At last the studio and house are returning to order after weeks (months!) of disruption and too much plaster dust, both the unavoidable side effects of some necessary repairs. The most obvious benefits to such chaos are the beautiful new studio ceiling and virtually new kitchen ceiling, not to mention pipes that no longer leak. Moving as much as possible out of the way of those doing the work was a perfect opportunity to cull some of the “stuff” stashed in corners and on shelves. And as the rooms fall back in place, there is a chance to see modes of organization and arrangement with a fresh perspective. But the best and unexpected benefit has been to hold books and notebooks, open them, and rediscover gems not seen or remembered for too long. Here are a few of the things I found.

From Kathleen Norris in The Cloister Walk:

“Poets understand that they do not know what they mean and that this is a source of their strength.”

The following was an unattributed quote in an old gallery newsletter. I would be very happy if there is anyone who can give me the source:

“The struggle to make a genuine picture (or for that matter, any work of art) is never a passive, but always an intentional act of the creative will, one through which the Self declares itself a conscious agent in the world. Painting a picture, therefore, far from being a frivolous or meaningless activity, is one  burdened with existential import.”

A few things to think about as I get back to work in my new space!

Many thanks to Tom, Harry, and Matt; all good souls who did good work and solved unexpected problems!!

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Pulse and Tremble

September 12, 2014

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This new piece was made for an invitational group show at Linda Matney Gallery in Williamsburg, Virginia. The show, called Matter, was put together by Elizabeth Mead, Chair of the Department of Art and Art History at William and Mary. The guidelines were the size (8 ½” x 11”) and a consideration of the use of color in one’s work. My friend and poet Kasey Jueds and I had hoped to work collaboratively but were unable to do so because of time and schedule constraints. In the end my piece, Second Skin/Pulse and Tremble, was a sort of collaboration with Kasey, as I used her poem “The Selkie from Shore” as a starting point. The text itself is an element of the piece, although not completely readable. As I copied the poem numerous times, the words began to murmur and hum in my mind while I worked on the piece (much as the hum of the bees in the poem!), thus weaving into and becoming part of the making. (I loved the good luck that there were bees busy coming and going in the flowers outside my studio window at the same time!) The piece is made from paper, ink, and oil stick on wooden panel. The show opens next Friday, September 19 at 5:30. Stop in if you are nearby!

Although it is not necessary to read the text of Kasey’s poem while viewing the piece, I can’t resist including her lovely poem here for your delight:

 

The Selkie from Shore

 

You will tell me what I long for is God.

But I say it is bees, their pulse and tremble

in flowers slackening toward summer’s end,

daylilies spreading rust under dusky oaks.

I say I want a garden for them,

so what is small might return

and be sufficient again. Not God, or sky

streaming light, cathedrals, a wish

I am not big enough to hold – not those

but the slightest tremor of air, and a humming

that has no need of me.

 

Kasey Jueds in Keeper

 

Foxgloves

April 11, 2014

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Yesterday I finally printed an edition of my first broadside. I printed the edition of twelve prints by hand on my kitchen counter, and I am happy to say that all of the prints came out reasonably well. After mixing a color I liked with some older ink, I ended up ordering some new ink for the edition to ensure the same color intensity. So much for trying to use up supplies on hand! But, I am SO happy with the water-soluble relief ink that I got from Graphic Chemical – wonderful consistency and pigment rich! And the ink stayed open long enough to print the edition. It might even make a convert of me from oil-based inks.

 

Here is a picture of the prints drying on the dining room table.

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See the previous post for more information on this broadside and the class I took in Charlottesville.

 

Can’t wait to start the next linocut!

BROADSIDES

April 4, 2014

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For four Saturdays in March I traveled to Charlottesville for the afternoon for a class on printing broadsides (“Printmaking with Purpose”) at the Virginia Arts of the Book Center, a program of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. The teacher for the class was Josef Beery, one of the founders of the VABC. You can read his excellent article on broadsides here. The VABC is a gem of a place with a spacious and seemingly well-equipped print room, a good size workroom, and some display space. Josef in his very kind and knowledgeable way managed to guide our small group – each of us with different backgounds, different levels of experience, and different sorts of projects – towards completing our chosen project. For this short course, the typesetting was done on the computer (as opposed to printing on letterpress) and the images cut into linoleum. The image above shows the cutting process on my unmounted linoleum plate. I am working on an image for the poem “Foxgloves” from Kasey Jueds‘ book Keeper (see earlier posts about Kasey’s book). Our class will meet again in May so we can trade our completed prints. Stay tuned for more images. And if you aren’t familiar with the Virginia Arts of the Books Center check it out and take a class. It is good to get out of town!

POETRY ON THE ROAD

January 28, 2014

CAVE LIGHT: A CONVERSATION ABOUT CREATIVITY AND COLLABORATION

Next week my friend Kasey Jueds is coming to Richmond! In an earlier post I wrote about Kasey’s new book of poetry, Keeper. Kasey very kindly chose one of my drawings, called Cavelight, for the cover. The book launched in Philadelphia in November and now folks in Richmond and Williamsburg have a chance to hear Kasey read some selections from her book. In addition to the readings, Kasey and I will talk a bit about creativity and our collaboration on another project (see previous post), and I will show a few of my images. Details for the two events (which we are calling Cave Light: A Conversation about Creativity and Collaboration) are listed below.

To learn more about the Pitt Poetry Series and read one of Kasey’s poems, have a look at the NYTimes ArtsBeat blog: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/22/poetry-profiles-university-of-pittsburgh-press/?_r=2.

And to hear Garrison Keillor read a selection from Keeper on The Writer’s Almanac, click here: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2013/12/29.

Of course, if you have any questions, please contact me!

Cave Light: A Conversation about Creativity and Collaboration

Wednesday, February 5, 5:00 PM, 101 Andrews Hall, William and Mary, 601 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg, VA (enter through Phi Beta Kappa Building located next to the Muscarelle Museum of Art).

Book signing and reception following.

Thursday, February 6, 7:00-9:00 PM, The Dominion Room, The Visual Arts Center of Richmond, 1812 W. Main Street, Richmond, VA 23220.

Book signing following.

Copies of Keeper will be made available at this event by Fountain Bookstore (1312 E. Cary Street, Richmond, VA 23219, 804-788-1594).

Poetry Preview

July 23, 2013

 

Cave Light

 

A first volume of published poetry is no small thing. Yes, it is crazy exciting, especially to see it up on Amazon in pre-order status. But it is also a remarkable accomplishment of dedicated work done well. My friend Kasey Jueds (winner of the 2012 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize) is in the final stages of releasing her first poetry collection, Keeper, out into the world. You can have a look at Amazon. The reviews there will easily convince you that you need to order the book immediately, but just to whet your appetite, here is one poem from the volume:

 

Deep North

For three years, my friend kept the dead songbird

in her freezer, until the power quit:  cold cave,

like the one at Lascaux, closed

to visitors now.  In its perfect dark

the painted animals gleam, lucent as organs

harbored under skin, carried everywhere

but never seen.  In the middle

of her night, my friend is

painting:  chickadee, whose name repeats its song.

I’d like to lie down a while

in the body that’s mine, that part of Basho’s title

rendered as interior, or deep north.

Kasey Jueds

 

 

Brava, my friend. Well done!

Many thanks to Kasey for choosing one of my drawings, Cave Light, to grace the cover of this volume. I am so honored and humbled to have a small part in this project. I had hoped to begin this post with an image of the book cover but do not have one available to me. Instead, I have included the original drawing. For a view of the book, please visit the Amazon link.

Travel Iris

May 30, 2010

Although I have been home from my travels abroad for almost 6 weeks, I am still soaking up the benefits.  Yesterday by chance I picked up a book of haiku of Basho and read :

One of the joys

of travel – rare

talk about an iris.

Basho captures so much with so little (of course!).   While visiting famous cities and sites IS wonderful,  the greatest riches that I bring home are chance encounters, random conversations (often in broken languages), and small kindnesses.  I treasure the conversation with the older woman on the bus in Barcelona who made sure I got off at the right stop.  I delight in the memory of meeting the hang player, Alex Oses, in Parc Guell.  And I smile when I think of the photographer who helped me in the Barcelona metro station even though he had been up partying all night.  While these moments may seem unimportant in comparison to the riches of the Prado or the Alhambra, they are little gems that offer hope and connection.  The world shrinks and kindness is abundant.  So I will savor the sweetness of recent travels until the next opportunity arrives for more rare talk about an iris.

Mosaic at Parc Guell, Barcelona