Sunday, March 1, 2015

Lent in the Aeolian Mode

Aeolian Arch, 7 x 5", watercolor/Neocolor II
Every Lent, I like to read The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, preferably reading from the worn copy that belonged to my mother and still has her special page marker attached. The Secret Garden is the perfect story for Lent, or winter leading into spring for that matter. It starts with death and winter. Nature and humble humanity work wonders and the old, dead, matted detritus of garden and heart are pruned away to allow Spring to slowly, but surely bloom. It is the ultimate redemption story--my favorite kind.
    I also like to watch the l993 movie by Agnieszka Holland. At one point, the cook belts out Greensleeves as she rolls out her piecrust. Her song carries out of the house and echoes across the moor where Mary Lennox is warming to the idea of life. In her book, Modal Musings, Joanna Mell cites Greensleeves as the classic Aeolian tune. It occurs to me that the message of The Secret Garden is also of the Aeolian mode. It alternates minor and major chords to come to an "introspective, plaintive and hauntingly beautiful" truth.
   My painting here was inspired by scenes in the movie. I have layered minor and major chords in the landscape to make an Aeolian composition. Spring is coming!

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