All posts for the month March, 2012

The Meeting

Published March 30, 2012 by rlmcdermott

When I come

in the room

it comes with

me that long

slow thing that

sings and sings;


And, yes, I fear

it now, its yellow

face, its great hibiscus

heart–there is no magic

that can save me

from its bright blooming.


And, so, this wounding

is a piece of you,

a piece of me, grafted

on a paper tree;

you died for love

and I was born bereft–

a man with a cross to bear,

a woman with a heart that dared.

On Interpretation

Published March 28, 2012 by rlmcdermott

I’ve always been a person who struggled with meaning.  Not the “meaning” of my life but what something means.  From  the time I was a kid I’ve always had to listen real hard to what people were saying–did they mean me when they said that, is there a message there for me, have I done something wrong?  It’s like I speak a different language than the rest of the world and have to filter everything through a lens that is deeply clouded.  Perhaps that is why I love music and poetry and art so much.  I don’t need to understand; I only need to feel!   As an artist, I think of my work in specific ways–drawing, mixed-media, experimental, narrative, landscape, colorful, however, because of my  own confusion about “meaning”  I don’t expect anyone to share my viewpoint about my work.  When I approach a painting, or a poem, or a song; I bring myself and all the history that life has burdened me with as audience.  If you truly want to be creative then you can’t put fences around your work.  The work must be free but you have to understand that a viewer, a listener will find in your work what they need, not what you need.  I invite people to tell me what they see in my drawings.  Sometimes it is very intimidating!   Recently a friend asked me “When did you move from the rain into the sunshine?”  I was stunned!  Did she see that in my drawings, did she see that in me, or was she telling me about herself?  No work of art is entirely removed from the artist but the artist, certainly, cannot prevent the audience from finding meanings that are necessary to them.  Good art will always transcend the artist because it allows for interpretation.  You can’t tell the world that you want your art to be “free” and then get angry because someone called your drawing  “a painting”,  your poem “a song” or your song “a poem.”  My life has taught me that meaning is at best elusive.  I have survived because I’ve always understood that every work of art, that every poem, that every song is there to comfort me in this hard thing called life.  What artist could ask for more?


Published March 23, 2012 by rlmcdermott

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I’m always sketching, sometimes, to the detriment of other things–laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, going out with friends and, even, paying bills.  I want to get better and feel greatly pressed by time.  As I’ve said before “likeness”  for me remains elusive.  I just can’t see things as they are in real life.   I become more fascinated by the drawing then the subject being drawn.  It is my personal belief that a beautiful drawing always triumphs over a failed likeness.   I copy a lot of the masters and these sketches reflect some of that work.  Included are copies of original drawings of Lautrec and Schiele (they are two of my favorite artists).  Woman’s head is a rendering from a drawing by another artist whose name has escaped me.   I live so much in the real world, reminded everyday of the fragility of life and of how our bodies absolutely betray us in the end, that I can’t fault myself for being impatient with “likeness”.  The drawing will always win in my particular battle to improve.

Still Life

Published March 14, 2012 by rlmcdermott

She loved the

moon light in

the moonlight,

the ceaseless

murmuring of

her own leaves,

the hard wood

of her hardwood,

and, yes, the

dark forest.


She loved the

shadow in

the shadows,

witness and


sentinel to

her sadness,

rooted in

the moonlight,

rooted in

the trees.