Archive for October, 2015

Poetry of Art

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

As many of you may know, in the years of my “art discouragement,” I concentrated more on writing and photography than on painting. But I did make a practice of seeking out artwork that inspired me to write poetry. I haven’t written much poetry lately, but thought you might enjoy seeing one of my efforts from that time.

The following poem was inspired by one of the most familiar paintings in the world, “La Joconde,” AKA “Mona Lisa,” by Leonardo DaVinci.

Mona Lisa
by Charlotte Mertz
as inspired by Leonardo DaVinci

O Leonardo, look at you,
Dabbing with your paints, day after day,
Specks of paint adorn your robe and face
(As if you were concerned with such).

Your eyes drift off as to a distant scene,
Ideas swirl too fast for you to catch
And tame and bring into your sense of order.
Women are like that, my friend.
Look at me. You look at me and paint my form,
But do you see the thoughts within
Or know what passions drive my heart?

When you speak at all, it’s with such depth
That I can’t fathom where your mind resides;
And when you hold your tongue,
I’m left to ponder where your passion bides.

We’re much alike, I’ve come to think;
You take yourself a bit too conscientiously
And leave me not quite comfortable.
You’re enigmatic; it seems ironic that you’re so
Intriguing to my knowledge-thirsty soul.
I sit here contemplating you
And wonder what you find so wonderful in me.


Have you ever written either poetry or prose inspired by a painting? If any of my artwork has prompted you to write creatively, I’d love to read what you have done.

Please send it by email with subject “POETRY” (even if it’s prose). If you include your name, the name of the work that inspired your writing, and a note of permission, I might even post it here in my blog. But if you’d rather not make it public, that’s okay, too.

The Value of Counterpoint

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

Last time I wrote about adjusting values to separate the planes between foreground and far distance, which helps to indicate atmospheric perspective.

I was reminded of another use of values as I worked in oils recently. I have used this same subject for several different studies, in a variety of media.  (For a variation of this subject in watercolor, see #140913w – Maritime Study in White, currently in the Landscape, Seascape, and Beaches gallery.)


In my first go at this painting of Santa Margherita Harbor (above, #150906o) I left the masts the same value from top to bottom. A friend pointed out that I’d lost an opportunity to strengthen the image by introducing counterpoint in the masts. He was absolutely right.  I had entirely overlooked it.

The painting became much more interesting when I applied the principle of counterpoint, making the masts and guywires light against the dark hills, and darker against the lighter sky, as you can see below.

150906o Santa Margherita Harbor


Again, it was a very minor change that made a lot of difference. The medium matters less than the principles we apply.