Saturday, March 24, 2007

Remembering the Jaguar


Today we gathered in rememberance of our dear friend Carol Wagner. We sat around and shared stories of Carol. There were some tears but mostly their was laughter in the joy of relating our good times with Carol and each other. Then Jeff and I went to Tres Hermanes, a fine Mexican restaurant that Carol and I liked. We feasted, talked of Carol and what a great restaurant she'd turned us on to. The prominent theme in each person's rememberance of Carol was of her brilliant mind. My son and I used to call Carol our walking encyclopedia. Over our 18 year friendship I got very good at egging Carol on and we would stay up all night drinking coffee and talking -- a little of this, a little of that, a little of everything and a lot of nothing...mostly I would listen, interjecting at just the right moment to get Carol started again and on another tangent...
I didn't realize that any one else had noticed how I would play Carol into dominating the conversation (and those that know me must be incredulous right now, but yes there was a person on this planet to whom I would cede conversational dominance...) any way I just read a post to barenforum.com that Robin Morris, an aquaintance who was also a great friend and admirer of Carol, had written. He had just met the two of us and had posted his first impressions...it's always interesting to find out how people see you for the first time...he aluded to my mechanations in his post. It's funny this post was written nearly 2 years ago, I don't know why I had missed it... Well the forum had linked to the past post today in a rememberance page (http://barenforum.org/blog/archives/2007/03/sacramento_caro.html ) and today I read it for the first time. Boy was it heartwarming to read Robin's words today. Robin was at today's rememberance and he remembered Carol so eloquently, you see he was so blown away by Carol's brilliance that he moved to Sacramento to become part of her community. Anyway I decided to post Robin's post in here so those of you who follow this page but not the Baren Forum could read it. It warms my heart to read Robin's first impression and see that he saw clearly into Carol's big warm heart that day. I could see that some people didn't get Carol right away, and some others never did...but Robin saw the spark immediately and he wrote so well of it that I will just paste it below:
Message 10
From: Robin MorrisDate:
Wed, 6 Apr 2005 18:25:20 -0700
Subject: [Baren 27722] Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Printmakers...Vol.

Julio asked me for a report on my videotaping odyssey so I will share it here and I hope you all enjoy it, thanks-I'll get quiet for a few after this long post and try and do some carving,.
Hi Maria! get back to work... : )
Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Printmakers...and a poem by longfellow.
************************************************************************
If you know Carol Wagner, she needs no introduction. If you don't, I would favor you with this brief description, which no matter howebullient is unlikely to give her the credit she deserves as a vital hostess, teacher, artist and scholar, not to mention a doting mom,rightly so proud of her son who is organizing large and complex Public health education efforts with a crack international team of young doctors at a brand new Medical College in Bangladesh.
Carol has a lovely view of sacramento out her window... an 8th-story aerie in the heart of town. From there the neighborhood looks a bit like the opening scene in "American beauty",with the lovely trees waving in the sultry Spring draft, and everywhere the rooftops and gables of old stately homes poking through the canopy, rolling out of view beneath the cerulean sky.She is friends to all kind folk who cross her path, and it was so warm and cozy there around her place I had a feeling that I had entered the small town americathat Norman Rockwell used to paint. In her presence though there was more of a Rockwell Kent feeling, that of being near someone who could never share all she knows with you,for she is wise, in art, literature and history, and has spent a good part of her life becoming thus. I felt like sitting at her knee, as she related each idea in an historical context citing Plato and Socrates,without once rolling eyes heavenward for a name or event. You'll see what i mean on the dvd as she narrates the meaning and origin of some of her artworks, as though she ahd it all written and right in front of her, never missing a beat, evry fact and conjecture in it's place, yet concise and well delivered, and then it is on to the next. Patti knew how to make best use of the lovely afternoon light, and urged us top shoot the art while we had that going for us, so the paintings were shot in a soft diffused glow that will make them look as fantastic as they actually are. I think there was a tv tucked under the table- just like the one my place, it looked dusty from disuse.Books towered over our heads, (no dust on them at all)...Ms. Wagner has had to divest of so many, she says, to fit into her modest sized apartment, but the ones she has kept looked like a dream library for the artist with an open mind.
Besides her eight years at the art store across the street, Carol comes from a lifetime in art, and her paintings in particular show this.She treated us to a showing of a series of her paintings inspired by her visits to Mayan excavations,and spoke of her teacher, who was the first to mix colors to match the traces archaeologists found on these temples from antiquity.So her paintings combine her ideas with the forms and colors of the original sculpted friezes.i felt very privileged to view them. i had a feeling of discovery as though i had dug through sand and found a secret vault deep in the Yucatan, and flicked a flashlight onto see art buried a thousand years ago. Even better in a way, because these images look more like they must have" way back when" than the actual rock that exists today, worn from time and the elements.naturally I took a lot of footage of these and they will be available to see on the dvd, as well as related art from all the printmkakers, because most printmakers paint or draw or sculpt, or print letterpress,or make books like Carol's friend Sharon who dropped by the store to show us her lovely handmade books of all sizes and creative shapes and bindings.and their other art will be a nice set of stills and where we can manage it, their own commentary about the work. Then prints are not left floating in air with no provenance but take their place in the forefront,with a rich background of related arts and crafts to support their existence.The window display at Art Ellis is really nice, and trumpets the baren group and woodblock printing in general. We bemoaned the glare that made it hard to get a good pic of the whole display, but i shot a lot of tape from all angles, so it should be usable.I had brought a handful of baren brochures for carol,to put in the store, and while i was there another pack of them arrived from Barbara Mason (you are on it, Barbara!)
Carol's good friend and co-barener Patti Phare-Camp joined us and she acts the perfect foil in conversation to Carol's witty and history ladenflow of conversation. Few I think could keep up with these women for a long day like we had. It was so much fun visiting that we ended up having lunch and dinner, and lingering at the end.There was a comeraderie going on-in the afternoon their friend Laura Liano dropped by to show us a lovely, huge coffee table book of art by Mexican and Mexican-American artists, calledTRIUMPH. She was in a big art show in Scottsdale AZ during the arts and crafts show there, and said that it wasn't well publicized perhaps, and was lightly attended. I suggested that next time they buy a booth near maria's, they would have got more exposure than tucked away in a gallery or museum!
As for Ms. Phare-Camp, a delightful, happy and bright woman who will be the next victim of the vidcam when we go to see her work!Anyone that enjoys reading, history, art and conversation, and laughter, would have enjoyed to be there. I know carol teaches art classes but i wonder if folks at baren know what a wonderful resource she is.
We toured her territory at the art store, where she has over 600 types of paper to choose from, and can lead you to the right stuff effortlessly.Ask her about paper at least! She's forgotten more than I will probably ever know, (and that is not a lot- she has a fantastic memory. From her brief and interesting lectures about such varied subjects as Dard Hunter,Hypatia, the aztecs and Mayas, Palanque, Xenobia, Cleopatra...well we really got her going because we were so interested.
Patti ,as i indicated is no slouch in conversation herself,and entertained and informed us (at all moments when we weren't regaling her. with stories! : )She told us how her instructor in art school had told the class that woodcut was a dead art, and how she had nonetheless latched onto it with a passion and stopped doing other forms, so addicted was she to carving and printing.Her part of the video will no doubt be more focussed on the woodblock form. Patti is a loving mother as well, she has a son stationed in Turkey right now and a daughter at camp Anaconda, not a place any of us would want to serve.Our hats should be off to her two kids for their contribution. They have gone where they were asked to go, and serve, they do.She is of indomitable spirit, and knows how to hold her ironclad support for her children and the defense of America in her mind,while wishing for an end sooner rather than later to the terrible conflicts half a world away, as do her children and so many of their colleagues.
Words in edgewise, we all got. if paid by the word we would have all had a profitable day i can assure you.)this letter is like a drop in the bucket of what we covered over a long and dreamy day..Coffee was required in the evening , we didn't know how to stop.I feel i added a few IQ points ( I can always use em) for having schmoozed with these fair damsels for a day. My heart was healed, too , after the wretched car incident of the other night, of which i'll say no more here.As the evening wore on, there was a reluctance on each part to pull the plug. like at the close of a great party.
Carol didn't want to end it but had to teach in the morning, and the stars had been out for quite a while.Patti and i said goodnight to Carol and I walked her out, bowing , half kidding, half not, respecting one another, newfound friends.Today I am aware that this 'peak experience seeker' , your humble reporter, was filled, for once to the brim,and with a lot more than just coffee.
My dad, rest his soul, spent part of his college days living in what had many years before been Longfellow's room at Bowdoin College in Maine,so he had an affinity for that fellow's poetry.I like it too. for you young whippersnappers, Henry WL was kind of the Walt Disney of poets, all family fare, but quality entertainment of it's type.i have two venerable copies of this set of poems (Tales of a Wayside Inn) with a different ending (he must have published different versions) that pales compared to this one-I had it memorized once but could only bring back shards when i tried...i found the lines I had half- remembered through a net search.
Enjoy...
************************************************************************ ****
FINALE.
These are the tales those merry guests
Told to each other, well or ill;
Like summer birds that lift their crests
Above the borders of their nests
And twitter, and again are still.
These are the tales, or new or old,
In idle moments idly told;
Flowers of the field with petals thin,
Lilies that neither toil nor spin,
And tufts of wayside weeds and gorse
Hung in the parlor of the inn
Beneath the sign of the Red Horse.
And still, reluctant to retire,
The friends sat talking by the fire
And watched the smouldering embers burn
To ashes, and flash up again
Into a momentary glow,
Lingering like them when forced to go,
And going when they would remain;
For on the morrow they must turn
Their faces homeward, and the pain
Of parting touched with its unrest
A tender nerve in every breast.
But sleep at last the victory won;
They must be stirring with the sun,
And drowsily good night they said,
And went still gossiping to bed,
And left the parlor wrapped in gloom.
The only live thing in the room
Was the old clock, that in its pace
Kept time with the revolving spheres
And constellations in their flight,
And struck with its uplifted mace
The dark, unconscious hours of night,
To senseless and unlistening ears.
Uprose the sun; and every guest,
Uprisen, was soon equipped and dressed
For journeying home and city-ward;
The old stage-coach was at the door,
With horses harnessed, long before
The sunshine reached the withered sward
Beneath the oaks, whose branches hoar
Murmured: "Farewell forevermore."
"Farewell!" the portly Landlord cried;
"Farewell!" the parting guests replied,
But little thought that nevermore
Their feet would pass that threshold o'er;
That nevermore together there
Would they assemble, free from care,
To hear the oaks' mysterious roar,
And breathe the wholesome country air.
Where are they now? What lands and skies
Paint pictures in their friendly eyes?
What hope deludes, what promise cheers,
What pleasant voices fill their ears?
Two are beyond the salt sea waves,
And three already in their graves.
Perchance the living still may look
Into the pages of this book,
And see the days of long ago
Floating and fleeting to and fro,
As in the well-remembered brook
They saw the inverted landscape gleam,
And their own faces like a dream
Look up upon them from below.
Yeah, It was that good.RM
Thank you Robin for that poem. Two years ago when you posted it to Baren Forum I'm sure you had no idea that one day we would really cry "Farewell!"
Post a Comment