Online is deeply honored to have been selected as the recipient of the
David Blum estate collection of digital images and text of "Pictures
from the Unconscious" which we unveil in this June, 2013 edition of
ARAS Connections.This body of work is an amazing achievement of the
human imagination and spirit which requires multiple visits to take in
its many wonders. Each viewer will find his or her own favorites from
this extraordinary human document. For instance, I am particularly
taken by the images and reflections on time that occurred near the end
of David's life which I find to be stunning, provocative and
metaphysical. The brilliant colors and composition of Blum's intensely
personal yet highly sophisticated images constitute a treasure of which
ARAS Online has been chosen to be guardian. Putting this material into
such a handsome format that honors the numinosity of Blum's creation is
the handiwork of Allison Tuzo who continually amazes us at ARAS Online
with the intelligence, patience, respect and skill with which she
designs ARAS Connections.
Related to the notion of treasure, we would like to invite all of our
readers to make suggestions for articles that they would like to see
included in our growing ARAS Online Library. We have made it a goal of
ARAS Online to gather one of the world's finest collections of
digitized articles on the relationship between image, symbol, culture,
and psyche. Please pass on to us the names of any articles that you
have read and come to love as a treasure of the human psyche in its
capacity to symbolize in imagery the deepest levels of human
experience. You can send your suggestions to email@example.com
Tom Singer, M.D.
Co-Chair of ARAS Online for National ARAS
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from the Unconscious
The Dachshund Quartet (1995) by David
Oil pastel on paper, 17.5 x 23.5 inches
Beethoven's String Quartet in B flat
Opus 130, IV. Alla Danza Tedesca,
Performed by the Guarneri String Quartet
David Blum was a distinguished musician and writer,
who documented his singular, inner journey in dream images, text, and
music, over a thirty-five year period.
The forty-four exquisite digital reproductions of the original oil
pastel paintings, are each accompanied by a rich and penetrating
commentary, derived from the following primary sources: David Blum's
unpublished "Pictures from the Unconscious," personal diaries, dream
journals, and the DVD documentary, entitled "Appointment with The Wise Old
produced in 1998, when David Blum was dying from cancer. Image and text
reveal an unfolding story of a man's path towards wholeness, in which
he faces death, yet experiences a healing transformation. David Blum's
"Pictures from the Unconscious" should serve as a deep well for all of
us, inspiring and guiding our own search for wisdom as often as we
choose to drink from its rich source.
INTRODUCTION BY DAVID BLUM
My collection of paintings represent a lifetime encounter with the
pictorial language offered to me by the unconscious. In a sense, I have
been a kind of scribe these past thirty-five years whose medium has
been pastel oil crayons. Some of the imagery has come from dreams, some
from waking visions. The first of these forty-four paintings, "The
Symphony," refers back to a 1953 dream I had in Paris when I was
seventeen years old. This dream proved to be foundational to my life
and all that has followed flows from that central experience.
The continual challenge was how to structure the material while not
impeding the flow. The archetypal nature of much of the collection
renders a strictly chronological order quite meaningless and arbitrary
-- the inner world is far too rich and replete with nuanced meaning to
be neatly categorized. A principle example are the paintings relating
to the Anima -- I should say, inspired by this central archetype -- as
if she herself drew these powerful convergences of God, Nature and the
on-going effort of the psyche to achieve balance through a union of
In my writing there are undoubtedly limitations imposed through the
one-sidedness of my conscious attitude. My commentaries are only a hint
at the meaning contained in the images and certainly not definitive
interpretations. I cannot explain the images....rather they explain me.
My conscious words act, at best, as a bridge to an ever deeper
realization of the transformative power of the psyche. The images are
greater than I am. They suggest immense cycles of psychic life which
pass through me and demand to be recorded and assimilated.
I am sitting on the porch of an old farmhouse in Upstate New York,
reflecting on how the land, mountains, trees, and sea are a vernacular
of nature that always inspires. If I were a painter, I sometimes say
with a smile…only because I am a poet and like many of you, I do
And we are delighted that there are so many of you who paint with words as
we received your latest
poems–inspired through the Ekphrasis form. For
this newsletter, we have a special image of Monet’s Cliff Walk at
Pourville, and a poem entitled, Monet
at Normandy, The Cliff Walk Pourville. This was sent to me
in a wonderful email and I was impressed by how the poem captures the
essence of the natural beauty of that place and how the writer honors
the Ekphrasis form notably. The writer uses the inherent tension
between describing the image through the "gaze" and being part of it. I
couldn't wait to share it with all of you here as a preview to our
current Invite to Write.
at Normandy, The Cliff Walk Pourville
by Eldon Beck
two young women
in wind-whipped white
dress draped with grey
midst golden turmoil of flowers and grasses
on the shear bluff above
the white capped sea
what do I see
hiding in splashes of paint
within the joy of creation
a vision that compels
feel the wind, smell the salty air, see/sea forever
stirs the garden inside me
memoires of Viking past
mind and soul fly free
how does paint
touch so deeply
cause a search through crowded years
to my past and future
in this moment
In our continued journey through the Portal and in writing and
appreciating poetry, I often reflect on the guidance of my teachers and
mentors. Like any art form, poems that inspire and speak to us can be
quite subjective, yet, there are those lines in poems that have a
universal quality, poems that touch us all. The qualities of poetry
that have this appeal often show the craft of word song by expressing
what the writer sees. At the same time, poems that illuminate some
subtle essence of the writer’s emotion or psyche have great appeal, as
we can feel that energy. This poem is also noteworthy because it has
two vital attributes that my teachers encourage: the use of simple
words that provide enough space to draw us to deeper places, and the
sound of the poem, when read aloud, flows from the lips like a song.
There are some wonderful lines in this poem that demonstrate these
in wind-whipped white
dresses draped with grey
When read aloud these lines give
an echo that great poems resonate from the soul. The use of
alliteration in poetry is tricky, but he pulls it off.
Then we have the invitation in the line:
feel the wind, smell the salty air,
and see/sea forever
This invitation brings us into the poem, but also into greater intimacy
with the writer which comes after the juxtaposition of what the women
see and what he sees. The sea-like ebb and flow of his verse from the
outer to the inner place, is a subtle but most effective and lovely
stirs the garden inside me
memories of Viking past
The use of the one-word line
"arouses" is poignant, well-placed and adds to motion, the sway and
then the rest or pause that is natural to a poem's breath. I love those
lines and entering the garden in poetry is always an adventure and this
invitation does not disappoint with its hint of the warrior archetype.
When we come to the "turn" in the last stanza, which is given in a
reflective question, the same wavy sea motion brings us back from the
past to the future, from the inner to the outer. The second to the last
sentence ending with a one-word line, is sublime to the place and
intimate proximity between the poem and image.
Now—it is our turn to walk the cliffs of Pourville. We send this Invite
to Write with hopes that you too will bask in the scenery. I look
forward to reading your poems! Please send them by August 15th.