River Stone Painting “Living In The Layers” Wins Art Prize

My painting “Living In The Layers” (oil on linen on panel, 30″ x 30″) has been accepted into Kent Arts Commission’s online juried exhibition “New Year” and comes with a $200 prize.

The painting’s title comes from “The Layers,” a beautiful poem by UW Poet Laureate Stanley Kunitz.

The Layers, by Stanley Kunitz

I have walked through many lives, 

some of them my own, 

and I am not who I was, 

though some principle of being 

abides, from which I struggle 

not to stray. 

When I look behind, 

as I am compelled to look 

before I can gather strength 

to proceed on my journey, 

I see the milestones dwindling 

toward the horizon 

and the slow fires trailing 

from the abandoned camp-sites, 

over which scavenger angels 

wheel on heavy wings. 

Oh, I have made myself a tribe 

out of my true affections, 

and my tribe is scattered! 

How shall the heart be reconciled 

to its feast of losses? 

In a rising wind 

the manic dust of my friends, 

those who fell along the way, 

bitterly stings my face. 

Yet I turn, I turn, 

exulting somewhat, 

with my will intact to go 

wherever I need to go, 

and every stone on the road 

precious to me. 

In my darkest night, 

when the moon was covered 

and I roamed through wreckage, 

a nimbus-clouded voice 

directed me: 

“Live in the layers, 

not on the litter.” 

Though I lack the art 

to decipher it, 

no doubt the next chapter 

in my book of transformations 

is already written. 

I am not done with my changes. 

Stanley Kunitz, “The Layers” from The Collected Poems of Stanley Kunitz. Copyright © 1978 by Stanley Kunitz (W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 2002)