Herman Maril, Africa, and Imagery

“The Essential Herman Maril” is the title of the art show currently featured at  Acme Fine Art in Boston.  The exhibit of works selected by Gallery owners James Bennette and David Cowan provides the viewer with an opportunity to become acquainted with some of the subject themes important in my father’s life. . His career spanned from the 1930s until his death in 1986. There is the boat, the sea, construction in the city, a garden with clothes line, looking out through a kitchen window, and one of my favorites–a black rotary wall  telephone .  My father painted what he knew and what he saw; selectively reducing and refining figures and shapes to depict on the paper or canvas what he felt to be important.

My dad, who divided his time between Maryland and Cape Cod, did some traveling and he sketched when he traveled. Writers put their notes in a journal.  Herman’s notes took the shapes of trees, coastlines, people, and buildings.  He visited the Southwest, California, Mexico, Spain, Italy, and Portugal, but he never made it to Africa although he had a modest collection of African Art that he prized. In addition  to several masks and  locks from a Chief’s hut, there was a sculpture fetish that was said to have been caked in mud  and  containing a lion’s ear when Herman purchased it.. He admired the simple carved shapes of these treasures, which he displayed in the front hallway and living room of our home at a time when such objects were not particularly fashionable.

As a child in the days when there were only three or four television stations, I’d watch wildlife nature shows with my dad,   mesmerized by the images on the black and white TV. Expansive plains, tall grasses waving in the wind and the close-up of a hungry lion in pursuit of dinner, chasing a fast moving gazelle had us on the edge of our chairs. It was a shared time, just me an my father, and during my recent visit to East Africa I thought of him often, wishing he was with me to see the expansive plains, baoba trees,  lions, zebras, gazelles, giraffes, and wildebeests in person.

When I told my brother David Maril  I was going to Africa, he sent me a photograph of the bird sculpture Dad had painted in the oil painting below, “Artist Contemplating African Bird” now in the collection of  Adirondack Community College, originally acquired by his close friend the poet William Bronk, known to our family as Bill.

Artistw:African Scu;pture

“Artist Contemplating African Bird” oil on canvas by Herman Maril, Collection of Adirondack Community College

David  was hoping I might be able to identify the origin of the sculpture, if I saw something similar.While I saw many large handsome birds during our travels on the Wami river and on our safari excursions overland by jeep inside Ngoronguru Crater and Masai Mara National Reserve, I saw no original pieces of bird sculpture during my visit. Walking in and out of all the tourist shops that line the narrow streets of the Stone Town portion of Zanzibar I mostly encountered the usual wood carvings I suspect are probably mass produced in China. My husband Peter and I found one quality merchant who was selling the older tribal pieces along with fine Middle Eastern jewelry and artifacts– but no bird sculptures.

Our favorite memories from the trip are those moments seeing the animals on the move in their natural environment. Watching hundreds of zebras, wildebeests, and gazelle making their way across the Serengeti Plain in search of fresh grass and sitting in a boat yards away from massive Hippos, hearing their deep sonorous groans as they submerge themselves underwater and reappear,  is an experience of a lifetime. It reminded  me that wildlife, and the variety of animals we grew up visiting at the zoo,  is not something we can take for granted.  It’s important we  try to preserve the earth  and protect our endangered species that include the Black Rhinoceros and Leopard, both of which I had the privilege to see, albeit from a far distance. (This is when field binoculars come in handy).

Nature and the images  we see, whether they are exotic animals  or the shape of flowers that bloom on the tree outside our window, can inspire the artist in all of us. You don’t have to travel half way around the world to see something worthy of inspiration, but some times taking a journey can give us perspective to appreciate what we have when we return home.

 

 

 

High in the Andes Mountains of Peru the Number Three Has Many Meanings

I hold three crisp green Coca leaves…messages delivered to the fabric of the universe….

The Sacred Valley approaching Mlantaytambo
The Sacred Valley approaching Ollantaytambo

The Power of Three

 

I hold three crisp green Coca leaves

Arrange carefully their graceful elongated shapes

Admiring the small bouquet

An offering, grasped between my thumb and two fingers.

 

The chime of the bell signals it’s time

To inhale and expel three breaths imbued with my intentions

One for the underground snake

One for the prowling puma

One for the condor in the clouds.

 

Bits of fluffy cotton ask for rain

Sugar candy begs for a sweet life

Quinoa for sustenance and strength.

We sprinkle many things and make our requests

On the cloth of our existence

Creating a small bundle to be buried or burned

Messages delivered to the fabric of the universe.

 

Our demands are great.

Our offerings small.

The lack of balance spins the circle around

Creating a never ending spiral

Propelling us to repeat the journey

Humans on a spinning top, likely to fall from grace.

 

An altar placed within a church where once a temple stood

A holy place filled with memories and dreams

The trinity of life; past, present and future

The father, the son the Holy Ghost

The sun, the moon, the stars

The father, the mother, and the child

The three points of the triangle, a mountain stretching towards the sky.

 

We reach for the heavens

Forgetting to embrace the present

We stumble and repeat past mistakes

Searching for the answers

Trying to find our way back home.

______Nadja Maril   1/27/2015

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Machu Picchu, High in the Sky and Close to the Clouds

Approaching the realm of the condor
I ascend stairs of stone

Our first afternoon at Machu Picchu standing near the "Guard House"
Our first afternoon at Machu Picchu standing near the “Guard House”

Machu Picchu

Approaching the realm of the condor

I ascend stairs of stone

Deep breaths expand my lungs and mind

Transported by magnificence

I imagine the puma stalking his prey without fear.

Built without wheels or written words

Knowledge kept alive through textiles and storytelling

Knots of rope tabulating the harvest

I count the steps and bravely climb, afraid to fall.

Touching the clouds

I feel the labor of many hands

Pushing, pulling, shifting the weight and burden

Of boulders, the mountain’s power

The secrets of Mother Earth pressing beneath my feet

I stand amazed.

————Nadja Maril  1/25/2015

Poetry on a Cape Cod Beach

Long Nook Beach in Truro
Long Nook Beach in Truro

Easter weekend on Cape Cod, walking on a windy beach, the sun shining in your face. It can’t get much better than this!

Patterns on the Beach

Shapes that look like fish bones

Pressed into the wet sand

The impressions of undulating waves

A thumbprint of the sea.

I walk along the ocean’s edge

at Long Nook Beach and try not to get my shoes wet.

It’s too cold to take them off.

The wind at the top of the cliffs is strong

Strong enough to lift a parasail glider and suspend him

High above the beach with the tall cliffs at his back.

We admire him and the view he must have

Looking down on the sand bars and rippling water below

Seeing from a distance

the water’s patterns in the sand.

Sand closeupselfie

 

Wedding Weekend in Madison Wisconsin

Chris and Laura the eve of their wedding.
Chris and Laura the eve of their wedding.

Last weekend my son Christopher Patrick got married to his long time sweetheart Laura Smith. The wedding took place outside the home of Laura’s parents in Oregon, Wisconsin near Madison. I had not seen my son Justin, who lives in Indonesia since Christmas, so I was very excited at the prospect of a family reunion.  He and his fiance Suci made the long 25 hour trip the middle of the week and arrived at the O’Hare Airport in Chicago. My husband Peter and I flew into the Midway Airport Thursday morning and rented a very large van so we had room for everyone and their luggage.  Once we picked up Justin and Suci, it was time to wait for the arrival of daughter Alex, coming in from California. A few hours later we arrived in downtown Madison, near the Capital. In the photographs that follow you will see we enjoyed each others company over a lavish family style meal served at the Heritage Tavern in Madison. While Laura was still busy with her wedding preparations, we spoiled Christopher as a bachelor one last time and no he did not eat that sundae served in an ice sculpture all by himself! Saturday we took the opportunity to tour the inside of the Capital building and take a walk to the fountain located on Monona Terrace looking across the lake. Friday afternoon was a time for wedding rehearsal and then a dinner for the wedding party at Restaurant Muramoto, also in downtown Madison. You’ll see in this group of photos, Alex, Suci, and myself dressed in our party dresses for the evening.  On Saturday morning while Alex was having her very long hair arranged into an elaborate bun, Peter and I walked around the Farmer’s Market which is set up all around the Capital Building. All kinds of delicious cheeses, fruits, and vegetables are featured at the weekly market but I was most impressed with the gourds and flowers. Unfortunately as Saturday progressed it began to rain heavily. In parts of the state there was a tornado watch. The good news is that the weather cleared long enough for the wedding ceremony to take place in the Smith family orchard and for wedding photographs to be taken. Only a few are posted on this blog as I wasn’t taking any, but I’m sure more will surface.  Most of the afternoon we were under the tent trying to stay dry, joined at our table  by my brother David and cousin Ron.   It was a weekend to remember!Chris Alex tuna and pork Peterth fishlobster Justinsuci Sundae Chrissundaee photo photo Petemoth photo NadjaAlexcap photo photo Frimorn photo photo photo photo flowers lanterns satmarket sata.m Satam Satmorn wedding group back of dress photo Chris just threekids

Sweet and Simple Wedding

Weddings don’t always have to be extravagant affairs. A wedding is really about celebrating a lifelong commitment to one another and the celebration is about people enjoying each others’ company.

A few weeks ago I went to San Diego County to attend the wedding of my nephew Ben Crilly, who is a marine currently stationed at Camp Pendleton. Accompanying me on the trip was husband Peter Crilly, son Christopher and his girlfriend Laura. Going out to California gave us the opportunity to see daughter Alex, who took the train down from San Luis Obispo to San Diego to meet us. We had a great time staying in La Jolla, revisiting some to the sights we had the pleasure of seeing  San Diego during Thanksgiving plus making new memories.

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I didn’t know what to expect, as far as the wedding we were attending but I did know I liked the handmade invitation and the fact that we didn’t need to be super dressed up.  Shown in this photo of the invitation are the party favors given as we left– handmade pouches of wildflower seeds. But I’m getting ahead of myself.The wedding was held at the bride’s grandmother’s house, in the backyard. The sun was shining and there was a lovely spreading Ficus Tree on the hill. On the tree were hanging mason jars and white Christmas lights for when it got dark.  To set the stage for the ceremony were a pair of French Doors and jars of baby breath and purple flowers. The colors of the wedding were white and purple. The brides maids word short purple satin dresses and the table covers for dinner were purple as well. I confess I didn’t take enough pictures to show everything, because I was having too much fun.

There was no alcohol served. Emma, the bride is under 21, so the couple toasted one another with pink lemonade.  The bride and groom both looked radiant as they made their ways around to the tables set up after the ceremony to say hello to everyone. A dance floor was set up on the ground, like the floors you see at a hotel, and it was placed up on the hill under the tree. A deejay down below spun tunes after dinner, which was two choices of pasta served buffet style.  The beautiful tiered cake was chocolate with vanilla frosting (my favorite!). Instead of a guest book, we were all asked to write something around the edges of a canvas which had the couple’s picture in the center and as the couple got ready to depart in their “just married car” we were given sparklers. Assembled in the driveway, we held up our lit sparklers and the bride and groom walked underneath as we said good luck and congratulations. It was a lovely event. Seen in the photos with the bride, groom, and Peter is his brother Paul, and nephew Nate (Ben’s younger brother who was one of the groomsmen).

Catching Up after Maine, Work, and a Birthday

It has been several weeks since I’ve posted in this blog, although I have been faithfully posting at least once a week on the Annapolis Taste blog.  So if you are ever wondering what I’ve been up to, you could check there.

Back in July one of the members of my book club generously opened her house for a weekend to her fellow bookies  for a long book club weekend. And what a  great weekend it was in York Beach,dining on lobster and doing a night of Karaoke. Of course we swore that “What happens in York Beach stays in York Beach” so I can’t provide any details but… it was a pleasant break from the hot humid environment of Maryland.
So here are a few pictures…

I always have to go swimming. I find the cold water exhilarating and I convinced my friend Susan that she should join me!
Yesterday was August 14th, the wedding anniversary of my friends Lynn and Jeff and the birthday of my husband Peter, day that marks many important occasions. I always write him a poem and we try to do something fun so we started celebrating  Monday night with a beer and a light dinner outside in front of Castlebay on Main Street in Annapolis after walking Chloe around town. All through dinner it was Chloe who got all the attention. Everyone wanted to pet her and say hello. Must be because she is so adorable!

  Last night we went to Severna Park to buy Peter a beer making kit.

Afterwards we went to dinner at Gary’s Grill and for details click here.