Decaying leaf forms fell at my feet the last few days. I took a few to the table to
look at while I ate, needing to spend more time with them. Lace-like and delicate,
they became veils for me to look through. The camera didn't always know what to
do with them - sometimes focusing on what was behind. It took just the right angle
for the camera to find enough form to photograph.
There is abundance in the August garden, and I find myself feeling grateful to all
the plants and flowers that thrive here. Its not so easy, what I ask of them. Some
would prefer the prairies of the mid-west, others the wet banks of a river, still
others want the sandy soil of the mediterranean. I know just what spots will give
the most sun, six inches to the left or right and there might be a few more hours
of shade than a plant wants. Most of them, save a special few, would be ever so
grateful for a few more hours of sunshine. This time of year, I envy gardens with
tall sunflowers, Russian sage, overflowing vegetables, and a sense of order, but
these are not the gifts of gardening in the forest.
After eight years of growing things here, I understand how far I can push things,
and surrender to the truth that some plants I love just won't be happy in my garden.
So I've begun to dig up some dear plants that have tried hard, but haven't adjusted
too well. I know this will ultimately gift the garden with better health and spots to
try new things, and friends will get very enthusiastic plants for their sunnier plots.
Finding a balance between the cultivated plants and the native or invasive
species takes some experience. I once let bracken ferns take over a whole area
thinking they would be "holding the space" until I could plant it, only to learn
that once they are in, they do NOT intend to leave. The ferns and coltsfoot
below are a little better at sharing space, and I love the combination of foliage,
but I will forever be digging blackberry out of this bed...
I'm always amazed when the teasel blooms, it teases (ha!) for a few days with a
slight tint of violet, and then bursts into a soft furriness that completely contradicts
the incredible sharpness of the rest of the plant.
Nothing whispers summer to me like the scent of purple petunias. Sitting by the
window in the evenings, they intoxicate me with their fragrance. No other color
seems to smell quite the same to me.
Flowers teach me more than I can possibly express.
Here, a lesson in radials and points.
Here, points, radials and fast form.
The perennial sunflowers have a wild center
when fully in bloom,
(do click to see details)
and the brown eyed susans really know their
Yesterday, I did a little drawing in a new sketchbook. It is not at ALL the right paper
for my spirals, becoming almost translucent with the slightest bit of water. Sometimes
its good to try out new surfaces, to see what's possible, but after a few tries, I let it
go.. sometimes its just wrong. Though I like some of the effects, I ripped the paper
with the nib pen most of the time. I need paper that can take a beating.
The paper in this sketchbook is MUCH better. Its an old book from graduate school
that I never finished and is now filling up with words and spirals. Hope to find one of these again... the paper is just right for what I am exploring with spirals at present.
This spiral -drawn a few weeks ago -definitely moves me inward...
Here is what is written at the bottom of the page.
My mother visited last weekend, and while out on an adventure to the Berkshires,
she gifted me with this necklace. It is a Sun Cross with a spirit animal on the bottom. Though I never draw faces on my spirals, to me, they are alive, so wearing this is like wearing the essence of my work.
I've been musing about how place influences me and my work. The spirals are very
related to forms in the forest and flowers in the garden. This place asks me to be slow
and to look and listen carefully - to lean in. Much of my life was spent living by the
ocean, where movement and expansiveness dominated. There, my work had much
more to do with rhythm, horizons and atmosphere. Shape, form and color, in my
early work was much sharper. Searching around in my studio, I discovered work
that I had done while living in Greece. It was good to look back at work from that
time, to see where I have come from. If you missed the post about that, you can
read it here.
"Sea & Sky", watercolor
"Taverna", ink drawing
"Mountain Road", watercolor
"Kalivi", ink drawing
"Dog", ink drawing
I wonder if you can see seeds of my current work
Leaving you with pics of us...
me and Pasha cat,
staying cool under the oaks and hemlocks,
and dreaming of the sea sometimes.
Well, at least I am.