Thursday, May 27, 2010

Foraging on the freedom trail

What we thought was a crabapple tree on the yard surrounding the J.W. Dobbs house turns out to be a hawthorn.

These are delicious! I released a handful and ate them (because F. had spoken earlier to an urban forager who assured her they were fine. This didn't convince her to eat them, but i have no allergies or qualms, or brains.)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Scent Must Be Described in Metaphor

We pass a pair of juicy gardenias while walking to and fro on the morning walk. They've grown to crowd the small enclosure between an unused front door and its railing fence in a townhouse complex where the community life, and I'm only assuming there is one, exists within.  The gardenia's scent is strongest as its flower dies. Sweet and rot mingled.

The sense of smell, I understand, is the one that must be shared with metaphor. We can't describe a scent, smell, odor, fragrance any other way. This has to do with the ephemeral or abstract, even subjective nature of scent.

So when I share the close-up image of a gardenia, all I can really offer is this:
evening anticipation mingled with dread
and the hours before sweat, vomit and
unplanned pregnancy.

Possible nostalgia?
As if that long-dead grandmother
watched with a smile
slid her still slender fingers
up and down the curtain's pleats.
The sheers, not the drapes.
The drapes smell of dust.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Illustrated Journal Workshop

Last week I took a much needed workshop in composing and simplifying plein air sketches taught by Marilyn Brandenburger at the Spruill Arts Center. We started with simple sketches of a radish (one each) then moved on to packing our outdoor kits and roaming the area immediately outside the art center. On Sunday we worked from photographs. I'm always taking pictures of things and places I think would make nice pages but ... then I post them here!

Following Marilyn's simple instructions, I learned how to break the view into it large shapes, sketch them out and then fill in with ink and watercolor. Here are a couple of the books on sketchbooks and journals I like. There are more and more out everyday.

and here are some of the sketches I did. So hard to be need when I'm used to being a wild child.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Weathervane: Four Artist, Four Directions

One of the important promises I made to myself last year was that, if nothing else, I would say yes to art. What this meant was simple: say yes to requests for work from the organizations I'm in, from the ones I want to be in, from ads sent by friends and from those found stumbling on the web. It's how I got one big piece finished and sent off to now four shows and a website. It's the same piece found (like a story in a slush pile) and included in a book on innovative printmaking.

I also decided to get my work into shows in Atlanta, even if that meant putting on the show myself, which I did. Not a solo show, but one shared with three friends and fellow artists. But I was the point girl, the one who got the space and the time and who brought it all together. I had a blast. This was helped by the fact that my fellow artists, Serey Andree, Ande Cook (see Chickory under Inspired By) and Ralph Barnes, were all equally eager to create new work and present it without a lot of ego nonsense and fuss.

Thanks to Chera Baugh at the Atlanta Public Library and Ande's good reputation in organizing an earlier show in 2007, we got a month on the calendar and an opening reception that coincided with downtown's First Thursdays.

Despite my need and desire for a full-time job, putting together this show was a perfect example of doing real work I love. Hopefully, the money will follow. I did sell one piece (Thanks, Casey) and maybe more. We take down the show on the 27th. If you're in Atlanta, please visit the central branch of the Atlanta Public Library. The gallery space is really interesting (in a good way.)

Dangerous Book - Episode 41

And now there are lots of cops, most polite.  That’s not what I mean.  Most are like real people with families that I would know.  The large one is an in-law to a secretary in the department.  Another I recognize as a member of the church next door, on whose property we sit.  Unlike what might have been my imaginings, these men and the one woman humping up and down our stairs have not appeared from another planet.  The woman, in fact, I’ve seen on my walks with Juniper.  She has family at Evergreen.

All day, up and down in their heavy shoes, asking, once, to use my phone.  The lady copy even used my bathroom and cadged a tampon.  I find this sort of breach very disarming.  I moved the phone from my bedroom to the hall and let the cops stand there with nothing to write on but the wall.  I hovered, lowering the radio to hear them, but they mumbled into the mouthpiece.
Peter is upstairs with more detectives right now.  I have given statements but will soon give another to yet another detective, a man about my age who would appear to be in charge. Guess you’d like to know what happened. Veronica is dead.

 The detective (lieutenant?) is of medium height, trim and faintly square, green eyes, black lashes, and thick brows that threaten to grow together above a small, elegant nose. A lovely neck.  His name is Wake Robin and he does not fit in with the other cops who are, despite their familiarity, are far more rigid and tightly uniformed.  Detective Robin stood at the entrance to my apartment in clothes and a haircut he didn’t get in Tuscaloosa, shook my hand without leaving a scar and escorted me upstairs.  

Monday, May 3, 2010

Dangerous Book - Episode 40

Sunday, May 30 continued

We all in our various degrees leaned or ran or stretched a hapless arm toward the three women but only Peter’s legs actually moved and them so fast it was as if he flew. Almost before the mallet shattered inches from her, he was at Lura’s side covering her with a gesture of such protective love I think it took us all, them most of all, by surprise, for when Peter finally released her, Lura looked straight at me and shook her head. Her eyes were sad above her smiling mouth.
            I looked to Peter, to Kate, to Jacob but no one saw me.  Suddenly, Professor Sargeant’s arm was around me.  But I’ve never had the capacity for accepting sympathy.  My way is to petrify into a stoicism unbreakable, untouchable, oh, until much later.  You can read these words as tears, but I’m not crying yet.  Still, I was grateful to my neighbor.
            So, he loved her after all. So, no one told me.  So.  Well.  Is there a law that says they must.  “We wanted to,” said Kate, much much later, for the evening did not end with Peter and Lura.  “We tried to.  I wish I had.”  Yeah, now.

  Monday, May 31
             I thought I had a boyfriend and I thought I had friends, new friends.   Maybe I didn’t know everything there was to know about them, but what I didn’t see was that through this brief season another drama was playing out, and that all these people were living it—Billie and Allen and Kate and especially Jacob, who was so angry at Peter. 
            Peter’s friends were seeing him and Lura and his behavior toward her and how his behavior toward me. That’s why Jacob was so angry and that’s why he threw the croquet mallet. He meant to hit Peter, he almost hit Lura. Instead, his mallet crashing woke us all.  
Peter doesn’t love me.  And maybe I don’t love him, but right up to that minute I was living another life.  I was thinking…well, you know what I was thinking.
            How quiet the complex is, the way Tuscaloosa feels after a home game when the Winnabagos and SUVs have gone, before the litter has been shoveled into a landfill and the bourbon-scented vomit washed from the bleachers.  

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I'm Impressed

Quite a few months ago I received an email from a stranger in Berlin who said he admired my work. He (or maybe she) wanted to see some jpgs for inclusion in a book. Frankly, I thought it was spam and ignored it. But Hennig persisted and, after checking out the Gestalen website, I complied with some wonderful images shot by John Thigpen, a friend and meticulous set designer. The images were accepted and I forgot about the book. What a thrill to receive another email from Henni requesting my street address so he could mail me the finished book.

I'll be getting mine in the mail soon. You can get yours on!
The images selected were all from  How to Distinguish Scents, a labor of love that has proved to me that what you put your whole heart and focus (might that be soul?) into, will be worthy. Of course, Johnny's images are, I believe, equally responsible for this particular book's success. I've used the jpgs for Scents and several other books we photographed for inclusion into at least three other shows. Lesson two, therefore, do the best afterwork for your art lest it languish. This includes the best photography you can afford and then sending the piece out into the world to the galleries and shows that will appreciate it.