“Morning Sun” Painting by Edward Hopper
Life and art are defined by what lies between light and shadows. In Holland Cotter’s April 30, 2007 article in the New York Times, he wrote “A certain slant of light was Edward Hopper’s thing. And he made it our thing, hard-wired it into our American brains:”
Every since seeing Edward Hopper’s, “Nighthawks” at the Art Institute of Chicago, as a young man, I have been seduced by his work — not because he hard-wired my brain, but because of the human ability to distinguish between an object and its background. It is the contrast between light and shadows that catches the eye, which is why Hopper’s work is so seductive — it the essence of the “Hopper Effect: the impression of everyday life touched with secular sanctity. ”
Poet L.E. Sissman was so captivated by Hopper’s work that he wrote “American Light: A Hopper Retrospective”. Written in five parts, the first part subtitled, “Hopper”.
A man, a plan, a spandrel touched with fire,
A morning-tinted cornice, a lit spire,
A clapboard gable beetled with the brow-
Shadows of lintels, a glazed vacancy
In shut-up shopfronts, an ineffably
Beautiful emptiness of sunlight in
Bare rooms of which he was the sole inhabitant:
The morning and the evening of his life
Rotated, a lone sun, about the plinth
On which he stood in granite, limned by light
That lasted on day long and then went out.
Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks”
Yes, it’s all about what falls between the light and the shadows, as Joyce Carol Oats writes on Hopper’s “Nighthawks” in Transforming Vision – Writers on Art:
The three men are fully clothed, long sleeves,
even hats, though it’s indoors, and brightly lit,
and there’s a women. The woman is wearing
a short-sleeved red dress cut to expose her arms,
a curve of her creamy chest; she’s contemplating
a cigarette in her right hand, thinking that
her companion has finally left his wife but
can she trust him? Her heavy-lidded eyes,
pouty lipsticked mouth, she has the redhead’s
true pallor like skill milk, damned good-looking
and she guesses she knows it but what exactly
has it gotten her so far, and where? — he’ll start
to feel guilty in a few days, she knows
the signs, an actual smell, sweaty, rancid, like
dirty socks; he’ll slip away to make telephone calls. . .
“. . . People the vacuum with American light.” — the last line in T.S. Sissman’s poem on Edward Hopper.
“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge…” — Rod Serling, Twilight Zone.
I feel that in the images I capture, I’m always trying to capture that middle ground between light and shadow — maybe Edward Hopper was too.
Some may think of the space between light and the shadow as the twilight zone, I think of it as what the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca called duende, which as Edward Hirsch has put it, “. . . it makes something visible that might otherwise be invisible, that has been swimming under the surface all along.”
Between Light and Shadows — Image by kenne
A Tint of Red– Image by kenne
A tint of red soothes
Suggesting the warmth of love,
The Saturday after Thanksgiving we left Pala and returned to Tucson. Our normal route has been to head west to I-15, then east on I-8. This time we decided to take an alternate route parallel to I-8 through the mountains to the desert into Imperial Valley. Before reaching El Centro, in the valley and near the Salton Sea, we begin to see dust in the distance.Signage told us that our route was taking us through Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA). You could see RVs, with their flag poles up, in all directions. Ocotillo Wells is open for off-highway exploration and recreation, which in another life I would have loved to have experienced in my dirt-bike twenties.
As we headed east early in the morning, (about 8:00 am) the were just a few off-road vehicles out in the desert leaving behind a lot of dust, which would be a multiple of what the day would bring once hundreds of vehicles hit the dirt.
Once we were on I-8 and near Yuma, Arizona, we once again saw off-road vehicles, this time on the Algodones Dunes. The dunes are 45 miles long by 6 miles wide, extending along a northwest-southeast line that correlates to the prevailing northerly and westerly wind directions. Where I-8 crosses the Algodones Dunes, the frontage roads provide an easy access for off-road vehicles.
At least there’s not a lot of dust stirred-up by the many vehicles on the sand.
We stopped at a rest area to take a few photos of kids of all ages.
Images by kenne
DIRT IN MY LIFE
Children play in dirt
We stay connected to dirt
Always washing hands.
I had a dirt bike
When I was in my twenties
Fate was on my side.
Now I hike in dirt
Staying bonded to nature
Not destroying it.
White Rose — Image by kenne
Daylight comes later.
Picked-up the morning paper.
The usual walkers were out before light.
The hill slowed my run.
I will forget the pain when I finish –
It’s always that way.
The first freeze is forecasted for Friday.
Say goodbye to the bougainvilleas.
Their fall color will be missed.
Knowing that they will return consoles.
Come Saturday, the white rose will still blossom.
Signifying courage through the long winter night.
A symbol of the poets struggle.
They will not be silenced.
Colorful Fountaingrass (HD) — Image by kenne
For some it’s a curse
Competes with native species
Provides fuel to fire.
An exotic grass
A popular landscape choice
As a naturalist
It’s just an exotic pest
That must be destroyed.
“How’s Your Magnolia This Morning?” — Image by kenne
Have blossoms not yet open
Yearning to be seen.
Lonesome Gardenia — Image by kenne
The day after Thanksgiving is Black Friday,
A day many families go shopping together,
Not Joy’s family — it’s off to the casino!
A family thing, but not my thing,
Being an “in the margins guy” –
I’m at the casino, but I’m not.
On this day after Thanksgiving
The rains came, lots of rain,
As we drove to Pala Casino.
By the time we arrived,
The rain had stopped –
now hoping for sunshine.
But, the clouds stayed behind,
Limiting the poolside scenery –
What’s a guy to do?
I could still Capture the moment —
Flowers, there are always flowers
In southern California.
Flowers enrich the casino landscape,
Including gardenia shrubs
Hedged along the spa walls.
Looking around, I could find only one
Gardenia blossom, a lonesome gardenia –
We had something in common.