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Lines that quote
the face, the hair, the
reign of years
first captured by sculpted earth.
Copy as copy copied.
Serial disguise.

I went to the Met to see Max Beckmann (excellent) and ended up drawing masks, as usual.  The one above is French, from the 1800’s, sculpted on a vessel of some sort.


I drew this Mexican “twisted face mask” (dated 600-900) twice, because it looked very different from each side.  It reminded me of Jack Davis’ artistic attempts to define his relationship to his autistic brother Mike.  It must have been based on a member of the community, providing a link to the long-standing effort of humans to consider and include those who fall outside the spectrum of “normal”.


This grinning monkey from the Ivory Coast also caught my eye.

The poem uses the Secret Keeper’s prompt words this week.

I’ll be here a bit irregularly for awhile as I have some projects I need to finish…

Draw a Bird Day: Red Rooster


“Watch out strange kind people
Little Red Rooster is on the prowl”
–Howlin Wolf, interpreting Willie Dixon

This embroidered painting was inspired by a Mexican Carnival mask and the blues, and also in honor of the Year of the Rooster.


Red as a rooster. Red
as a heart that bleeds with
fire.  Red as the rose
that blooms inside the heart’s desire.
Red as the anger that
is trapped inside the flame.  Red
as the burning blood that
saturates the vein.  Red red.  Red.

The poem uses the red rooster as a starting point.  I finally managed to do a quadrille properly:  44 words.  The rhymes just happened.

Happy Draw-A-Bird Day!

At the Hawk’s Well


In 1916, W. B. Yeats wrote a dance play, “At the Hawk’s Well”, inspired by Japanese Noh theatre (to which he had been introduced by Ezra Pound) and Irish folklore.


The Japan Society recently had an exhibit of UK artist Simon Starling’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Yeats’ work, along with some of the art that inspired both him and Yeats.


I watched the beautiful video of the hawk dancing several times


and then I drew masks until my hand cramped up and my legs hurt from standing.


When I looked at the drawings, it struck me how humans have always struggled to understand and live their lives well.  We are united in both sorrow and dignity, all cultures, throughout history, all over the earth.



Mask of the Galaxy (inspired by Nina’s skull mask)


searching bloodlines
for resemblances
light and dark
collecting dust
into faces present yet
progressively veiled

Nina’s painted skull mask inspired me to do a collage mask–I haven’t done one in quite awhile.  I bought some books of space photos at a library sale, and I’ve been using them quite a bit for my collages, as you may have noticed.  Except for some blue sky, all the colors in the collage come from space photos of the great beyond.

The poem uses this week’s words from the secret keeper, and thoughts from reading about the Egg Nebula.


Junk Mail Art: Retribution

exceptions s

Jane Dougherty has a new microfiction challenge.  I know this is not what she had in mind, but I couldn’t resist the photo and word prompt “retribution”.  It’s definitely less than 200 words…maybe micrographicnovel?


Jaguar Masks

jaguar mask drawing s

I’ve been featured on Marianne Szlyk’s blog “The Song Is…” with a poem and 4 junk mail art pieces of Mexican jaguar masks.  She also always has great musical links included with her posts.

Click  here and take a look!

Moonlit Shadows

moonlit shadows s

“Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye–it also shows the inner images of the soul–the images on the back sides of the eyes.”
–Edvard Munch

winding beneath the
tangles of neural pathways
I follow myself,
moonlit shadows reflecting
mirages deep, heavy, dark


Jane Dougherty’s challenge this week included the Munch painting above and the words
winding – moonlight – follow – heavily – path

I took a few liberties, but then I always find Munch to be darkly ambiguous.

moonlit shadows close up s

So this is it…I did it…30 poems in 30 days.  Considering I didn’t write 30 poems in the past 2 years, I’m feeling good.  I do have to give a nod to Jane and the WordPress poets she has connected me with for encouragement and support, and also to Charlie at Doodlewash, for inviting everyone to share his month of celebratory days, giving me instant inspiration for every day of the month (I participated a little over half the time).

ms faces s

You can see the entire month’s 30 days of poems and artwork here.  My favorites?  I had lots of fun with the fools, and wrote my first Shakespearean sonnet.  But I learned something with all of them.

poetry month

Now I need a break!

More Shaman’s Masks

shaman mask comp 2

More masks from the Rubin Museum “Power of Masks” exhibit.

The shaman’s masks I sketched indeed appeared to be very powerful to me.  Shamanism is humans’ oldest and most widespread method of healing, appearing for at least 20,000 years in cultures all over the world.  Shamans serve as intermediaries between man and the spirit world, mending the soul to mend the body.  Masks are an important part of the ritual, identifying the shaman and helping to facilitate communication.

Self Portrait #12 (after Man Ray)

sp 12 comp

It’s been well over a month since Self Portrait #11.  It took me awhile to figure out what I wanted to do exactly with this one, or at least to make the image in my mind into some kind of actual thing.

sp 12s

You may remember I posted a drawing the end of January on Selfie Day.  That was from the first incarnation of this self portrait.  I realized right away that an ink drawing was neither bold enough to go with the mask, nor close enough to Ray’s photographic image for what I wanted to do.

self portrait #12s

Ray, of course, means the photographed face and mask to echo each other.  The first mask I chose to collage was actually inspired by a tiny photo I had of a ceramic mask; I didn’t know its origin but it was certainly made by a contemporary artist.  Although I liked the mask, in the end I decided it wasn’t quite right;  I would look for a mask from an anonymous artist from a traditional culture, as Ray had done.  I did like watercolor for the actual portrait though.

sp 12 empty mask s

I had cut the mask out from the first attempt and glued it onto to the second painting.  For my third attempt I decided to do the painting and leave a blank space; I could do a separate mask, and “try it on” to see how I liked it.  After looking at a lot of masks, I chose to use Hopi Kachinas as inspiration.  Not that they look like me, but I felt an affiliation somehow.  I made the mask, cut around the hand I had painted, and inserted it.

sp 12 empty mask hand s

But what a great idea!  I decided not to glue it down; I can make more masks as inspiration shows up, and keep changing this self portrait to reflect my current state of mind.  So I guess Self Portrait #12 will never actually be “finished”.

And a few words about Man Ray.  As he is so closely associated with Marcel Duchamp and the Dada movement, it seems appropriate to reference his work in the 100th year celebration of the beginning of Dada in Zurich.  Born in Philadelphia, and raised in Brooklyn, Man Ray moved to Paris in 1921, and except for leaving Europe during WWII, lived there most of his life.  He is primarily known as a photographer, having been introduced to the medium by Alfred Stieglitz.  But he also drew and painted, worked in film, and created sculpture, collage, and assemblage, all with a strong sense of the absurd.  This group of self-portraits will definitely be fun.

“The tricks of today are the truths of tomorrow”
–Man Ray

You can see all the self portraits in this series here.

Shaman Masks

shaman mask comp 1

I told Nina that her doodles from yesterday reminded me of some of the shaman masks I drew the last time I went to the Rubin Museum.  Here are two of them…they look like close relatives, no?