Tuesday, April 29, 2008

twelve dancing princesses

This book-cut sculpture by Su Blackwell is amazing...even though I cringe a little at the thought of slicing into the pages of a book with anything but my mind. I'm always in awe of people who can creatively transform everyday objects this way. Plus, The Twelve Dancing Princesses was always one of my favorite fairy tales... More of her sculptures can be found at http://www.sublackwell.co.uk/index.php. and a more eloquent tribute to her work, and books in general, can be found here: http://www.stainlesssteeldroppings.com/?p=905

Sunday, April 27, 2008


I've been thinking a lot about the types of creative acts I've been performing lately and how contrary my approach has been to each different kind . First, I have always been a writer at heart. I love to play with words to get certain responses from my readers. This is a very delicate craft, and often requires many re-writes; adding or deleting a single words can change the entire direction a story goes, or elicit an entirely different reaction from a reader. It's a controlled sort of art. The piece is not finished until I declare it so, and I am the one who finalizes each sentence. This may not be the best approach, and perhaps its what holds me back from being more productive, but it is what it is...right now at least.

The other type of art is what I've been working on most lately. I've been gravitating towards art that involves loss of control at some stage of the process. Gardening, watercolor painting, pottery--all involve the artist setting the stage for the final piece, then backing away and watching what forms. In our garden there is one corner where I created a nice cutting garden---but this spring the bergamot and primroses have spread like crazy, and a few of the cutting flowers have succumbed to winter's chill. It's a totally different place from last year, and I can choose to either spend money and time to wrestle it back to what I originally wanted it to be, or watch and see what this new garden becomes as the season progresses.

With pottery, I created forms and dipped them in glazes, but during the firing process the clay shrunk, the glazes spread and interacted with one another, and what came out looks very different from what I thought it would be--not bad, just unexpected. And the same thing happens every time I pick up my watercolors. The pigment drips and slides across the page in barely controlled chaos, sometimes producing magical results, sometimes puddling into a muddy mix.

Somehow I'm becoming more comfortable with all this chaos in my art. I think I have to be, or I will be unhappy with anything I produce. Just as the act of creating it takes on an increased importance in my life, the act of appreciating the unexpected must also become something sacred. So I'll be doing minimal restructuring in the cutting garden this year. I'm going to go with the flow and add in a hummingbird feeder...and just see what happens...

Raindrops on Lady's Mantle

Thursday, April 24, 2008

a poem in shades of green

There are small spaces in our garden where the plants grow together in such perfect synchronicity that they seem like they have been there forever. When I look at the creeping thyme and hens and chickens growing together in our rock garden, I have the same feeling I get when I complete a painting just the way I like it, or when I find just the right words to describe something in my writing. I like to think of these tiny spaces as living poems, and though the photograph doesn't come close to capturing the essence of this garden space, I feel like these are the kinds of things I'm looking for, these tiny spaces and moments in life where I feel completely in tune with my surroundings, however small.

An almost school-free day

I've been having a pretty stressful semester dealing with a lot of bureaucratic hurdles that have required a great deal of juggling and diplomacy between two departments, and between this and my crazy schedule, I've had a lot of long, frustrating days with very little down time. So with one of my internships not happening today because of school vacation week, I proclaimed an almost school-free day and have been working in the garden all morning. (Its an almost day because I couldn't manage to break away from checking my e-mail in case a student wrote me or a sudden light appeared at the end of the bureaucratic tunnel). Here are some of the fruits of my (and PK's) labors... There's nothing like the sight of newly sprouting asparagus and johnny jump-ups to make me immediately feel more relaxed...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


This spring PK and I have been taking a pottery class. We do this from time to time, not pottery, but art classes. It's a great way to tune out the world, relax and set aside one evening a week when we are forced to slow down, relax and just feel clay slip through our fingers. I wish I had pictures from the class-but sadly, the camera would have suffered the same clay-splattered fate as all our clothing and second-best towels. I had never tried to throw a pot before, and it turned out to be quite difficult, but in a fun, challenge yourself kind of way. Tonight I pulled my very first pot from the kiln...and it was a perfect fit for the cyclamen that bloomed all winter long.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

someday i'll have a real job and then i can buy art

"My religion has something to do with compost"

Like This work by Ann Eldridge http://www.anneldridgeprints.com/index.html

"Beetle Ascending"

Dramatic color

I love these watercolors by Catherine Tuttle...she captures the dramatic colors of the mountains and the subtle movement of wind and shadow over the NH landscape. Her artist statement and more of her work can be found at http://www.mcgowanfineart.com/tuttlestatement.html

Questions with no answers


Thursday, April 10, 2008


The snow drops were the first flowers up this year; a few stems poked through the snow in early March, wilting each time the cold wind blew or more snow fell.

At current count there are nine flowers clustered on the slope beside our front walk. I plant more every year because this is my dream...

Easing back with some more Bryan Evans

A Springtime view through the trees of Glasgow's wonderful Kelvingrove Museum & Art gallery. http://www.bryanevans.com/
Spring is coming slowly to my neck of the woods, and as things heat up a bit I'm starting to come out of winter hibernation...