November 14, 2013
Bearspaw by Maureen Flynn-Burhoe
It was a cool fall evening and the rolling foothills of the Rockies were still an enigma to me. I was still learning the names of plants like silverberry (also known as wolf willow), which were used by the Blackfoot. Its shades of grey differed from those of the ubiquitous poplar. I wanted to capture the rich tapestry of textures in the colours unique to the foothills. I wanted to capture the shapes carved in geological time as the glaciers melted, cutting furrows and creating the Bow River with its origins in the distant Rockies. I was beginning to learn the names of the peaks, the High Rock Mountains to the left and the distinctive Devil’s Head to the right. I could see a scattering of people, families, some walking thier dogs, meandering along the winding trails, becoming miniaturized the farther they went. The gullies were deep as they reached the bottom their voices could be heard as if from some strange space. It was cold and I was wearing my Dicken’s painting gloves and was wrapped in blanket. As usual I was chasing the light. The most dramatic light for painting is that half light when the sun is setting or rising. But as every plein air artist know, one has to work quickly to catch the rapidly changing light. I returned a second evening and then finished the details in my home studio. During that period I was listening to a very dark apocalyptic novel, Blind, and I was playing it in the background as I painted at home. It had an impact on the mood of the painting. But the sunburst provided that sense of hope on the distant horizon. Very Sturm und Drang.
Silverberry, Wolf Willow, Misisaimi’soyiis (Blackfoot), Binomial name: Elaeagnus commutata
© 2013 Art by Maureen Flynn-Burhoe. Last updated October 2013. firstname.lastname@example.org
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“The stages that mark the wayfarer’s journey from the abode of dust to the heavenly homeland are said to be seven.
Some have called these Seven Valleys, and others, Seven Cities.
And they say that until the wayfarer taketh leave of self, and traverseth these stages, he shall never reach to the ocean of nearness and union, nor drink of the peerless wine.” *
And of the seven valleys the third valley is the valley of knowledge in which the His inner eyes will open and he will privily converse with his Beloved;
he will set ajar the gate of truth and piety, and shut the doors of vain imaginings.
He in this station is content with the decree of God, and seeth war as peace, and findeth in death the secrets of everlasting life.
With inward and outward eyes he witnesseth the mysteries of resurrection in the realms of creation and the souls of men, and with a pure heart apprehendeth the divine wisdom in the endless Manifestations of God.
In the ocean he findeth a drop, in a drop he beholdeth the secrets of the sea.*
Split the atom’s heart, and lo!
Within it thou wilt find a sun.
[Persian Mystic Poem]*
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