Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Feeling More Than Knowing


I've been away from my photo blog mostly because I haven't been doing much photography. It's hard for me to "see" right now with my camera. But I've been finding other ways through it--by "it" I mean the weariness that has come over me from the months and months of minding the virus and the news of the world while trying to stay sane and balanced--I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling like this. I made this video in the hopes that it might capture the thing inside me that wants to be let out. Some of these are pages out of my art journal, mingled with the odd snippets of video from my phone, as well as some other work I've put on canvas boards and paper. There are watercolors I did in the spring, when the pandemic was new, inspired by a set of Renoir postcards my sister gave me; and there are little landscapes from that one road trip last fall;  there's a slightly ghastly portrait of my lovely dad (sorry dad :)), and a few other faces as well, and lastly, things that I can only call abstract landscapes which I feel speak the loudest of the mischmasch going on inside my head. Thank you dear friends, for walking beside me through the good times and the hard. I hope you like it--the music is by Siddhartha Corsus and this beautiful piece is called "Ancient Hearth"(from the free music archive).

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

the light is always changing

For nothing is fixed
forever, forever, forever,
it is not fixed;
 the earth is always shifting
 the light is always changing
    --James Baldwin, For Nothing is Fixed 
These photos are from a road trip last week through Indiana, Ohio, the mountains of West Virginia and into North Carolina--it was all very very beautiful and I had quite the time just trying to pick just a few to show you and pair with this lovely snippet from James Baldwin. You can find the rest of the poem here.  Also, today is the launch of an online exhibit I am taking part in, along with more than 50 artists from around the world, also coordinated by L'Air Arts Residency and curated by one of its past residents. It's called Site Visit and can be found on Artland.com.

and also this, of course:

Sunday, October 18, 2020

the one thing

the one thing that everybody wants is to be free,
to talk, to eat, to drink, to walk, to think,
to please, to wish, and to do it now if now is what they want
 and everybody knows it, they know it, anybody knows it,  
they do not want to feel imprisoned, 
they want to feel free, even if they are not free, they want to feel free,
 and they want to feel free now, 
let the future take care of itself, all they want is to be free.
--Wars I Have Seen, Gertrude Stein
 *     *     *
It was my birthday about a week and a half ago. Birthdays are usually a weird time for me. I never know how I'm going to feel on the day itself. Often, the thing I feel is kind of a mix somewhere between depressed and happy, but this year, maybe because of the pandemic and how all our gatherings are now virtual, it was actually easier to concentrate on the things I was supposed to concentrate on, instead of wasting time wondering whether or not I was having a 'good birthday'. And it was a good birthday, simple and easy, with a few presents from my loving family, cake and ice cream at dinner, and a little virtual group chat with my far away siblings. And, as always, there is much to be thankful for, for the year that passed despite the tumult of these current events taking place; and for the gift of yet another year. 
About these pencil drawings, I've been binge-watching a lot of BBC Masterpiece Theater so some of these faces are from tv characters, but there's a selfie in there, and one of David Gilmour too, because, well, why not? They say it's always best if you don't know the person, because if it doesn't look like them, they won't mind or protest too much so if by chance you see yourself here, please forgive the amateur attempts :)). Anyway, I just want to say thank you, dear friends, for your company through the last year, and for your friendship into the next. xx

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

storms approaching

Out of a great need, we are all holding hands and climbing
Not loving is a letting go.
Listen, the terrain around here is far too dangerous for that.


photos: 'storms approaching', Springfield, Illinois 2011

~mini rant~

Day 84. 

This is hard. It's hard to stay indoors day after day because the curve isn't curving fast enough, and the weather so bleak and mean. It's hard to remember to be in the 'now'--no one says you have to enjoy it, and even that is hard to remember. It's hard not to take things personally even though wise men say its one of the keys to happiness, it's hard to be 'still' and 'centered' when everywhere I turn and look, the world seems to shift and crumble  away. It's hard to know who the enemy is while gun sales are skyrocketing like its the end of civilization or something. (It's hard not feel jealous of other countries whose people don't automatically think of shooting other people. And, whose leader doesn't egg them onto anarchy and widespread criminality.) It's hard that with some, god has everything to do with it and with others, god is better left out of it and maybe the funny thing is they both think the other is surely going to hell. It's hard to watch the news and not find yourself laughing to keep from crying. It's hard to keep it all together day after day, especially when I've been sleeping like the rest of covid nation and I'm feeling a little more fragile and maybe not so sensible. It's hard and I'm complaining and I promised I wouldn't. Or that if I did,  I'd make it funny just like Seinfeld requires of his children. But then you should know, that's hard. 

~rant over~ :))

OK. Anyway here's the amazing and enduring Chip Taylor featuring lots of black and white street photography (you know how we love that) and his perfectly sage advice on answering life's big questions....

Sunday, May 3, 2020

The Family Of Things

You do not have to be good
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
 Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain 
are moving across the landscapes
over the prairies and the deep trees
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things. 

-Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
photos: Rome 2013

*     *     *      

It's the best of times, and the worst of times. Everyday we're tugged this way and that by the stories of tragedy, heroism and helplessness. Some of us are just baking our way through the lockdown, or sitting numbly, waiting for release, or November, or both; or all of the above. Then there are the protesters who can't or won't stay home. It's tough for everyone. So we sew face masks and wash our hands and keep on standing six feet apart at the grocery. Or not because maybe we're still going to work everyday, one of the 'everyday heroes' though paid less than heroically and likely without health insurance. Sometimes I feel stupid because who knows, maybe the conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers were right after all, and I worry that I didn't even bother to find out what they were yelling about on youtube. Like maybe we should have been digging bunkers after all instead of following make-up tutorials or dancing on tiktok.  But nevermind all that. Here I offer the wonderful Mary Oliver to keep on reminding us its going to be okay. And what better series to pair her poem with than these photos from a trip to the beautiful Eternal City? Ah Rome, indeed it was nice to remember how I veni'd and vidi'd, but this city and its living breathing stones arranged in marvels of cathedral, tomb and bloodlust amphitheater definitely still vici's me. Totus tuus :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

A Spark On The Wind

Life is the only way 
to get covered in leaves,
catch your breath on the sand, 
rise on wings;
to be a dog,
or stroke its warm fur;
to tell pain 
from everything it's not;
to squeeze inside events,
dawdle in views,
to seek the least of all possible mistakes.
An extraordinary chance 
to remember for a moment
a conversation held
with the lamp switched off;
and if only once
to stumble upon a stone,
end up soaked in one downpour or another,
mislay your keys in the grass;
and to follow a spark on the wind with your eyes;
and to keep on not knowing
something important.
 *A Note--by Wislawa Szymborska, photos from Amsterdam, 2019

I think poetry isn't easy to appreciate just any old time. But they say people turn to poetry when they're in search of their own histories, to hear their own thoughts and feelings spoken for them. Certainly the lockdown has me feeling up and down, confused, bored and lonely, anxious and afraid; impatient, lazy and mournful all at the same time. It's a mixed bag. But that's how it is right now. And I remembered how reading the lines of this poem for the first time made me feel a kind of gratitude for the poet and the loveliness of her gentle words. And so I hope it'll be the same for you, dear friend out there, or you who may have stumbled upon this here quiet spot I stake as mine. Funny how it's easier for me to tell you these things when on the so-called social media circus I'm sanguine, I'm light, I'm not all freaked out and panicky. But that's where the real theater lies anyway. About my photos--well they've long been sitting on my laptop. I don't know why. But here they are now--I didn't know the world would be so different by the time I'd get around to posting them.