Sunday, October 25, 2009

Salt Marsh in Fall

Today was spent on the salt marsh south of Portsmouth. The delicate estuaries that make up our coastal landscapes are truly miraculous. Deborah Paris’ painting of the salt marsh moonrise captures the wonderful sense of mystery and constant change in these habitats. I have been very home sick for Florida the last few weeks, but today’s afternoon in the burnt sienna grasses and tidal water seemed to suspend all longing and bring me to the peaceful present. It was as if nothing mattered but the tide surging up the mud flat bringing little fishes and wheeling birds. The great brackish smells, clean air…so salty it abrades your skin, wonderful autumn color made it completely absorbing. When I look at Deborah’s painting time suspends in the same way. The moon rises, the water carries us through…

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Jeff Cornell’s drawing of this rather ample Ringling model always gets interesting reactions at the gallery. Jeff obviously loves women of all shapes & sizes and when he renders them to his paper the result is stunning. I am intrigued by the acceptance of this particular Cornell piece, how many women find it very lovely…yet those same women would never grant themselves the same graciousness. Many men stare at the drawing obviously enjoying her wonderful curves. Too often, we often hold our image of beauty to a standard defined by outsiders. And, many of those outsiders have a vested interest in selling us things: weight loss products, badly designed clothes, etc. We all know the disastrous effects obesity has on our health. I see women desperately trying weight loss products which damage their livers, yo-yo dieting until their metabolism shudders into uselessness. Many of us live in shame over pounds we can’t shed, imaginary character faults, silly standards our shapes & DNA can never achieve. I find the kindness proffered by Cornell, the illumination of beauty in this woman’s shape and regal presence an important lesson in self acceptance and understanding. Jeff found this woman beautiful. I hope this woman, if she has any sense at all, finds herself beautiful. Visitors to M Gallery certainly have. It is my wish that the women & men looking at her shapely form will also find themselves beautiful: whatever their form. Jeff Cornell paints out of his studio in Venice Flroida and his works can be seen at M Gallery of Fine Art, 16 S. Palm Avenue Sarasota FL