show us the sun–
open the cloud cover,
awaken each new day
It wasn’t difficult to find the path to Cleopatra’s Needle in Central Park, although one of the websites I visited noted that the location was chosen not only for its bedrock and elevation, but for its isolation. The top photo shows the obelisk reflection from my original post, but taken from the vantage point of the Needle. And above is the stairway up from the path.
An obelisk had four sides, matching the four cardinal directions, and I photographed it from each one. As you can see, the one day last week of blue skies alternated between cloud cover and clarity. It was quite windy.
This obelisk is one of a pair (the other is in London) made of red granite originally erected in Heliopolis in 1475BC, moved to Alexandra by the Romans in 12BC, and toppled during the reign of Augustus.
It was gifted to the US by the Egyptian government in 1877 for some political purpose–different sources gave different reasons. The transport, by steamship, was paid for by William Henry Vanderbilt, and it took 112 days, a team of 32 horses, and the temporary alteration of the landscape, to move it from the ship to the park.
Obelisks were originally associated with the Benu bird, the Egyptian predecessor of the Phoenix, and the Sun God Ra, representing life, resurrection, and light. They were embellished with hieroglyphics–dedications to Ra and tributes to Pharaohs and their military victories.
Interestingly, they were also used as sundials to tell time.
Here’s a view looking past the obelisk to the museum in the back ground.
The obelisk has been symbolically adopted by Freemasons–in fact the Grand Master of the New York State Masons, Jesse B Anthony, laid the cornerstone in 188l, accompanied by 9000 Masons who marched with him up Fifth Avenue to the park.
And because this is Thursday doors, and Cleopatra’s Needle does not contain a door, here’s one from the Temple of Dendur, inside the Metropolitan Museum. But that requires a whole other post.
Wikipedia has an extensive entry detailing the obelisk’s history.
And you can always find a wide variety of doors here at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.
I ordered more rocks from the Etsy site where Kerfe got my Christmas gift rocks. I didn’t realize they were a smaller size.
I’m happy with how they came out although the larger ones give more surface area (I ordered a batch of the larger ones yesterday).
I really don’t know why I got back into painting rocks again. I’m going to see if my friend who owns a boutique wants to put some around and see if the there’s any interest. Or, alternatively, just give them away.
on healing, connections–
become the current, flow
deep into e
This year is supposed to be a calm respite after the 2022 Tiger Year. A year when our seeds will bear their karmic fruit.
Red is always an auspicious color for Chinese New Year, and Rabbit is associated with the moon. But it’s also the Year of the Water Rabbit, highlighting emotions, instincts, and flexibility
I drew a number of rabbits with brush and ink on rice paper, and then copied and collaged them with flowers, putting some on moon backgrounds. The other ones will show up from time to time.
The Year of the Rabbit is supposed to be lucky. One website I visited said that “Life will get better soon.” Fingers crossed.
Happy Lunar New Year!
sign in the window
says Ring 1FE—tempting,
full of promises
the lure of crystal
balls, lines written across palms–
your past, your future
yield to the lions,
passing through their golden fire–
stripped of illusion
gingerly we climb
with hope and fear, hand in hand–
seeking Lady Luck
The first thing that attracted me to this building was the brickwork, but the gold painted lions were hard to miss. As I crossed the street to get a closer look, the window on the right also drew my attention.
Hands in the window? Crystal balls, too, and other mysterious devices. Ring 1FE the sign said. For some reason this made me think of Joni Mitchell’s song “Roses Blue” on her Clouds album. Combined with the lions the invitation seemed both fated and ominous. I could see young Joni walking down this street in Chelsea and shivering a bit at the door behind which her friend Rose resided.
I continued on my way.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude are the inspiration for this edition of the Kick-About
If our last Kick-About showcased new works made in a short time inspired by an extraordinary artist with which some of us were unfamiliar, this week’s online exhibition takes its cue from a very famous double-act, famous, that is, for wrapping landmarks and landscapes in swathes of material. Happy browsing.
“Christo & Jeanne-Claude’s trees reminded me of an Autumn ’22 visit to Eastwell in Kent, where I didthese sketches. For KA, I’ve combined tree structure with architecture to produce this white-card model, but then found myself short of time. The old idiot box was on whilst modelling, conveniently offering some varied backdrops, although as an unfinished KA, I prefer the black backing. being it reminds me I’ve homework to do on this KA.”
“I wanted to make a miniature version of Christo & Jeanne-Claude’s impressive, uncanny installation art, but attempt to make it look larger…
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Kerfe’s birthday is coming up on Monday and she’s been asking me to post some of the rocks I’ve been doing. I apologize for my absence. It’s been short staffed and they’ve given me more shifts. But I have been back to painting rocks. Kerfe gave me some beautiful ones which feel great in the hand and are inspiring to paint on.
This is a memorial piece done for my manager. She gave me permission to post it. My manager’s husband asked me at the wake to make a stone for Sam. He died young and it was good to make a rock in his honor.
These are going out in the neighborhood today.
These three I feel are special. One I’m going to give to Kerfe who has inspired me over so many years to be true to my art. Happy Birthday Kerfe!
opening new horizons,
The glass doors-and-windows at the back of the Met showed me something last week that I knew was there but did not expect to see reflected back at me. I turned around and there it was–the Obelisk, Cleopatra’s Needle.
This is an actual Egyptian Obelisk from the Temple of the Sun. It was gifted to the United States by Egypt in commemoration of the opening of the Suez Canal in the late 1800s. Why and how it ended up in Central Park behind the museum requires further investigation. I also need to get closer on another visit for more detailed photos.
The fallen leaves make for beautiful patterns, both in the tree shapes and their reflections.
It was a very foggy day. In the photo below, taken on my way to the Museum, you can’t even see that there are buildings beyond the trees.
On the way back, several hours later, the fog had lifted somewhat–bottoms of buildings were now visible–but I was also surprised to see hundreds of geese spread across the empty ball fields. I saw more tufted titmice too.
I have enough photos from the Met now for quite a few more Thursday Door posts. So they will keep showing up every once in awhile. And yes, I did take a photo of the completely decorated tree.
You can always find more doors here at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.
the small is mirrored
in the large, and what appears,
but filtered by air,
particles of refracted
into fragments, in
to a gridlike layer of
are fooled at first, but
the voice, immediately
permeates, revealing the
inside of the Other Side
I recently finished Ali Smith’s “Companion Piece”, a book in which the curlew has a large role. “It’s flesh, everyone knows, is pure and clean because this bird is known to eat nothing but air and is also known to be a bird that comes as a gift from God to befriend the pilgrims and it exists, the story goes, to weld the heaven to the earth.”
“The stories say it is a bird that likes books and even brings them in its beak to saints if the saints have dropped their holy books in water and they need retrieving or if the saints are short of something to say to people then this bird will be the messenger that brings them books full of things God would like them to say.”
The curlew is strongly associated with the Seven Whistlers, birdlike night creatures whose eerie call is said to bring on death and disaster. But it is also seen in a more positive light as an intimate part of its landscape–moors, bogs, and river valleys, the windswept winter coastline.
Between the streams and the red clouds, hearing curlews,
Hearing the horizons endure.
Five of the eight species of curlews are endangered, with two–the Eskimo Curlew, and the Slender-Billed Curlew–most likely already extinct. A migratory bird, they are found throughout the world. Their vocalizations are filled with complex harmonics and pitch variations.
Through throats where many rivers meet, the curlews cry,
Under the conceiving moon, on the high chalk hill
Sometimes my research on the bird I choose to draw yields little information, but the curlew is so well-represented in poetry, music, nature writing, and folklore, that I could not begin to touch on even a small piece of it in one post.
If you want to find out more, here are a few good places to start:
I was not lost;
feathers pivoted me–
a serial habit—(I see
guardians and I pause)–
a fresh encounter, winged, recrossed
my feet–doorway the cause–
where angels watched
I think this is meant to be an angel, although it’s a dour one. The wings were what first caught my eye, and then I noticed the birds framing the window above. There’s another winged being in the triangle above the window.
As is often the case, from a distance the building is unremarkable. But now when I pass by every building I’m looking closely to see how it’s embellished.
Because it’s a garden floor entrance, the wings were at eye level. I backed up and checked it out.
The other window has faces for its flowers and a fierce bird or dragon with multiple wings in the triangle above.
My poem is a star sevlin, for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday which has as its prompt this week synonyms for the words new and experience. I’ve also included three podcast names for Merril’s dVerse Poetics, although I’m not totally sure adding and ed to pivot counts.
The Kick-About begins 2023 with Hilma Af Klint.
Our last Kick-About together celebrated that deep-winter symbol of light-in-the-darkness, the Christmas tree. Our next creative foray (our first of 2023) is likewise exploring the desire for illumination, but with artist and mystic Hilma Af Klint as our muse. Enjoy this latest selection of new works made in a short time and also “Happy New Year!”.
“I have been yearningto do some traditional art lately, probably due to the fact that, during the Christmasbreak, my nieces and nephew received some arty presents. Here are some oil pastel drawings similar to some Irish sigils.”
“As always I would have liked to do more, and these will be added to the pile for future further exploration. I always felt Hilma af Klint’s art was a searching for spirit. She got involved in a lot of…
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