Thursday, October 15, 2009

Inspirations: Andrew Wyeth & Mary Oliver

For this, my final in the series of "inspiration" posts (at least for a little while), I thought I'd include two of my favorite artists: Andrew Wyeth and Mary Oliver. Wyeth, who painted some of his greatest works (including "Christina's World") in Cushing, Maine, died this past winter.  He completed the painting below when he was in his eighties.  Its golden glow comes from four ounces of pure gold he mixed into a wash and brushed over the surface of the painting when it was finished. Oliver lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where she writes achingly beautiful poetry and prose.  If you ever need a good bedside read, pick up a copy of her New & Selected Poems or, for prose, her Blue Pastures.       

Andrew Wyeth, "Long Limb" (1999)

Song for Autumn

In the deep fall
    don't you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touch
    the earth instead of the
nothingness of air and the endless
    freshets of wind? And don't you think
the trees themselves, especially those with mossy,
    warm caves, begin to think

of the birds that will come — six, a dozen — to sleep
    inside their bodies? And don't you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
    the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond
    vanishes, and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
    its blue shadows. And the wind pumps its
bellows. And at evening especially,
    the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.

Mary Oliver, New & Selected Poems


  1. A fellow Wyeth lover and a perfect post for this time of year Gigi, especially loved "Song for Autumn".

  2. Oh to have such talent. Beautiful words, beautiful painting-thank you for bringing them into my world.


  3. Mary is my favourite poet. I keep her words by every chair in my house.

  4. Chris: so happy to hear that you love Wyeth, too, and I'm glad you enjoyed the poem!

    SM: You are very welcome. I'm still thinking about those cupcakes you wrote about!

    Pamela: I thought of you when I posted this because I know how much you love her. Her words are a true gift to the world.

  5. I popped over from soul aperture - the image and words are beautiful, thank you for posting them.

  6. Gigi,
    We had the great fortune of seeing an exhibit of Wyeth's at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Incredible works, and a complete genius in the art world! Thank you for sharing.

  7. Beautiful. I had the pleasure of meeting Andrew Wyeth a few years back. I was the gardener on an estate and he was visiting. I had always loved his work and it was a thrill to meet and chat with him while he fed the horses one morning. My package hasn't arrived yet, but when it does-I'll be sending you a sweet and sticky treat.

  8. Both the painting and the poem are so beautiful and are perfect together. Leigh

  9. Oh Gigi, that's a double-whammy of New England beatitude! My now-husband whispered "I love you" for the first time at Andrew Wyeth's retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art many years ago, and I have "New & Selected Poems" on my bedroom bureau. You've won my heart!

    You might have already seen this, but there was a wonderful article and slideshow in the NYT a few months ago about Mary Oliver's world in P'town:

  10. i am in love with your blog. found you via bigbang studio. what lovely people i am finding these days.

    can't wait to visit you often! thank you for sharing your beauty, wisdom, etc.

  11. kath: Thanks so much from coming over from lovely Christina's page!

    m.heart: Thank you, my friend!

    Melissa: Somehow I knew you'd be a Wyeth fan, too!

    Debra: You lucky woman! Wow. It just seems so right that he was feeding the horses when you met him. PS Looking forward to my treat!

    Leigh: Thanks, my dear!

    Lily: Wow. We share so many wonderful connections! And how beautiful that that's where your husband first said he loved you!!! Thanks for the NYT link!

    Ann Marie: Thanks for coming over from bigbang! It is one of my favorite blogs. I'm looking forward to visiting your blog now, too!

  12. I enjoyed the photos. As for the poem, I had never thought of fall that way. I think of fall as beautiful but also as a harbinger of death, so my feelings for it are not without ambivalence.

  13. Hello, I have just found your very inspiring blog. I was so interested to learn about Wyeth's addition of gold to his painting. I have never come across that before.

  14. Snowbrush: I understand and share your ambivalence about fall. It's beautiful, but there is the encroaching cold and dark to cope with, and this can bring some intense thoughts and emotions.

    Acornmoon: So glad you stopped by! Thanks for your comment.

  15. I've long had a deep affection for both of these inspiring creators. I used to live not far from the Brandywine River Museum in PA where the great Wyeth collection lives--and I always love to get there when I can. Andrews watercolors inspired me to observe the finer details of nature more closely and with more reverence... Thank you for this wonderful post, Gigi :o) Happy Day ((HUGS))

  16. Dear Gigi
    I hesitate to say Mary Oliver is my favorite poet...there are so many...but for now she is:) This poem makes me ache it is so beautiful and so New England. I also love Andrew Wyeth...another New England icon...and the addition of gold to his paint! lovely:)

  17. It was only a year or so ago that I discovered my love for poetry, and Mary Oliver was one of the first poets who really moved me.
    This poem is so is the painting.

  18. I'm with Jaime, Mary Oliver was one of my first poetry loves. And Andrew Wyeth, sigh. I loved this post. And, oh, I am already longing for another series of inspiration posts by you.


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