“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

3.30.2009

Moving into Art: Stillness & Space

A so-still tree.
Space to breathe.
That quietness.

I feel myself sliding into art mode, watching my half-filled canvases for clues, laying awake in the darkness listening for their whispers, half-hoping that when I awake they will be finished - completed by art-elves or fairies who have snuck in during the night, brushes in hand, knowing the direction I want to take. I sit & stare at these canvases, even the just gessoed ones - I watch how the shadows move across the textures I have chosen, looking for a sign, waiting for that moment of magical knowledge, when the painting reveals itself to me & I know how to proceed. I read notes to myself found in the bottom of my purse, where several small journals reside, and I am surprised to find that a few words jotted down 2 years ago suddenly make things clearer. I find that I am still interested in stillness, but the stillness surrounding actions, big or small. I find I am interested in the suggestions of things or people or events, rather than the things themselves. I feel myself pulling in to myself, preparing, knowing it will come, that I cannot stop it, that I don't want to stop it. I turn inward, going through my day noticing small things, small feelings, the touch of a windblown flower petal as it careens past, the shadow of a bird's wing. I study the trees and find them watching me in return. I remember the hawk flying fast & low across our path, golden red feathers shining in the sunlight, silhouettes of trees dark behind his flight, then the light sky, then dark, then light, then dark again & he is gone - disappeared into, part of that darkness. It all seems important. It all is important.

I must pay attention.
Then my brush will know what to do,
and my fingers will choose the perfect colors.
I must pay attention.
But not too much.

3.29.2009

What Will Be?

Que sera sera.

Yesterday we played those games - you know, those girl games, those silly ones, the ones where you ask what will be. Will I move? Will I marry? Will I ever be a real writer? Or am I a painter? Will I find a house with studio space that I can afford? The Faery Tarot, the Angel Board, finding our Life Colors - I am crystal/indigo, and apparently a healer of some sort according to all 3 games. And I must tell you, this fits in so well with a secret, secret fantasy I have, one that I have told to only Christy & Cookie, and years ago, partly to Katie - she is face to face and therefore more embarrassing to tell silly dreams to - a fantasy that has little to do with (actually nothing to do with) the laying on of my hands, but does have to do with bringing joy & magic & peace to others - peace as I see it, joy as I see it, magic as I see it. A fantasy that requires more money than I have, but one that stays in the back of my head every time I see an empty building, zoned commercial. Perhaps I can live there, I think, and work on my fantasy, and I ask the price & laugh & walk away, but you never know. You never know. But I feel it in my heart & belly almost as sure as I felt that he was the one when I met the ever-wonderful Michael. It requires space, and it will require certain colors, and certain music, and I swear it makes me happy just thinking about it as I type these words. Perhaps it will just be my house when I find one. Because change is in the air - I can feel that also. The energy is beginning to move around me; I can't explain it, but I feel it. Good change. Positive change. Like today - waking up to bright, bright sunlight when all there has been is rain & cold. Yes, cold. In the 30s at night & windy, wet & miserable all day. But today? The 70s I think - I look outside & am blinded; the sunshine is reflecting silver & white in the mirror by the front door, and on Katie's white car parked outside. The wind has stopped for a bit - the wisteria is still, the monkey grass asleep, drowsing.

I, however, feel like moving.
Time to stir, to get up, to walk into the sunshine.
Later, painting.
what will be, will be

3.27.2009

3 Years of Purrs, Minus 1 Day

She has been with us 3 years today.

She was oh-so-terrified that first day, tore around my office, knocked down an antique screen door I had propped against the wall - an expensive one, I might add. That perfect shade of green, tall & arched, quite, quite lovely. Down it came, breaking into pieces. We will fix it, the ever-wonderful Michael & I said to each other, but we haven't - it's still propped against a wall in another room, in 2 big sections with all its little pieces & parts stacked around it. We will fix it eventually, but it doesn't matter. She mattered. She hid everywhere, eventually settling in the very far back room, under piles & piles of photo props & behind an old paper processor. No way to entice her out. It left me in tears, mad at Michael for bringing her here, heartbroken at her fear. That night I came back, and one by one removed the props I could lift, finally reaching her, finally dragging her out, finally holding her, finally calming her down a wee bit. We sat together, heartbeat against heartbeat, until she was hungry. At last. I left her in Michael's office, with all her necessities - food, water, litter box - and she was there the next morning, happy to see me.

And so we began. I come to work every morning & she runs into the hallway & flops over on her back, waiting for belly rubs, exactly the way Maggie waits for me in the driveway at home at the end of the day. She is fat now, and happy, and behind me on her chair as I type these words. If I come in to work at night, she is thrilled to see me, more than willing to keep me company, wanting attention, plopping on piles of photos I am checking. She has never damaged one. She is the perfect photo cat.

Happy Anniversary Lily.

She is purring.

3.26.2009

Pieces of Paintings

A tease of paintings.

Horizons & skies & parts to be painted over, but these are only the beginnings. I am unsure of that candy cane furl on the far right, inspired by a fern, and it will probably go, but for now I am looking & thinking. The thing I probably should not do at all - I should just paint over the silly thing & continue on. But first there are more canvases to be prepared, which requires little thinking & much messiness, and in between I will keep adding to these backgrounds, thinking about them - I have an idea for this show, but I am agonizing, scared no one will like anything. But I keep working & not thinking & working & thinking anyway. There is the postcard announcement to be designed, but that requires actual finished paintings, so I just keep that in the back of my head, thinking, thinking, thinking. Paper is on its way - no, not the missing order; I placed a 2nd order, which was shipped the very next day - and my head is full of chairs & trees & birds & horizons. New horizons. Old landscapes. Sitting.

But I am painting.
One step at a time.
I am scared, but I am happy.

3.25.2009

Walking on Flowers


Overlooking the creek. The front yard.

I am so enchanted by flowers that fall to the ground.
I'm sure you've noticed.

But, oh! How wonderful it feels to wade through ankle-deep wisteria blossoms, to see a cat sleepily nestled among red camellias. And when the wind-blown blooms fall from the sky like rain, how very much it feels like standing in a fairy-tale snow globe. Street curbs are full of yellow flowers that smell like candy, and piled to the brim with wisteria and pink & white dogwood & leftover gifts from tulip trees. It rained hard yesterday, but still there are these mounds of flowers - that's how covered we are. Azaleas of all colors surround me, but I am in love with the ground around them - white & magenta & bubble gum pink & pale baby-girl pink, the stamens pink & white ribbons with which to wrap these gifts. There is nothing quite like walking through our unmowed yard, the almost knee-high yellow blossoms of weeds brushing against my legs as I take the trash to the backyard (we have been busy & the mower is broken), the dripping wisteria hanging low, caressing my face, leaving purple petals stuck to my cheeks, the wet leaves of the pear tree licking my arms; it is a tight fit around the spiral staircase. The backyard is a sea of lavender, with bluebonnets pushing up through the grass - we are such lazy gardeners & what will be, will be.

I remember the last words I whispered to Mary,
that last day she seemed to understand things.
The hearing is the last to go, they said,
and so I talked.
The tulip trees had just bloomed,
and pink blossoms littered the ground.
We are walking on flowers, I told her.
And soon, she was too.
Mary - Charlie is fine, we are fine - but we miss you.

3.24.2009

Last year's springtime

Mary's side yard - 2008

It's where I found the Easter egg bush this weekend,
tucked up under the birdhouse.

This year there is almost no wisteria.
At least not yet.
I'm sure it's coming soon.
and we will hide Easter eggs beneath it & in it

3.23.2009

Stillness. Please.

I have no idea what this is,
but I think it's an Easter egg bush.

I found it while photographing azaleas this past weekend, which I just cannot do. I try - I really do - but they just look like azaleas, and for some reason, through the camera is just not the same as being in their midst, blossoms surrounding you, and I just can't get there. The images just look oh-so-boring. But the bush pictured above made me so happy, just teeming with these teeny candy eggs/grapes/berries dangling on those red, red limbs. I needed a little cheer - it's been one of those weeks for a couple of weeks now. I am still without a vehicle, listening to excuses from the dealership who will not replace a warranted part, still walking to work - okay until today, when storms are hovering overhead, and the only rental car I could find was a truck at 70 something dollars per day, and I had to call my mother and borrow her car. I am still without paper - I apologize to those of you who read my rant yesterday, but, truly, I was so frustrated; I removed the post later - it's not the kind of thing I want hanging around my blog - and the paper company will not even return a call or email; I have called & called & emailed & emailed, and despite the fact that they took my money 3 weeks ago, despite the fact that the order has never been shipped, despite the fact that they are usually a wonderful company, they just will not respond to me, and I am low on paper, working on this upcoming art show, and have gone from nice to not-so. And while I was typing that sentence, ABC's Good Morning America on in the background, their weather guy actually mentioned my town as a likely place for a tornado today - anywhere from here to Little Rock. I will not let this upset me, but we have to move my Jeep today, have to get it onto a car carrier using a "come-along" - I just love that term - but please, I am thinking, let it not be raining, let the wind be still.

That's what I want in my Easter basket.
Stillness. Quiet.
A car that starts.
A heart that stays calm.
Beautiful eggs.
And my paper.

3.20.2009

Passions Abound

It is Relyn's Month of Passions.
An inspired idea.
A whole month of personal passions,
shared by herself & others in the blogging world,
including me!!!

But first. Those wonderful others so far:

Adventures:
"I could describe the magical moonlight on a balcony overlooking the Nile . "

Photography:
"So I had an affair with my camera...."
from Beth at Be Yourself - Everyone Else is Taken

Encouragment:
"The next time you buy yourself a candy bar, buy one for a co-worker.
Leave it on their desk with a smiley face post it note."

Travel:
" . . .every few years I just have a need to touch a 700-year-old building . . ."

Words:
"Say love, come over here, called Rumi off a shelf one day in the West Indies.
Say huh, I thought.
I will translate for you, the book promised."
from Christina at Soul Aperture

Treasure Hunting:
"We had a big box at home filled with "treasures"
that were usually dollar store items
which meant nothing to us except "I found it". "
from Leslye & Taylor of Spread Your Wings

Art Museums:
"One glimpse of a Pissaro landscape, and I was in love."
from Relyn

Everyday Blessings:
"I want to remember the smell of simmering plum jelly
in my grandmother's kitchen,
her apron tied tight,
and Johnny Cash on the radio."
from Stefani of Blue Yonder
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today is my turn,
the first day of spring.
You can find me here.
A Passion for Possibilities.
please visit & tell me what you think
and tell Relyn thanks for such a wonderful month with more to come

3.18.2009

Blue loop-de-loop

Oh, these lights.

They are there still, following the spiral staircase up & up, all the way up, and each day they are different - the plants behind them change colors, the sky is different, the trees have new leaves, and the lights are ever changing against these new backdrops. It is almost as if they have inhaled a giant breath and come alive, but of course they were alive all the time - it is just their new springtime outfits that make them seem so different.

We have new neighbors on this side of the house, new neighbors who are renovating and hammering and tearing out walls, and they are there into the night, all windows open, facing Katie's blue lights, and I wonder what they think, but truly, I care not. It was an inspired moment - that moment when Katie decided to leave the lights up. When she is not yet home, I turn the lights on so they will greet her as she comes down the street. It is my way of saying thank you for this gift, for this wonderfulness of watching these lights against the springtime sky. It is my way of saying how wonderful they were against the white pear tree blossoms while the blossoms were still on the tree, and how beautifully blue the fallen blossoms were at night. Now the wisteria is behind them as I round the corner, lavender drops framing the blue, and the redbud tree's magenta blooms. When I stop below the stairs, the sky is the background- blue/white in this image, but the summertime will bring a deeper blue sky, and sunsets later in the evening, and fireflies.

These lights are a celebration.
Blue loops of happiness,
like the flight of drunken birds
traced against the sky.

3.17.2009

Play

My the-first-time-ever-I-walked-to-work-shoes.

The green flip-flop soles for St. Patrick's Day, the skirt for me to be playful in, and it only took ½ hour to get here, but this is Texas, y'all - we drive! But I am vehicle-less today, and decided the weather was just fine, a bit foggy when I set out, but I've always wanted to know how long it would take me to walk it, and it was not too bad. I saw mounted heads-o-Buddhas on display at a white house with a porch that went all the way around it & made me quite jealous that it wasn't mine, I followed ever-so-convenient pale aqua arrows spray-painted on the streets, pointing exactly in my direction, I was accompanied by a black & tan pit bull for part of the trek, I saw wisteria blooming all lavender & purple & no doubt in places where it wasn't meant to be, but you know how wisteria is, and I saw azaleas bursting out all pink & magenta & white & I promised myself that this year I will do the tourist thing & take pictures of the Azalea Trail - I live right in the middle of the whole shebang, in the house-with-no-azaleas, just ½ block from young girls dressed as Southern Belles, but I never take pictures, but like I said, I talked myself into it.

I am still painting, and it is quite hopeless at the moment, but I have faith that that will change. I keep plugging away, slathering on gel & paint & paper & gesso & more gel, and soon it will come together - I know this in my heart - but truly, right now, it looks quite pathetic and sad, and the canvases are wondering what on earth I am doing to them.

I tell them I am playing.
I am unfurling. :)
in my artist skirt :)

3.16.2009

Frank & Alice

There is a phone number also.

I've blurred it, but it's written as drunkenly as the rest of the note. I have resisted calling Alice, resisted seeing if she's still there. I hope he called. I hope they fell madly in love & got married.

Perhaps they are on their honeymoon right this very minute.
what story do you see?

3.15.2009

New flowers, art & the fear of entrapment

The last of the camellias.

Another early Sunday morning,
awake before daylight.

My head is full of pictures and words and fear and wondering how on earth I will get these paintings actually completed before the June art show. My old fear of entrapment is rearing its ugly head & I am wondering why I actually thought I could do this, and running away seems like the perfect solution. I agonize with each brushstroke - no one will want this, I think, who am I kidding? - and then I think but this is for me, and I must do it for me, and if someone likes it, how wonderful, and then but what if no one does? Why this constant chatter with myself, why this insecurity, why this worry? Just paint, I think, just paint, just breathe into each stroke of the brush. These pieces are about quietness, about stillness, about small moments - I must hold the brush with stillness & quiet, I must be still & quiet within myself. It must be about this moment, the one right now, the moment I am touching this canvas - not about the moment 3 months from now, when it will be hanging on a wall with its brothers & sisters, and after all, I don't want it to be hanging on that wall with timidity - I want it to hang proudly & look its viewers in the eye.

One month ago exactly - an early Sunday morning - I was across the street saying goodbye too late to Mary. She was already gone. Today she would laugh at me, tell me to stop it, just paint, to look at the beauty of the dogwoods, of the azaleas, of that grape hyacinth that has appeared in her garden unexpectedly. She would point out that there is always change, and that right now is what I have. I am not the camellias, she would say. I am still blooming.

I let the old blossoms fall,
and new flowers take their place.
it is sometimes so painful

3.14.2009

Whispering to Trees

Maggie under the tulip tree.

The sparkle of approaching spring. Hidden these past 3 days behind a curtain of rain & cold, cold weather. Totally unfair of spring to show herself - don't you think of spring as a her? - and then disappear for a bit, but she has done just that, leaving me to prowl through images taken a bit earlier in the year, looking for evidence that she was here. All the blossoms from this little tree are long gone, but there is a white white white dogwood across the street that is absolutely shameless in its beauty, drooping quite gracefully across the creek, and I have vowed to take its portrait as soon as the rain allows. I tried last year to capture it, but failed quite miserably, and I may fail again, but I may not, and that possibility is enough to make me put on black rubber boots and slog through leftover leaves & wet wet just-blooming azaleas and whisper sweet nothings across the water, for the lovely dogwood of which I speak lives behind a fence and I am too shy to ask permission to enter. Although perhaps I will. Perhaps the rain will move away and I will see the tree's keepers and I will find bravery within myself and I will just ask. We wave at each other, these people and I, and yet my shyness holds me back. Perhaps the dogwood is purposely enticing me, wanting me to cross the creek, wanting me close - perhaps the fallen flowers of the tulip tree have skipped across the street and whispered their own sweet nothings to the dogwood, but perhaps their sweet nothings were sweet somethings, and perhaps those sweet somethings have tempted the dogwood to tempt me. It is working. I am tempted.

It will be a weekend of art, of putting paper & paint on canvas. I have a one-night art show scheduled in June, and I am working on a series of paintings - shimmery paintings, paintings about stillness, about quiet, perhaps about whispering to trees. Perhaps about the whispers I get back from the trees. Perhaps I will include the rain.

I will.
let it rain all over me . . .

3.13.2009

Satori

Katie's painting.
About 4½ feet square.
Commissioned a couple of years ago.

Full of painted over dreams
&
hearts in the background.

But that ball!
Oh!
It drives people crazy!
Disturbing, they say.
Interesting, they say.
What does it mean? they say.

But oh so perfect for her Pilates studio, I thought.
So agile, so loose,
so open.

But still.
That ball.
So bothersome.



so bothersome :)

3.10.2009

Saturday Night Ghost


Something calmer today.

I even chose the image with a lot of empty space, or at least empty-ish space, over a close-up shot of these wonderful little popcorn flowers, because it feels calmer. The fence across the street seems to stagger under the weight of these little blossoms - I don't know their real name.


I saw a ghost Saturday night.

Or an angel. Or just some mist in the road. You decide.

It was time to see Charlie home. He is still living in Mary's house, trying to figure out his new life, wanting to live with me, but there is a already a cat in my house, and she will have none of it. So Charlie comes & goes, and makes overtures to her - I expect him to bring bouquets anyday; he is quite Cary Grant-like, dressed in a tux, elegant to the nth degree.


I'd left the glass door open Saturday night - no barrier for Charlie to feel - and he'd visited in & out, been petted & sweet-talked to by the lovely, lovely Katie, and growled at by the aggravated Maggie, and meandered here & there in the yard. Then, as I mentioned before, came the time to see him home, Katie off to her place & just he & I & the night.

There is something about my neighborhood at night. Something happens. The wind stirs, birds settle, owls awaken - something blows in. Saturday night it may have been a ghost. For there it was, in the middle of the street, a misty looking place, a "lightness". I dismissed it as a reflection on the brick road, a not uncommon occurrence, and Charlie & I set off to Mary's house, the wind picking up, flowers & leaves skittering ahead of us, the "lightness" disappearing as we reached the edge of the street. A car turning the corner didn't stop Charlie - he was across the street in front of it, the car stopping in time to let him pass, then moving on. And then, there it was again - this lightness. A few feet up from me now, and I thought, oh, it's a clear plastic bag, filled with the wind, reflecting the streetlights, and it did look like such, except that it seemed full of smoke or mist, not wind, and as soon as I thought that, it silently, very silently, whooosssshed - the light/mist moving away in all directions, no bag anywhere in sight. A few seconds, nothing more. I felt absolute happiness & smiled into the darkness, stepped onto Mary's driveway, took a few steps and smelled quite strongly the smell of perfume. Not flowers, not the sweet olive tree. Perfume. To be fair, the perfume may have been worn by the passenger of the car that stopped to let Charlie by; it was dark, I saw no one but the driver, but the windows were down, so probably. Probably.

But that reflecting mist? I have no answer. It is easy to think it was Mary, but she is gone, and I have said before, her house contains no leftover Mary energy, no regrets, no unfinished business left behind. It is easy to want it to be Mary - she loved her yard, her garden - perhaps a visit? Perhaps. Easy to think Charlie is her unfinished business, but I hold no thought that she was worried about him - she knew he would be looked after.

A guardian angel, then? Sent on Mary's behalf, to safely help Charlie across the street? I have no answer there. Possibly. Possibly. I was sober, not hallucinating, I saw what I saw, I felt joy at seeing it, so possibly. Just a mist in the road? More than likely, though I cannot explain the reflection of light, the shape (not circular, but roundish), the bouncing movement above the road, the fading away.

I have no explanation, and you will perhaps think me crazy. But it was there. It was real.

And then it wasn't there.

Saturday night lights.

3.09.2009

A Sunday neighborhood stroll

My favorite was the last shot I took.
A Sunday afternoon stroll through the neighborhood.
Katie through a red tree.

A fat robin.

Catnap.

The squirrel who loved us.
A little ham.

The first thing around the corner.
Yes, another weeping camellia.
But I just love the way
it looks as though
it has poured its blossoms
onto the sidewalk.

Nothing deep this Monday.
I have an art show coming up, probably early June.
I prepared canvases over the weekend,
walked this walk with Katie,
enjoyed the late light.
My favorite day of the year -
the beginning of Daylight Savings Time.
I have survived another winter.

Springtime, here I come.
with arms wide open

3.06.2009

Pear Tree Blossoms, Blue Lights

This is where the magic falls to Earth.

Masquerading as stars, it drops from the sky.

Stand under it, let it drench you, soak you.

Pear tree blossoms under blue lights.

Float through this Texas night, unable to tell where the sky begins and the earth ends, unable to tell which are stars, which are blossoms. It is our private Milky Way, this path winding near Katie's staircase. The ground is littered with red camellias & last fall's leaves - cherry laurel, pecan, dogwood - beneath these glowing droplets. You can follow them up the stairs, or turn & follow them past my door, where, one by one, they will guide you to the street. Or be still, be quiet, don't follow them at all - let them surround you, let the warmth of the magic bathe you. Inhale the night, swallow the stars, breathe in the moonlight. It is a Texas night.

This is where the magic falls to Earth.

If you listen closely, you can hear Van Morrison singing in the breeze.

A fortune cookie for breakfast

I promise.
I will no lose it.
too funny

3.05.2009

It just be's that way sometimes

I just flat-out have the blues today.

I keep saying it's this or it's that and I keep trying to analyze it & figure it out & fix it, but the reality is that I just have the blues, and no new-age solution is gonna work. I just gotta let it be. Poor world that has to deal with me when I'm like this, for I am not a silent sufferer, but, like a fever, these blues just have to run their course. Feed them, starve them, whatever, they will be here until they just aren't, and I apologize right now to the lovely, lovely Katie, who tried to offer advice & help this morning, but I was just so snappy & negative, and this after last night - when she had shown me the enchantment of white pear blossom drops under her blue lights, looking exactly like the magic in my painting, leading a trail, drop by drop, up her spiral staircase. And I apologize to the ever-wonderful Michael, who is with me all day, and buys me lunch, and lets me eat all I want, and yet I stay all blue-y. I apologize to poor Maggie, whom I slightly yelled at this morning for waking me up too early, which won't matter at all after Sunday, when daylight savings time begins, because then she will be waking me up an hour later and will not even know it, cats paying attention to their own clock only.

They're those springtime, I wanna-run-away kind of blues - the kind where I ache all over & getting out of the Jeep seems an insurmountable task, requiring much moaning & groaning, and rubbing of my back before I can take a step, but at the very same time, they're those kind of blues that make me weary of the gorgeous blue walls here at work, making me want to paint them all white & silver & clean, clean, clean and bring in new wonderful plants & let them be the color. They're the blues that make me angry when I watch the news, but also the blues that make me want to just turn away & try to pay no attention, to look for reruns of The Bill Cosby Show.

But last night was a wonderful movie - Bottle Shock w/Alan Rickman - and Chocolat, which I thought I would watch last week, but didn't, is up next. Redbud trees are blooming, making me wonder why they are called that, being all magenta & purplish, and I just bought some kind of dark chocolate/orange peel organic chocolate bar, and I know this shall pass, but tonight I am wallowing in it. I am allowing - isn't it interesting that if you just add a W to allowing, it spells wallowing? - myself to be blue. I shall listen to Willy DeVille Live in Berlin, and I will sit under Katie's blue lights - I may follow that magical trail of pear blossoms into the blue darkness & see where it takes me.

If you understand, things are just as they are.
If you do not understand, things are just as they are. ~ zen quote
aka
It just be's that way sometimes. ~ the blues

3.03.2009

Dreaming of Nothing

I snuck in a nap at lunch.

And, oh! it just does not get any better than oversleeping an early-afternoon nap when you're supposed to be at work - the house is quiet with sunshine against the walls and spriglets of white flowers guarding the door, one cat sleeping in the taller-than-she-is monkey grass, dreaming of jungles, another cat stretched in the shadows of the camellia tree out back, napping on fallen red blossoms. There were sliced avocadoes for lunch earlier, swirled across my plate, and fresh limes, and a cup of rice with salsa, pinatas hanging ouside in the breeze lulling me onwards toward that nap. At home, the barely-barely-there sounds of wind chimes, pear tree blossoms peeping at me around the corner, the white & blue temptation of pillows, the joy of wiggling my naked toes under a warm white blanket.

I dreamt of nothing.
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

3.02.2009

If I don't think it's art, is this okay?

baby paper-whites

Photoshopped up. I did this, I did that, I made them look painterly.
Is that okay?

Back again in my head to thinking about art. Or maybe thinking about photography, thinking about what makes a photograph a photograph, what makes it art. Because here's the deal. Actually deals - plural. I have a couple of thinkings about this. First, I am a photo retoucher. I regularly play with photos, which makes it difficult for me not to. I know people who are photo "purists", who say it cannot be art if the image has been manipulated. And really, that's okay with me, because I don't think this is art. I think it's a photograph of flowers. Nothing more. But I also don't necessarily think that an image is art just because it hasn't been messed with, and those people I mentioned before tend to think it is. In addition, some of these people, back in pre-digital days, saw nothing wrong at all with all those darkroom tricks/tools, such as burning & dodging or re-cropping, and they still called the finished photographs art, and I'm not sure I see much of a difference. Second - collages. Painting on photographs. People do it all the time with wonderful results - results that reflect a particular person's vision. And as I have mentioned before, I am all about one's vision. And that is art. So if I allow Photoshop to do part of the work for me, is that not kind of the same thing? After all, I am somewhat familiar with Photoshop, it's not just a button I push, but even if it were, would my knowing which button to push, which keystroke, which program, which action to choose make it less my vision? Or does the finished piece need to, unlike photographs, show the touch of a human hand? I think it might, but I am just thinking out loud, just mulling it over.

All this thinking on my part is Jaime's fault. Jaime, whose flower photographs are breathtaking. She asked for a picture of paperwhites. It sounds so simple, but here's the deal about that. All the pictures I took looked like paperwhites, which is not quite really what I see in my head. My vision of paperwhites is all tangled up with how they make me feel and how they make me feel is happy, yes, but it is really about their being a harbinger of warmer weather, of springtime, of more flowers to follow, of their whiteness against the gray days of winter. So - this photograph. This movement into a new season.

Is it okay?
i am a painter, not a photographer, but didn't want to paint this

3.01.2009

A Bird, a Bible & the Serendipity of Things

I ate the last piece of Mary's chocolate yesterday.

And stepped out of her house,
feeling her smile,
feeling her thinking at last,
feeling her freedom in the cold wind roaring through the trees.

The bird above was hers - I stole it from her Christmas tree. Just a thing. Her house is full of things. Things, things, things. Take what you want, her daughter said, but I cannot. They were hers. But when I feed Charlie the cat, who is still living in her house, I look around, and I am surprised by things I never saw while Mary was alive. An entire shelf of Bibles surprised me yesterday - Mary was not a religious person. And yet, there they were, one covered in faux pearls, a gift, with a note from the giver dated 1958. I was tempted by this little Bible, I must admit, and I may succumb, but yesterday was not the day.

Perhaps today.
To keep my Buddha, my Ganesh, mi milagros company.

But right now, I am looking outside - through this cold, cold, hopefully-the-last-of-it, full of sunshine air. There are cats to be fed, cats who do not live with me, but they will wait a few hours. Right now I am searching for the energy to clean. My house looks depressed, clutter everywhere, unopened mail still laying where it was dropped, dust on all the surfaces, more laundry to fold. I am easily distracted by the all day marathon of Lord of the Rings, by the beauty of the grape hyacinths by the door, the yellow forsythia exploding at the foot of the driveway, the white popcorn flowers against the fence by the corner, by my cold toes wanting me back on the couch, blue & white down coverlet wrapped about myself. Easily distracted. And yet, as I type these very words - yes, exactly at this very moment, the movie freezes on the television, a blue road on the screen, and silence. A sign surely, and I am a believer in signs. I do not take them lightly. Move, this one says, get up!

I will tell you about the hearts later,
and the serendipity of things.
things, thing, things :) golden hearts & black hearts