Saturday, March 29, 2008

Spring Meander

A leisurely stroll through the hills of Sugarloaf Ridge State Park may have to become a Spring tradition. The vistas are bucolic. The colors, intoxicating. Brilliant yellow-greens of the budding leaves. Bright scarlet and yellow wildflowers. Small seas of lupines that the kids couldn't help plundering. Handfuls of dark purple with their grape candy scent. The oaks are just leafing out in tender reddish ruffles. The streams still flash and sing before the heat of the summertime sucks them away. Enjoying it before the dry cicada-hum days of rattlesnake anxiety is the way to go.

Intrepid Quail

On our fence yesterday morning was a surprise visitor. A quail! I haven't clapped eyes on such a sight in years! And never in a suburban backyard. They seem to be quite rare these days even in the rural areas. The first year we moved to the Sebastopol countryside over ten years ago we would stir up whole frantic families of them when we traipsed through the tall grass in our orchard. Maybe it was increased activity under the trees, cutting the grass or the presence of cats that was to blame but after just one year they had disappeared for good. Strangely though, I never see them anymore even when we go hiking. So where did this intrepid little guy come from? He was in some kind of exchange with a big blue jay and really stuck around long enough for me to go dig out my camera, creep out stealthily onto the deck and model for a few shots before the jay scared him off. Odd.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Good Friday and A Magical Easter

Friday seemed strangely auspicious. Besides reportedly being a rare convergence of various holy days, it was also the first full day of Spring after the Vernal Equinox, a full moon and a culmination of weeks of focused work in the studio. My personal day of hanging had arrived, an unambiguous ending of some kind. It was blessedly warm and golden which soothed my jangled nerves. Rob steered me through a mild panic over what seemed like a hundred tiny loose ends conspiring to overwhelm my presence of mind but all were eventually trimmed and forgotten or nicely woven in. Packing and transporting large works and so many was a challenge but we rose to it, with strategic leaning and some gentle rope tying. Hanging the pieces went smoothly and the canvases that had filled the inside of my wee studio were absorbed into the large space with alarming ease. Actually they looked more at home in their new temporary digs. They are more outgoing than me and craved some exposure. The day was rounded out with an evening of jitterbug dancing which I abandoned sooner than I wanted just because of sheer exhaustion.

Saturday was a frantic rummage through the shops collecting shiny bits and candies for the girls' Easter baskets, something I usually do in a casual way over a period of a few weeks. Between Rob and I we assembled an attractive pastel colored mess that was well received on Sunday morning, which began too early for me. The afternoon came on slowly and opened beautifully like poppy buds in a warm room. Mom and Dad hosted lunch and had the family table set out under the wisteria. Dad made what we proclaimed to be the best mac and cheese in the universe with Spring veggies, greens and bread. The meal was exalted by a '96 bottle of Clos du Val Cabernet, Mom's lightly chocolate Pavlova crowned with cream and fruit for dessert and a family meander through the neighborhood under flowering trees. Yes, a really lovely weekend. Now some rest.

Photo: My studio this Spring.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Thus Far

After developing the circle of figures with opaques and refining details, I finally feel very close but have to set it aside to "set up". Like a jello dessert. The last stage will require a fresh outlook and renewed energies, so I worked on something else for awhile. Clearly this is shaping into some kind of creation and celebration. A breaking and a birthing. A new story.

This photo is an odd angle because the canvas is actually resting vertically against the slider door.

More Color and New Shapes

I laid in more color and gave the shard shapes a soft dove gray shadowing which makes them recede temporarily. I am bringing them back by buffing in some more white. The outer edges cried out for something and these orbs and seed shapes began to orbit. Now I see planets and eggs and microscopic entities.

First Colors

The ghosties begin to get their first garments of various hues. At one point I began to almost hear the colors that wanted to be included. Something reminiscent of a dawn or dusk. Blues, golds, soft purples with touches of coral, bronze and pink. I think this image is about a birth of some kind. An ending and a beginning.

Taking Shape

A bit blurry but more coming through.


Since I've been putting in some serious hours in the studio, I thought I'd post some pictures of my progress. I have several canvases in stages of progress but for this one in particular I have burned the candle to a nub. From a sea of blue an egg emerged. Well, shards of white, cupping some kind of tumult. This is the early stage. Allowing whatever it is to shine out. I used to call this process "ghosting in". Laying down the thinnest of veils until some shape becomes substantial enough to recognize and thus develop. A gentle capturing of the spirit of the thing.

Free Hugs

I first saw this over a year ago and loved it. I came home from another long day in the studio and found it had been sent my way again by a friend so I thought I'd share it. Sincerity can still shine in a jaded world. I think humanity has a pretty good shot. Creative and uplifting.