Friday, July 23, 2010

spring leaving

Spring field flowers
field sketch

The field has been seeded with wildflowers.  I go there often to sketch; this sketch, done on site, is large, 22x30."  I tried to work quickly, and you can see that some of the pastel marks barely cover the paper.  That day the field was shimmering with the sky, and the horizon wafted between the two.

Jane Blaffer Owen died on the solstice, the longest day of light, the last day of spring, this year.  She befriended me, and so many others, in New Harmony Indiana.  New Harmony will always carry her art, architecture, gardens, restorations, and her spirit.  With grace, she leaves the world.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

my summer vacation

Elena's back yard

Two weeks away:  time with my sisters H, N, and twin sister Jt, and with light and ocean, garden flowers and big old cypresses.  We walked a lot, we laughed a lot.  Color all around, carried with us even onto the highways and in the airports.

Coming back in the airplane I watched pools and wafts and points of darkness and lights, moving and changing in and out of patterns.  Fields of night and lights.  A bright crescent moon shone alongside for awhile.

The Emigrants by W. G. Sebald I read, travelled with.  There is a passage about memory reaching back, and forth into the present and perhaps beyond, and that memory meanders, foggy, sometimes clear.  I cannot find the passage.  The book is terrific, a dazzlingly rich field of greys and grey-surrounded points of fact/fiction/memory.  Oh here is the passage, from the fourth and final emigrant memoir, "Max Ferber":

     If I think back nowadays to our childhood in Steinbach (Luisa's memoirs continue at another point), it often seems as if it had been open-ended time, in every direction--indeed, as if it were still going on, right into these lines I am now writing.

This passage goes on for awhile, Luisa remembering the path and the kind of memories of her childhood and adulthood, all within the frame of her son Max's memories, as told to the nameless younger narrator of "Max Ferber" who grows older as we travel with him, we readers.   Luisa is remembering even as her world in her present-day Germany becomes narrower and narrower.  (The passage does not include fogginess; I got that wrong, yet fogginess, greyness are abiding motifs throughout the book.)

What a lot of layers and movement--in fields of color, night, or grey--there are in moments of memory.

Friday, July 2, 2010

July 1

July 1

Going west soon:  I'll be gone for two weeks.  This small painting, of flowers in a tangle of field, I did yesterday.  I'll leave it out on view in the studio, too.

chang chang ge

chang chang ge

Chang chang ge is Chinese for "sing, sing, song"  or "lots of singing" or "there is song all around."

The calligraphy here does seem to move around:  from square to square, square with a line through it, square under a line, and there is emphasis and syncopation, lightness and heaviness of touch.  The open square is kou, "mouth." You see kou in the top two changs (and twice, smaller, in the lower character ge).  The other part of chang--the two squares each with an inside line--means "sun," "splendor."  So you have in the Chinese word for "sing" the notion of mouth and sun/splendor.

There is much song around, here in early July.  Robin fledglings are fussing, sparrow parents call out warnings, finches and orioles share the news of newly dried seedheads.  The cicadas have started buzzing eveningtime.  How is there one moment or word for "song"?

Thursday, July 1, 2010


summer field

Not so much splashes of color as wafts of color, these.  The day was hot and the field buzzing with activity.  Some of the pastel marks almost melt into the paper.  After awhile you are drawing out and about.  The waft-marks become floaters above the field; the breezes, the air become integral with the field.  If splashes of color are water-filled, wafts of color are air-surrounded.

This field I painted on site, with pastel on paper, over a probably six-hour period.  The paper size is 22x30"; it is Fabriano Artistico, 140lb, hotpressed.  I love this paper and use it often.  Especially on a hot day:  the paper itself starts living and acting and interacting.