22 December 2011

Winter Solstice: Along Wing's Way

copyright (c) 2011, Sharon Edmunds
Winter Solstice: Along Wing's Way, Photo Image

Along Wing's Way,
The Sun Stands Still For Just A Moment,
To Leave Us With A Promise.


18 December 2011

Of Time And Tide

copyright (c) 2011, Sharon Edmunds
Of Time And Tide, Acrylic on Canvas, 24" x 18"

24 October 2011

Scheherazade's Moon #5

copyright (c) 2011, Sharon Edmunds
Scheherazade's Moon #5, Mixed Media on Vellum, 14" x 11"

Scheherazade's Moon. Night Number 675.

(Unframed, + S&H)

12 October 2011

Marvelous Moon Dance

copyright (c) 2011, Sharon Edmunds
Marvelous Moon Dance, Photo Image

29 September 2011

Scheherazade's Moon #4

copyright (c) 2011, Sharon Edmunds
Scheherazade's Moon #4, Mixed Media on Vellum, 14" x 11"

Scheherazade's Moon. Night Number 750.

(Unframed, + S&H)

15 September 2011

Scheherazade's Moon #3

copyright (c) 2011, Sharon Edmunds
Scheherazade's Moon #3, Mixed Media on Vellum, 14" x 11"

Scheherazade's Moon. Night Number 1.


08 September 2011

Scheherazade's Moon #2

copyright (c) 2011, Sharon Edmunds
Scheherazade's Moon #2, Mixed Media on Vellum, 14" x 11"

Scheherazade's Moon. Night Number 365.

(Framed: White Gallery Wood Frame w/White Matte: 18 1/4" x 15 1/4" x 1 1/4"; + S&H)

06 September 2011

Scheherazade's Moon

copyright (c) 2011, Sharon Edmunds
Scheherazade's Moon, Mixed Media on Vellum, 14" x 11" 

Scheherazade's Moon. Night Number 525.

(Unframed, + S&H)

24 August 2011

Beyond This Sea

copyright (c) 2011, Sharon Edmunds
Beyond This Sea, Acrylic on Canvas, 46" x 42"

Nureyev. Kirov Dancer. Summer Break. Not Swan Lake.

27 July 2011

30 June 2011

Earth Star

copyright (c) 2011, Sharon Edmunds
Earth Star, Photo Image

For many of us in the United States, tomorrow is the unofficial start of the 4th of July/Independence Day weekend. I thought I would share a star and a stripe with friends everywhere. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

16 June 2011

Rudolf Nureyev, 16 June 1961

copyright (c) 2011, Sharon Edmunds
Rudolf Nureyev, 16 June 1961, Mixed Media, 30" x 22"

Fifty years ago today, on June 16th, 1961, at Le Bourget Airport, Paris, France, Rudolf Nureyev did not board the plane waiting to take The Kirov Ballet to London. Neither did he board the plane sent to take him back to Moscow. He declared himself 'Dancer' and from then on, his true country would be 'Dance'.

I have been working on a series of paintings called 'Nureyev's World'. I realized that I wanted to do a painting to mark this anniversary. This moment has so often been referred to as 'Nureyev's Leap to Freedom'. I wasn't interested in that image as a theme.

Nureyev himself, in an interview with Patricia Foy*, for the film titled 'Nureyev' seemed very displeased with the account on record of this day. As he said, 'So, I'd been told, you have to walk very slowly - six steps exactly - and say, 'I want to stay in your country'. That's exactly what I did...no jumping, no running, no screaming.'

Whatever actually happened during those moments when Nureyev was seeking asylum in Paris, the thought that came to my mind, over and over, was all about 'Fate'. No matter how you see your life, no matter how you see what your future may hold, or how you plan for it - fate steps in. And in a heartbeat, your life is changed forever.

Once that became the theme for me, I couldn't get the idea of an image adapted from a Tarot card out of my head. I thought of three cards that might have worked, but really there was only one choice. Nureyev's moment of fate was a completion and a new beginning. He would now start building his World, his way.

* Nureyev's quote is taken from the film 'Nureyev', produced and directed by Patricia Foy (c) 1991 by Antelope Films Limited/Orfeo Films Limited, RM Associates. The DVD titled 'Nureyev' is now distributed by  EMI classics (c) 2008.

The image I used for the starting point of my painting is  'XXI - The World' Tarot card as represented by the Universal Waite deck of Tarot cards.  

08 June 2011

Altered Perspective

copyright (c) 2011, Sharon Edmunds
Altered Perspective, Photo Image

Life among the rocks.

29 May 2011

Noureev Dans Son Ballet

copyright (c) 2009, Sharon Edmunds
Noureev Dans Son Ballet, Acrylic on Arches, 30" x 22"

Back to 'Nureyev's World'.

Thanks to the audacity of Nureyev, the brilliance of Toulouse-Lautrec, and to Paris, always.

Nureyev made one of the most amazing leaps of his lifetime in Paris. For those wondering about the spelling in this title, Nureyev chose, most of his time in the West, to use the French spelling of his name: Noureev. It works beautifully in this piece.

Also, Thank You to Julie at BeingRuby for reminding me of this painting!

21 May 2011

Somewhere, South of Someplace

copyright (c) 2011, Sharon Edmunds
Somewhere, South of Someplace, Acrylic on Canvas, 14" x 11


13 May 2011

Spring's Sad Tale

copyright (c) 2011, Sharon Edmunds
Spring's Sad Tale, Photo Image

Still waiting for this most elusive season to arrive.

07 May 2011

Valiant Hyacinth

copyright (c) 2011, Sharon Edmunds
Valiant Hyacinth, Acrylic on Canvas Panel, 20" x 16"

Springtime, this year, has been unpredictable, at best. Spring. WINTER. Maybe Spring? No, Winter, still. Ah! Finally Spring!

A couple of weeks ago, I was fascinated watching a very brave hyacinth decide it had waited long enough. It sent up lovely green leaves in record time. It's stem strengthening to hold the flower buds. Then, it started to bloom. It was very brave. But winter's last stand was just too much for this valiant hyacinth.

(Unframed, + S&H)

27 April 2011

Alla Shelest: Nikiya, La Bayadere

copyright (c) 2010, Sharon Edmunds
Alla Shelest: Nikiya, La Bayadere, Acrylic on Canvas Panel, 24" x 18"

Alla Shelest was considered to be one of the most lyrically perfect, dramatically mesmerizing, and technically correct ballerinas of the Kirov Ballet. She was adored in the Soviet Union. Hardly known in the West. Sad timing. She was born in 1919, and graduated from the Leningrad Choreographic School in 1937. She became a soloist with the Kirov Ballet directly upon graduation. At that time, life for anyone in Leningrad was beyond difficult. She would be a Kirov star during the seige of Leningrad. She danced during the war years and later was included in one foreign tour with the Kirov, to London, in 1953. The Kirov's Artistic Director at this time was Konstantin Sergeyev. His wife was Natalia Dudinskaya, the Kirov's Prima Ballerina. Alla Shelest would not receive the attention her talent deserved. She would rarely be assigned Opening Night performances. And yet, when people heard that she would be scheduled to perform, lines would immediately form for tickets.

Rudolf Nureyev would graduate from the Leningrad Choreographic School in 1958 and immediately become a soloist with the Kirov Ballet. Alla Shelest was his favorite ballerina. He would not miss seeing one of her performances. He adored the lyricalness of her dancing and her gift to truly inhabit the roles she would perform. He would partner her in performances of 'Laurentia'. They would also dance 'Giselle' together. He didn't dance 'La Bayadere' with her at the Kirov. She would not be included in the 1961 Kirov Tour to Paris and London. He would make his Paris debut dancing a solo as Solor from 'La Bayadere'. The Paris audience went crazy. He was called 'The New Nijinsky'. He would not be on the plane to London. He would seek asylum in Paris. Throughout his career in the West, he would choreograph and dance 'The Kingdom of the Shades' act from 'La Bayadere' many times. He would rely on his memory of performances seen and performances danced from his time at the Kirov to reconstruct the Petipa choreography. The lyrical beauty of his choreography for Nikiya bears a resemblance to Alla Shelest's style. He would need to wait until 1992 to finally choreograph and produce his complete three act 'La Bayadere' for the Paris Opera Ballet.

18 April 2011

Nijinsky: the Golden Slave

copyright (c) 2010, Sharon Edmunds
Nijinksy: The Golden Slave, Acrylic/MM on Canvas, 20" x 16"

Vaslav Nijinsky: in costume as the Golden Slave, from the ballet 'Scheherazade'. He performed this Classical Ballet, choreographed by Fokine, with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in 1911. Parisians called him "The God of Dance". The West had never seen a dancer like him. This was at a time when Ballet was all about the Ballerina.

Nijinsky was born in Kiev, in 1889. His parents were both dancers from Poland, of Tatar decent. His father left the family when Nijinsky was eight years old. When he was nine, his mother moved to Saint-Petersburg and he started to study at the famous Imperial Theatrical School. He was a shy, introverted child, considered strange looking and exotic by both classmates and teachers. Academically, he was not a good student. He was taunted and called names. However, it was soon understood that he was an incredibly gifted dancer. His performances as a student were reviewed by the press. He graduated from school at the age of eighteen and immediately became a dancer with the Imperial Ballet - later named the Kirov Ballet and today, renamed the Mariinsky Ballet. The Prima Ballerina of the Imperial Ballet, Mathilda Kschessinska, knew that he was not only a great dancer, but also an amazing actor and would request Nijinsky as her partner. At the age of twenty, he met Diaghilev. The rest is history.

A history of celebratory highs and overwhelming lows. As a dancer, Nijinsky is a legend. As a choreographer, he was not well received in his lifetime. He was a visionary. Now it is understood that his work led the way towards the beginnings of Modern Dance. By the age of 29, his career was over. He would leave a diary of four notebooks, written by him in the six weeks prior to his being admitted to a psychiatric hospital. It would take many years for this diary to be published* in it's original form, including all four notebooks. It is his last heartbreaking statement to the world.


(*The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky (Unexpurgated Edition) Translated From The Russian by Kyril Fitzlyon, Edited By Joan Acocella, First Published in the United States (c) 1999 by Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.)

12 April 2011

The Wisdom of Jupiter's Goat

copyright (c) 2011 Sharon Edmunds
The Wisdom of Jupiter's Goat, Photo Image

Torn Between Dionysus & Apollo. One is Both. One Can Not be Both. But One Is.
Mysteries to Unravel From a Mystical Source. Who Speaks This Language? Discrete Discourse?
I have A Friend. At the Water's Edge. The Oracle. Jupiter's Goat.

03 April 2011

Death of The Temple Dancer

copyright (c) 2011 Sharon Edmunds
Death of The Temple Dancer, Acrylic on Arches, 30" x 22"

This painting was inspired by the ballet 'La Bayadere'. I am currently working on a large series of paintings and photographs titled: Nureyev's World. This is a piece from this series. The Russian Icon Trilogy is also from this series. Miles to go.

20 March 2011

Dance of Spring's Eve

copyright (c) 2011 Sharon Edmunds
Dance of Spring's Eve, Acrylic on Canvas, 18" x 14"

It is surely, absolutely, finally, and most wonderfully S P R I N G!

(Unframed, + S&H)

14 March 2011

Stravinsky & The Riotous Spring

copyright (c) 2009 Sharon Edmunds
Stravinsky & The Riotous Spring, Acrylic on Canvas, 18" x 14"

Igor Stravinsky was a wild, brilliant composer.

Vaslav Nijinsky was a visionary dancer/choreographer.

Serge Diaghilev was Diaghilev, the 'mad for beauty' man, the founder of Ballets Russes.

Diaghilev would bring these two together for the ballet called Le Sacre du Printemps / Rite of Spring. It would premiere on 29 May 1913 in Paris at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees.

During Act I, the audience started shouting - those who hated it, against those who liked it. There were fist fights in the aisles. The crowd was so noisy that the dancers couldn't hear the music. Nijinsky called out the beats. The police were called in. By the end of Act III, there was a riot.

Stravinsky would claim it was because of his music. The aggressive dissonances and complex rhythmic patterns were too new for many. The Rite of Spring would make Stravinsky internationally famous. He is now considered one of the most influential composers of the 20th Century.

Nijinsky's choreography was considered the real cause of the riot. This choreography was something that had never been experienced before. He used turn-in positions instead of Classical Ballet's turn-out stances. It was angular, rather than rounded. The main focus of dancing was from the core of the body, instead of the usual emphasis on the dancer's feet and legs. And it broke all tradition by yearning for the earth instead of the sky. Many in the audience were appalled. They did not realize that they were witnessing the foundations for the beginning of Modern Dance.

Diaghilev was very pleased with the entire event!

Diaghilev never allowed his Ballets Russes to be filmed. He thought that film technique would not capture the true performance. Until the Joffrey Ballet recreated the original Rite of Spring, using the original score, choreography, costumes and sets, in 1987, many people were left to wonder what actually happened on that stage. This is Act III:

(Uploaded by Fatovamingus,
10:00, Jan 30, 2010)

This portrait concludes my "Russian Icon Trilogy: Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, & Stravinsky"

11 March 2011

Prokofiev & The Star-Crossed Lovers

copyright (c) 2009 Sharon Edmunds
Prokofiev & The Star-Crossed Lovers, Acrylic/collage on Canvas, 18" x 14"

Sergei Prokofiev is the second portrait from my "Russian Icon" series.

His biography could have been a Tolstoy novel, a life full of starts and stops, as the world intervened.

His music was new, modernist, full of dissonant harmonies and strange time signatures. It perfectly mirrored the times he lived in: World War I, The Russian Revolution, Stalin's Reign of Terror, & World War II.

His death would be no different than the odd circumstances of much of his life. He would die in Moscow, on the same day that Stalin's death was announced to the Soviet Union. There would be no flowers available for his funeral and the music played would be on tape. The piece chosen was his "Funeral March" from the Ballet, "Romeo & Juliet".

Almost everyone knows his "Dance of the Knights" from "Romeo & Juliet". One of my absolute favorite musical pieces is his "Balcony Scene" from the same ballet.

Here is a short piece from Prokofiev's "Romeo & Juliet" that I always enjoy. A light hearted moment, right before Romeo meets Juliet:

(Uploaded by Plumbago,
2:44, May 25, 2007)

07 March 2011

Tchaikovsky & The Winged Messenger

copyright (c) 2009 Sharon Edmunds
Tchaikovsky & The Winged Messenger, Acrylic on Canvas, 18" x 14"

Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky wrote: "Undoubtedly I should have gone mad but for music. Music is indeed the most beautiful of all Heaven's gifts to humanity wandering in the darkness. Alone it calms, enlightens, and stills our souls. It is not the straw to which the drowning man clings; but a true friend, refuge and comforter, for whose sake life is worth living." *

I adore the music Tchaikovsky created. I paint to it. I dream with it. I cherish it. I get lost in his lyrical melodies and dramatic harmonies: the sublime moments of joy and the profound moments of heartbreaking longing and despair.

He was an innovative composer. His music pleased few. He was considered too modern for the West and too Western for Russia.

When Swan Lake was premiered it was not well received. He was attacked for wasting his talent by composing music for the ballet. He would go on to compose the music for The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker. He would prove his critics wrong.

He was hated & loved, loved & hated, & loved again.

He would work.

He created 6 Symphonies, 7 for those who count Manfred; 10 Operas, including Eugene Onegin and Pique Dame; 3 Ballets; Orchestral Suites; Works for Orchestra, including Serenade in C for String Orchestra, The 1812 Overture, and The Tempest; Solo & Chamber Music, including The Seasons and Souvenir d'un Lieu Cher; and Concerti & Concert Pieces, including Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, and Violin Concerto in D major.

He created a world full of beautiful gifts.

One of my favorite pieces: Tchaikovsky, Swan Lake, Act 1, Waltz.

(Uploaded by Marlestor,
6:55, Feb. 19, 2010)

*The Tchaikovsky quote above: from a letter to Nadezhda von Meck on 23 Nov/5 Dec 1877. "The Life & Letters of Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" by Rosa Newmarch (c) 1905 reprinted 2004. The quote info was found at http://www.tchaikovsky-research.net/ a fantastic place for all things Tchaikovsky.

28 February 2011

Song of Time

Why? When there is a moment I wish would last forever - it's gone in a heartbeat.
Why? When there is a moment I feel will be impossible to endure for another second - it lasts forever.

TIME is a trickster: can amuse itself, is eternal.

February 28th always makes me stop and think about things that are always changing, and even when changing, remain the same.

February, the month with 28 days. A full cycle of the moon. A month, that in the Northern Hemisphere is deep winter, is cold, is very dark, as it begins. A month that seems to understand that the nicest thing it can do is to be short and sweetly leave us with a real promise of light to come.

copyright (c) 2009 Sharon Edmunds
Song of Time, Acrylic on Canvas, 14" x 11"

(Unframed, + S&H)

26 February 2011

Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?

Where do we come from?
At the age of seven I knew.
I stood in front of Claude Monet's "Poppy Field in a Hollow near Giverny".
My journey began.

What Are We?
At the age of fifteen, I fell in love with Gauguin. Then with Picasso and Klee and Chagall. By the age of seventeen, I had fallen in love so many times I stopped counting. I had found my Tribe.

Where Are We Going?
Sometimes backward, sometimes forward, sometimes sideways, always onward. Always on the path.

copyright (c) 2004 Sharon Edmunds
Morocco Rose, Acrylic on Canvas, 12" x 9"

To All Who Journey!

(Unframed, + S&H)

This Post Title is borrowed from Gauguin.