  • Reflectivity

    An article about mirrors appeared in the New York Times two weeks ago, and its contents have continued to nag my mind. (An excerpt is on Slow Painting if you don’t want to read the whole piece.) There are a number of threads in this piece that would be worth some time to delve into […]

  • Ideas
  • Making Strange

    It has been three full days since I saw Guy Maddin’s “documentary,” My Winnipeg, and the ambience still hasn’t left my consciousness. It is quixotic and visually arresting, preposterously absurd and yet quite tender, both epic and lyric at the same time. I was enchanted. My Winnipeg, by Guy Maddin And as the critic Peter […]

  • Poetry
  • May Swenson: Looking at Trees

    All That Time I saw two trees embracing. One leaned on the other as if to throw her down. But she was the upright one. Since their twin youth, maybe she had been pulling him toward her all that time, and finally almost uprooted him. He was the thin, dry, insecure one, the most wind-warped, […]

  • Poetry
  • Poetry and Truth

    Peculiar to poetry is a preconceived expectation of “truth”. David Orr’s essay in the Times Sunday Book Review captures some of this response in spite of cynicism in the culture about literary authenticity, particularly following a spate of memoir writers whose manufactured memories and inaccurate portrayals were exposed and condemned. Orr starts with an anecdote […]