Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Pause to Drink the Season

"GreenWood", watercolor on paper, 15in X 22in, VClaff 2013
These are joyful, slow days in the forest. Lammas, the first harvest festival in 
the pagan wheel of the year, brings a celebration of flowers to my garden. Deep 
in the forest, the green, filtered light is extraordinary and the mosses gleam with 
the abundance of moisture this season. I watch as light creeps over branches, 
streams through leaves and illuminates one small spot on a tree. In a moment, 
it fades and travels on, finding its way over the canopy and as far beneath as 
the branches allow. Dark and damp and mysterious places remain hidden, even 
while the fields are aglow with goldenrod and all seems revealed. 

"Ghost Tree", watercolor on paper, 15in X 22in, VClaff 2013
In the studio, I feel the mystery seeping into my work with ghostly trees and 
the magical, green light of ferns and mosses. My production has slowed, as 
I have a clearer sense of my process with this new work. I understand what 
is possible with technique and open to the infinite-seeming possibilities of image. 
I love that there seems so much to explore with this work, I can trust that it 
will keep me going. 

"Earthlight", watercolor on paper, 15in X 22in, VClaff 2013
As the weather has cooled to warm and sunny, but not humid, and the flowers 
and bees and butterflies dance in my small clearing, I come to a moment of pause. 
Having made a huge amount of work in the studio, and finished nearly all the 
outside projects, I find myself needing to stop. It feels appropriate for the season, 
like a flowering plant having put all the energy towards the flower, and now that 
it blooms, there is a pause before the energy begins to sink again towards the 
roots. Crickets buzz in the late afternoon, juncos bathe in the stone bowl in the 
woodland garden, and Pasha and I find shady spots to be still and drink in the 
abundance of the year. 

If you'd enjoy a peek at a sampling of the new work all together, visit my art web 
site at  I've been uploading much of the new work there and 
find it interesting to look at in a group. 

Its a perfect moment for visits from friends and family this week and next - a 
perfect moment to nourish my body with herbs from the garden, berries from 
the forest and the colors, shapes and forms of high summer - a perfect moment 
to pause and reflect and rest in the exuberant embrace of flowers. 

Do you see Pasha in his cool hiding place below?

One small friend just never seems to get enough time outside. 
This is the usual scene just after his pre-dusk curfew.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Small Worlds

Small work - roughly 8"x10" - yet to be titled
It rained so hard today - sheets and sheets of rain... 
for the first time in my life, I actually felt a little fear. 
I feared the ever intensifying rains might never slow. 
A clearing in mid-afternoon brought a steady rhythm of drops
in pools and puddles and overflowing birdbaths. Hemlock trees, 
mosses and ferns celebrated the rain by wearing balls of colored light. 
Tiny red and green jewels dangled and danced at the end of 
branches. Science tells me the water was refracting sunlight, 
but I recognize magic, too, when I see it. 

Small work - roughly 8"x10" - yet to be titled

In the studio last week, I practiced what I preach - the great 
exercise of many, many small studies to explore deep into 
the world of one's work. In a very small sketchbook, made 
teeny tiny paintings - about the size of index cards - 
and had a wonderful, woodland journey. 

The next 6 images are Teeny Tiny Paintings...  
they informed the Small Work above. 

I learn so much from this practice, and am interested in a 
number of them in their own right - small worlds I 
like to travel in.

The next three images are also exploratory, but they are 
the larger size, around 8"x10". In truth, I approach most 
of my work as an exploration, it keeps me searching, 
wondering what else is possible, what will I find, 
just beyond that next tree? 

I'm celebrating feeling a little better, day by day. 
I have posted more here in the past week than 
I have in long while. Trying out short posts to see what that is like, 
though this might not qualify as short anymore.