Sunday, December 9, 2012

White Owls and The Magic of Speed, Light & Looking


A deep and heartfelt thank you to all of your comments on my last post. I've even 
received emails from bloggers checking in, making sure I'm OK, wanting to connect 
in a more personal way than in a comment. I was quite moved and thank you all for 
your thoughts and well wishes. 

I haven't done much in the studio, still needing to spend time wih my deep feelings, 
and managing some debilitating fatigue. But at this time of the semester, my 
students are working on final projects leaving lots of space for me to draw in class. 
I've been wanting to try white ink on black paper, so here are my owl and tree doodles 
of the last few weeks. They are related to my scratchbord drawings in that they 
are black and white, so I'm interested in taking them further and possibly playing 
with white acrylic ink with the scratchbord. When I'm back in the studio - this 
week, I'm praying! - I'll give that a try. 




A burst of snow and cold at the start of December seems a distant memory, as
relative warmth, rains and mists have filled in the rest of the days. Today the 
sun came out and the forest sparkled and Pasha and I had an afternoon wander. 





Fungus and circles on logs and a tree full of lines slowed our wander to a 
slow meander. Pasha, always the gentlecat, doesn't ever seem to mind the slow 
pace while I'm looking. He finds something to investigate, or dashes up and down 
tree trunks to get the most out of the adventure. Of course, for a cat, vertical miles 
are just as easily accessed as horizontal ones. 




He waits patiently at times, too, not suspecting that he is the subject of my 
gaze. 


Before I started the white ink owl drawings, I set up a small set on the windowsill 
at school, and looked closely at my collection of drawing objects through the 
eye of the camera. Dried jewel weed, tomatillo husks, a willow leaf and the 
mysterious weed that made such wonderful lanterns in the last post were the 
most agreeable subjects. 








One thing led to another, and I've been playing with the camera more than 
with ink and brush. Below is a series of images investigating light and speed. 
The first was made on a particularly beautiful afternoon in the forest. I 
moved the camera slightly in an arc as I was shooting. Then the idea took off 
and I've been taking photos on my home commute in the fading light. 




(I love the one below, notice the instrument lights!)




45 comments:

Starr White said...

I love the starkness of the black and white paintings, like the winter landscape, spare and open; and the owl who sees through to the heart of things laid bare. You do wonderful work. thanks for sharing.

Velma Bolyard said...

yes, you are going on, doing work, looking throught that lens and always making something beautiful happen. i'm glad pasha keeps you good company. may yu enjoy some respite in your lovely studio.

Valerianna said...

Hi Starr, thanks .... and yes, the "owl who sees through to the heart of things laid bare" - like that :)

Valerianna said...

Hi Velma, yeah, keeping keeping on as they say... looking forward to a respite. Classes end tomorrow, DONE! and I hope to feel well enough to be in the studio. There's much to be done for presents and Etsy shop.

Nancy said...

Your photos are exciting and wonder-filled, calming and thought-provoking...they take me places I couldn't travel to any other way. Thank you for that. Keep caring for yourself, no pressures...studio work will happen.
This process is not one to be forced, yes?

Charlotte said...

So glad to hear you are healing a little. The white on black is very beguiling; isn't there something a little white owl like about your Pasha (sitting in the woods, especially). The photography experiments are very interesting; I look forward to seeing more. Wishing you a peaceful winter holiday, C xx

Hindustanka said...

I like your painting's style.. or better, way..looks mysterious in its simple colors.hope you better now and will be showing up in your blog more frequently.
your cat is adorable and I wonder that he is actually participating in your walks in the forest, he watches and he poses for your photographs....

Lynn said...

Your newest ink paintings are beautiful. Stark, strongly quiet, thoughtful. Your photography too - that willow leaf! Wishing you a restful and restorative holiday season.

The Cranky Crone, she lives alone! said...

Great to hear from you again, I wish I had the inner stength, or maybe the artistic bent to be dignified, I have just been venting all over the place. (and now here too)
I do look forward to your beautiful posts.

A mermaid in the attic said...

Valerianna, I love these beautiful new paintings. Your mysterious weed lanterns look rather like Cape Gooseberry cases to me. Did they have any fruit inside them? Take care, and snuggle down into the winter, it sounds like you need to rest and just 'be' for a little while.
xxx Christina

ArtPropelled said...

I'm an owl fan... and a tree fan, so it was heart warming to see this little painting in my sidebar this morning. The white on black is very striking.
Hope you spend a lot of quality time in your studio once classes end.

ramona said...

I love the way that you're "mourning". Nature, Art, and the fellowship of friends, four legged and two legged. ....so very healing.

Long Ridge Farm said...

wishing you healing time. don't press yourself too much and
it will all unfold as it should. I have struggled with too many dark days this year and the inertia of one foot forward can be impossible. but there is light in the darkness and you know how to capture it here for us. peace.

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

How wonderful you could be with your mother.
I'm so sorry and know this is an ongoing journey of acceptance and loneliness.
Take care
xx
julie

Mo Crow said...

Oh I love these owls and trees ! The smoothest flowing white I have found yet is the Titanium White Golden fluid acrylics, expensive but worth it and a lot goes al long way just use a drop at a time as it dries fast

Trish said...

Your eye for beauty is exceptional...
Your story of your mother's passing brought tears to my eyes, that you made it there and sang for her, that is wonderful.
Much love and warmest of wishes to you Valerianna.

jodi said...

Beautiful work, Valerianna... the white on black images and the photos as well! How lovely to make such things at work and on the way home from work... like going to the studio, even when you aren't able to actually go to the studio. Or maybe it is that your studio is just much larger than you realised...

Barry said...

Hi VA - your post is crammed with such variety. Glad you are giving yourself time to deal with your sadness. Love the experimentation with white on black; and it will be interesting to see where that goes. And what fun with the camera - I can relate to that. Go well. B

Valerianna said...

Hi Nancy - I love your line " they take me places I couldn't travel to any other way".

I do WISH there were no pressures.... but I am suppose to be promoting my new studio and business to augument the increasing cost of living and lack of living wage I receive. So I feel an added stress - I want to sit and be with my emotional process, give it time and take care of myself. On the other hand I feel some real pressure. I trust it all will work out, I'm working on finding a balance. As we all are!

Valerianna said...

Hi Charlotte - yes, Pasha does have is owly moments! Intriguing that you see that.

Valerianna said...

Hi Hindustanka - I'm glad the black and white drawings have mystery, I'm always looking for that!

Valerianna said...

Hi Lynn - Yeah, how about that willow leaf!!

Valerianna said...

Hi Cranky Crone - vent away!

Valerianna said...

Hi Christina - The lanterns I wrote about were actually the drops of water on the weeds in the last post. They are small, not very flamoyant weeds that did amazing things with the water. The same weed as the the 5th photo of dried things here. The husky thing that looks like a lantern, too, is tomatillo husk. Is that similar to the gooseberry cases?

Valerianna said...

Hi Robyn - We share that.. owls and trees. Hope to be able to develop them further. I'm looking forware to TIME now!

Valerianna said...

Mourning... such a word. Nature, art and friends - mostly the furred and feathered types at present. I sat outside next to the birdfeeder on Sunday and watched the chicadees gorge. They are so sweet!

Valerianna said...

Yes, healing time. I'm so relieved that school is out as of yesterday. I need this slow, measured me time. Light in the darkness... thanks for pointing that out. I see the connection now between the owl paintings and the photos!

Valerianna said...

Hi Julie - Thanks, yes - a journey of acceptance and loneliness - definitely!

Valerianna said...

Thanks, Mo Crow, for the recommendation. I just stocked up on ink... I'll give that a try next time!

Valerianna said...

Hi Trish - a lovely compliment! I'll take that in, today. I once went around saying that my job was to pollinate the world with beauty. I think one needs a good eye for beauty if spreading it is one's self-proclaimed job!

Valerianna said...

Jodi - I was thinking this the other day. That though I don't always get to my studio building, that work - creativity - happens in many places for me, and in many forms. (though a shame I haven't enjoyed my sweet space in a while, this week!)

Caterina Giglio said...

love your black and white tree... and so glad you are taking time to process your feelings and move through your grief... sending you hugs

Valerianna said...

Barry - I imagine you get the photo -play. And, I do get around visually, it seems!

Valerianna said...

Hi Caterina - I'm really enjoying playing with the ink. Like the scratchbord, but so much less time consuming!

saskia said...

love the black-and-white; to me they echo all of the photo's in this post, apart from the speedy ones: taking pics like that is a great idea; I'm happy for you that you're creating again, for me it always helps to deal with whatever life throws at me.

Valerianna said...

Hi Saskia - heading out to the studio SOON... yipee! Looking forward to indulging deeply in beauty and creativity.

Tammie Lee said...

i have enjoyed seeing your owls and trees
playful photographs and beautiful light, whether natural or captured with movement by you

all a joy to see

sending light ~

Valerianna said...

Hi Tammie - light back to you!

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

i very much like the pace of this post, the attention, the wondering. it feels very good.
and will put your name into the Fire on Solstice here...
love....

Valerianna said...

Interesting observation - the pace of things. I'll be honored by your fire :)

Sophie Munns said...

Valerianna... i just found your post written on the 15th of november... the same day I had passed by and commented again. It was saddening indeed to read of your mother's passing yet it was also so extraordinary that you sang to her... I couldn't think of anything more loving and honouring than that really.
You must be feeling very exhausted and Winter is on you and then it is not. I didn't expect to see sunshine through your woods!
So much beauty in your two posts that I have missed. Seeing as it were the tears that are in things... the absolute beauty of things that can be sometimes so heightened in times of sorrow and great change.
Be well and at peace and I wish you sustenance in all the ways that matter!
x

Judy Martin said...

I am the same as Sophie in that I did not know about your mother until just now and both posts, and also the one previous about her illness and your anxiety - have moved me so much.

This grieving for your mother will never end, but as time heals everything, you will find healing too. I love remembering all the good things about my mother, and what she gave me. Attention.

The black and white owls and trees are beautiful and must be so very satisfying for you to create at this time.

sending love.
x

Valerianna said...

Thanks, Sophie - I'm only getting to respond to this on Solstice!

Valerianna said...

Hi Judy, thanks for your thoughts. I am learning, more and more through this grieving process, what Mom gave to me. I thought I knew, but I am understanding more and more of who she really was now that she's gone from here. Yes, the owls are good right now, but now that Solstice, Christmas and a family visits are here, I won't be able to do much in the studio until after the new year. I miss deepening with the owl drawings.... oh well, a good way to begin in 2013!

northierthanthou said...

Very cool, both the pics and the paintings.