Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Seed for New Work

I'm starting an artist's book for an exhibition that has as its topic "seeds" or "book as seed".  My interpretation of seed includes the idea that seeds, like eggs, are made from two different packages of material, as opposed to bulbules or tubers, which essentially produce clones of the parent plant.  Therefore my book will start out with two different ideas.  One of the two ideas in my piece will be seeds as literal plant seeds;  the other seems to want to be this little print that I made today from a sketch I made a number of years ago of a bride in an Italian village wedding.  As in the seed-making process, I want to force-fit these two ideas together and see what will generate itself.

Top left is a drawing of a photograph of a microscopic view of a poppy seed.  I didn't count it because it's just copied from an internet photo.  Below that on the left side are some seed containers from my garden that I enjoyed for lunch today, along with a stem of lavender from the herb bed.  On the right, another seed-like object, half a bird's egg that I found in the woods this evening, glowing pale in the near dark.  Under the egg is a dessicated stem of Indian Pipe, left from last summer, with a few seeds inside its ovary.  Then there is the bride, a sketch done with carving knives on a rubber plate.  And in front of her some abstracted seed forms based on the luffa and poppy seeds from yesterday.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Jesse and Turkeys; More Seeds

 The turkey family has developed the habit of roosting on our dilapidated old wooden fence.  Today I glanced out the living room window and had this close-up view of one of the three mothers (a new one has joined the pack) and several of the adolescent children.  I could draw only three of them before they began jumping down from the fence.  As soon as all the turkeys were off of the fence, Jesse appeared and leapt to the fence, assuming his fierce steam shovel position.  The turkeys are unimpressed by him these days, but he still watches them carefully.
Back on the seed topic, F loaned me her collection of seeds today, and here are some of them.  The luffa seeds look like small flat black bugs;  the money plant pods rustle like silk paper;  the Mexican sunflowers are like flies.  The words for today:  pattern, sets, geometry, architecture, arch, sculpture, projectile, and poised.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Strange Mutants in the Garden

I spent some time in the bakery line today as you can see.  New variety of chocolate almond cake pop along with a NYC deli-style chocolate cake, whatever that might be, and a new offering-- simple unadorned croissants. 

Meanwhile back home and poking around among the ten thousand fiercely blooming bright yellow-orange rudbeckia vista (which we used to call Black Eyed Susans or even Railroad Daisies in New Orleans) I spotted a few flowers that have magenta stripes on their petals.  I counted five on one plant and then two on another plant.  These plants originally came with us when we moved from Indiana in the mid-80s, and we had gotten them from a family farm in Michigan.  The plants in our garden are all descendents of the half dozen plants we brought with us.  These plants are perennials, and they also seed themselves all over the place.

The great curiosity to me is how these two plants came to have variants.  I suspect the little Rudbeckia gaillardia (Indian Blanket) plants that came in a packet of seeds from our son and daughter-in-law in New Hampshire.  The Black-Eyed Susans are so prolific that they tend to take over wherever they plant themselves; but the little Indian Blanket plants were there last year, among the Black-Eyed Susans.  Somehow those two Black-Eyed Susan plants must have been pollinated by pollen from the adjacent Indian Blanket, thus making at least one or two seeds that contained hybrid information and that were sown by whatever sows those seeds in parts of the yard away from the parent plant.  Anyway, that's my best guess.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Seeds That Fly, Fold, Wrap, Hide, Pop Up, Twist, and Turn

I wrote a bookbinding book for children a number of years ago that had the title Making Books That Fly, Fold, Wrap, Hide, Pop Up, Twist, and Turn, and today's seeds put me in mind of it.  (The most interesting aspect of that title was that the publisher's marketing people allowed it to be -- a 17 word title, which my editor told me was the longest title she had ever heard of.)  Anyway, [Jesse has lately started climbing onto my computer table, sauntering across the keybpard, activating ALL CAPS, grooming himself excessively, and then falling asleep every time I sit down at the computer]  my interest in these seeds today was that they are mostly from plants that are beloved for their flowers, unlike nut trees or evergreens.  These seeds did show a remarkable amount of twisting, turning, popping, flying, and also sticking, springing, and growing enormously long antennae-like anthers.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Ancient Silo and Seeds Again

Only one drawing today, but it took so long and was such an arduous hike to get to that it should count for a whole day's worth.  J and I hiked across a couple of very grassy fields under a very warm afternoon sun, slid under several electric fences, kicked and thrashed our way through knee-high weeds in order to get right up to the ruins of the old brick silo that stands at the end of our road in a farm field.  J climbed inside through a window to take some shots of the sky through the open top.  I stood in the shade of a big fencerow tree and drew him inside the silo.  Check Jacob's blog over the next few days to see his photos from inside the echoey, spidery, possibly wasp-nesty cylinder!

I realized today that I failed to link last night's post to Facebook, so I'm editing it and adding tonight's post to last night's.  Today I am back on the trail of seeds, wandering in the woods and wondering how it is that science has never found evidence of any kind of brain in a plant;  yet plants are able to make seeds, make food, defend themselves from predators-- and all without brains or any help from chemists or Google or medicine or any other experts.  So my words associated with seeds today are:  self-sufficient but plugged into something bigger than everything;  temporary shelters; dark; protected; juicy first, then dry and hard;  geometric in form;  encyclopedias of esoterica;  coded; brainless in the sense of a separate intelligence or ego.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Epicenter of Late Summer Drama

 I like the very end of summer, the slight shrugging of the giant fug of humidity and heat, the frantic activity of butterflies and insects to Get Those Eggs Laid, to do whatever else they have a very short time left to do.  But especially I like the silent drama of seed production deep, in the bellies of the spent flowers. 

I've been especially attuned to seed production this year as I'm starting a new project for the ILDE book arts festival in Barcelona, and this year the big topic is SEEDS.  To get the ideas rolling I decided to spend some time studying and drawing a variety of seed pods and tattered flowers:  the Siberian irises, the bearded irises, the daylilies, the semi-wild aster-like flowers in the front garden, the bergamot, the coneflowers, the zinnias.
Here are words that come to mind as I draw them:  secret, dark, precarious, information package, factory, incubator, winter quarters, envoy, fortress, crucible, patterned, egg-like, tough, expansive, self-sufficient, elegant, cell, time capsule, explosive, infiltrator.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Culling Part II

I came home from a l-o-n-g day today late this afternoon, during which I had not drawn a single drawing, and decided to blow off the whole project tonight.  P and I snacked for dinner then settled in to watch the last episode of The Killing.  I got a second wind after that, and decided that I could do a little sketching;  so I reached into the children's kitchen drawer and came up with this handful of toys.  Not exactly Educational Playthings (those pristine wooden expensive Swedish or something toys from the early 70s), these were cheap and plastic for the most part, but well-played with by many children during the past 13 years, and very much fun to draw now.  (Erik, I am holding on to the kitchen drawer toys in deference to your request.  Don't forget your box for transporting them, along with the archives from the bedroom closet---  okay, we can discuss it.  )

From left to right, stiff plastic container of french fries, so labeled in case there were any doubt; fake key that arrived in the mail alerting us to the possibility that we had won a car in a sweepstakes;  plastic lobster, provenance unknown;  Mr. Jolly Roger-- half a foam plastic pirate's ship that Maya and I bought at A.C.Moore and assembled into a fleet of bath tub boats, the boat part and other ships long gone;  three magic beans from scarlet runner vines that we grew four years ago on the front porch posts.