Monday, July 28, 2014

orchards in space

Summer country weekends have a comforting sameness. 
I check on the frogs, go wading, spend long periods of time looking 
at rocks, water, moss, ferns and wildflowers, and whatever else
comes my way. Tiny lizards, lichen, wild turkeys,
a great heron.

There are friends to visit, jaunts to galleries, used books stores, 
favorite places and events. The county fair! The cauliflower festival!
Of course there are chores and a house to maintain, 
but I always opt for r&r&r

relaxation, refreshment, recreation, because otherwise 
what is the point of a four-hour drive to a country house? 

Here is something new and green, growing out of the trunk 
of a fallen tree.

I'm starting a new blog, focussing on art and books, painting and writing.
Word is that people are reading fewer blogs these days, 
but there are places I want to explore, to go narrower and deeper than I do here.

I expect to continue to post here once a week or so.
No sudden moves.

The new blog is Orchards in Space.

xo, Jen

Thursday, July 17, 2014

a country weekend

wildflowers along the stone wall

standing behind the waterfall

a barn with a rocket

a barn with a crocodile

the road to town

a visit to Bibliobarn

and more wildflowers.

Monday, July 14, 2014

wild roses

 Purple flowering raspberry shrubs grow wild all around our house in the Catskills. Rubus odorous is a member of the rose family. I love the way they look in all their stages of growth. Their berries taste like a slightly tart raspberry. Of course I rarely see the berries--most of them get eaten by birds and other wildlife.

 They remind me of a scrubbier version of the lovely rugosa rose that grows wild around the beaches of New England. I took this picture in Maine. Their warm pinkness and sweet smell contrasts beautifully with the rocky beaches and chilly north Atlantic waters.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

orange roses, pink seas

Through the week I've watch the orange roses (here) go from debutantes 
to roses of a certain age.

 The color gradations knock me out.

These abstract closeups help me see them in a new way.

For me, that's what art does.

Yesterday, I finished a quasi-impressionistic painting of roses 
and painted this

and these.

It's been a hot weird week and it felt so good to break into something new.

I have a green land, pink seas series in mind
inspired by the peony bud in this post.

Peonies, they took over our lives for a while, didn't they?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

curious jen

 Orange roses.

It started at Two Old Tarts last weekend.
Orange roses among cakes and pies and tarts.
Instead of eating my dinner I kept taking pictures.

So when I saw a bunch of orange roses for sale
Enough for two vases. So I'd never be too far away from them.
Why? What is it about that color? And me and flowers?

 And why are cats endlessly amusing?
It rained all day and they hung out on their ironing board perch
while I primed the walls in the upstairs hall.

For five years there have been six large paint swatches 
in blues and greens on those walls.
And this picture.
Now it's a nice fresh primer white and I just might keep it white.
A big step for me. (Understand, my dining room is pink.)

Eventually Aji roused herself to investigate
the roses in my bedroom.

And I'm thinking it might be time to paint a mural.
Something with a cat or two. 
And orange roses.

Monday, June 30, 2014

a country weekend, arrival


My arrivals at our country house follow a pattern. Day or night I first check on the waterfall. I hear it as soon as I get out of the car, framing why I love the Catskills, wilderness and wildness set among rolling hills and dairy farms. The waterfall is fed by snowmelt and rain, so by the end of summer slows to a trickle, but big rains last week had it roaring.

Then I unpack the car, go in the house, open the windows, 
and if it's daytime go back outside. 
I arrived Friday late afternoon so had plenty of time to explore.

I walked to the frog pond to make sure the frogs were there.
So many species have become extinct in recent years that I worry, 
but there were tadpoles and frogs in every stage.
They leap away at any movement of my shadow.

Next I investigated the wildflowers.
Forget me nots, tiny and delicate,
that perfect blue with the yellow center, takes my breath away.

Everywhere I looked there were layers of nature.

I picked some flowers and ferns

and went into the house to put them in water.

I chose a couple of my nature books 

and took them, along with ice water, raspberries
and Denise Parsons' (of Chez Danisse) new book 
After the Sour Lemon Moonand went back outside to read.

"The train pulls slowly to a stop. I tug my suitcase down from the rack above and exit into the blue hour. It is quiet. I can hear myself breathe."

                                                                               from,  After the Sour Lemon Moon

 Yes, I can hear myself breathe.

Monday, June 23, 2014

around here, early summer

Every morning, I open a couple of windows for the cats. Having indoor cats has been much easier and better than I expected, but I do what I can to give them a bit of the outdoors. They love to nibble on wheat and oat grass, nap in the window sills and watch and listen to the birds, squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits. I'm sure they are smelling and hearing all kinds of things too.

This marvelous picture is from a video of a dog with his head out the car window. It's by Julie Andreyev, and is at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, in an exhibit of artist and animal collaborations. I went there to see the Turner and the Sea exhibit, which was wonderful. It includes maritime paintings by other 19th century artists, putting Turner in context. I particularly enjoyed the selections from Turner's sketchbooks and small paintings. When I was in college I went to London and saw his work for the first time. His skies and seas touched me deeply and influenced my own painting and the way I looked at art.

These are a couple of the small studies I've been doing,
 thinking about painting them big. Really big.

My favorite part of summer is sitting on the porch in the evening, 
reading and watching the light change.

I hope that you are enjoying early summer (or winter if you are on the other side of the globe).
Last night I went to see The Lunchbox, and recommend it if you like small, charming movies,
or, like me are obsessed with India.