Back to the beach. Back to patterns. Back to basics. Back to back. Back to the future. Back against the wall. Missing the beach, I am. I’ll get back to the beach later this month when the biting insects have departed.
A friend helped me out for hours today. Wardrobe issues, and she was great. She found new combinations I had overlooked, gently critiqued items that didn’t work, coordinated shoes and jewelry; then let me bamboozle her into going shopping with me for a few things I needed. Pretty darn nice. (I’m choosing my clothes for my niece’s wedding and rehearsal dinner, etc. — such fun!)
She lives downtown; I’m here in our beach town 30 miles north. We used to live across the hall from each other, in the condo we lived in our first seven months in San Diego. After leaving Kansas City, it was difficult to uproot ourselves yet again. 30 miles isn’t that far, but there’s traffic and…you don’t just “pop in” when it’s 30 miles. What does it mean that you can’t go back?! I guess it means that it takes special effort to see our downtown friends, and we don’t do it often enough. Back?
Here it is, the end of summer, and I’m looking at spring-like colors. They seem so very fresh right now!
Nature and color are inseparable. How influenced we are by what we see around us! I feel drab and dreary in the desert, even when there is some miraculous dramatic bloom. Even when there is a dramatic rock formation. Even when there is a dramatic thunderstorm. Even when I recognize the drama of large expanses of sand and brush.
And, in contrast, I feel somehow enriched when I see expanses of green, whether grassy hills, trees, or shrubs. And more at peace with the relentless movement of the sea.
I also wonder how much our surroundings impacted us when we were growing up, figuring things out, coming to terms with ourselves…
At least, I think that’s what they are. If not, they must be related.
I wrote an apparently funny poem at writing practice today. People laughed and someone told me they didn’t generally like poetry at the writing prompt group, but they liked mine. Someone said I should write poetry for kids. I surprised myself, writing nine rhyming stanzas in 20 minutes. I don’t think it’ll go down in history — and it’s rather transgressive — but hey! Laughter is good. We need more laughter.
I’ll probably look back at these and wonder why I was so interested in plants. It’s not been a passion for me. I think I’m now intrigued by the formal compositional elements as much as anything else. And, of course, by the often seductive color.
Plants don’t sleep. Animals do. Maybe I could be more plant-like. I wish I could do without sleep, or with less sleep. Lack of sleep results in ridiculous levels of impairment, and lack of sleep is all too common for me. I wrote some today, but didn’t even try making art. I feel hungover/drunk/woozy/sluggish in brain and body from — well, not sleepiness, but a dearth of awake-ness. Sleepiness would be welcomed, for then I could nap. Napping eludes me, too.
Early night. More hope. Lots of these entries seem to finish with the word “hope.”
But it’s all unfolding. And perhaps coming apart. There are too many of us feeling the gathering shadows of impending doom. And for others, it’s not impending, it’s here and now.
I haven’t read/seen the news today. I was able to make an artist’s trading card, a greeting card, and do some transcription of an interview I did — about family history — with my uncle. I put together some meals, took a walk, did some laundry, cleaned up part of my studio, did some reading, and watched a sweet, funny movie tonight.
If you were to paint this, viewers would think you were exaggerating the colors. Amazingly intense and vibrant and spectacular!
Can I put myself on a news diet? Can I look around at what is wonderful around me and just be ignorant of the horror and terror of the ‘real’ world?
But — this is real too. May I please choose this reality and not that of what we call ‘the media?’ Would that make me irresponsible? Would it make me silly? Would it make me incapable of voting? Would it make me somehow less human? Would it be selfish to ease the weight of anguish and despair? Would I be able to compensate in some other way? Would there be a way to do this without totally withdrawing from the world? Would I be able to participate in other ways?
Making a flower is the plant’s priority. The making of the blossom is useful. It is beautiful. It is innate. It is natural. It is necessary. It is effortful and effortless.
Determining how to be of use is my priority right now. Creation of something new is so living. The new doesn’t have to be hugely significant, yet it does have to fit. Fit with who I am, what my skills are, what my intention is.
Affirming that vitality. With processes that are simultaneously effortful and effortless.
Love the ‘hole’ and the brown at the edge. The gradation of color on the leaves is interesting in its apparent evenness. It blends some but the green doesn’t vary too much in width.
Photography has many uses: documentation, preservation, and, much like this, exposing something that usually goes unnoticed.
That’s good. I like more noticing. It’s perhaps a prerequisite of more thinking. Which in turn is a prerequisite of better analysis, more options considered, more flexibility, more “what if,” more creativity, more truth and fairness? I hope. Who among us hope? We need more noticing, we need more hope.
How can we share our own lights best? I come from my writing session and move into my studio to work on my ‘art quilt.’ I feel clumsy and unskilled. I am uninspired. I don’t know what to do nor how to do it. When I try to make narrative art, it is too vague or abstract or confusing.
Perhaps I need to save narrative for stories. What I’ve deemed successful in my artwork generally isn’t story-telling either in its genesis or intention. Sometimes — rarely — it ends up that way, but I think my strongest art is clearly non-representational.
And that makes me, yet again, ask myself (age-old question)– how is it that I call a work successful? Does it feel complete to me? Is it understood by the viewer? Does it get into a show? Does someone buy it? Certainly for me the last condition is not required. I have pieces that have been shown, that hang in my house, that give me and others pleasure.
It all comes back to that. Does it bring joy or recognition or understanding or beauty? Does it get your attention, quietly or loudly?
This orchid has my attention. Thank you, Nature. Thank you, Gardeners. Thank you, Balboa Park. Thank you, city of San Diego…etc.!
I baked a quiche (Lucy’s recipe), made a broccoli salad (my invention), and baked cherry brownies (Carolyn’s recipe.) Thank you, Lucy and Carolyn!
Then we took this food to a friend whose husband had had surgery, and had an upbeat visit with them. Onward to get coffee and pastry in Little Italy, then to Balboa Park with friends: lath house (photo crop above), Spanish Village, Happy Hour at the Prado bar, free concert in the park, and, finally, camera club meeting. Food and friends and flowers and art and music!
Writing group tomorrow. Creative people and creative time are to be appreciated and cherished!
Another close-up, this time of a recent collage I did with fabric and painting, with some raw edges and random loose threads. I like some of these blurred crops better than the full originals. What does that say? I don’t want to be an impressionist painter, but I sure enjoy the mystery of these micro-views.
Hm…I could print them out onto fabric, kind of re-iterating (wash, rinse, repeat) the cropping, and then re-collage. Sort of fractal in its repetition at varying scales. I think I will break with my usual structure in this blog and insert another close-up from this same piece:
So, what do you think? These both feel a bit like pieces from a dream sequence — or what the world looks like if one needs corrective lenses?!
There are many of us who could use corrective lenses, come to think of it.
Continuing yesterday’s ideas, this is a close-up of a portion of a small quilt I am working on. It’s slow going. Maybe because it’s small and every teensy decision matters. I’ve laid it out multiple times and keep moving things around. There are not that many pieces and not that many possibilities — or are there?
How do we know if we’ve overlooked something? Perhaps can’t see the trees for the forest, to invert the trope. Trees/forest/trees: the whole is nothing without each and every part. Each part changes the whole.
Move a piece a half-inch and the balance is different, the focus is different. I have to balance shape, intricacy, black/white, and busy/rest. The whole is busy but just black and white. Well, except for some writing I did in red. And I may change it to yellow, except yellow doesn’t show up like red does, in ink anyway. And I need a color to beckon the viewer to look more closely. Look more closely, will you?
So this crop is playing with composition — and shadow. Diagonals to enliven, thirds, repetition: those basics of composition 101. This is about 1/20th of the original image, and is part of the I-need-to-look-even-more-closely campaign I have put myself into.
Looking even more closely can be good for lots of things, things we take for granted, things we are uncomfortable with, things that aren’t what they seem. How could the news media — any or all of them — help us look more closely? It seems like so much that passes as investigative journalism presents conclusions rather than posing questions by looking at lots of specific data and actions and organizations and individuals. And how often do we see a two-column list with pros and cons or even “They1 did this” while They2 did this?” Or a time-line? Or two time-lines, one from each side?
Persuade? Reinforce the choirs’s already-held views? I do get tired/confused/incensed reading the news. So, I need to look even more closely.
There seem to be more flowers that are pink than any other color. Or do I just take photos of pink flowers? Or is it seasonal? There are yellow and orange poppies earlier in the season, yellow daffodils, and yellow daisies.
The tiny yellow center is cool. Maybe it’s the real flower and the pink ‘petals’ are bracts? How do I remember that term? Or perhaps in this pair of pink containers there is one pistil and one stamen? There’s no yellow in the right-hand one, but some curling purple structure. Any botanists reading this?
Wow. I would have thought the word ‘distortion’ would mean something negative, but not here. The changed focus provides new information, much like seeing bacteria or other small organisms under a microscope. So the simple software tools of the WordPress program have the capacity to provide bonuses like this.
I didn’t do much painting that could be called impressionistic but I do like the out-of-focus blur and the change in perspective that over-enlargement provides. I wouldn’t have guessed that. The darks and lights are especially dramatic and the red is simply juicy. Yum?
Or are they leaves? Getting close can be confusing as well as enlightening.
Ambiguity is one of my favorite things in art. How is it different from confusion? I think ambiguity lets you move from one state to another, and perhaps back and forth. Confusion, on the other hand, leads nowhere and often doesn’t have a starting point. Is that clear?!
Ambiguity in sentence structure annoys me, however, which is why I adhere to the Oxford comma. If I am reading a sequence and come to the word ‘and’ with no preceding comma, I think the following word goes with the preceding one.
Consider this on an order form, say:
‘You can order hats in red, yellow, and blue.’
Very clear. Three choices for hats, in each of the three colors stated.
‘You can order hats in red, yellow and blue.’
Are there two kinds of hats? Red ones AND two-color (yellow and blue) ones? Did they forget the third (and perhaps fourth and fifth) colors? In this sentence, I get to the period unexpectedly. I thought there would be a comma after the word ‘blue’ with other choice(s) coming.
But I seem to be part of a dwindling minority. And don’t get me started on the misuse of apostrophes and quotation marks.
I didn’t even see that chartreuse-y yellow when I took this photo. So this is yet another cropping revelation. I almost typed ‘relevation,’ which is a spoonerism of a sort that I have enjoyed for many years. ‘Relevate’ sounds a little like levitate. So maybe a ‘relevation’ is a higher revelation? A spiritual one, perhaps?
Anyway, this color combination reminds me of the kitchen floor in the house I grew up in. My mom called it Chinese red and chartreuse; she also called it impossibly ugly. (It was mostly chartreuse with a foot-wide border of the dullest dark red!) She kept hoping it would wear out. It was linoleum, the real thing, and virtually indestructible. I once saw her drop a huge hot skillet on it; she said she wished it would burn/mar it so she wouldn’t feel guilty replacing a perfectly good floor! The cabinets in the kitchen were painted lemon yellow and the table was typical ’50s Formica, speckled gray and tan and white. A very wonky color scheme and very cosy in its homeliness.
That floor never did wear out, but she had a ‘relevation’ and eventually replaced it anyway. Nature’s own chartreuse and red is a much lovelier combination!
I decided to do some really tight cropping and this glorious color is the result. Red and purple, two strong favorites of mine. The original image was on my camera phone, but who knew the crop could be so powerful?
Now I will go back through some old images and see what happens with tight cropping. Even when the resolution isn’t sufficient to create a crisp image like this, the results promise to be distinctive. More to come!
Well, at least some babies do. Strange. But the whole baby-making thing is pretty wondrous. Any old kind of baby-making. Some wag has said it proves that G-d has a sense of humor. Maybe. But I think G-d has bigger things to worry about. I may have to take a break from all media. The news, TV, Facebook…they are all getting me down. Or more than that. I feel stuck in a greasy black doom-dome of mental jello. Yucky image, that. Better to think about babies.
They are pretty pink. I’ve mostly avoided pink. It’s so fraught with silly feminine/anti-feminist content. But bright, deep pink is stunning. It looks good on me. It looks great against green, right?
There shouldn’t be anything inherently wrong with any color. Color is good. Although in art-making, I’ve always thought color distracts me. It’s very different to start a piece when it’s about color than it is to consider color later. And I think black and white photography is extremely powerful.
I’ll be glad to walk on the beach again. This wasn’t supposed to be a flower blog. But it’s not, really, anyway. It’s a what-I-saw-reminded-me-of-something blog. Pink flowers. Color.
I worked on my art today and on my writing. I got things done. I didn’t thrash. That’s a welcome change. And we walked twice — a long walk in the morning and a short one to watch the sun and the set this evening,
Art-wise, I made a new piece with a new technique. Writing-wise, I gathered several short pieces to be integrated into a larger one, and did some editing, too. New directions. New. Good.
They look like enemies but they aren’t. They look like mistakes but they aren’t. They look like old people but they aren’t. They look like endings but they aren’t. They look like shadows but they aren’t. They look like good ideas but they aren’t. They look like problems but they aren’t. They look like truth but they aren’t. They look like…but what are they really?
The weather has cooled a bit, for which I am grateful. We are having the longest stretch of humid and nearly-hot since we moved here three years ago.
We did have a bit of rain a few days ago, which was refreshing. Need lots and lots more. Here I feel so much more connected to the outdoors, to nature, even to the weather. The weather in Kansas was insistent but made me want to retreat rather than engage.
I don’t know the name of this, but aren’t the white blossoms delicate?
Delicacy — can mean special, rare food. Or careful diplomacy. Maybe we should have a wonderful banquet for the “leaders” of the folks in conflict in Israel, and then perhaps they’d show some delicacy. Hah!
Better perhaps to make a banquet table and invite Palestinians and Israelis. The people. Not the leaders. Feed them and then ask them how to continue to break bread together. Oh, I dream…
This is a bad photo of a fascinating collection of structures inside the stump of a tree. I hope the stump is still there when I return to the Botanic Garden; if so, I will take a new photo and replace this one.
This was revelatory because I never would have guessed that the internal structure of a tree looked anything like this. I’m not actually certain it is a tree, for that matter; it might be a shrub or some other sort of plant. Because it was just a stump, it wasn’t labeled. Many things in the garden are indeed labeled, but not as much as I’d like. Sometimes I find an unlabeled plant and have to look around for more, hoping that another instance has been labeled.
This garden currently has a varied collection of sculptures placed here and there. They are made of wood, metal, glass, clay…and perhaps other things. They range from playful and quirky to graceful and elegant. What a lovely adjunct to nature! I wish they weren’t temporary, but I guess if they don’t sell, they move on to another venue. I think I’ve made only one outdoor piece, and I left it in Kansas City. Left a lot in Kansas City, sigh.