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and now it is Friday

Friday, July 9th, 2010

again? still? some weeks feel as though every day is a Monday. This has been one of them.

We enjoyed some cooler weather on the heels of very hot days. This made working in the gardens a top priority. Once we get into triple digits the task becomes watering and weeding, thinning, trimming, pruning go on hold until it is cool enough to enjoy being outdoors. Or, if not enjoy, then at least tolerate. I did not get everything done that was on my list, but a huge dent was made. This is a good thing.

One of my soft spots is the “volunteer seedlings”. It is difficult to pull them until I see what colors the columbine are for example. The standard yellow/red blooms can be pulled but what if the purple and white ones were! horrors… I’d much prefer to have them in the paths until a fair decision can be made.

It’s the same thing with the hollyhocks, a sentimental favorite in the “cottage garden”. The deep reds are elusive, the pale pinks ubiquitous. Once it is clear what color a given  plant will flower out, then I can remove it or let it stay.

A few years ago I planted black hollyhocks. They should flower this year.

While doing all the ruthless thinning and weeding this week, thoughts of editing were roiling about. How is this garden work similar to editing in the studio? Not everything that grows can be left in place. There would be too much competition for available light, water and nutrients. Not every idea or attempt in the studio sees the light of day. Some things go away before pen is taken to paper, paint to canvas, needle to cloth. Others pieces are started, a process or an idea is worked through and the work is edited out, leaving room for the challenging task of making something new, learning abut the concept, exploring the image.

Lately I have been working to deadlines, something avoided for the last several years. My preference is to make the work that is waiting to be made and when an invitation or entry opportunity presents itself, pull from the completed and available pieces. It is a challenge right now to have faith that the pieces in process will not require editing out, weeding from the path, culling…

morning details

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Mosquito season is still in full swing. This makes it challenging to stop for photos too often. The little buzzing things swarm any still, warm blooded creature. Nonetheless, here are some things that caught my eye this morning.

We used to call this “snake grass”. Is the dark area a mold of some sort or is it the seed… I didn’t cross the fence or stop long enough to find out. Tomorrow perhaps.

The wheat grasses are looking wonderful – the texture is so interesting.

Milkweed, the preferred food of Monarch Butterflies is in flower now. In the next week we should be seeing the butterflies. Wouldn’t it be great to get good photos of them feeding!  As always, the Russian Olives fascinate me. They are done flowering now. I miss that fragrance. The trees are full of birds and song.

The question, “How do these observations affect your art?” has come my way recently.

There is no easy answer.

How does what you see affect your art?

heading toward the Solstice

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

My trip to Salt lake City was wonderful. What a lovely group, a friendly city, wonderful landscape driving.

On the drive I saw: pelicans in flight along the Snake River, cranes grazing, eagles and osprey nesting, tourists cycling. And now, back in my familiar landscape, the Russian Olives are blooming and fragrant.

Beau and I walk in the mornings near the pond

The gardens are lush with all the rain, trees in full leaf; Spring color has held well this year. With some sun and warmth, the peonies will bloom…. Meanwhile the white iris and centaurea are still providing joy.

Studio work goes on with shipping deadlines looming and new ideas waiting their time.

More photos soon Robyn, I promise!

at play in the garden, at work in the studio

Monday, April 12th, 2010

It is still quite cool here, but a few things are growing.

ms. ella, potted

exotic tulips

Beau, at play


Ms. Ella, another view.

I think planting a “bottle tree” is next. I’ve seen them in Berkeley CA, and photos of a similar species from New Orleans. Will they grow in Montana? What about the plated silver plants? hmmm….

and in the studio!!! I uncovered more than a dozen full sheets of cotton rag water color paper, unmarked! oh frabjous day!

Here are two works on paper, now up on gallery 4 (where the spring cleaning sale continues)

origins and origins II

mixed media on paper…water color, oil pastel, graphite…

I’m ready to begin again.

river mist

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Tama asked about the two river mist photos. The river does flood when Spring melt-off begins in the high country. The Yellowstone is the longest un-dammed river in the lower 48. Currents shift, banks and channels are re-carved every year. However, the “tan” areas are snow/ice banks, not silt.

here are “corrected” photos. The snow reflects light, and the morning was gold.

**
On another note, Spring on-line classes will begin on the 15th, check my home page for the link to class information

“a month of mondays”

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Earlier this morning, a friend described February as “the month of 28 Mondays”. Perfect!

This is usually a month that I welcome.  Once it is over, March is here, bringing Spring and all those nice changes. This year Winter has been relentless. Even though this, the shortest month, is nearly done, it seems the ice ruts in the streets are permanent.

The crusty coating on paths I usually walk with the dogs is stuck in a freeze/thaw, freeze/thaw cycle.

We have had more gray days than not. I miss the sun.

The last few weeks have been spent away: a wonderful visit to Berkeley, my first trip to Northern California. It was a delight. Then just enough time at home to repack and off I went to Iowa for the annual retreat.  Driving allowed Beau to go with me. As always, he acquitted himself very nicely, made friends, had a good time. He travels well and is a good companion, helps me maneuver the ice, keep track of everyone and remember to exercise every day. Now I am home until the latter part of March.

Then there’s a workshop in Florida, the Retreat in Colorado Springs and a new Retreat in Ann Arbor, MI. see my schedule page for details.

Right now seems to be time a good opportunity for re-grouping,  pulling in, paying attention.

some photos from this morning’s daybreak:

what  lovely color as the sun rose. Now it is gray again.

Off to walk the dogs and then will spend time setting things in order around here. what a repetitious adventure that is! wouldn’t it be nice to do it once and have it done? where are the pixies???

the year is winding down

Monday, December 28th, 2009

December 28. I am already writing “january” and “2010”. This past year has presented many challenges and much heartbreak. There have been roses and bright spots amongs the thorns and clouds – it is all an opportunity for growth, eh? My regular end of year, beginning of the next assessments got shelved in 2008 and 2009 due to all the emotional demands of lives in transition. Essentially the goal was to get through it all.

This year the reassessment process began shortly after Thanksgiving. It is slow going as I try to look at life clearly.

On my list of things to change:

greater studio discipline. This means more time for the studio work and less spent on line. Now that my head is clearing this will be easier. Still to do: create more clear space by sifting, sorting and clearing out things no longer appropo to my work.

more time and energy for self-care: Over the last few years much of my emotional energy has gone toward family in stress, to grieving and to coping with multiple layers of loss. This has depleted my reserves and now it is time to pay attention: improve my diet, walk more, continue with therapies for my back and neck (still damaged from the car wreck in late April), and take more time for play.

Working smarter, not more or harder; Consolidating where it can be done: streamlining the teaching schedule, being more disciplined about the on-line work and doing a better job of keeping up with writing obligations. Letting each aspect of my professional life feed the others.

The word that underlines all of this for me is “mindfulness”. When mindfulness is part of my daily life, inspiration and wonder are ever-present. This informs the creative work, makes me a better teacher and allows me to offer more at every layer of my life.

As always, having a seamless life is important to me. Compartmentalization is handy for lists and schedules but not a good tool for a person who operates in a global rather than linear manner.

There are specific intentions in each of the areas of my life and perhaps there will be a time and place for discussing them. Or maybe the blog will bevccome an arena for keeping on track with moving through the year. We’ll see.

Meanwhile I wish for you a peaceful transition into the new year, good health, and time enough for the parts of your life that are most important to you.

what do you do when…

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

…it is simply too cold to be out and about?

w_e_e_l_l_l…

Beau

My helper and I worked in the office, we worked in the studio, put up an Etsy shop and more.

It is not enough for an active puppy boy.

He doesn’t care how cold it is (or remember that his feet have issues at these temps.) He wants to be out and DOING STUFF! Granted, he and Sam go out with M twice a day, but it is too cold for Sam, too cold for M, and Beau, being young and a shepherd mix, needs more to do. We are working on basic commands. He and Sam “mouth wrestle”, play tug with the “snake” and Beau tries to herd the cats on a regular basis – they do not like this. He’s only trying to find a job to do. Cats always know that it is not their place to do the work – that is what the staff is for.

Beau is certain he has opposable thumbs and can carry for me. He knows he could drive, if I would only provide an appropriate set of keys.

Ah well, what else is there to do. it is not even Winter yet.

still cold

Monday, December 7th, 2009

but actually colder. Not what was forecast however… I am looking forward to the warming trend later this week. 20 above will be a toasty change.

I’ve uploaded some Summer pieces to gallery 4. here’s a preview:

lost-found_01 s-leaves_01 s-song_01

post holiday post

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Thanksgiving is always wonderful, even when it doesn’t include ALL the people I want to spend it with.

This year we again spent the day with an old friend at her house… other good friends going way back through various incarnations of our life in Montana were there. The age range was 21 to 87, the food was great and the conversation far reaching. I miss being with immediate family at Thanksgiving, especially my daughter and her husband. This was the first year Nancy’s adult children couldn’t come home, so it was good for all of us to be together.

One of these years we’ll be able to add a fourth generation to the mix.

***

In preparation for the gifting season, I am producing three suites of hand altered photographs, in extremely limited editions.

“Winter Suite” is now up on Gallery 3. “Autumn Suite” and Spring/Summer will go up this weekend. Here are just two of the Winter photos:

ws-hoarfrost_01

ice_01

In other news, the studio clean-out continues, and it is still a mess. It is at the point now where the things to be gotten rid of will be donated or put into the Guild loop and the rest (that I am keeping) has a space in which to live. I have not begun to sort the papers and works on paper… maybe soon.

eyes

Beau misses going to school and the advanced class doesn’t begin until January.

I hope I can keep him busy and on track until then. The dogs next door have not been helping. They are 9 month old pit bull pups, sisters, and have no manners yet. They are smart and have learned that somewhere/somehow, there is a way to get from their yard into Beau’s. They repeat this learned behavior at every opportunity. This weekend is dedicated to fixing the fencing to cut down on the chaos. I worry about them bull-dozing Sam, who is old and arthritic. I worry about them knocking me over (two bad knees and only one good wrist right now, I’d have trouble getting up!) It has also been proven that once they are in this yard, they can get out, into the street and get into who knows what sort of trouble. We’ve been working with the neighbors to find a way to get this situation under control. So far… no success. Maybe tomorrow.

The samples of various techniques with un-spun fibers are winging their way to London for photography. Wish them well. Here’s a fuzzy photo of a fuzzy sample

ff-sample

and some weird photos of the other inhabitants of my domain:

2 dogs otis

and now I’m off to other chores.

Enjoy the weekend!