The Light that she Loves

Maud Taber-Thomas’s 2014 show at Susan Calloway Fine art in Washington, DC took its name from a line from the Tennyson Poem Maud: A Monodrama. The show featured fourteen large portrait paintings and one charcoal drawing, which were all inspired by literature of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The artworks were displayed with quotations from the books and poems that inspired them.

Published in: on October 23, 2015 at 3:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Come into the Garden, Maud

Come into the Garden Maud

2013, oil on panel, 20 x 16”

Come into the garden, Maud,

For the black bat, night, has flown,

Come into the garden, Maud,

I am here at the gate alone;

And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad,

And the musk of the rose is blown.

 

For a breeze of morning moves,

And the planet of Love is on high,

Beginning to faint in the light that she loves

In a bed of daffodil sky,

To faint in the light of the sun she loves,

To faint in his light, and to die.

 

-Tennyson, Maud: A Monodrama

Published in: on October 23, 2015 at 3:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Isabel Archer: Portrait of a Lady

Isabel Archer Portrait of a Lady

2014, oil on canvas, 36 x 48”

“Well,” said Henrietta, “you think you can lead a romantic life, that you can live by pleasing yourself and pleasing others. You’ll find you’re mistaken. Whatever life you lead you must put
your soul in it–to make any sort of success of it; and from the moment you do that it ceases to be romance, I assure you: it becomes grim reality! And you can’t always please yourself; you must sometimes please other people. That, I admit, you’re very ready to do; but there’s another thing that’s still more important–you must often displease others. You must always be ready for that–you must never shrink from it. That doesn’t suit you at all–you’re too fond of admiration, you like to be thought well of. You think we can escape disagreeable duties by taking romantic views–that’s your great illusion, my dear. But we can’t. You must be prepared on many occasions in life to please no one at all–not even yourself.”

 

—Henry James, Portrait of a Lady

Published in: on October 23, 2015 at 3:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Self-Portrait: Aestheticism

Self-Portrait Aestheticism

2012, oil on panel, 16 x 16”

To burn always with this hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life.  

-Walter Pater, The Renaissance

Published in: on October 23, 2015 at 3:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lucas as a Fop

Lucas Fop

2011, oil on canvas, 44 x 96”

Look upward where the white gull screams,

What does it see that we do not see?

Is that a star? or the lamp that gleams

On some outward voyaging argosy,–

Ah! can it be

We have lived our lives in a land of dreams!

How sad it seems.

 

-Oscar Wilde, Her Voice

Published in: on October 23, 2015 at 3:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Damsel with a Dulcimer II

Damsel with a Dulcimer II

2013, oil on panel, 11 x 14”

A damsel with a dulcimer

In a vision once I saw:

It was an Abyssinian maid,

And on her dulcimer she played,

Singing of Mount Abora.

 

-Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Kubla Khan

Published in: on October 23, 2015 at 3:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Naomi: Born to Strange Sights

Born to Strange Sights Naomi

2014, oil on canvas, 36 x 48”

If thou be’st born to strange sights,

Things invisible to see…

 

-John Donne, Song: Go and catch a falling star

Published in: on October 23, 2015 at 3:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

An Artful Place

Shopping for Perfume

2014, Oil on Canvas, 36 x 48”

The taxi drew up at a wonderful shop—the sort of shop I would never dare to walk through without a reason. We went in by way of the glove and stocking department, but there were things from other departments just dotted about; bottles of scent and a little glass tree with cherries on it and a piece of white branched coral on a sea-green chiffon scarf. Oh, it was an artful place—it must make people who have money want to spend it madly!

 

The pale grey carpets were as springy as moss and the air was scented; it smelled a bit like bluebells but richer, deeper.

 

“What does it smell of, exactly?” I said. And Rose said:

 

“Heaven.”

 

-Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle

Published in: on October 23, 2015 at 3:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cellist

Cellist

2013, charcoal on arches, 44.5 x 80”

‘T is you that are the music, not your song.

The song is but a door which, opening wide,

Lets forth the pent-up melody inside,

Your spirit’s harmony, which clear and strong

Sings but of you. Throughout your whole life long

Your songs, your thoughts, your doings, each divide

This perfect beauty; waves within a tide,

Or single notes amid a glorious throng.

 

-Amy Lowell, Listening

Published in: on October 23, 2015 at 3:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Emily Tennyson

Emily Tennyson

2014, oil on panel, 16 x 20”

O somewhere, meek, unconscious dove

That sittest ranging golden hair;

And glad to find thyself so fair,

Poor child, that waitest for thy love!

 

For now her father’s chimney glows

In expectation of a guest;

And thinking “this will please him best,”

She takes a riband or a rose;

 

For he will see them on to-night;

And with the thought her colour burns;

And, having left the glass, she turns

Once more to set a ringlet right;

 

And, even when she turn’d, the curse

Had fallen, and her future Lord

Was drown’d in passing thro’ the ford,

Or kill’d in falling from his horse.

 

-Tennyson, In Memoriam

Published in: on October 23, 2015 at 2:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Forrest Fop II

Forrest Fop II

2013, oil on canvas, 36 x 48”

Ay! though the gorgèd asp of passion feed

On my boy’s heart, yet have I burst the bars,

Stood face to face with Beauty, known indeed

The Love which moves the Sun and all the stars!

 

-Oscar Wilde, Apologia

Published in: on October 23, 2015 at 2:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Orlando: Eyes like Drenched Violets

Orlando Eyes like Drenched Violets

2010, oil on panel, 9 x 12”

Directly we glance at Orlando standing by the window, we must admit that he had eyes like drenched violets, so large that the water seemed to have brimmed in them and widened them; and a brow like the swelling of a marble dome pressed between the two blank medallions which were his temples. Directly we glance at eyes and forehead, thus do we rhapsodize.

 

–Virginia Woolf, Orlando

Published in: on October 23, 2015 at 2:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Orlando: Sitting Still in a Chair and Thinking

Orlando Sitting Still in a Chair and Thinking

2011, oil on canvas, 64 x 64”

What can the biographer do when his subject has put him in the predicament in which Orlando has now put us? Life, it has been agreed by everyone whose opinion is worth consulting, is the only fit subject for novelist or biographer; life, the same authorities have decided, has nothing whatever to do with sitting still in a chair and thinking. Thought and life are as the poles asunder. Therefore—since sitting in a chair and thinking is precisely what Orlando is doing now—there is nothing for it but to recite the calendar, tell one’s beads, blow one’s nose, stir the fire, look out of the window, until she has done. Orlando sat so still that you could have heard a pin drop. Would, indeed, that a pin had dropped! That would have been life of a kind.

 

-Virginia Woolf, Orlando

Published in: on October 23, 2015 at 2:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Reading the Rubaiyat: Study

Reading the Rubaiyat

2013, oil on panel, 14 x 11”

Each Morn a thousand Roses brings, you say;

Yes, but where leaves the Rose of Yesterday?

-Edward FitzGerald, trans., The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Published in: on October 23, 2015 at 2:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Abby with her Violin

Abby with her Violin

2009, oil on panel, 11 x 14”

All night have the roses heard

The flute, violin, bassoon;

All night has the casement jessamine stirr’d

To the dancers dancing in tune;

Till a silence fell with the waking bird,

And a hush with the setting moon.

 

-Alfred Lord Tennyson, Maud: A Monodrama

Published in: on October 23, 2015 at 2:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Isabel Archer Study

Isabel Archer Study

2014, Oil on Panel, 12 x 16”

“…and the great advantage of being a literary woman, was that you could go everywhere and do everything.”


Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

Published in: on October 23, 2015 at 2:32 pm  Leave a Comment