Monday, August 30, 2010
In this poem, by Fleur Adcock, she says: "...I decided to write about something that I had often felt about art galleries, that when you come out, your vision is different, you see things differently than when you went in."
Leaving the Tate
Coming out with your clutch of postcards
in a Tate Gallery bag and another clutch
of images packed into your head you pause
on the steps to look across the river
and there's a new one: light bright buildings,
a streak of brown water, and such a sky
you wonder who painted it--Constable? No:
too brilliant. Crome? No: Too ecstatic--
a madly pure Pre-Raphaelite sky,
perhaps, sheer blue apart from the white plumes
rushing up to it (today, that is,
April. Another day would be different
but it wouldn't matter. All skies work.)
Cut to the lower right for a detail:
seagulls pecking on mud, below
two office blocks and a Georgian terrace.
Now swing to the left, and take in plane trees
bobbled with seeds, and that brick building,
and a red bus...Cut it off just there,
by the lamp post. Leave the scaffolding in.
That's your next one. Curious how
these outdoor pictures didn't exist
before you'd looked at the indoor pictures,
the ones on the walls. But here they are now,
marching out of their panorama
and queuing up for the viewfinder
your eye's become. You can isolate them
by holding your optic muscles still.
You can zoom in on figure studies
(that boy with the rucksack,) or still lives,
abstracts, townscapes. No one made them.
The light painted them. You're in charge
of the hanging committee. Put what space
you like around the ones you fix on,
and gloat. Art multiplies itself.
Art's whatever you choose to frame.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Another Sketchbook Project image.
What a relaxing weekend! I slept in, ate well, watched good movies, sketched a bit, and just in general took it easy. Continuing to have fun with the Sketchbook Project.
Nothing like the recuperative powers of rest.
Q: "How do you spell 'onomatopoeia?'"
A: "The way it sounds."
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Another sketchbook project image.
Is there anything more enchanting than a day to sleep in, relax, and watch movies revolving around Italy?
I think not...
Ciao bella! Sheer bliss.
"Half the people of the world are below average." (--Anonymous)
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I'm getting there--slowly but surely I'll fill this book! Hopefully I'll get some free time soon when I can dash off a "goodly number" of images for it.
We're smack dab in the middle of our new student Orientation weeks, and it's been incredibly busy. Early hours coming in to work, and staying very late each day for two weeks. We've had lots of daytime activities for them, and social activities each night: a picnic, a Durham Bulls baseball game, several dinners and dessert nights, movies on the lawn in the Duke Gardens, and even a night of Bowling! (I was once told I was a "Soave Bolla.")
This current incoming class of students is really great. I'm thoroughly enjoying them--they're smart, idealistic, and a lot of fun. We're doing our best to paint them Duke Blue.
The day after Labor Day, I'll be heading off for the northeastern part of the country. I'm actually pretty excited this year, since I'll be seeing some pretty parts of New England and undoubtedly some gorgeous fall foliage.
But I sure will be glad when all this trip-planning I have to do is done. I've been working for some time on flights, hotels, rental cars, school visits, Open Houses, fairs and conferences, juggling schedules, figuring out venues for events, and I'm thankfully almost done with all the basics. Now, I'm working on the final touches, such as my pages of shipping/mailing lists for all the boxes of materials that will need to be sent out to the different destinations on specific dates, for my visits all over creation.
Somebody has to do it. Might as well be me, I suppose. I'm finally at the point where I'm getting primed for the trips to start. And once I head out on the road, I actually get into the rhythm of it all and enjoy it quite a bit. I know I'll see some beautiful places. I always do.
Some of the current new students were asking me about my job, and as I described it to them,I told them that "sometimes, they do let me out of my cage for extended periods."
The University academic life definitely has a predictable cyclic nature to it, and I find myself going through the same phases every year at this time: the initial, familiar dread of knowing I'm going to be gone for months, followed by the stress over all that needs to be coordinated and arranged, then the intense, meticulous (anal?) planning itself, and finally the anticipation and excitement that it's really starting, and I'm on my way. Once I actually go, I admit that I really enjoy it all.
I've been getting to know this MEM (Master of Environmental Management) degree class of 2012 students. Many of them are people I met initially on the road, all over the country this past year. I know that I'll have the opportunity to meet many more nice people out there this year. I won't see many of these current students again until the spring when I'm home for good this year.
Some people complain about "the young people of today," but I'm not one of them. I see these young grad students and feel inspired by their optimism and sense of purpose. I'm a lucky woman.
"Someone once told me: 'Luck is when opportunity meets preparation.'" (--Erika Baxter)
Monday, August 23, 2010
"Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick" (--Gwynneth Paltrow)
I had to laugh when I read that quote (above.) When I was growing up, my mother always used to say, "You'd look so much better if you'd put on some lipstick."
I was never into lots of makeup or lipstick, unless it was a neutral color...but even then, I was typically more interested in its moisturizing capabilities than anything else. But my mom almost always wore a really kick-ass red lipstick, and you know--unlike most people, she could really carry it off, and she always looked great in it! It doesn't really look that good on most people, in my opinion. I remember as a little girl, I loved watching her put on her lipstick. She was transformed in Revlon's "Love that Red."
But then, unlike me, she had, (as she herself would call it,) "good liposity."
If she was still alive, August 25th would have been her birthday. Here's a big red-lipstick kiss for my mom.
"Where lipstick is concerned, the important thing is not color, but to accept God's final word on where your lips end." (Jerry Seinfeld)
Amen to that.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
She's been through a lot this year, and while she still has a good bit ahead to deal with, at least she doesn't have to go through any more chemotherapy. I woke up yesterday with her on my mind, and I woke up smiling today, thinking that she can be optimistic, knowing that this difficult period has passed and SHE DID IT!
My dad is doing pretty well right now, too. He's had quite a struggle after open heart surgery several months ago, and several procedures after that. He's finally feeling pretty well; still some weakness, but overall much better. For both my dad and my sister, I think there's a bit of the "new normal."
I wake up every day realizing how fortunate I am, and for the first real time in my life, really feeling grateful for my own health. I know everyone always says it, but it has really rung true for me this year that if you have your health, you have everything.
Monday starts our Orientation week for new students. Last week was pre-Orientation, and most of them have already arrived, but Monday it's official. It's really busy, but I always enjoy seeing the students return.
I took Joe to the airport the other day before the crack of dawn. The night before, he had put beautiful flowers all over the place, (which is what he always does when I return from my trips each time in the fall.) I commented on them, and he said, "Well, I don't want you to forget about me while I'm gone!"
Gotta' love it.
Happy weekend, all!
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Well, look what arrived in the mail today, speaking of sketchbooks:
This project just keeps getting more and more fun. I'd forgotten I'd ordered this! I suppose I should have ironed this for a photo, but I was just too excited and smiling when I opened up the package.
I'm going to have to try to see some of these sketchbooks in person, once they start touring around the country. Hope you all think about doing one yourself--you have until October 31st to sign up! Remember, you can fill it with anything--photos, drawings, stamped images, cut out collages, etc...
Go for it, folks!
Art, like morality, consists in drawing a line somewhere." (--Gilbert K. Chesterton)
Monday, August 16, 2010
"As long as there are bluebirds, there will be miracles and a way to find happiness" (--Shirl Brunnel)
Well, I couldn't really do a sketchbook without a bluebird in it now, could I? I had to have at least one little blue guy in here.
They're such gentle, lovely birds:
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Remember Winnie the Pooh and the "useful pot?"
When I was a kid, I loved that story:
Pooh doesn't know what to bring Eeyore for his birthday. He finally settles on the idea of bringing Eeyore his empty honey jar, because it could serve as a very useful pot:
"At this point Eeyore becomes quite excited, because he has just spotted something very interesting indeed. He tells Pooh that his balloon will fit into the pot! Pooh says no, and explains that balloons are much too big to go into pots, and what Eeyore should do with a balloon is hold it and...
But Eeyore says that his balloon is different, and he picks it up with his teeth, and puts it into the pot - and it fits beautifully! So he takes it out again, and puts it in again, and takes it out again, and puts it in again.
- "So it does!" said Pooh. "It goes in!"
- "So it does!" said Piglet. "And it comes out!"
- "Doesn't it?" said Eeyore. "It goes in and out like anything."
Wishing you all "Many Happy Returns of the Day."
Saturday, August 14, 2010
"Drawing is not an exercise of particular dexterity, but a means of expressing feelings and moods" (--Matisse)
Half a book down, and half yet to go in the sketchbook project. What a welcome lazy, relaxing day it's turning out to be. Hope to get in some sketching time this weekend. I have just a few weeks left until I head out on the road for the fall, so I'm enjoying being home, and hoping I can get this book completed before then.
Happy Weekend, folks!
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
(he and she)
under are this
(all realms of where
and when beyond)
now and here
(far from a grown
-up i & you-
ful world of known)
who and who
(2 little ams
and over them this
aflame with dreams
--e e cummings
Monday, August 9, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
My sister Claudia is still plodding along with rounds of chemo, and she still faces a mastectomy down the line. It's been a long haul for her. I'm amazed at how brave she's been and how strong she's tried to be.
I told her we need to plan something to really give her a goal to think about for the future--something fun to look forward to after all the trauma she's faced this year and into next year. I asked her if she'd like to go to France with me, and she seemed really happy and excited to have something like that to look forward to after all she's going through now. We can both do some research into where we want to go, what we'd want to see, etc. I've been to France before, but it's been a pretty long time since I have, and she's never seen Paris! She's traveled a lot, and she's seen the French Riviera, but not other parts of France. We've already expanded our itinerary to include the chunnel to London, perhaps! So it will be fun to think about it and plan something fun for next year when I'm not on the road, and she's actually able to go.
By the middle of next year, she might be all done with her treatments for the most part, and she could be healthy enough to go off somewhere. It'll give us both time to save up and do something really nice together.
She might bring her teenage daughter Kyra along, as well, and I thought--what a wonderful treat for Kyra, too!
"And that's the wonderful thing about family travel: it provides you with experiences that will remain forever in the scar tissue of your mind." (--Dave Barry)
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Another sketchbook project page.
We have a variety of flowers going strong in our yard right now, and if Joe hasn't, than I've been snipping things to bring inside. The rose of sharon bushes (trees?!) are all abloom right now, and they're really pretty.
Someone gave us tiny little cuttings of two varieties a few years ago, about a foot high and stumpy, and we sort of half-hazardly stuck them into the ground: one in the backyard, and one in the front. Now, just a few years later, they're taller than I am with flowers all over the place.
Both of us will pretty much cut any kind of flower that's out there, whether it's on a tree, a bush, or a tiny stem, and bring it inside for us to enjoy here. Sometimes they last just a day or so, and sometimes, flowers last for weeks. Love it!
"Each flower is a soul opening out to Nature." (--Gerald De Nerval)
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Here's to woman, man's guiding star;
Here's to friends we've yet to meet,
Here's to those here, all here I greet;
Here's to childhood, youth, old age;
Here's to prophet, bard and sage,
Here's a health to every one,
Peace on earth, and heaven won!
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
More Sketchbook Project images.
I'm adding little newspaper clippings, notes, headers on some pages, etc, throughout. This image, below, is the Sketchbook Project moleskine that I'm using. I've used lots of moleskines before--some watercolor books, and some grid-lined books; some just true sketchbooks--not heavy paper, but certainly heavier than what I'm using here.
I could have emptied the pages from this book and inserted watercolor papers, but I chose instead to work with what they gave me. After all, I often sketch/paint in my grid-lined moleskine at work. It's just about the same thickness as this rattley paper, so I just decided to have at it.
I've got all kinds of ideas for what I'll fill this one with... so stay tuned. And bear with me and this paper! It's definitely not the most glamorous-looking stuff there is.
"All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind." (--Kahlil Gibran)
Sunday, August 1, 2010
I am going to so love getting back to velvety watercolor papers again. This paper is almost transparent, it's so flimsy, and really doesn't take to washes at all, but it's still fun, since I find myself not worrying one bit about what I produce--it's just putting brush to paper and getting on with it. Good practice.
And while I'm not really showing this, I'm inserting lots of verbiage and clipouts, etc. I'll take some photos one day of finished images, but for now, these are the "raw" sketches.
I'm inserting "This is not a sketchbook..." periodically throughout the book, followed by "It's a visual diary," or "It's a Tea Party," or "C'est la vie en rose," or "It's A Dance of Color" on pages that are appropriate.
I'm cutting out newspaper items, magazine clippings, etc, to incorporate, and journaling along the sides of pages. I'm painting over some clippings, collage-style. I'll take some photos of some of those pages for a future post.
"I never saw an ugly thing in my life: for let the form of an object be what it may, - light, shade, and perspective will always make it beautiful ." ~ John Constable.