Sunday, August 31, 2014

Homage to William Carlos Williams

( Before the homage, take a look at Jacob's photographs from yesterday to see his interpretation of the bamboo forest sketched on the left side of this page.)
 Nothing makes up

the humidity and heat
    of late summer

like the arrival of figs,
     plump and glazed with cool droplets,

in the market.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Mixed Bag

Time to get divergent.  I've been doing tight drawings of seeds mostly for the past couple of weeks.  It's not comfortable, but I feel like I need to loosen up and see what happens.  None of these drawings are finished, just messing around.    This first is a study for a woodcut, pulling on some old imagery and incorporating some new as well as a few seeds thrown in.
Ditto this one.
Back to seeds and flower heads but much looser, using an old paintbrush and a tin of watercolors with touches of the black pen I always use.
I was working at BookWorks this afternoon while I painted these seed heads.  I found the seed heads in the garden there.
Later Jacob came over and we went on a little adventure, starting out up on the high hills behind the house.  Then we walked down through a neighbor's road and fields to some woods where I knew there was a falling-down cabin.  We tromped through woods, poison ivy all over the place, the trail vanishing then re-appearing then vanishing again, and eventually we found the chimney and one falling down wall.  Here are two sketches of the chimney.
We came home through the woods, and when we came to a neighbor's bamboo grove, we climbed up the slope and went into this cathedral of a forest.  The bamboo is a giant variety, so dense in places it was impenetrable.  J lay down on his back and took straight-up shots while I sketched this little section.  We arrived home in time for dinner that P had cooked, a quick shower for J, and canasta for all three of us.

Friday, August 29, 2014

I seem to be getting into a pattern of posting two days together a couple of times a week, and that's fine with me.  I really don't enjoy staring at a computer monitor, all flickery and blue; so skipping a couple of days a week makes my eyes happy.  I started a little series of drawing out of the bedroom windows at different times of day and different light conditions.  The sculptural quality of sunlight and shadelight on the woods behind the field across the road is a reminder of how ephemeral everything is.  The bluebird house makes an altered appearance in every drawing, but the trees become so different depending on which branches are facing the sun at what time.

The drawing below the two woods drawings are of the rhododendron bush right outside the window and our  neighbor's fencerow beyond it.  At the bottom are two of our neighbors who walk together every morning, going and coming.

On the right page are two drawings of a tiny flat fold-over wallet that F designed and made a prototype of over the past few days.  This is such a tiny whisper of a wallet, perfect for slipping into a pocket or tiny bag like those flat travel bags for around your neck.  It's made of aluminum coffee bags so it provides an RFID shield for the credit cards within.  Soon to be available on our blog for probably $11 including postage.

 And below here are today's drawings of the out-the-window-scenes.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Coracle and Grooming Turkeys

This first page is all I got done on Tuesday by way of drawing.  On the left is a rather ordinaryy plant in a plastic pot sitting in a beautiful basket on the table that stands underneath the coracle (drawing 3071) that hangs upside down from the ceiling.  Jacob and I made that coracle over a couple of summers when he was around 10 and 11.  We wove the basket part out of willow branches that we cut from the bank of a neighbor of a friend's pond.  We fashioned a seat out of ash with engineering help from P, who showed us how to make a thin board remain straight and not swoop down in the middle.  We covered the coracle with canvas and then waterproofed the canvas with black roofing tar.
We took it out for a trial ride one sunny afternoon a couple of summers ago and it floated!  We played in it and took turns trying to paddle it all afternoon.  We decided it was too wide for us to paddle effectively.  Should we ever make another, which we know we could do in a few hours , having done the job once,  we will make it smaller and more easily maneuverable.
This morning I glanced outside around 10:00 and got to see all nine of the turkey adolescents grooming themselves madly on the fence right outside one of our living room windows.  How great they look when they're grooming and moving about.  They're really as good to draw as Jesse IF you can get up as close as I was AND if they stay relatively still for a while, as they did this morning.   The mother was so close I actually drew her portrait (3077).  I think I could pick her out of a crowd now. 
At the end of about half an hour the whole pack abruptly moved into the sunny spot in the nearby back yard and a few closed their eyes and took a little nap, while other continues grooming.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Seed Jewelry

Seeds, with their seemingly magical properties, seem equal to jewels to me.  Here are some of my seed necklaces.  These are all from either Belize, Honduras, or Costa Rica.  The one made of green peas with the two metal leaves is from either Costa Rica or Honduras and has little pieces of what looks like quartz before and after each green pea.  The three on the right are from Belize and are made of both black beans and ceramic beads.  The black one on the left with the flat seeds is made completely of seeds, and I really don't know where this one came from or how it came to me.

I'm sure that if I cut one of these necklaces apart and soaked, then planted the seeds they would germinate. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

In Which We Give Up

 Okay we have given up.  The turkeys and their adolescent brood have taken over our yard and gardens.  Neither Jesse skirting the perimeter of the yard nor P flapping his arms in his most menacing manner while walking slowly through the massed crowd of eight large juveniles and three, sometimes four, females can impress these birds.  Today they marched out of the yard in a straight line ahead of P, and then came right back as soon as he and Jesse vanished inside.  Here are two mothers and one teenager picking at the grass.

Jesse is capable of looking threatening, but it just isn't enough.  Here he is grooming himself after his failure to rout the turkeys.
Late this afternoon I went for a woods walk.  The weather has turned cool after the miserable humid and hot week.  Up at the top are the high mountain tops visible from our fenceline and also from the end of our road.  Dark clouds are scudding across the tops of the mountains, and the wind is really blowing.  In the woods there are lots of bright red maple leaves already on the ground.  

This page is a scribble of things that I drew in the woods, along with another detail of the sunflower pattern, this time showing some seed sockets from which the seeds have fallen out.  Once you start seeing the patterns they are everywhere!  Even the human-built little rock cairn that I found along the trail seemed to follow some kind of Fibonacci sequence.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Early Morning Canoeing and a Giant Sunflower Seed Head

 Jacob and I went down to the lake where we keep our canoe and took it out for an early morning spin.  We paddled around the lake and down some backwaters that have changed enormously in the nine years we've been canoeing in this lake.  These Jerusalem artichoke flowers were in the wild area beside one of the little streams that the lake flows into.  The other drawing is of the stream as I drew it  from the front of the canoe while Jacob was exploring a bit on the bank.
I got home and went back to the table on the back porch where I've been studying seeds and  geometry.  I brought in one of the  giant sunflower seed heads that was hanging very low in the garden along our front walk.  The seeds grow in a golden spiral, incorporating a Fibonacci sequence.  The patterns in this seed head are exquisite.  I got as close as I could and as detailed as possible.  Each seed starts off as the ovary of a tiny flower.  At the stage of this seed head, the seeds are all fully formed, and the tiny flowers are popping off.  They are attached to the seeds by a small pedestal out of which grows the vase-shaped flower containing anther and sepals.  The anther goes all the way through the flower and base and is anchored in the ovary, which has grown to become the seed itself.  Somehow the little flower things reminded me of rows of black corn kernels.  It would be interesting to investigate the patterns on an ear of corn.  I wonder what all of this is going to have to do with this art piece.