Fridays Art: Still Life

Not much to say about Still Life, a simple watercolor study of fruit in a bowl. The bowl was, is, a wooden one we picked up somewhere and still resurfaces occasionally to hold fruit, or some other snack, or munchies. The fruit, delicious, the pear juicy – hmmm. More than a simple study after all, a memory, a taste of the past with promises of the future.

Still Life © Ray Hasson
Still Life © Ray Hasson

Fridays Art: Mountain Cabin


An old cabin just off the Blue Ridge Parkway / Skyline Drive near the Peaks of Otter in Virginia. Found this place, and the nearby Peaks of Otter Lodge, Abbott Lake, and Sharp Top mountain. Lots of trails, hike, or tram, up to the peak of Sharp Top and either ride back down or follow the easy descent on a well marked trail.

Food at the restaurant is fabulous. A fall stay was an opportunity to enjoy fresh berry cobbler at breakfast, lunch, and dinner when we visited. Tranquil and restful with some of the most beautiful sunsets you’ll ever see with Sharp Top reflected in Abbott Lake.

Fridays Art: Red Canoe

Red Canoe

It’s the week after “opening day” and time to get out fishing. I never go on opening day, way too crowded, too many non-fishers making their only appearance of the year. Hey, not that I don’t like fishing with others but unless it’s in a canoe, or a boat, I’d rather not be within rod length of each other. Crossed and tangled lines, limited drift, poor etiquette, all sap the enjoyment from the outing. But this weekend? Time to wet a fly, see who,s coming to dinner…

Fridays Art: Newport Sunday

Newport SundayAt one time I thought I could be much more productive if I just took photos of scenes that I wanted to paint. So instead of sketching I’d just whip out the camera, frame, shoot and move up the road, path, etc. When I got the pictures back – oh yes, dating myself be admitting this was in the day of film and developing and printing photos – I knew when, and where, but couldn’t for the life of me see what it was that had attracted me to that scene as a potential painting. That never happened with sketching because by definitiion the sketch captured what need expressing.

So here’s a quick sketch from a Sunday in Newport, Rhode Island. So much worth capturing in Newport and it’s a great place to spend a day just wandering around. Mansions, Cliff Walk, 2nd Beach… On and on.

Fridays Art: Sunday’s Child

Sunday's Child © Ray Hasson
Sunday’s Child © Ray Hasson

Sunday’s Child, watercolor, private collection, was one of those serendipitous moments on a sketching day in early spring when I was exploring an old mansion and its grounds. There were two formal walled gardens. I turned into one and there was the perfect picture. A moment of life frozen in time.

On ‘night embrace’ and slipping away…

Again this morning, yesterday while driving, on waking, in the middle of a meeting… How often do the perfect words form? At the most inappropriate times. Leaving you waking to their evaporating memory.

Do you leave it, swirled into mist, unsharable, only a fleeting memory of what might have been? Or, do we hastily make some notes, never capturing the whole, and later spend hours trying to hammer it back into shape. It still looks like the front end of a ’58 Ford, slightly dented, hammer marked, and badly painted.

‘night embrace…’ is not the poem that formed in the night. It’s only the frustration that replaced that captured, then lost, image.

Sunday guests: Basho

Matsuo Basho (1644 – 1694) was born during into a Samurai family during a tranquil period in the area of Iga (present day Mie Prefecture) and entered service as a Samurai to the son of a local noble. When Basho was about 22 his master died and shortly thereafter Basho entered Koyasan monastery. Poetry had been a leisure activity of the Samurai class and Basho had begun writing at an early age and continued to study and develop his art. He is today considered one of the major forces in the development and shaping of Haiku. Here are a couple of examples:

         A withered branch,
                  at a crow's alighting,
               nearly winter.

The Japanese for this is: Kare eda ni karasu no tomari keri aki no kure – note that there is not punctuation to help define this. And, ‘keri’ can either be an indicator of past tense or poetic emphasis. Please also consider that these are translations – Basho might be laughing at every one of these feeble attempts, especially mine.

         Now the New Year,
           two liters of old rice,
             to begin. Spring!

Look for more from Basho, and many of the other classic Haiku poets as future Sunday guests.