I photographed this little jewel in Cuba, but this spring there were dozens at my feeders in the Pacific Northwest. I am so glad they're not the size of eagles.
And they come with music. I wrote some canons to go with the text, roughly. Here are the Barnfish Canon and the Tent Caterpillar Canon.
Mom mailed me a red climbing rose for Valentine's day about 20 years ago. I planted it, and then after a few years it died under my draconian care. The rootstock under the graft took hold and it's actually a much better metaphor for Mom in its scrappier form. I've ever since remembered her with immediacy during the long months of their zaftig bloom.
Rose colors on the palette. I'm using acrylics because I'm getting ready for a show at Naked City Brewing in Seattle in September. Oils don't dry that fast, unless I invest in a medium that hastens drying, which isn't going to happen.
I have heard of artists who arrange their paints exactly so they always know, when the brush darts in that direction, they're going to get that specific color. Me, I am not interested in exact color. I want the colors to slap you around, and after that, whatever works. I squeeze stuff out on the palette and think, "hey! I could use that! ... I think. Let's see. ... Yeah, I can!" Back before we got a big enough bank of solar panels on our house, I used a studio light that was about half a watt, and I'd be painting away, and then in the morning light could see that what I had thought was green was purple, and the blue was red. It was usually just fine.
Inspired by the Bestiary I've been working on, I painted a drum with Violet-green Swallows and Medieval doodles.
I'd painted on the drum a few years ago but really didn't like the result. Just recently I realized that I could google to find out if it was possible to remove acrylic paint ... yep, it is. I spent some giddy hours scrubbing at the old image with rubbing alcohol, and a sufficiency came off.
So often in life, things seem impossible to overcome and then a simple solution comes along. The trick is to accept the solution and be happy that you found it, and not go on in self-recriminations. I didn't think of it before ... because I didn't. The end. And now I'm happy.
The Green Man is a favorite theme of mine. I like the intimacy of human interleaving with non-human. In this case, I wanted to do something with madrona blossoms, because, well, because. I like madronas.
So, I looked carefully at Brad Pitt's face to get an idea of proportions. Yes, that is Brad Pitt looking at you. With some modifications, of course.
The bird on the left is a robin who likes to stand in my garden every morning, making remarks. The bird on the right is a towhee, which ordinarily likes to snuffle around on the ground, leaving divots in the moss as it grips stuff, then flings it backwards with both feet to see what is scurrying around underneath. But I've seen them in madronas too.
I was listening to Terry Pratchett's "Feet of Clay" while painting this drum. I like to listen to text rather than music because it keeps the monkey mind occupied while the creative mind is allowed to do its thing. As a result, I can glance at much of my work and some book or other pops into my mind. That works for woolen hats, too. I used to read aloud to my kids while knitting, and I can still meet a customer of mine wearing a hat, and suddenly I remember C.S.Lewis' "The Silver Chair," or Brian Jacques' "Redwall" series. Like an external bibliography. Some people use card catalogues, I use paintings and woolen hats.
My friend and ace carpenter just finished up some shelves for my root cellar, using wood that was island milled by the guy in this painting. Looking through his scraps, I realized they would do for picture framing, which he taught me many years ago (thanks, Sam!). I ripped the scraps into 1/2" sticks, then ripped those strips into 3/8" strips. Then, gave their ends 45 degree angles with the chopsaw, and used the nail gun extension on the air compressor to tack them onto the canvas frames. Sanded the rough bits and (I confess) the places where the mitered corners did not exactly match up, and now I'm off to varnish the frames. Final step will be to put hangers on, and sign them, and ... difficult job ... name them.
As far as naming is concerned, the one thing I do not want to do is call something "untitled." That's like having a folder in your file cabinet called "misc," or a drawer in your workroom labeled "junk." No. Just, no.
On the other hand, I veer back and forth between literal-minded thinking and flights of fancy that too often devolve into fey. Should I call something "Madrona Bark #14?" Or "Shadows at Midday?" The only thing I'm sure of, is that it won't be "Untitled #103." Clear?
He was hanging out in New York City, and I was hanging out on Lopez Island. The cows were bellowing, ready for the evening routine, and, well, it all got mixed together. The rural and the urban are more interlinked than we ordinarily credit.
I read science fiction, and the cavalier way that many authors dismiss rusticity is quite remarkable and, to me, disturbing. We are creatures with bodies which have rhythms, mucus, moods, and vulnerabilities. Our metabolisms need some combination of known and unknown nutrients, so we are still inextricably chained to food that comes out of the actual dirt. (Though, Fanta is nice on occasion.) As a tribal creature who has come to love much of what civilization has to offer, I have no objection to skyscrapers and the heady mix of urban intensity, steel, mirrors, and escalators; far from it! But I also get both metabolistic and spiritual strength from forests, bugs, and algae.
It was a fall day, and we were soaking wet from a dip at the beach and a bit of rain. Shortly after I took this photo of Java dinking around on the path, she bolted off to home. Why? Because there's a homestead just up ahead, and it has Scary Cows. They moo.
But it's small. I wanted to see what would happen with clearer outlines. Madronas have such a crisp feel to them anyway.