The Witnesses

In 1817, in a letter to a friend, John Keats wrote, ” I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections and the truth of Imagination.” Two hundred and two years later, in this afflicted world–our world–his two affirmations continue to offer insight, and hope.

The Witnesses is a triptych; what you see in the above image is only a portion of the left-hand panel. The full image is shown below.

The Witnesses – Left panel – Watercolor – 8 x 11 inches

Here are the other two parts of the triptych:

The Witnesses (triptych) – Watercolor – 14 x 40 inches

For the past few months, I’ve been preparing, along with my friend Della Heywood, an exhibition of some of our work at the North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center on the outskirts of Nevada City. Along with other oils and watercolors, The Witnesses is on display.

Here’s a poster from the Schoolhouse exhibition. Della and I will be there on Saturday, 11 May. If you can manage to get there, we’d love to see you.

One thought to “The Witnesses”

  1. It seems perfectly appropriate that you should be presenting an exhibit of surrealistic and ethereal paintings with this tryptic in the mix. A tryptic often invites a narrative, but this grouping resists it. And still, for as disparate as one panel may seem from the others, there are several and probably even many linkages through the images and through the sense that the work is ultimately oneiric in nature. And like in dreams, images will present themselves from our awakened present or just as likely from the dream itself. Thus, the rubble of walls, the three-cornered hat, the mannequin like figures, the riders on horseback, with lances, no less; the masks, the malevolent presence of guns and sharp swords, devastation of trees and a shipwreck, people or persons bearing witness in each panel; these images provide a continuity in dreams that a rational narrative could not quite handle.

    Now it is left to reconcile the Keats citation and this painting. He emphasizes only the positive (thank goodness): ”I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections and the truth of Imagination.” The heart’s affections may be present in the scenography so reminiscent of Spain, and the truth of the imagination, well, the entire composition speaks to that.

    Thanks for this painting. It will kindle my dreams and imagination.

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