Monday, August 30, 2010

Harvest and Cooking

The fledgling tomatillo plants that I rescued from the shovel are doing great. I thought I'd already told the story of rescuing them but I can't find it. Suffice it to say that I got to the garden center too late to purchase any tomatillo plants. I thought I'd have to go without them, a real tragedy. The next day I was turning over my last row of dirt and weeds and found one plant- a volunteer from last year. It was abused, having been dumped over with my shovel. I searched the rest of my turned-over row like I was looking for victims of a building collapse. I found three total. Their poor bodies were pathetic, two had been upside down in the dirt for two days. It was touch and go at first but they all made it. In fact as the garden got going more volunteers sprung up.

The back right corner of my garden is a tangle of tomatillos and tomatoes. No actual ROWS to speak of. Harvesting is a treasure hunt. Today we gathered up handfuls of tomatillos, heirloom tomatoes that are purplish-green and cherry tomato sized, and three great looking full size heirloom tomatoes. Yum.

Last night Salsa Verde!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Goofing Around

O.K. I can't stop playing with the blog design functions. I should get serious and write the html the way I want it but there are so many ways to alter it with just a click. Writing the html is going to take some effort. I'd be sort of happy with the current layout if I could put my own photo behind instead of a stock photo. Yes, I am just wasting time. I leave for my residency in Maine next week. The anticipation has killed my mental focus. I'll be leaving some things in progress in the studio. Unfortunately I just can't get them done before I go.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Peter Doig

Henri Matisse

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Monday, August 23, 2010

Root Space

I have something of a fascination with trees that grow into each other like this. I tried to make a painting of another pair of ingrown (?) trees. Unfortunately I couldn't quite convey that sense of entanglement. It just looked like a painting of two trees. One day I'll figure it out.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Walking the dog at night we have to be careful not to step on one of these. This particular guy lives on our porch.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Teach Me

acrylic on knitted cotton

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Roosevelt Park

We stopped to visit Roosevelt Park on the way to the studio yesterday. Since they started painting the bridge we've been taking an alternate route that drives us right past the stadiums and this park. I still intend to make a stop at the Swedish Museum in the park but we had the dog with us this time. The park turns out to have several huge lakes, tons of algae, and lots of trash. All this green stuff is water. The dog didn't believe it though and tried her hardest to go after the trash. After our time in Harrisburg she's sure that every bump on the street is chicken or pizza just waiting for her.

The birds didn't seem to mind all the debris. I think this is a green heron.

We could actually hear the geese slurping up the algae.

Looks like someone had goose for dinner.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Creator & Audience

Taking a break from the intensive complexity of my sewn and painted works I began work on this charcoal drawing. I love the feel of charcoal on wet canvas, the physical scale of the large canvas, and the mental challenge of creating a drawing.

Rereading my journal this evening I came across this entry:

Watching "The Realms of the Unreal" made me think about the type of engagement Henry Darger had with his work. Because he never showed it to anyone it existed for him and he gave his interest free reign. He was creator and audience.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Looking Back

I'm obsessed with Blurb. The past week I've happily spent many, many hours turning my first blog year into a book. It's a little bit out of control. Matt threatened to surgically remove me from the computer. Not that the saw is exactly a surgical instrument.

In searching for my original image files (because the ones on here aren't big enough) I found this photo of our kitchen in Bowling Green. It's only 17,000 times bigger than our current kitchen. No, I'm not exaggerating, although somehow this weekend we actually had 5 people standing in it at once. I say standing because no one could actually move. Matt almost knocked me over yesterday while I was trying to load the dish washer and he was ??? I'm not sure what but the only thing that kept me from hitting the ground was that Olivia was standing in the way.

Anyway it's been 3 years since we left that house behind. For the first time I came across this photo without my stomach dropping out. Grief takes awhile, even when it's only for a house.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Drawing as a way of observing

If you come to my gallery shows you won't usually see my observational drawings. The work I usually show develops from my drawings in a very loose and general way. The way all the information and knowledge that I have works it's way into my work. But I still consider observational drawing important or maybe necessary. These days I don't know if that need is so connected to art making. I think it's more connected to watching the natural world. When I sit in a place, a zoo, aquarium, forest, or wherever, I see things that I don't see when I walk through it. Sitting and drawing allows me to become part of the environment I'm observing. I learn a lot about the thing I am drawing- how it is made, how it moves, how it interacts with it's environment- but I also learn a lot about unexpected things.

Last summer drawing at Canyon de Chelly and the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site I saw a lot of beautiful things that went by too quickly to photograph. Quick glimpses of how much we generally miss in the world.

Friday, August 13, 2010


I love this mysterious landscape.

There are some parts of the woods around us you can walk into. There are a few worn paths. There are other places that are less worn but still possible to explore.

And then there is this spot.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

CD Hell

All I have to say is that it took me TWO days to find the images for yesterdays post. And they aren't even the original images. Stacks of CD's have to be the WORST way to store photos.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Varriation on a Theme

Painters aren't like regular photographers. Maybe I shouldn't speak for all painters but generally we're looking for something different. If the photo itself is already perfect than there's not much point in painting it. Anyway, I use one camera and only use a tripod when I'm photographing artwork. Over the years I've developed a few "techniques." (Photographers should stop reading now these are things you don't want to know.)

The first "technique" I developed was Not Breathing. I use Not Breathing in churches and other dark interiors where you either can't use a flash or don't want to. (I never want to use the flash.) Not Breathing is generally used in conjunction with Lock Elbows And Hold Very Still. However, Lock Elbows And Hold Very Still is not as good as Set Camera On Solid Object And Don't Move but solid objects are not always placed where you want them.

My favorite technique, only developed within the last five years or so, is most often used in Aquariums. It's called Move The Camera At The Same Speed As The Fish and is used, as you might guess, to photograph moving fish without a flash in dark aquariums. I LOVE this technique. It's really a sport. And like soccer, or hockey, or baseball, but not at all like basketball, you only score a few times per game. (ie. one interesting if not actually in focus image per 100 images.)

Ha ha. Now that I've written this and searched through my blog (because I'm trying to clean today and those messy, digital, blog files are messing up the entire I realize I've already written this blog. Just goes to show that my techniques haven't changed much. But like an artist painting the same subject I'm just going to consider this post variations on a theme.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Famous Last Words

In class one time a student asked me how professional artists use oil pastels. I said "they don't" and laughed. A few weeks later I went to Denmark and fell in love with oil pastels.

I'd bought them for my daughter. She and I spent many hours drawing around the island of Møn in Denmark. I loved the speed, the marks, the colors, and especially the limitation of the colors. There was something really appealing about trying to boil everything down to 18 colors.

Here Møns Klint, the chalk cliffs.

The sea along the cliffs.

Piles of seaweed collected along the base of the cliffs.

We sat for a while drawing these cows and their calves until I started to wonder if they might get annoyed with us and push us off the cliff.

And here, piles of firewood against the neighbor's house which we could see from our kitchen window.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Trees are fascinating. I really want to know more about why they have the bark they have. There has to be a reason. Flowers are all organized to draw in pollinators so what does the bark do? In the mean time I can enjoy them. I think the first tree is a Bald Cyprus but I don't remember for sure. The second is a Loblolly Pine. The third and fourth I don't know. So much to learn.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010