Smith’s Gate, Umatilla Indian Reservation
A pale moon rises over the hills.
The last of the sun bathes them in gold.
An azure sky spreads its wings.
The whole scene glows.
One falls into this painted world,
into hills deep folds seamed with pine.
Time has no meaning here, only the light,
light that fills every space and spills
from the canvas, light that entices
the viewer to step into the painting,
become yellow ochre, raw sienna,
a ghost in that ghost of a moon.
Judith Kelly Quaempts
Judith Kelly Quaempts lives and writes in rural eastern Oregon. Her short stories and poetry can be found online and in print, most recently in The Poeming Pigeon, Diane Lockward's, Crafty Poet II, Ariel Chart, Young Ravens Literary Review, and Paragon. She has published two novels.
The late Yakama Nation artist Peter S. Quaempts' paintings are in private collections, as well as collections of the Oregon State Dept of Employment in Pendleton, Oregon, and Tamastslikt Cultural Center on the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Mission, Oregon.
7/10/2018 02:15:03 pm
What a beautiful painting! What a beautiful poem! And that stunning last line!
10/19/2021 07:05:41 pm
I saw this artist’s work in a National Native Art Show at the University of Oregon. I think 1970. His drawing and Fritz Schoulder’s painting changed my art forever!!
1/6/2022 06:43:36 pm
I shared teaching assignments with this individual at IAIA many years ago after his work had degenerated into tiny paranoid scribbles which illustrated his madness...!
11/22/2022 06:58:25 am
I shared a studio with Peter around 1965/66 at grad school at the University of Oregon. Being from New York , Peter had a profound influence on me,never knowing a Native American. We traded painting and latter exchanged letters and we in process of exchanging another .
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