Drawing Willendorf*, a Large Model
Colossal, mammoth, unclothed,
Lying in my studio, eyes closed,
She is a gigantic mountainside,
Earthquake fissured, rainfall softened.
Flesh becomes power within palisades
And gaps of enfolded crevices.
A spirit emerges from her shelters,
Fecund and fertile, filling our space.
I wait for a tremor to force my hand,
An aftershock or a thunderstorm,
Ready to draw her at the moment
Shadow, shape and perception collide.
She inspires broad charcoal for the hunt,
Images freed from burnt-out bonfires
Rendered quickly in sweeping strokes.
But, I draw slowly, to know her
In a thousand ink marks, pondering her,
The mother of shadow and luminance.
The soul of Willendorf, life’s origin,
In silence receives me, line by line.
*The so-called “Venus” of Willendorf is a small, Upper Paleolithic era carving, circa 23,000 BCE, of a large woman discovered in Austria in 1908.
A painter with twenty one-person shows throughout America, James Shay writes ekphrastic poetry based on his experiences making art. Before becoming a fulltime artist in 1997 he spent thirty-one years studying and practicing architecture. Photographs, models and drawings of his office's work were featured in shows at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and other venues internationally. He is as yet unpublished as a poet, deciding this May to begin submitting poetry for consideration. He lives with his wife Karen, a sculptor, among the vineyards of Sonoma, California. From time to time, wonderful Sonoma Valley wines assist his writing and painting. The website is www.Jamesshay.com.
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