Following on from last weeks post i decided to go on bended knee to my own 'lofty companions' one of whom is Jack.B.Yeats, the brotherof mr W. B. Yeats-a man we frequently read and discuss over here at the School of Myth. Lesser known Jack has a fondess for wild horses, prussian blue and black trilbys which is good enough for me. So i am looking at his life, themes, turn of brush, movement between the abstract and figurative and trying to absorb some of his handling of everyday things and amplifying their resonance. So these paintings (terrible photos) are for Jack. The beginning of many of this study. My own paintings are almost never figurative, so i am just-very deliberately-trying to ground this study in the atmosphere of his 'canon'. Daily solo work (quite different) is not ready to show yet.
I would love to hear how any apprenticeships are going-maybe Sitting Bull, Charlie Parker (ignore his call for chemical refreshments), Marie Louise Von Franz, Big Bill Broonzy, Emily Dickinson.
Talking about Von Franz, i have been deep in her 'Shadow and Evil in Fairy Tales' this week. My copy is a battered pulp of underlinings and nutty observations. I like her thought that loved domestic objects create a certain force field that protects an individual from subtle possession states (in mythic language this is the influence of THE WITCH or the GIANT-of course this does not refer to folks that use these phrases in the everyday). The Witch seeks to isolate you (they always catch you alone in some remote forest of thought), The Giant to exaggerate your emotions to a crazy condition-both hold a kind of manic introversion and extroversion.(remember that Giants are often keepers of Fire and Ice-mirrors of extreme emotion)
If you return to a house after 6 months away you re-animate and reclaim the area by the assembling of these precious objects-they are kind of talismanic. With this thinking, maybe very bland motels are dangerous places for the psyche-we risk a kind of trance. Many tribal folk believe that these energies move into a house when you move out. It's not as ominous as it sounds, it just requires some negociation. As a wilderness rites-of-passage guide this is all hugely interesting.
With this in mind i love Jack Yeat's use of everyday objects in his paintings-they anchor the magic somehow. So i am happy to bring the woodburning stove into the above
work as a deeply precious object to me. Time in a tent focuses the mind on what matters somewhat.
Oddly in synch with this Yeats facination is Mike Scott, groovy cat and singer with the WATERBOYS. Mike is adapting a large amount of W. B.'s poetry and adapting it to music (the very old Bardic tradition). A week of show's: 'An Audience with Mr. Yeats' showing the results
will be on at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin later this year-all tickets sold out. Can't help but feel a frisson of excitement. We should get him to the school to talk about his love of Pan and C. S. Lewis. That said-his record 'A Rock in the Weary Land' is just the most horrible, exhausted, flailing about sea of horror i can imagine. But balance that against the sublime 'This is the Sea', 'Fishermans Blues' and his first solo record, 'Bring Em All in' and he still resides in mercurial genius catagory. Maybe the schools 'hard but fair' policy to his back catalogue will
lure him over. Maybe not.
So with all this Yeat's among us, lets have some. I hold my very first book of poetry in my hand, a battered 'selected works' bought in Newcastle in the long summer of 91, i was a teenage loon staggering about, weeping and brawling in equal measure. Not much has changed.
You think it horrible that lust and rage
should dance upon my old age
They were not such a plague when i was young;
what else have i to spur me into song?