A World in a Grain of Sand: Thomas Sarrantonio

New York painter Thomas Sarrantonio sometimes paints sweeping expanses of land or cloudscapes, but in keeping with my current theme of work that focuses the little things in life, here are three paintings of patches of grass. I find this work simply lovely.

12" x 12" oil on wood panel 2012

 12" x 12" oil on wood panel 2012

 12" x 12" oil on wood panel 2009

Grass. A seemingly trivial subject that when painted right is seen as complex and beautiful. As far as being trivial- well, perhaps it isn't so inconsequential:

by Carl Sandburg

Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work—
                                            I am the grass; I cover all.

And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
                                           What place is this?
                                           Where are we now?

                                           I am the grass.
                                           Let me work.


  1. Beautifully put-together post. When I think of Carl Sandburg I always remember the one I heard first as a teenager: Someday they'll give a war and nobody will come. The grasses are quite delicate. I am especially fond of the second one.

  2. Thanks Kim. I just had to look up the quote you mention- from Sandburg's "The People, Yes" 1936

    “The first world war came and its cost was laid on the people.
    The second world war — the third — what will be the cost.
    And will it repay the people for what they pay?...
    The little girl saw her first troop parade and asked,
    ‘What are those?’
    ‘What are soldiers?’
    ‘They are for war. They fight and each tries to kill as many of the other side as he can.’
    The girl held still and studied.
    ‘Do you know ... I know something?’
    ‘Yes, what is it you know?’
    ‘Sometime they’ll give a war and nobody will come.’

  3. I could stare at these paintings for hours. Beautiful post, Taryn.

  4. Really nice Tom. Very different than the last time I saw your work, which paintings I believe were of the Badlands. These remind me of something Andrew Wyeth said about one of his paintings (they don't remind me of his painting), that he was trying to capture the things we don't notice, the things we step on without looking. Really lovely paintings.
    Doug Ferrin


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