Friday, March 12, 2010

The Twentieth Century's Blake

Many visitors to Andalusia are surprised to learn that in addition to raising exotic birds, Flannery O'Connor also enjoyed painting. During the time that the O'Connor's lived here, many of Flannery's paintings adorned the walls. We all know what a great literary talent Flannery O'Connor possessed, but she was also a gifted visual artist. Like a twentieth-century William Blake, O'Connor's creativity could not be contained by only one medium. The natural beauty of Andalusia ignited her artistic imagination. In a letter from fifty years ago to her friend Maryat Lee, O'Connor describes the frustration of being sick in bed and not being able to get up to do a painting of the gently falling snow outside her window. "Today it is snowing here & were I not confined to my bed taking two-toned pills I would be painting a snow scene. This would be appropriate as I have this large tube of white and snow is white. On this truth, I will leave you." (Habit of Being p. 378)

March in Georgia can be a mixed bag. While it may have been snowing on that Friday half a century ago, today it is warm enough to be in shirtsleeves. Rain is expected in the afternoon, however, so I must close and feed the peafowl before it pours.


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