Wednesday, September 2, 2020

september 2nd

In 1752, a random immigrant settler in New England - oh, let's say a goatherd who had done the evening chores and was ready for bed - watched the sun go down on September 2nd and woke up to sunrise the next morning on September 14th. England - including of course our little Colony - had just switched, overnight, to the Gregorian calendar.

This is a bit the way time feels to me lately. While I am asleep - or at least, not paying attention - time is taking great leaps. But unlike the colonial goatherd, perhaps suspicious if not downright resentful at the disappearance of 12 days, I also find time to be static. The static part is far more disorienting to me.

I want to thank everyone for their kind comments on my most recent post, and I appreciate very much that people who cannot comment here took the time to find another way to reach me. Your words really touched me, and it means a lot to know that Piper made so many online friends. I sometimes said that Piper and LeShodu each believed she ran the blog, and now they are both gone and I see that maybe they were right because in recent days I've had no words at all.

I will probably write Piper's story someday - it's a good story, a happy story - but words of any kind are oddly elusive right now. Yesterday I had to make a phonecall and felt like I was trying to communicate in a second language. This post is by far the most words I have strung together, writing or talking, since my previous post. I'm fine - we are all fine - it's just a very strange time right now.

Maybe I'll try to post images for a while.

Thank you again. So much.


Friday, August 21, 2020

dear heart


Spring 2003 - 21 August 2020


I have no words.

If you write, I may not be able to respond for a while.

Thank you for understanding.


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

that time again

It's #DrawingAugust time on twitter!
That magical time of year when people try to do some sort of daily markmaking and post the result with the hashtag so everyone can share and enjoy.
It's what got me started drawing, for which I will always be grateful.
I encourage anyone who feels inclined to jump right in -
the atmosphere is most welcoming!

Here are my first four, poorly photographed (I almost always do my markmaking at night, and take the snap with my sketchbook in one hand and camera in the other) but with lots of words to distract you from the quality of the snaps. Let's see if that works.

Day One: ink and watercolor, mug on a knitted coaster.
This is the big mug I used to have tea in every single day until the 13th of July, when I broke the glass insert for my teapot. I haven't made tea since. I am not saying this makes sense. Obviously there are other ways to make tea.
Anyway, this is a very nice handmade mug.
I hope I don't break it.

Day Two: an ink sketch based on a painting by Winslow Homer.
I often draw from photographs, but drawing from someone else's painting is new. I think I'll do more of it. Not attempting to copy paintings, but using them the way I use photographs. But isn't it interesting to see artists who can duplicate work? I vividly remember walking toward a gallery in the Louvre and suddenly getting a whiff of linseed oil. A painter was at work, making a copy. In the Louvre! And I wasn't allowed to take a waterbrush into the Fitchburg Art Museum.
(Maybe it was me?)

Day Three: an ink line drawing, detail of the perimeter fencing.
Today this exact spot on the Upper West Side fence is under a lot of pressure. Yesterday a large limb came down across the fence about 20 feet along, and it's creating tension in both directions. I'm hoping to have someone here with a chainsaw soon to help remove it.

 There is quite a lot of chainsaw work ahead, I am sorry to say.
Yesterday's storm was mighty.
I was very, very fortunate in terms of damage.
But it's hard not to feel sad when big, healthy trees come down.
If I had more land - and therefore more forest - it would be easier to see everything within the bigger picture of forest ecology. I know it, I understand it, I appreciate it. On my own hectare, of course I still see it that way, but I suppose I feel change on a more personal level? I don't know. I just know I do feel sad about the massive oaks that came down in the wooded part of my property.

Day Four: ink and watercolor,
detail of a bronze Tiffany Studios candleholder, c.1905.
Not much to say about this one. I was poking around online looking at Tiffany
desksets the way you do, and came across a pair of these candleholders on an auction site. After the elaborate decoration of the desksets, I found the simplicity of this design visually soothing. What do you think about Tiffany creations? Any favorites?

And that's it so far, for #DrawingAugust 2020.

I hope your Summer is going well.
Here it has been consistently uncomfortable - hot and muggy - nearly every day.
With thunderstorms for drama, followed by more hot and humid.

Piper and I have been spending the majority of our time
reclining on our respective lounges, letting the air conditioner blow breathable air
as directly as possible into our lungs.

It's not a bad life, but it sure doesn't get much done.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

rudbeckia returns

For the first time, a rudbeckia plant has survived a winter and reappeared!
This is one of the four rudbeckia plants I ordered from a nursery last year. This year it has already struggled through insect attacks that left many leaves tattered and many petals half-eaten before the blooms had even opened. But, as you can see:
the overall effect is one of Triumph and Beauty!

Each of the four was planted in a different place, in hopes in increasing chances of survival. This one was planted in a small bed right by the gate to the barn paddock. Whenever I walk past, I check to see if there are insidious insects chewing on the flowers, and if so, I knock them off. But this past week, there have been tiny bees working away at pollen collection!

Every morning I've thought, "I must go back for the camera," but by the time I've done even the slightest task - such as turning on the hose and passively watching it fill the goats' water buckets - there is sweat literally dripping from my hair, and my clothes are sticking to my entire body. When I get back into the cooler house, the camera is no longer on my mind.

Until today! Today I chanted "camera, camera, camera," as I walked back to the house. Went in, pulled off the leather gloves that were sticking to my fingers, grabbed the camera and went right back out.

One of the little goat-combing folding chairs was conveniently at hand, as I had used it last night to avoid 20 minutes of leaning while doing barnyard macrame on the lower part of a stock panel. So this morning I pulled that little folding chair right up to the rudbeckia and started making bee portraits.

A nearby patch of bee balm was hosting a group of big furry bumblebees, but the rudbeckia was providing an exclusive pollen party for a number of tiny bees from what I think is the family Halictidae - and that, my friends, is as far as I am willing to go on the bee id's. I started to look into it, but it's a huge family, and I have to save some of my small memory bank for remembering whose hooves need to be trimmed and whether or not I've paid my bills this month.

Besides, no name is needed. I'm happy just to see these amazing little creatures.

And these amazing flowers.