an everyday photo, every day | photography • art • poetry

Poem for Saturday: Clouds

pastel painting of autumn scene

“Autumn”, pastel, 12″ x 24″, 1998 © B.E. Kazmarski

Enjoying the outdoors just for the sake of it, or gardening, or creating, I find myself watching the clouds. Yesterday, a storm rolled in at sunset, the temperature has dropped from a balmy Indian Summer with sun to chilled and wet, and I watched heavy gray clouds march across the blue skies.

Clouds

Roiling clouds blown by winds
Before a summer thunderstorm,
Huge constructions in purple and blue
And lurid green tinged with coral.

The delicate lace of a fair summer day,
Puffs and wisps in white and cream
Shaded with lilac and blue
And edged in yellow.

Hazy wisps in autumn
Moving slowly from one horizon to the next,
Never amounting to much.

The heavy purple rainclouds of a late spring afternoon
Looming on the horizon
Shadowing the early wan sun
And promising a rainy night.

The approach of the first storm of winter
As flat gray clouds form in the west,
In their shadow bringing the first reminder
Of the eternal cold of year’s end.

“Autumn”, above, is one of a commissioned series of four paintings created to fit a frame a customer’s father had made by hand. Each window was 12″ x 24″ with no room for a mat, so my pastels would fit exactly into each space. Seeing where she lived and other art she had inspired the “Four Seasons” with images, not from the view from her windows but familiar from the region. This is a small creek running through the middle of an abandoned hay field, the mix of deciduous trees each in its own shade and reflected in the still water. The water reflects the sky directly above, still blue, while storm clouds rise from the horizon.

pastel painting of autumn landscape

Autumn in the Valley, pastel painting, 31″ x 27″, 2009

Autumn in the Watershed

I featured this on the Autumnal Equinox, but it’s just as fitting today.

Sloping hills blaze with autumn color at a rocky, rippled bend in Chartiers Creek, yet on the horizon deep gray-purple clouds hover; although the day was sunny I remember it being distinctly chilly with a sharpness to the breeze, especially on the water in a canoe, and winter is literally on the horizon.

For two reasons the scene was reminiscent and inspiring: first, that I rounded the bend to see this natural splendor in all its detail, brilliant color, fluttering leaves, rippling water, changing clouds, happening all on its own with no help from me or any other human (read the poem, below) ; and, second, it was an example of that “change of season” with the gray-purple clouds of winter arriving on the horizon, two seasons blending into one another. I needed to share this image, and it was so moving that the inspiration also became a poem, and the title for my third annual poetry reading and art show at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, Change of Season.
You can find a full-size giclee plus various sizes of digital prints, framed and unframed in my Etsy shop.

A Poem Inspired by the Scene

I actually wrote a poem about the scene before I did the painting, so inspiring was that particular moment.

Effortless

I paddled the canoe around the bend,
And was faced with the effortless beauty of the panorama,
The trees in all their colors, the sky with changing clouds,
The water moving and reflecting simultaneously,
All perfectly arranged,
I realized that my creations are but raindrops in a puddle,
Wisps of cloud that change and dissipate
My solitary accomplishments borne of great effort
Would never equal this one solitary scene
Or the one I would have seen the day before or the day after
Evolved on its own, no one to frame it and display it and promote it
As it quietly exists through the day.
We humans sometimes get to think everything happens because of us
But these trees and grasses and hills arrange themselves
And create great beauty effortlessly
Simply in the process of their everyday existence.
So I did a painting that can never match the original
So that I may remember my place.

Read the rest of the poetry from my annual poetry reading and art show at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, in 2009 entitled Change of Season.

poetry book

Paths I Have Walked, collected poems.

About Art of the Watershed and the Collected Poems

A series of seasonal images of the Lower Chartiers Watershed

“I have travelled a good deal in Concord,” said Henry David Thoreau in Walden, his paradox of exploring a small town and its surroundings teaching him as much about human life and the interactions of nature as if he had traveled rare and exotic places about the globe.

I’d love to paint faraway exotic places, but in the interests of time I stay close to home for my hiking, bicycling, canoeing, walking and painting excursions, that being the valley where the Lower Chartiers Creek flows.

I’ve seen some exquisite sights on my adventures, and committed them to various media. The most moving are the ones I’ve chosen to paint large and in detail so that I might convey at least a portion of the grandeur that moved me beyond awe to action, sharing the places right around us though most people would never see them. Thus was born the series offering an image indicative of the watershed in each season.

Visit my website to see the full set of paintings included in the “Art of the Watershed” series.

And visit my poetry page to see more about my poetry and other writing.

Autumn in the Valley availability

You can find a full-size giclee plus various sizes of digital prints, framed and unframed in my Etsy shop.

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