painting about a love poem

landscape after Brecht poem Reminiscence of Marie A.

Lately I’ve started some work on clouds. The point is not to represent different cloud formations true to nature, but to give the clouds a meaning that goes beyond “being a cloud”.

landscape after Brecht poem Reminiscence of Marie A.

The starting point was a poem by Berthold Brecht.

The title of the poem is: Reminiscence of Marie A. (Erinnerung an die Marie A.)

Of course I know a lot of poems, especially the Chinese and Persian ones, and yet this one is one of the few that I know by heart and that has been one of my favorites for decades. So first the poem:

Reminiscence of Marie A.

One day in blue-moon September
silent under a plum tree
I held her, my silent pale love
in my arms like a fair and lovely dream.
And above us in the summer sky
was a cloud that caught my eye.
It was white and so high up.
And when I looked up, it was no longer there.

An jenem Tag im blauen Mond September
Still unter einem jungen Pflaumenbaum
Da hielt ich sie, die stille bleiche Liebe
In meinem Arm wie einen holden Traum.
Und über uns im schönen Sommerhimmel
War eine Wolke, die ich lange sah
Sie war sehr weiß und ungeheuer oben
Und als ich aufsah, war sie nimmer da.

(wikipedia translation)

The picture I painted for it certainly has some weak points. After 2 attempts that approached the topic in a completely different way, this came about. What I like about it is that the cloud has now become very dominant. An amorphous, white thing that is very present up there and yet it resembles the impermanence par exellance. With its light it interacts with the lower levels of perception, but like the dream, the memory also picks out details that can seem very precise even after decades, while the overall picture is blurred and reflects more of a mood and memories.

landscape after Brecht poem with clouds detail

Actually, I would like to add a few more accents, but I am aware that the dreamy overtone would lose with every change.

So I’ll probably leave it that way and better try to refine some thoughts in a new picture on this topic.

landscape after Brecht poem detail Reminiscence of Marie A.

Incidentally, I recently painted a picture for a story by the same author that reflects the essence of the poem in an original way.

If Sharks were People

If you haven’t checked recently, I have revised my catalog and added new works: gestural painting

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alive and well and having fun

7 comments on “painting about a love poem

I see animal like images in the lower portion of the painting. They contrast beautifully with the etherical clouds.

Thank you! Yes, contrasts are very important to me. But more in the Chinese “yin-yang” sense. However, one has to be very careful and not set these contrasts too clearly, otherwise the whole thing will become “cheap”. As for the animals – the cloud can be seen like one as well and that reinforces the aspect of “conversation” in the painting.

It’s pretty difficult to write or paint evanescence (or love). I think the reason I don’t much like either of my cloud paintings is because they are static even if, as paintings, they’re more-or-less successful. For me the sky is a wonderful paradox; far more enduring than I (or anything else) yet transient, mutable, constantly changing.

I will be brief: I enjoy your work very much. I have always liked art which has a nexus between the conceptual, the visual and the literary. Thank you. A Library Rat

Thank you so much Ana! I am happy to hear you like that concept too. One of the reasons I like Chinese painting very much is because it is so closely related to poetry. And it is conceptual art too.

Love poem and painting.

Thank you, Gwen! I am happy to hear! All the best!

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