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Omphaloskepsis Blog

In Praise of Water community painting

Jun 14, 2014


In Praise of Water

Many have sung wine.

Innumerable the poets who have lyrically ennobled their drunkenness, pledging the gods in the strong cup their soul has desired.

Most precious wine, worthy of all praise! And yet the folly and ingratitude of those among them who have spoken ill of water….

Divine limpidity, living crystal, marvelous agent of life, universal water, I shall offer you unbidden the homage of litanies without end.

I shall speak of still water, landscape’s ultimate luxury, stretching her sheets of total calm in whose pure face the reflections of all things seem more perfect than their origins, and all Nature is Narcissus and with itself in love….

Of moving water, by sweetness and violence, oozings and usings fabulously slow, by the weight of its currents and unbridled whirlpools, by fog and downpour, by streamlets, waterfalls, and cataracts, fashioning rock, polishing granite, wearing marble, interminably sphering pebbles, lulling and trailing in idle drifts and soft beaches all her finished sand. She works and alters, she shapes and adorns, the sad brutal face of callous soil.

(high quality fine art print of entire painting as below available for $45)


Of multiform water, tenant of clouds, amasser of the abyss: she lies in snow on sunlit peaks, whence issuing pure she goes by tracks she knows, blind but strangely certain down unconquerably to the ocean where she most abides.

At times, swift, slow, lucid in the light of day she chases herself with a mysterious murmur that alter suddenly into a leaping torrent’s bellowing, soon swallowed in the perpetual thunder of shuddering, dazzling falls with circlets of rainbow in their mist.

But at others steals away to travel secret, penetrative, below the earth. She searches mineral beds, picking, and winding into them by devious ways. She seeks herself in the absolute night, finds herself and is one. She pierces, rummages, dissolves, sweats through, slides down rick veins, is busy about her fantastic labyrinth in which she is never lost; and then subsides in the tombs of lakes she nourishes with long tears that set in marble columns, cathedrals of darkness venting infernal streams that breed blind fishes and shellfish older than the flood.

And in these perilous adventures what strange things water has known! …And strangely she knows them. For her substance is her memory: she picks and gathers memorials of all she has brushed against, bathed, in her course rolled — of the limestone she has scooped, the rockbeds she has smoothed, of the rich sands through which she has sunk. When she gushes into day she is charged with all powers and virtues of her traversed rocks. With her she fetches scatterings of atoms, of elements of naked energy, of bubbles of subterranean gas, at times indeed of the very heat of the molten middle earth.

And so she rises, laden with the gleanings of her way, to offer herself to the needs of life.

How not venerate this very essence of all life?  And yet how few men understand that life is no more nor less than water organized!

Consider a plan, regard a mighty tree, and you will discern that it is none other than an upright river pouring into the air of the sky. By the tree water climbs to meet light.  Of a few salts in the earth water constructs a body that is in love with the day, to the whole universe stretching and out-stretching liquid powerful arms that end in gentle hands.

Man comes to rest where there is water. What more necessary than that cool sweet nymph? The nymph and the spring stand at that holy place where life sits down and looks around her.

And here one will understand that there is also a drunkenness of water. To drink! …To drink…. Well one knows that pure thirst is quenched only in pure water. There is something exact and satisfactory in this matching of the real desire of the organism with the element of its origin. To thirst is to lack a part of oneself, and thus to dwindle into another. Then one must make good that lack, complete oneself again, by repairing to what all life demands.

The very language is filled with the praise of water. We say that we thirst for truth. We speak of a limpid discourse.  At times we burst into a torrent of words….

Time itself has drawn from the coursing of water the figures in which it presents itself.

To water be all praise!

                                    -Paul Valéry

Below are the paintings that have sold as of June 14, 2014, marked with a red dot.


Category: Painting
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