Sunday, April 28, 2013

thinking and not

 From my 5th floor studio window I watch the freight trains. There is something anachronistic about them in this age of Fed Ex and the Internet. Mythical, romantic even, like I'm in another century. These could be logs from 1913, traveling from Maine to a shipyard in Brooklyn or Baltimore.

They reminded me of this old photo I have of a ship being built.
(Click on pictures for a better look.)

(Oxes?) (Ox's?) Ox, plural.

Georgia O'Keeffe painted objects so that the viewer would see them in a new way.

I keep trying to capture things in words and paint. Not actually the thing, but its essence.

Painting is totally absorbing. I like that I don't have to think.


Monday, April 22, 2013

flowers in the painting studio

These were a gift from my husband's colleagues. 
Something about the arrangement troubled me. 
He thought they were too stylized.
For me both colors and arrangement lacked harmony.

  Well aren't you interesting, I thought,
 not giddy with love in my usual way.

But I grew fonder of them, 
especially when viewed from above, 
and took them to the studio yesterday.

I made some quick sketches 
and contemplated the many ways to paint a flower,

but there is nothing like the real thing.

Spring is later than usual in New England (and the Catskills too I'm sure, though I didn't get there this weekend) and my garden is bare, but I'm enjoying the many blossoms and friends, the warmth and love and laughter over at Jane's Flowers in the House. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

flower power?

Patriot's Day, the day of the Boston Marathon, is a holiday in Massachusetts. It's a family and friends day when you bring your lawn chair and heaps of orange slices down to Main Street, cheer the runners and pass them juicy refreshing citrus. I wrote about it here last year. 

It's particularly cruel (and surely intentional) that so many of this year's victims have had legs and feet amputated, and such a terrible juxtaposition to a joyful day.

I titled last year's post flowers make everything better. Not  everything, I say today. And yet, when someone is hospitalized, our first impulse is to send flowers. 

Flowers don't make it everything better, but maybe they help, in some tiny but essential way.



Sunday, April 14, 2013

landscapes, large and small

Cliffs Beyond Abiquiu, Dry Waterfall, Georgia O'Keeffe

 I keep thinking about New Mexico--the colors, the landscapes, the fantasy of an abobe cottage with views of pink and black hills. Next weekend I hope to start returning to the Catskills after a long construction-related hiatus. I look forward to all the greens, the waterfall and rolling hills, to immersing myself in nature. But I know I will have to return to New Mexico one day. "The world is wide here," Georgia O'Keeffe said about New Mexico, "and it's very hard to feel that it's wide in the East."

I had planned to go to the studio today and paint, but I have a crushing headache, and so am spending a quiet Sunday reading, thinking and enjoying flowers* inside, and finally outside, where the first ones of the year have appeared. Spring starts slow in New England--the trees and flowerbeds are still bare, so I treasure this glimpse of blue near the base of the birdbath. I can see it from the kitchen window--the cats and I are constantly entertained by the birds that come and go--I open the window and listen to their songs changing with the seasons.

*flowers from Bow Street.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

small moments

sleeping kitten
peanut butter and banana on raisin bread
a big fat wonderful novel

small pleasures
deep happiness

Friday, April 5, 2013

quiet & peace

I grew up in a quiet house. Readers, not tv watchers. One sibling. When my oldest son was born it was baseball season and I started listening to sports radio. I loved the old-fashioned past-time of listening to ball games on the radio, and also grew fond of the talk shows--each host had a different personality and they became my companions on days that were sometimes lonely. I started always having the radio on when in the kitchen or car, in recent years usually tuned to National Public Radio. So many smart and interesting people! I sometimes switched to music--blues, classical or jazz. But there was always something to listen to.

Recently, feeling overloaded with other people's voices, insights, news,  I've been turning it off. I cook and eat breakfast in silence, watching the birds at the feeder and bath or watching the cats watching the birds, or not watching anything at all. Just cooking, eating, daydreaming...Crowds of chatter drift away leaving room for my own thoughts, ideas, insight.

Driving too, I sometimes turn off the radio, tune out the other voices, and allow my mind (though not the car) to drift.

Sometimes I invite those companions back in, and am happy to have them. But I'm glad to have discovered that silence, too, can be enriching.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

toe in the water

I'm trying to get off the perch, and it's scary.

I've rented a painting studio in an old textile mill in Lowell.

Long white walls.
A floor I can drip paint on.
Sky and city views.

I haven't had a place to paint big
and make a mess
since I was in college.

Exciting. Terrifying.