Sunday, March 25, 2012


When do you choose to describe a subject in writing, and when do you choose to paint it? For me, the answer lies in the fact that the brain allows you to absorb a picture all at once, but a story--word by word. So when the subject at hand is too overwhelming, when words fail me, this is when I pick up my paintbrush.

Then, when I finish a painting, sometimes even before the last brushstroke, I am much too eager to take a picture of it and share it with you, which results in a compromised image: the oil paint is still wet and reflects light to the camera in unintended ways. So this morning I went back to my Earthquake painting, which I finished last summer, to see if I can take a better picture than the one posted on my website.

This painting was inspired by watching the earthquake in Haiti. 
And now, with permission of the poet, here is a poem by my friend Michele Harvey, inspired by the experience of an earthquake in Chile.

After The Earthquake in Chile

by Michele Harvey
First published in Wazee Journal, June 30, 2010
Copyright © 2012 by Michele Harvey - All rights reserved

This necessary fading; shattered husk of chrysalis,
fiery evening patches of melon sun
I pass along cracked alleyways, hollowed by rubble,
torn from my homeless city
Where wind wears the glowing scent of burning decay,
an empty pot boils over a flame that grows from the ground
Earth jerked apart, I free-fell from an elevator
5 stories down, enter bargaining sessions with a furious God
On the broken earth of doubt, in a cloud of Spanish
I am just beginning to understand
We huddled till dawn showed treasure to all who remained;
in the end we have only ourselves, only each other


  1. Great painting! You are a very talented artist.

    1. Thank you Tirza!

      The tool I used to apply the oil paint here is a credit card, which is quite versatile having sharp edges and points, and being somewhat flexible. It created a variety of textures and at the same time, was destroyed as a buying method.

  2. What a neat explanation of the difference between writing and painting.

  3. Hi Uvi,
    I love your painting. I must mention that I was living in Chile during the 2010 earthquake which measured 8.8. This was my first earthquake experience. Afterwards, I wrote a poem which is a fictionalized account of the earthquake and it was published in The Wazee Journal. Here's a link to share:
    Thanks - Also, your post made me think of the writing exercise where one first draws a picture and then writes a poem based on the drawing.
    Michele Harvey
    Poet at Living

  4. Thank you Michele for writing to me. I read your poem, and it touched me deeply, it made me feel that I am wandering across the shattered earth, still dazed like you, in the aftermath of disaster. Thank you for sharing it. I was inspired to paint Earthquake after the disaster in Haiti.

  5. Great painting! Great poetry!

    Well explained difference between words and brush. Amazing Artists Both!

    Even a thinnest reminder of natural calamity is very sad. This reminded the worst ever earthquake in the history Gujarat, India in 2001.

    1. Thank you Aniruddha, yes, even the thinnest reminder can touch a raw nerve... So well put. All the best to you and yours!