Thank You My Lifelong Afternoon

Thanksgiving, 2017



Variation on a Theme

W.S. Merwin,  born 1927, American poet


The poet, now 90 and widowed, has written many poems of thanks.  Even though one would not call him overall an optimist.


Thank you my lifelong afternoon








late in this season that has no age







Ericksons, 1973, tempera on hardboard panel, Andrew Wyeth, 1917-2007, American.  Loaned by a private collection to the Brandywine River Museum, 2017




Portrait of my Grandmother (Emily Motley), 1922, oil on canvas.  Archibald J. Motley, Jr., 1891-1981, American.  Baltimore Museum of Art




New England Woman, 1885, oil on canvas.  Cecilia Beaux,  1855-1942, American. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts



Eleven’Clock News and details, tempera on panel, 1966.  George A. Weymouth, 1936-2016, American.  Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania




Archaic Memory, 1988, acrylic on canvas.  Fred Danziger, American born 1948. State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg



Fanny/Fingerpainting, 1985, oil on canvas.  Chuck Close, American born 1940.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC




Chillin’, clay, wall paint, acrylic paint.  Susan Strassberg on exhibit at the Clay Studio, Philadelphia in 2015





Man in a Cafe, 1912, oil on canvas.  Juan Gris, 1887-1927, Spanish.  Philadelphia Museum of Art




thank you for my windows above the rivers






The Schuylkill at its last weir before its confluence with the Delaware River, Philadelphia.  October 2017



The Brandywine River at Breck’s Mill, Greenville, Delaware, 2017




The Brandywine River at Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, 2017




Darby Creek near its headwaters, Waterloo Mills Preserve, Chester and Delaware counties, Pennsylvania, 2017




The Wissahickon at the Morris Arboretum, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, 2017





thank you for the true love you brought me to when it was time at last 





     Man and Woman, 1926, oil on canvas.  Rufino Tamayo, 1899-1991, Mexican.  Philadelphia Art Museum                                                                  




                                        and for words






The Writer, 1925, oil on cardboard.  Manuel Rodriguez Lozano, 1896-1971, Mexican.  Private Collection on loan to the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2016




 Girl Writing, 1941, oil on canvas.  Milton Avery, 1885-1965.  Phillips Collection, Washington, DC




that come out of silence and take me by surprise





Self-Portrait, 1922, oil on canvas.   Adolfo Best Maugard, 1891-1964.  Private collection on loan to the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2016





The Reader, c. 1660s, oil on canvas.  Eglon van der Neer, 1635/36-1703, Dutch.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY




Interior with a Young Girl Reading, 1905-06, oil on canvas.  Henri Matisse, 1869-1954, French.  MOMA, NY




and have carried me through the clear day

without once turning to look at me




Sailing in the Mist, 1890’s, oil on canvas.  John H. Twachtman, 1853-1902, American.  Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia






thank you for friends and long echoes of them





Round Dance, 1909, oil on canvas.  Emil Nolde, 1867-1956, German.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC





Two Girls, c. 1892, oil on canvas.  Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1841-1919, French.  Philadelphia Art Museum




Black Girl Dragging White Girl, 1992, oil and charcoal on canvas.  Kim Dingle, American born 1951.  Corcoran Collection at the National Gallery of Art




Vignette IV, 2005, acrylic on PVC panel.

Kerry James Marshall, American born 1955.  Loaned to an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum, NY in 2016 by Susan and Lew Manilow.




Wapping on Thames, oil on canvas, 1860’s.  James McNeil Whistler, 1834-1903, American.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC




Conversation in a Garden, late 1960s, ink on paper.  Eileen Goodman, American born 1937.  Exhibited at The Woodmere Museum in 2016




Three Girls, 1941, oil and pencil on wood panel.  William H. Johnson, 1901-1970,  American.  MOMA, NY




 My Friends, and detail, oil on canvas, 1887.  Viggo Johansen, 1851-1935, Danish. Philadelphia Art Museum





and for those mistakes that were only mine





 Crouching Statuette of Adam, 1896, plaster. Paul Wayland Bartlett, 1865-1925.  Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Art



for the homesickness that guides the young plovers




Deer in Sunset, oil on canvas, 1946. Karl Knaths, 1891-1941, American.  The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC



from somewhere they loved before






Details of Deer in Sunset  oil on canvas, 1946. Karl Knaths, 1891-1941, American.  The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC



they woke into it to another place

they loved before they ever saw it




Bird’s House, 1989, varnish and watercolour on white Strathmore paper.  Jamie Wyeth, American born 1946. Private collection on display at the Brandywine River Museum, Chaddsford, Pennsylvania





thank you whole body and hand and eye





Self Portrait, 1921, oil on canvas.  David Alfaro Siqueiros, 1896-1974, Mexican.  On display at the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2016





Self-portrait in Velvet, 1926, oil on canvas.  Frieda Kahlo, 1907-1954, Mexican.  Exhibited in the winter of 2016 at the Philadelphia Art Museum. 


Frieda Kahlo’s body, of course, was not whole for most of her life.

It was touched first by childhood polio and then by a catastrophic bus accident when she was still a teenager. This broke her spine, pelvis, collarbone, ribs.  She died at 47 after a life of intermittent, great pain. 

Eight days before her death she added words to a painted melon: her fealty to life lived creatively and with passion:


Viva la Vida Watermelons, 1952-54, oil on masonite.  Frieda Kahlo, 1907-54, Mexican.  Frieda Kahlo Museum,  Coyoacan, Mexico




Three Women at the Spring, 1921, oil on canvas.  Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973, Spanish.  MOMA, NY





thank you for sights and moments known




Detail of a painting in progress, oil on canvas,  2017.  Angela Valeria, friend, mother and grandmother of friends, Brooklyn, NY


only to me who will not see them again

except in my mindʻs eye where they have not changed





thank you for showing me the morning stars




Updraft, 1976, acrylic on canvas.  Edna Wright Andrade, 1917-2008, American.  Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington




Peinture 130 x 89 cm, 6 Mars 1955,  oil on canvas.  Pierre Soulages, French, born 1919.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC



Icarus from Jazz, 1947, pochoir.  Henri Matisse, 1869-1954, French.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC




Deep Sky, 1984, aquatints.  James Turrell, American light architect and artist, born 1943.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC





Shooting Stars, 1952, glass, casein, and tempera on Masonite.  Irene Rice Pereira, 1902-1971, American.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

Two sheets of painted, fluted glass sitting in front of a painted panel.  The composition changes depending where you stand and how much ambient light there is.






and for the dogs who are guiding me




On the Desert, before 1867, oil on panel.  Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1824-1904, French.  Baltimore Art Museum






DSC01118 Gimme Shelter, mural on Lombard Street between 12th and 13th Streets, Philadelphia, designed and painted by David Guinn in 2004 for the City of Philadelphia Mural Program




Girl and the Field, 2017, oil and acrylic on canvas.  Graham Preston, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s