Van Gogh's Sunflowers [sample]
by Charles L. Mee
People say —
and I’m quite willing to believe it —
that it’s difficult to know oneself —
but it’s not easy to paint oneself either.
I’m working on two portraits of myself at the moment —
for want of another model —
because it’s time that I did a bit of figure work.
I’m working from morning till night.
Here I am again.
I’m not letting go.
I’m trying again on a new canvas.
I could almost believe that I have a new period of clarity ahead of me.
The countryside here is so beautiful.
What happens in the autumn is
a large field turns entirely purple and red,
and next to it a square of yellow
and a little further on a patch that’s still green.
All that beneath a sky of magnificent blue,
and lilac rocks in the distance.
The cicadas are singing fit to burst,
a strident cry ten times louder than that of the crickets,
and the scorched grass is taking on beautiful tones of old gold.
And the beautiful towns of the south
which were once so lively
now slowly dying in the lovely autumn
while in the downfall and the decline of things,
the cicadas dear to good old Socrates have remained.
And here, certainly, they’re still singing old Greek.
At the moment
I’m working on a painting of a path between the mountains
and a small stream that works its way between the stones.
The rocks are solid lilac grey or pink,
with bushes here and there:
box and a sort of broom, that have all sorts of colors,
green, yellow, red, brown, because of the autumn.
And the stream in the foreground white and foaming like soapsuds,
and further up reflecting the blue of the sky.