“to live in this world
you must be able
to do three things
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
spoke to me
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again
in a new way
on the earth!
That’s what it said
as it dropped,
smelling of iron,
like a dream of the ocean
into the branches
and the grass below.
Then it was over.
The sky cleared.
I was standing
under a tree.
The tree was a tree
with happy leaves,
and I was myself,
and there were stars in the sky
that were also themselves
at the moment
at which moment
my right hand
was holding my left hand
which was holding the tree
which was filled with stars
and the soft rain –
the long and wondrous journeys
still to be ours.”
― Mary Oliver
The theme for this month’s Sketchbook Challenge is “houses and hideaways”. It’s a great opportunity to do a follow up on the last blog post, a visit to the treehouse.
We spent a long weekend there, returned Tuesday. It was as always, therapeutic.
The interior space is quite small but the decks are expansive. Here are some views and details. Perhaps you will see how the place got its name. From inside, every window looks out to panoramic landscape as well as the branching of the log supports.
the kitchen window
South East deck
looking out to the “driveway”
In the morning the grey jays fly into the deck for treats: bird seed or bread, or dog kibble in a pinch. Unlike the more showy Stellar Jays, they are not shy birds. This past visit we saw a lot of elk and moose sign but no animals.The dogs may have had something to do with that.
Visit the Sketchbook Challenge Blog to see other interpretations of this month’s theme, and drop in on the personal blogs of other hosts for tutorials, videos, giveaways.
Leave a comment here for the chance to win a pdf of my “Idea to Image” workbook. A name will be drawn at random on October 4.
p.s., with any luck at all, the GeoCounter will be back before this posts – that’s an ugly space without it.
Earlier this week, after too much thinking and not enough planning, we headed upcountry for the first time this season. Being completely unplugged and off grid provides a wonderful opportunity to *not* think, to *not* worry or plan and to *not* get bogged down in the details of responsibility. Certainly there are chores: opening the treehouse, cleaning up the decks, moving wood and more. The difference is, for me anyway, that I can see and feel the results of my efforts when I am up there. For example, piles of firewood are quantifiable. It is easy to see when wood needs to be moved closer to where it will be used and so forth. Similarly, clearing walkways, cutting back tall grass in my “parking spot” and pruning out young trees are all tasks that need doing every year. I love knowing that I got the work done, can go off for a walk, come back and sit on the deck watching the birds, the dogs and the shifting light.
Although my neighborhood is relatively quiet and the morning river walks are lovely and somewhat solitary, the noise of being in town is constant. Having the stillness and peace at the “tree house” this week was a gift and a reminder of how important that deep solitude is to me. At home in town, in addition to the birds in my gardens, there is the almost constant electrical whirr of fans, of the fridge, the noise of neighborhood children, dogs and traffic, occasional sirens.
At the treehouse: the soft whirring of the jays, the cries of coyotes at night, the river of a wind storm followed by the rhythm of rain all night and the whistling call of the ground squirrels my dogs find so entertaining. Every once in a while, a large animal will move through. We hear branches breaking, the rustle of grass, the dogs might bark once or twice. This trip I did not see them but moose, elk, black bears and deer all live there, it is their home, I am just a visitor.
My next trip will be in a week or so depending on various schedules. We will stay for 5 days if all goes well. Stay tuned.
Beau, keeping track ms. Gracie, ready to roll, again!
The dogs were ecstatic when we arrived at the gate and they were released.
By the time I had made the climb up our drive, they had criss-crossed the ridge and met me on the deck, both in full body wag. They spent our time there on the move, chasing and waiting for ground squirrels that live in the wood piles and downed timber. They would come back to me for a bit, have a drink or a rub, then one or the other would alert and both would take off up the meadow or down the hill. Beau would sometimes lay down for a nap (he has an “off button”), ms. Gracie would still be running had we not come home. She has the Border Collie energy and stamina. She is also still young and at an age where she will whimper with fatigue but get up and run some more at the smallest opportunity.
It is July and this amazes me. Suddenly temperatures are scorching. It is incredibly dry. Keeping the gardens watered enough for survival is a challenge. The bonuses are vibrant color and daily treats from the veggie beds.
My days begin very early. Channeling my grandmother <G> (minus her cigarettes), I start the morning with a cup of coffee and whatever correspondence awaits. Then it’s out to weed a veggie bed and then to the river with the dogs. When we get back it is time to deal with the chores of watering, household stuff, whatever needs doing. By late morning or early afternoon I am, finally! at long last! in the studio.
This is a radical shift from my habits of 30+ years. My peak time for thinking and making was always in the morning. I’d work until late afternoon then shift gears. With the changes in my life the last years, it has been necessary to alter my routines. The difficulty was identifying the issue and figuring out how to approach the requirements of my new life. But here we are, working again and moving forward.
Now it’s time to dig out the tripod in order to get better photos, then I can update the website. There is a relearning curve after the sabbatical of the last long while – for example, I wrote this blog entry and promptly lost it! sigh.
Little things have been a good way to get my hands and eyes working together again.
Waiting in the wings: a series dealing with my river walks. This piece is ready to be worked on. [altered photo on silk organza, layered on monoprint]. It wants marks, thread, perhaps sticks and stones, we’ll see.
If you are in the US, have a safe celebration of the 4th!
This mushroom was growing in my ancient crab apple tree. The large cap measured 7 inches across. Michael would have taken a spore print to identify the specimen.
In the garden the pink Cranesbill Geranium and the Johnson’s Blue are in bloom. Also, but not pictured: clematis, elderberry bushes, peonies, columbine and more. The weeds and grasses are especially lush as a result of a cool wet Spring. The positive is the lovely feathery texture. The negative is how tenacious these volunteers are and how thirsty.
My helpers and walking companions: OBeauHobo on the left. He’s 4 1/2 now and a wonderful companion. Ms. Gracie is on the right, she is one year old now. She is a bouncy, happy pup and makes me laugh every day. They are both herding dogs and high energy so daily walks are essential. This is very good for me as well.
The river is still running high and muddy but every day we watch eagles, osprey, ducks, geese and songbirds. The wild roses and Russian Olives are blooming right now. Their fragrance compensates for the annoyance of the mosquitoes.
No photos from the studio work yet but I am, finally, at long last, back at work in the studio on a daily basis. Things seem to be going well. It will take me a while to get back into the swing of blogging and updating the website, but it is time and I am ready.
Most of the continent has been dealing with extreme weather this last while. We hear about what is going on in highly populated areas, but the disasters are widespread. Flooding, wild fires, heavy wind storms, tornadoes and we aren’t even into hurricane season yet.
Be safe! Be smart.
On this lovely Solstice, I send you warm wishes for renewal and growth.
Sounds yummy doesn’t it. Tomorrow the light begins returning, the days get longer and although, where I live, the coldest part of the year has yet to come, we will be moving toward warmth. I like warmth!
Please visit my Coaching Page for information on those services and for the limited time special offer!
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There are new images up in Gallery 2 now. These are older pieces, exhibited but not previously offered for sale. Clicking on the detail will take you to the full image and specifics.
detail: “night garden”
detail: “Peeling Onions”
A percentage of all sales from my website will be donated to Hurricane Sandy Relief.
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October 31′st. Warm and windy here but clear. The leaves are all down from the big trees out front but still hanging on out back. The lilacs will be the last to let go.
Our morning walks are beginning an hour later in the morning now, partly because daylight is slower to arrive, partly because the later it is, the fewer critters are out and about, tempting the dogs to run and chase. I’ve managed to find a walking route and routine that (for four days now) has kept Beau from collecting nasty burrs. This is important. He’s a wonderful companion but spending an hour and a half each day trying to comb him out gets frustrating. He doesn’t like it and it feels like a struggle. Saturday he had a serious grooming and “detailing”. That should help. Gracie has a smoother coat and is much easier to comb out.
Outside the studio door, the “Burning Bush” is in full glory. What astounding color. I hope it holds for a while.
***Most of my time the last two weeks has been directed to learning more about Social Media, rethinking the museletter and working with Coaching Clients. If you subscribe to the museletter, you can expect a new one in the next few days. (updated subscription information is not available yet. If you are not on the mailing list and would like to be, drop me a note and I will add you. You can opt out at any time).
I have room for two more Coaching Clients right now.
If you want more information, click here.
Of course, for the past several days, my thoughts have been with family and friends and everyone on the Eastern Seaboard who has been, and will be, dealing with the Storm and its aftermath. I am grateful that my nearest and dearest have come through, but heartbroken at the widespread devastation.
Here’s how to help:
I hope you are well and safe and if the storm impacted you and yours, I wish a speedy return to “normal”.
all best, laura
A day or so ago I made this comment on Facebook:
“I believe that in my office storage space, I have about a dozen unused white 2″ Avery Binders. I am willing to send these out to the first dozen people who commit to doing something “artful” about women and politics and roles or WHATEVER, before the election. Only a few Rules: you pay the postage, and agree to send me .jpegs of your artful interpretation before Nov 1 – yes, that’s a tight deadline.
If we are going to be in binders, eventually the men in our lives are as well.
Use humor, satire, make something fabulous. I’ll put it all on line, on my website, my museletter and one at a time on FB. If you have your own unused Binders, let me know if you would like to participate. If you dress for Halloween, males and females, consider “Binder” costumes.
Send me photos! I will put it all on line. Make a statement. I do not care (HAH) about your candidate of choice but some things are unacceptable. Let’s use art to say so.
On further reflection I have a few changes to make:
*It’s less expensive for you to purchase or upcycle an existing binder, or even create a “binder” than it is for me to send you one, even if you pay for postage.
*Binders* can have a number of different meanings. Be creative.
*NO LIMIT on what or what you portray or target, how or what sort of statement you want to make or end up making. No size or materials limitation.
This participation is open to all, regardless of gender or preference. Everyone and anyone prompted to respond to this phrase is welcome. IMO, the implications of this phrase have the potential to do grievous harm to equal rights for all of us. But maybe I’m over reacting.
Even if I disagree with your point of view as I see it in the imagery:
**I will post everything unless it condones or promotes violence, or is pornographic.**
Please send a short statement giving me permision to post your work and that it is copyrighted. if you do not want your name published, please let me know. (I’ll use initials.)
All imagery is due November 2 (this allows for performance pieces that might take place on Halloween. Please send at least two images of your work. (images should be low res (72dpi) and no larger than 4×6 (aka 450 dpi wide or tall). That way I won’t have to spend a lot of time editing and my computer won’t crash <G>.
I want to start posting images ASAP before Election Day. I want this to be an event!
LMK if you plan to participate, so I can plan my time. Thanks.
You need not be a US citizen or resident to participate. IMO the implications of the sort of thinking the phrase reflects has the potential to affect things globally.
Our candidates are using words to tell us what they think. “Women in binders” is a loaded phrase.
Show us what it means or implies to you!
**p.s. this is the serious part:
No matter where you stand on any of the issues, it is important to consider them carefully.
If you are a US Citizen, please VOTE.
If you live in a state that is trying to intimidate voters, e.g. trying to disallow students who did not give their dorm room number, object! Stick up for your rights!
(FWIW, my state allows early absentee voting, so I have made my decisions and cast my ballot.)