Midday in Tangier by Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937)

Artful Writing

World acclaimed as the first African American painter, this Tangier gateway embodies Tanner’s personal struggles against the racism of his time with his ability to paint realistic subjects with cool colors against light.  In 1891 he left Atlanta and was warmly welcomed by Paris and died there peacefully.

henry-ossawa-tannerHere is his description on the burden of race:

“I was extremely timid and to be made to feel that I was not wanted, although in a place where I had every right to be, even months afterwards caused me sometimes weeks of pain.  Every time any one of these disagreeable incidents came into my mind, my heart sank, and I was anew tortured by the thought of what I had endured, almost as much as the incident itself.  (The Story of an Artist’s Life.)

Tanner’s legacy influenced such greats as Norman Rockwell and William Edouard Scott.  His 1885 oil canvas, ‘Sand Dunes at Sunset, Atlantic City, is part of the permanent collection of the White House hanging in the Green Room.


“Get it – get it better or get it worse.  No middle ground of compromise.”



An Adaptation of Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night

Artful Writing

“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”

c22bb8c8621e8ff8c20ca43c1bafdc63“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.”

Quotes and Vase with Red Poppies by Vincent van Gogh



Artful Writing

ARE YOU an ECHO:  The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko

Misuzu Kaneko (1903-1930) Japanese Poet and Songwriter

By chance I came across her ‘Snow Pile’ poem which draws me further into her remarkable yet tragic life and poetic legacy which is now being revealed around the world.

Born around a sardine fishing village and reared by her loving mother who worked in a bookstore, and later met her husband there, Misuzu became a very soulful and literary person, writing about the hardships, loss and death around her in simple poetry, especially for children. Fraught with her husband’s infidelities and contracting venereal disease from him, she suffered greatly; her only hope was her daughter, yet her despair  deepened when her husband forbade her to write, took her child away after divorce and she ended her life at age 27.

In her short life, she composed 512 poems which are now translated in 11 languages.  Most famous are these poems:

Big Catch

At sunrise, glorious sunrise, it’s a big catch!  A big catch of sardines!

On the beach, it’s like a festival but in the seas, they will hold funerals for the tens of thousands dead.


I wonder why the rain falls from black clouds shines like silver.

I wonder why the silkworm that eats green mulberry leaves is so white.

I wonder why, everyone I ask about these things laughs and says, “That’s just how it is.”

Beautiful Town

Suddenly, I recall that town…the red rooftops along the river bank;

and then, on the waters of that broad blue river a white sail–quietly, quietly moving;

and on the grass of the riverbank a young man, an artist, idly staring at the water.

And I? What was I doing?  When I think I can’t remember, I realize it was all a picture in a borrowed book.

The Japanese government aired “Are You an Echo” to encourage volunteers after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

35211aa0000005214_1Misuzu Kaneko’s inspiration lives on in this museum


…Thankfully, this astonishingly beautiful poet is no longer forgotten…


Painting – ‘Lonely man on a lonely walk’ by Bernard Frouchtben

Artful Writing

French Poem

 Tomorrow, at dawn by Victor Hugo

Tomorrow, at dawn, at the hour when the countryside whitens, I will depart.  You see, I know you wait for me.  I will go through the forest and over the mountains.  I cannot stay far from you any longer.

I will trudge on, my eyes fixed on my thoughts, ignoring everything around me, without hearing a sound.  Alone, unknown, back stooped, hands crossed, saddened, and the day will be like night for me.

I will neither see the golden glow of the falling evening, nor the sails going down to Harfleur in the distance, and when I arrive, I will place on your tomb a bouquet of green holly and flowering heather.

…This poem was first released in 1856 in Hugo’s collection entitled ‘Les Contemplations…’





Artful Writing

“There are two ways of thinking about painting…how to do it with much drawing and little colour, or how not to do it with much color and little drawing.”

“It is the language of nature which one should listen to…the feelings for the things themselves, for reality is more important that the feelings for pictures.”

“A good picture is equivalent to a good deed.”

…according to Vincent van Gogh…


Artful Writing

derieva3  Regina Derieva

Modern Russian Christian Poet (1949-2013)

Regina Derieva was born in Odessa on the Black Sea in 1949.  From a Jewish family living under Communist Soviet Union, she began to write about the harsh realities of her life through poetry.  Meeting and marrying Alexander brought them on a journey to faith in Christ through the persecuted Russian Orthodox Church.  Because her compelling Christian writings came under the KBG’s radar, they emigrated first to Israel then to Sweden where their Catholic conversion flourished.  Her many works, 30 books, essays and poetry have been translated into 8 languages.

I find this poem to reflect her courageous faith in God:

All My Life

All my life

I sought an angel

and he appeared in order to say:

“I am no angel.”


This is her collection of sea shells.  Regina loved the sea saying:

“Water is the ideal apparel.  However many times you get in it, its the same.”