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

Poem for Saturday: Ripened Color

pastel painting of a meadow with adirondack chair

Evening on the Meadow, pastel, 23″ x 15″, 2009 © B.E. Kazmarski

Celebrating the first week of autumn, few trees turning to autumn colors but the simple beauty of a field of ripe grasses, and the surprise through years of painting to find colors from all the seasons in the highlights and shadows of the grasses.

The painting above is of Fern Hollow Nature Center near Sewickley, PA of the meadow habitat from their hilltop acreage. The Adirondack chair really was there from someone sitting to watch birds and butterflies over the meadow. A friend in another organization had taken the photo and gave it to to use for design in a newsletter, but as soon as I looked at it I thought, “That would make a great painting!” I painted it in pastel as a donation to the Allegheny Land Trust’s annual Bounty in the Barn benefit in 2009.

pastel painting of grass, trees and sky

High Noon, pastel, 7″ x 15″, 1998 © B.E. Kazmarski

The painting at left is, of all things, the view from the edge of a parking lot, but it was so lovely, the grasses spilling over the edge in front of the pine trees so dark in shadow at noon, and a lovely September sky. I looked at it and took the reference photo during one of the I worked at my day job, as I went outside at lunch, left that building and all the cubicles behind, the soft quiet, the conditioned air, to dream in the sun of the life I would lead and the things I would do. I felt, and still feel, fortunate that I could find the beauty in the uncut grass whispering and brilliant against the late summer trees, the huge sky and clouds trailing leisurely above, unyielding to the construction that had carved and molded an office park into the woods and fields where it did not belong as I was unyielding to the dull security that had carved and molded a spot just for me inside that building where I did not belong. I began working at home in January 2000.

Ripened Color

June 12, 2000

The field of grass
In September has reached its full maturity;
As the wrinkles of a face
Share the joys and sorrows of a life’s journey,
The field in the shadows and highlights of its grasses
Holds the colors of all the seasons.

The amber of ripe stems
Is toned with the warm, rich lilac
Of a winter sunset.
Shadows hold the deep bright blue
Of the early summer sky
Blended down to sienna
Borrowed from leaves in a winter pond.
In the highlights, the bright delicate green
Of new leaves on willows
Mixes with the yellow
Of silver maple leaves in autumn.

poem and art © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

See more of my landscape paintings in Fine Art.

Read more of my poetry in Creative and Professional Writing.

poetry book

Paths I Have Walked, collected poems.

I’m proud to offer a folio of my poetry

Paths I Have Walked: the poetry and art of Bernadette E. Kazmarski


People who attended one or more of my poetry readings encouraged me to publish some of my poetry in a book from the beginning.

Once I completed my 2010 poetry reading, my fourth featuring the final piece of artwork in the “Art of the Watershed” series, I decided it was time to publish something and it should be those four poetry readings.

Poetry books are not best-sellers; it’s difficult to convince a publisher to risk effort on a beginning poet, and while self-publishing is the best option it’s not inexpensive and once you’ve got the book, someone’s got to market it. Plus, I’m a graphic designer and I designed books for years, and I want things my way.

All of this is a recipe for a little bit of trouble, but I decided the book was well worth the effort so I designed the book myself and had a set printed—no ISBN or anything formal, but it’s a start! I’m really excited to offer it.

Books are 4.25″ x 11″, 40 pages of information and poetry, with glossy covers featuring “Dusk in the Woods” and little thumbnails of all four pieces in “Art of the Watershed”.

$8.00 each plus $2.50 shipping (they are oversized for mailing first class).

You can order one on my poetry page, or in my Marketplace.

About the books and the poetry readings

My biggest inspiration for poetry, prose and artwork is the world right around me, and I enjoy the opportunity to share it from the perspective of one who walks and hikes and bikes and carries a camera, art materials and journal everywhere—even around the house—so the inspirations are fresh.

In December, 2006, two of my poems were chosen to be published on a section of the Prairie Home Companion website entitled “Stories From Home/First Person” for submissions of writing about the place we feel most familiar. I’m a long-time listener to PHC and reader of Garrison Keillor’s books as well as a daily listener to The Writer’s Almanac featuring news about writers and writing and of interest to writers as well as a poem, all compiled and read by Keillor himself. I  was astonished to find my poems were among the first chosen from apparently thousands, and so happy to be able to share them with a potential audience of so many similarly inclined writers and readers.

My poetry readings and art exhibits were the vision of Maggie Forbes, executive director of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, after learning of my publishing of those two poems. I owe her many thanks for encouraging me to present this combination of my visual and literary art, a first for me. Each year I am invited back to read my poetry and exhibit my artwork. I love that building, every inch of it, and the opportunity to bring people in to visit is an honor.

2 responses

  1. Bernadette, such evocative art drawn from nature! You intertwine your poetry and your art in a very profound way. This post was a real treat!

    September 28, 2013 at 10:09 am

    • Thank you, Composer! I saw this in a field just last week and had to share again! I wrote the poem over a decade before I did the top painting, but used the wisdom when I was struggling with all the hues–my reference photo was very contrasty, and the poem reminded me what should be there.

      September 30, 2013 at 4:07 pm

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