Thursday, June 3, 2010

i will arise and go now

I Will Arise And Go Now, oil on canvas, 60 x 60 cm

It is time to explain myself—Let us stand up.
What is known I strip away;
I launch all men and women forward with me into THE UNKNOWN.
I depart as air—I shake my white locks at the runaway sun;
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.
I bequeathe myself to the dirt, to grow from the grass I love;
If you want me again, look for me under your boot-soles.

from Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
in Song of Myself: And Other Poems by Walt Whitman by Walt Whitman


I know that evenin’s empire has returned into sand
Vanished from my hand
Left me blindly here to stand but still not sleeping
My weariness amazes me, I’m branded on my feet

My senses have been stripped, my hands can’t feel to grip
My toes too numb to step
Wait only for my boot heels to be wanderin’
I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready for to fade

In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you

from Bob Dylan's  Mr Tambourine Man


I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
from Yeats,   The Lake Isle Of Innisfree


What is there in my name for you?
It will die away like the sad sound
Of a wave splashing on a far shore,
A noise in a deep wood at night

But in the day of sorrow, in silence,
Pronounce it longingly.
Say: There is a memory of me;
In the world there is a heart where I live.

from Pushkin in Poets of Modern Russia (Cambridge Studies in Russian Literature (p.9)

more intimations  of mortality
but low-key compared the previous emotive images with their expressive mark-making

unfortunately the photograph doesn't really capture the the three-dimensional relief of the heavy sculpted impasto of the coat and jeans

The bright yellow shoes, among other things, reference Whitman's boot-soles that will wander over our mortal remains, composting, carbon-captured in the municipal lawns.

But also Mr Tambourine Man's boot-heels as they dance Shiva's dance of creation and destruction ... the figure borrowing something from classic Indian sculpture of Shiva inside his aureole of flames, lifting his leg, extending his arm.

In the jingle jangle morning we all follow Death in the Danse Macabre, Danza Macabra, Dança da Morte, Totentanz.

i wanted some ambiguity between figure and ground.  i wanted the forms to beg the question about
what stays and what goes,
what is permanent and what is ephemeral,
what is substantial and what is fragile
what is solid and what is hollow,
what is lively and what is dead,
what is real and what is illusion.


  1. Hi Harry, Great work!!! This man going out of the darkness, it is wonderful, I Love it!!!
    Virginia Palomeque

  2. I think you have achieved much of what you wanted, Harry.

    This figure to me seems mid flight, somewhere between sitting and standing, between life and death, between caricature and a flesh and blood man.

    The colours of his shoes and trousers stay with me, the white splodge of his head and his slightly outstretched arm - I still see them in my mind's eye long after I have looked away.

    And such wonderful poetry to match.

  3. Harry,

    What catches my eye right away is the left hand raised in a silent gesture of spirital benediction or blessing.
    I feel like I'm looking into a tunnel and that the figure has been caught in the light. Very powerful, indeed!

    Have an excellent weekend!


  4. thanks Virginia, glad you like it.

  5. so pleased you could see those ambiguities, Elizabeth. I used strong colour on the leg and shoes for a mix reasons. Firstly to pull the rug from under our expectations because it is not conventional to emphasise one leg but leave the face barely sketched.

    I wanted the sense of unease this creates to provide an emotional subtext to the theme of departing and leave-taking.

    The shoes, among other things, reference Whitman's boot-soles that will wander over our remains, carbon-captured in the municipal lawns. But also Mr Tambourine Man's boot-heels as they dance Shiva's dance.

    thanks Elizabeth, always a dlight to have your perceptive observations.

  6. Yes, Brian, that's just the sense i wanted to create, of arrested motion, caught in the act.

    Another week over already?? (You see, caught in the act). Have a good weekend, friend.

  7. They've all said it now, amazing insight portrayed within this painting. All good stuff. Need a strong drink once again! Phew...

  8. Thanks, Carolann. Sorry i'm turning you into a alchy.

  9. genial!
    bottom, lines and the glow of oil, formed an action scene balanced and surprising!
    I loved it! congrats!
    Harry a hug

  10. gracias Denise.

    yes, it's not conventionally positioned over the 'sweet spots'. I wanted to balance against the area of black rather just locate it within a frame. I wanted to achieve a dialogue between the figure and the blackness.


  11. me gustan mucho las cosas que haces, éste particularmente me encanta. Ah! y gracias por los textos son muy buenos

  12. gracias dav. contenta de que vino a echar un vistazo.Saludos.

  13. You have a special and original art. I love it.

  14. Harry,

    Well done. I am following your journey. With respect.....pajamas

  15. thanks PJ. Pleasure to have you on board. Very much enjoy those haiku of yours.

  16. hey , i like this , for some reason remembers me Rockney's work .

  17. This is a powerful image with the contrast of bright colors and darkness. In your quest for answers you and your paintings are so wonderfully alive in the here and now. Thanks for sharing your art and thoughts on this deep subject that we must all face.

  18. thanks so much for your encouraging words, Teri.