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Showing posts with the label Metamorphoses

Cygnus at Vashon's Holiday Art Studio Tour

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Cygnus is among the most recognizable and brightest constellations in the Northern sky from June to December. Look up. Of course those are heavenly wings spread; a beak and tail! Yes, I see a swan!

According to Ovid, Cygnus was a close friend, maybe lover, of Phaethon.Phaethon died (by his grandfather Zeus’s lightening bolt) when he recklessly scorched the earth while driving the family’s (Sun) chariot. Poor Cygnus’s grief for his beloved transformed him into a swan fearful of fire from heaven and so he chose to live in damp marshes, lakes and rivers. “As he mourned, his voice became thin and shrill, and white feathers hid his hair. His neck grew long, stretching out from his breast, his fingers reddened and a membrane joined them together. Wings clothed his sides, and a blunt beak fastened on his mouth. Cygnus became a new kind of bird: but he put no trust in the skies, or in Zeus, for he remembered how that god had unjustly hurled his flaming bolt. Instead, Cygnus looked for marshes a…

Cygnus

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Horizon and sky are the most memorable characteristics of the midwestern landscape I was born to. I suspect the knowledge my father shared with me and with my siblings, lying on our backs in the buffalo grass of our grandparent’s Kansas farm and gazing up through night binoculars, predated his studies at Denver University, Colorado and Hays College, Kansas in the 1950’s and 60’s.Wherever, whenever, his knowledge came from, his passion for stargazing is memorable and has inspired my Rust Monotype “Cygnus”. My Father, Dale Fisher, was born April 20, 1913 into a world of kerosene and candles, well before manmade light and the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 dimmed his world to the heavens. My dad’s perspective about sky included a classical explanation of the constellations, lay observation of the stars/planets and an avid curiosity about the physical world that caused him to call his family outside to witness sputnik traversing the night sky. His is the voice that conjured the stories o…

Daedalus and Icarus

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Ovid, Metamorphoses, VIII, translated by Frank Justus Miller

...Daedalus, hating Crete and his long exile, and longing to see his native land, was shut in by the sea. "Though he may block escape by land and water," he said, "yet the sky is open, and by that way I will go. Though Minos rules over all, he does not rule the air." So saying, he sets his mind at work upon unknown arts, and changes the laws of nature. For he lays feathers in order, beginning at the smallest, short next to long, so you would think they had grown on a slope. Just so the old-fashioned rustic pan-pipes with their unequal reeds rise one above another. Then he fastened the feathers together with twine and wax at the middle and bottom; and, thus arranged, he bent them with a gentle curve, so that they looked like real birds' wings.

His son, Icarus, was standing by and, little knowing that he was handling his own peril, with gleeful face would now catch at the feathers which some passing bre…