Looking for the Light

The painter’s dream, “Do as you wish”
A match of talent to visual sight
Painting seas without seeing the fish
Painting faces but focusing the light

Rembrandt and Turner tried over time
To dovetail their vision to canvas and oil
Illuminate age beneath the grime
A sea turned violent crash and roil

The hybrid artist Rothko to retain
Luminosity in rectangular blocks
Tossed out oils and turned to stain
Looks outside and within the box

On closer inspection one can find
The otter’s scrawl and fish tail print
The light and vision intertwined
In bold shape and stark pigment

Here is another offering for the MMPP by Kim Hawke. This time I wrestled with the prompts: The artist Mark Rothko admired Rembrandt and Turner. Do as you wish with any combination, or all three, of those remarkable men. Or pick two of your favorite artists and Employ these words: post, otter, hybrid, match, dovetail. What I knew about Rembrandt and Turner was confined to a long ago art appreciation class. Rothko was an artist that was only on the periphery of my awareness. When I looked him up I have to admit my first thought was “This is Mondrian without my glasses on.” The more I read the more it became apparent that the 3 artists were all obsessed with trying to capture light. Rembrandt was able to show the light emanating from the individual, a pale reflection of the “divine spark”. Turner wanted to demonstrate the light that is pervasive in the natural world. And Rothko? He wanted to show that same light without the hindrances of the physical forms in nature or man – it is my sense that he wanted the people to see a reflection of that light in their minds. Okay. This is just my interpretation and probably not as informed or academic as many others – but I stand by it.

44 thoughts on “Looking for the Light

    1. Thanks tons! This week is shaping to be a good one – The rain has stopped!! I predict the lawn will be mowed by lunch and I may rethink the rainy day meal of chili – maybe its time to get out the grill!

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        1. I would love to but I haven’t any power when it comes to rain. Now if you wanted dryer lint I could send you boxes of that stuff! (maybe I’m washing winter coats and blankets…)

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    1. Thanks Carrie! The poem was not going as I wanted so I felt the explanation was essential. Some times you get it to all come together and be clear and other times it is all muddled…

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  1. “Painting seas without seeing the fish
    Painting faces but focusing the light”..i love these….they are so beautiful and can mean a lot of things..

    Well done Val

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    1. Many thanks Mich! As I was saying to Carrie some poems come easily and others you have to wrestle with. I’m thrilled you loved those lines! Perhaps I’m being too hard on myself and not giving the reader the chance to view this through their own lens…

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  2. The two prompts dovetail beautifully in your poem. What I know about fine art would fit in a teacup, but getting the light and shadow right is the key. Your interpretation of the way each of the artists employed light in their work was genius! 🙂

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    1. Thanks a million Joan! It is a wonderful way to start the day – verbal sunshine! I’m going to carry the idea of genius all day!! So glad you liked this one!

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    1. Thanks so much Kim! I’m so thrilled that you think this one so well done. I have to say it is not one of my favorites. I was struggling with it off and on for several weeks. With only one prompt left I’m sort of sad to see the end of MMPP… Until next May when you should do a repeat! (but no math poems, please, I’ll not put in a sestina. Deal?)

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        1. Hehe! Almost done – I have one more on Wednesday. It is written and I’ve put it to bed. It is a twofer – that pesky Beltane and then the favorite poet one. I hope you will like it. It is a little different than my usual style but that was the point I think…
          And it is a deal! No math no sestina!!

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  3. love your poem and appreciate the history lesson … two I don’t really know but you wove all those prompts in well! The real master of light, depth and detail is TOM Folwell 🙂

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    1. Thanks Kate! I’m happy you loved this one! I had to look up Tom Folwell – seems he is a very versatile artist – photography, drawing, painting, and everything in between! Reminded me a little of Thomas Kinkade.

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        1. So sorry to hear that his health is in decline. I hope he has not given up painting or at least photography… It is a talent that I underappreciated (photography) but it takes a special ability to “see” through the camera and show the world that vision.

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          1. lol that is not photography … that is his artwork, far more 3D reality than any photo! And yes he still paints, it’s his entire life since his partner died …

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    1. I’m glad you like the explanation! Sometimes I think I’m over explaining and not really adding anything of value. The first verse is good and I like it too!

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  4. Light has ever been the element that most draws me to painting. I am not familiar with Rothko, or Turner, but I can recall Rembrandt’s gallery in Brussels’ Old Masters Museum, as well as countless prints of his works-as being enthralling depictions of the power of light.

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