Saturday, September 30, 2017

Field Notes and Interventions

Thursday night my friend L and I went downtown to the top of a parking deck to watch, we hoped, swifts descend like a little tornado into an old chimney at dusk.  We did see lots of swifts swifting around but not going into the chimney on the right, which was just below our perch.  They were going into a chimney across downtown, barely visible to us.  But it was exciting to watch, and we will maybe try again soon as they will be migrating through here for a few weeks more.

And yesterday some interventions along the river-
And some more-
And today field notes about the location of some oche in a cliff halfway up Jones Mountain.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


Maya and I experimented with oil pastels and some gouache tonight.  I did this passionately desirable plum for a collaboration titled Passion/ Desire.  Maya did a scene of northern lights for a science class assignment.  I haven't used pastels since I was around 8 years old and took Saturday morning art classes at the old New Orleans Museum of Art in City Park.  Fun!

Monday, September 25, 2017

White Road/Strada Bianca/White Road

Our dear friend in Italia asked P if he would write a poem for her to use on her agriturismo web page.  So P reworked a poem he had written one summer in Italy about a place that was very near our rented house and that evoked the feeling of a very particular late summer afternoon there.

Be sure to enlarge these white lines in order to read the poem, which appears in the top line in English as P wrote it-

then in our friend's translation into lovely Italian in the middle line.

In the third line you'll find my literal translation of the Italisn version back into English.

I am fascinated by the slight shifts that inevitably creep into translation.

I decided to make a large accordion folded book with relief prints stamped over monotype backgrounds.

The white road itself is a strip of absorbent ground into which I incised the three poems using a mechanical pencil when the ground was still soft.

The cover is an encrustation of local clay and acrylic medium with a piece of mica covering a print,

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Jesse Finds His Perfect Bed

A friend gave me some old burlap bags from coffee beans.  I draped some of them over Jesse's latest chair. Within minutes he had made a nest and was sleeping happily.  (The man with the waxed and polished head was from the CLT airport last Tuesday)
And here's a little print of some indigenous housing and the blow up paper box, carved from a rubber block, touched with white gouache.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Catch-Up from NOLA Celebration Trip

P and I and two of my bros and their wives from Colorado and Mississippi converged in New Orleans with cousins this weekend-plus-Monday to help celebrate our beloved aunt's 100th birthday with her.  Above and below are my usual airport sketches.

We had the great fun of staying in an airbnb two houses away from the house we lived in the year P and I and M and D moved to NO for P to finish his engineering degree.  This wonderful old neighborhood was the one I grew up in, near City Park and the bayou.  E was born there.

We made a beeline for our favorite coffee shop, the Fair Grinds.  The colors in this tiny place are almost the best thing about it!

On Sunday after the Fair Grinds we strolled around our old haunts, the exotic tropical plants everywhere, horsetails blooming merrily around a garbage can.  After Sunday afternoon's party we went out to the lake front for a little party before dinner and after the big party.  Since my bros and their families and my cousin  live far away from us we used every minute to hang out-  dinners every night, river front walking Monday night, etc.

Not a sketch, but my favorite picture of my aunt and her friend at the party.  

Monday morning P and I walked around the old neighborhood some more, this time to the NOMA sculpture garden and the old Casino, which is now a Morning Call in City Park.

Around 10:00, when the heat and humidity drove us inside, we went to the French Quarter with my cousin D and went to the voudou museum, where I overheard two guys making a prayer following the directions on the right in front of a prayer stump.  One asked the other:  What did you wish for?  The other said : Impeachment!

More at the voudou museum.

Sadly , we had to come home yesterday morning.  I loved looking down at barges and ships on the Mississippi.  

Friday, September 15, 2017

Sheep Like White Rocks, Bulls Chewing Mildly

The sheep, unattended by the bulls, are piled up like stones in a New England field.

Then they seem to sense me, and one by one they lumber to their feet and face northeast.

Meanwhile the three erstwhile guard bulls are lounging and chewing their cuds under a tree across the road.  No conclusions to be drawn.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Post -Hurricane Steers and One More Inflatable House

So the hurricane has passed through us and left in its wake a sulphurous yellowy light and some playful steers.

These guys were joyfully licking each others' heads and backs,

playfully mounting each other,

and generally playing in the still- puddly field after Monday night's fierce wind and slanting rain.

And here's a reminder that in watery places boats belong close to houses.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Plow Day and a Few Numinous Objects

Plow Day happens in September on the college farm when area farmers who use teams of animals to plow gather at a field on the farm and plow the field.

This year there were a couple of teams of mules along with percherons and other draft horses.

I asked my friend K to point out those of her many collected objects that seem especially numinous.  This rusty metal mantis and small carved wood woman--

this odd metal hedgehog's head on a marble slab, a totem rock that I found and gave to her--  and then I saw this fascinating little etching labeled Birdie by an artist named A. Fedar,

and a flying pig made out of raku-fired clay.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Living Below Sea Level: a Retrospective

I made this book right after Hurricane Katrina.  I grew up below sea level in New Orleans, and water was our element.  This watery time seems right to ponder the implications and adaptations of living below sea level.

I can remember going to sleep to the distant sound of a pumping station after a rainy day.

I wasn't living in the city during Katrina, but my first of several hurricanes occured when I was five years old.  My Dad carried me down the street to the big church on Esplanade, later took me outside to see a patch of blue sky that he told me was the eye of the hurricane.

Graves in the neighborhood cemetery were above ground.

From certain streets in the French Quarter we could see ships passing on the river at second story level.

In the dark ground-floor basement of our raised creole cottage was a drain through which water rose frequently and ominously.  Crawfish holes rose their clayey collars in our side yard.

From the ferry the city looked dwarfed by ships.

I loved watching clamshell-laden barges slipping past my bedroom window during naptime when we lived briefly in Lakeview near a canal that has since been filled in.

Mediums used:  water-soluble crayons, absorbent ground, pen,  paper plate lithography, watercolor,  diluted fluid acrylic base on Arches cover wove paper;  with cover image of mica, encrusted sand, and digital output.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Better Than Praying: Floating Docks in Tidal Villages

A clever if  curious adjustable walkway and floating dock in Bear River, NS-- another good example of working with instead of defying nature ( and then praying to be spared when nature does its natural thing, such as a tide or a storm)

Monday, September 4, 2017

Vernacular Building on the Bay of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia is the site of the world's highest tides.  Twice a day the tide rises and falls as much as 50 feet, the equivalent of a five story building.  Buildings along the many rivers in the area experience drastic tides on a daily basis, but they're built to withstand the flood. The value of not resisting or ignoring nature.