Monday, October 14, 2013
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Paintings by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, 2013.
I worked on these three paintings throughout the summer, making multiple plein air sketches and many revisions over a three month period. Now my summer palette is depleted, and I am gathering colors for autumn.- KMB.
Thursday, August 1, 2013
For my 100th post here, I would like to share a new piece of music inspired by a place that I return to again and again. I find that soundworks like this-- concerned with texture, shape, and mystery; with sound as light and shadow and color-- are a way to manifest and share feelings and perceptions that come from nature and landscape, to transfer the moods and energies found in power of place. ( This piece is the second section of my recent work, THE HARBOR AT DAWN. )
Lake Champlain, tuned and filtered via
software; Two layers of improvisations on electric baritone guitar performed in
real-time, with long, layered delays.)
It’s a place of power and repose: the big, wide bay beyond and before smaller bays; the water, sky, and mountains always changing-- whether the lake is calm, choppy, or wild with breaking waves; Rust-red rock cliffs and shore, pine and cypress (cedar) islands, the water changing colors and texture, ( Last week I saw it, for just a few minutes, become a luminous viridian, with shifting streaks of turquoise.) In the afternoons, spangles of sun-bright shimmer cast across from the west.
And that’s IT: motion, even in stillness--like those mountains on the other shore, layered green and blue and gray, solid and heavy nearby, or faded misty distant; sunlight finding ways through clear sky or cloudscape, in streaks, shadows, rays; gold, white, silver.
Landforms on the water: dark
; the Juniper
Island Odzihozo ( in Abenaki cosmology, the creator,
come to eternal rest and strength at the heart of this water mountain rock
world he made…. ) To an onshore perception these islands seem to
change shape, color, and position, hour by day by season. Stillness
and strength and motion. rock
Most of all today, the sounds of water, of wind, of boats; of waves, breaking against rock, hollow, resonant. Tuned to the tones and textures of power, repose.
(The sonic layers of this section are: Recordings made by the composer ,of wind, rock, and water at Oakledge on
Friday, July 26, 2013
Saturday, July 20, 2013
Afternoon Light, Lake Champlain at Blanchard Beach, Burlington, VT- Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, July 2013.
Sunday, July 14, 2013
This section of the novel is narrated by a young boat builder named Jason Sanderling. He has come to the shores of Lake Champlain during the War of 1812, engaged to help build the American fleet.
I doubt that we finished the sloop that day, though it seems that we might have. That might be too perfect a fulfillment before all went so badly wrong. I do remember that it was a hot, heavy day on the shore to begin with, still air, silent water, shirts sticking to our skins even in the shade of the pines, even in the morning; wood shavings and dust from the saw-pits adhering to our sweaty necks and backs as we worked through the day.
By afternoon, white-gray thunderclouds rose above the lines of mountains to the west across the water. They gathered, departed, gathered again, towering higher into the reaches of sky than any clouds I’d ever before seen.
A welcome breeze arrived, a surprise, in mid afternoon. And then those towering clouds moved in from the opposite shore. They covered the sun, and the sky darkened. I remember shivering–and shivering hard–when, of a sudden, the temperature dropped.
And there she was again out there, dark tattered sail on the water, that small battered sloop pushed hard by the fearsome winds on the broad lake. The sky growing even darker. The little vessel seeming to fly toward us, but a rough, tumbling sort of flight, rising on wave, falling into trough, rising, falling again, all this distant and in the eerie daytime darkness of the gathering, oncoming storm.
“God. It will be a miracle if she makes the shore…” Peaslee said quietly to me, just before the rain reached across the shoreline and found us.
That rain fell of a sudden now, in gray sheets, making a sound that was between hissing and roaring. The wall of gray soon obscured that bobbing, twisting boat out there, her rising and falling mast and sails. I said a private prayer for the deliverance of those poor souls on the water, at the mercy of that big lake and the fearsome power of summer storm. Someone called out and pointed across the water toward the curve of shore past the headland–the Cedar Cove lighthouse had been lit. I caught but one quick glimpse of that pale beacon before it, too, was swallowed in thick gray gloom. Now the rain turned to falling ice, hail the size of grapeshot. Battered by it as we ran to the sheds, holding our hats tight against the onslaught, we sought, at last, our safety. Safe inside, we were to watch and listen as, for some two hours, hail and hard rain continued to beat upon the skin of the dark, churning water, thunder rocked the sky and mountains, lightning flashed in the firmament, and the strong wind soughed in the moving treetops.
It was a young fellow from Bennington--his name I never knew-- who first noticed, then spoke, the fact that Cowper was not among our company, and that he had perhaps been somehow caught in the storm.
By early evening the fierce weather had abated, and a copper-colored calm took over the air. I walked with
down to the water’s edge. It was a shock to see how
much the strong waves had changed the shape of our strand, such were their
strength even in short duration. But our work was unharmed; small boats and
sloop all sat safe in their cradles. Butler
It was keen-eyed
who noticed the floating spar at water’s edge some
yards away. Looking to where he drew my attention, I saw also the twisted and
frayed hemp line that rode like a flayed snake on the water. Butler
We walked together toward these storm-tossed objects, and in that calm, yellowed atmosphere, something huge broke the water’s skin–the humped back of a giant lake sturgeon, the big fish as huge and ponderous, I thought to myself, as the passage of time itself, but somehow graceful, moving in its familiar watery element.
The fish disappeared beneath the water.
and I walked the shoreline. Butler
Against the rocks at the end of our small peninsula, at the edge of the creek’s mouth, sat a shape, a larger darkness than the rocks along the shore. Broken up as it was, it took a moment to recognize the vessel.
“Oh, Jesus” I said, “It’s that negro sloop. She’s in pieces.”
I remember the horrible moment when we came close, when we first saw that fallen mast, the tangled lines, the twisted, tortured sail laid like a dark blanket over the motionless bodies, and reaching from beneath that heavy, dirty canvas, a hand, frozen at the moment of grasping.
from THE LAKE OF LIVING WATER, by Kevin Macneil Brown.
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