ddrees art

My art work and thoughts

sun moon stars rain

Posted by ddrees on August 17, 2008

When I was in Freshman English at Skidmore in 1963 we were asked to analyze e e cummings “anyone lived in a pretty how town”. Everyone, even the worst reprobate Union College boys, thought e e cummings was the coolest. In my class, girls who had gone to the High School of Music and Art seemed to be able to talk in secret language to the teacher, Donald Tritschler, who I think was in his first year of teaching. I did not know what he was talking about or asking us to talk about. I was in a cold sweat in that class. I felt that we had not been prepared at Utica Free Academy to trust our own ideas or instincts when reading, so things were sucked in and held in abeyance till someone with authority would steer us towards what to think. I really loved the stuff we read and thought a great deal about it but I was expecting that coming from the provinces to this golden place would allow me to be filled with the external wisdom that they had and I did not. So I was tongue-tied. It took me till junior year to work this out when Arnold Bittleman, my late great drawing teacher, said in a lecture that when he went to college he expected to be able to be filled with external wisdom but then found out that it came from inside. I do not know the source of this Bittleman Self Portrait. I grabbed it off the internet years ago.

 

Self Portrait   © Arnold Bittleman

Self Portrait © Arnold Bittleman

But  I got through Freshman year through the kindness of my teacher’s hearts and it took me the next three years to get my grades up to an average that would let me in graduate school.

Unbeknownst to Donald Tritschler, the poem has resonated in my imagery. It may be a little abstruse crossing from verbal to visual but it works for me. The art teachers at Skidmore never managed to indoctrinate me into thinking that having literary elements in one’s art was anathema. That was part of that era that I am glad is forgotten. Who is Clement Greenberg? No link for him in my blog. See Tom Wolfe instead.

Here is the poem.

by e e cummings

anyone lived in a pretty how town

(with up so floating many bells down)

spring summer autumn winter

he sang his didn’t he danced his did

 

women and men(both little and small)

cared for anyone not at all

they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same

sun moon stars rain

 

children guessed(but only a few

and down they forgot as up they grew

autumn winter spring summer)

that noone loved him more by more

 

when by now and tree by leaf

she laughed his joy she cried his grief

bird by snow and stir by still

anyone’s any was all to her

 

someones married their everyones

laughed their cryings and did their dance

(sleep wake hope and then)they

said their nevers they slept their dream

 

stars rain sun moon

(and only the snow can begin to explain

how children are apt to forget to remember

with up so floating many bells down)

 

one day anyone died i guess

(and noone stooped to kiss his face)

busy folk buried them side by side

little by little and was by was

 

all by all and deep by deep

and more by more they dream their sleep

noone and anyone earth by april

wish by spirit and if by yes.

 

women and men(both dong and ding)

summer autumn winter spring

reaped their sowing and went their came

sun moon stars rain

 

From Complete Poems: 1904-1962 by E. E. Cummings, edited by George J. Firmage. Used with the permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation. Copyright © 1923, 1931, 1935, 1940, 1951, 1959, 1963, 1968, 1991 by the Trustees for the E. E. Cummings Trust. Copyright © 1976, 1978, 1979 by George James Firmage.

Lines from this poem wash across my brain often. Below are some of my artworks that I see as having a kinship to it.

 

Mimicking the Sun ©Dedree Drees 1978 watercolor

Mimicking the Sun ©Dedree Drees 1978 watercolor

Sun Flare © Dedree Drees 1996  digital

Sun Flare © Dedree Drees 1996 digital

Landscape - pink ©dedree drees 1995

Pink Landscape ©1995 Dedree Drees digital

Why wait any longer for the world to begin © Dedree Drees 1969, etching

Why wait any longer for the world to begin © Dedree Drees 1969, etching

Above named from a Bob Dylan song lyric

Dreamer ©1980 dedree drees watercolor

Dreamer ©1980 dedree drees watercolor

Waves of Flowers tiles   BWI airport garage

Waves of Flowers tiles BWI airport garage

Newton to Blake Landscape ©1979 Dedree Drees watercolor

Newton to Blake Landscape ©1979 Dedree Drees watercolor

The multiple sky idea is just an appreciation of all the light shows we get to watch, no two alike and in every color you can imagine. I believe there are plenty of Flickr groups on the subject.  You know ‘”the world is so full of a number of things, that I think we should all be as happy as Kings”.

Mirabile Visu © dedree drees 1980  watercolor

Mirabile Visu © dedree drees 1980 watercolor

Skies ©1980 dedree drees watercolor

Skies ©1980 dedree drees watercolor

Skies ©1980 dedree drees pastel

Skies ©1980 dedree drees pastel

There is a nice old German song about the good moon Guter Mond du gehst so stille with awareness of people from all times and places connecting by seeing the same old moon.

Ryder Moon ©1981 dedree drees watercolor

Ryder Moon ©1981 dedree drees watercolor

Ryder Moon ©1981 dedree drees watercolor

Ryder Moon ©1981 dedree drees watercolor

OCD helps your art in many ways. It took me a while to pick out the exact watercolor pigments to bleed as I wanted them to for Ryder Moons. Here is Albert Pinkham Ryder.

Albert Pinkham Ryder   Moonlight

Albert Pinkham Ryder Moonlight

Dover Beach ©1987 dedree drees watercolor and marbling

Dover Beach ©1987 dedree drees watercolor and marbling

This named for Mathew Arnold Poem –Dover Beach. Being literary again

Beach Montage  ©1996 dedree drees digital

Sometimes I can not get wordpress to show the captions- do not know why. The image above is from 1996 and is a digital version of Dover Beach.

God Bless Baltimore ©1982 watercolor

God Bless Baltimore ©1982 watercolor

Sheep May Safely Graze  © Dedree Drees handcolored etching

Sheep May Safely Graze © Dedree Drees handcolored etching

Above named for Bach Cantata- “Schafe können sicher weiden”. You can play that at my funeral

Klein blue sky ©1996 dedree drees digital

Klein blue sky ©1996 dedree drees digital

International Klein Blue is a color Yves Klein painted on many things. I saw his show in the Jewish museum in 1967 or 1968. He had died young in 1962. Unbelievably I find a Wikipedia link here to IKB. The world is so full of a number of things…

Klein Blue sky ©1996 Dedree Drees digital

Klein Blue sky ©1996 Dedree Drees digital

Yellow stars ©1996 dedree drees digital

Yellow stars ©1996 dedree drees digital

Fooling around with colorways on the computer – sure is fun. I mean it!

Cumberland Fall ©1989 dedree drees watercolor and marbling

Cumberland Fall ©1989 dedree drees watercolor and marbling

The above was from a photo taken on a rainy day as we drove to Pittsburgh for my father-in-laws funeral. So it is rainy,sad,cyclic, eternal.

Lightening scape ©1995 dedree drees digital

This is 1995 Lightening scape, digital, from the same photo as Cumberland Fall.

The Rain Beats the Rain  ©1979 Dedree Drees watercolor

The Rain Beats the Rain ©1979 Dedree Drees watercolor

The title is from an haiku but I do not remember where I first saw it. This is the best link I found though it is not the same translation.

Leaves falling
Lie on one another
The rain beats the rain

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6 Responses to “sun moon stars rain”

  1. Liza Williams said

    I just happened across your watercolor and digital images of skies, stars, etc., and I thought they were absolutely beautiful. As a poet and teacher of freshman English at an art school (Pratt Institute) for the last 25 years (!)I am steeped in the connections between verbal and visual arts. Thanks for the reminder that others are, too. Good to see it from the art side in your work.

  2. ddrees said

    Thank you so much. By the way, I started graduate school at Pratt in summer of 1967 but I stayed only a term. Things were pretty stressed in Bedford Stuyvesant at the time and I was unnerved by it. This was the same era that Maplethorp was at Pratt and Warhol was in his heyday. We would go to Greenwich Village weekends where you could see the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band for something like two bucks. Heady times. So I went back to upstate NY and taught junior high for a year and reapplied for grad school in quieter places. As it turns out, because I had the year of teaching experience, I got a full scholarship at Penn State and a teaching assistantship. My current office mate at CCBC, David Zobel, is a fairly recent grad of Pratt but he tells me his classes were all in Manhatten.

  3. […] sun moon stars rain August 2008 2 comments 4 […]

    • Hello Dedree,
      i was one of the M&A Tritschler classmates —– do not remember having an inside line on ee cummings, tho I clearly remember that class and the amazing writers we read ( Faulkner! Agee!)
      Just met someone from my M&A class who taught at Union while Bittleman was there.

      • ddrees said

        Wonderful to hear from you! Time is something else. My fiftieth high school reunion is on for August 2 & 3. Fifty. I didn’t find out about Bittleman’s early death until much later, from Diane Burko, whom I would see from time to time because of community college duties.
        dd

    • Dale Appleman said

      I must add something I left out…I found that by looking at the 50 yr old hs yrbk pix of others, and thinking about myself then too [with the help of a huge outpouring of emails pre-reunion, where people were swept into self examination & candid), I realized just how much imaginings and impressions of others was going on. That surely happens all the time with people you don’t really know, but construct a ‘sense’ of anyway, but it was very compelling to see directions people took, how they conformed to or utterly disproved my sense of them…I’d thought you were serious then, Dedree, but it’s nice to see just HOW thoughtful [espec. about art] you really are.

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