How to be a Poet, or paint like a poet

This is a poem by Wendell Berry, an all-time favorite, folksy, americana, heart-poet. This poem reminds me of how I want to paint.

How to Be a Poet


Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.


Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.


Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.


*      *           *

Its been a weird, hard Winter. There’s been so many challenging experiences, relationships, daily disappointments, disillusionments. Everything is in flux.

Suddenly, a sunny day arrives, some sweet moments with a friend, a piece of art that lifts me up, a good poem, a good belly laugh. Then. Another wave of challenges, hopelessness, frustration. Up & down. Up & down.

I’ve enjoyed the distraction and energy of Instagram….but spend far too much time perusing and learning…and should turn to my own artwork. But. I have been painting all through this Wintery time. What comes through are these flesh & bony portraits. I love Egon Schiele’s work as it helps me find my own expression of struggle and passion.





Her eyes were originally open, stark and piercing. But its better to take all that energy inside for transformation:




Them bones. Them bones. Them bag a bones.















I’ve returned to some roots recently, and found some grounding and renewed energy and zest! The sun has been shining every day.


7 thoughts on “How to be a Poet, or paint like a poet

  1. Love these…. I’ve always found solace in color, in putting brush to paper to see what wants to speak…. It isn’t easy but it is a way of walking the dark side. Lovely work and I too admire Shiele.

  2. Good to see your work again after such a difficult time. wonderful pieces of art – it is always so compelling to see how your work emerges. Nothing like it – unique and amazing, the ending always surprises. Love these boney portraits!

  3. these are enchanting and lovely and haunting. captivating!
    I see hints of Egon as well as hints of Redon Odilon perhaps via the softly hugging blue flowers wrapping round the figure.
    the poem…. spot on!
    sit down. breathe. relax in the silence. Absolutely yes!! great post!!

  4. I hope things level off for you. I’ve had the same kind of winter. Art can be a great healing tool. Your work is so compelling and powerful. Take time to rest. That’s what I’m trying to do as all the stress has taken its toll and made me sick. 👎🏻 hugs and blessings to you!

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