Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Waiting for Birds on the First Big Snowday

A big snow has come today, dressing the trees in their winter finery and bending 
the sweeping hemlocks to the earth. Rhu and I were out early, loading wood 
into the house, just as the snow began to fall. An enthusiastic cat, he is, racing 
around, up and down the trees and up the wood stack, providing hearty 
entertainment for the morning's work. 

Back inside, several hours later, the bird feeders are filled, but not one bird has 
found them yet. I do hope they will by tomorrow morning, I think Rhu will enjoy 
the show when I am gone off for a Thanksgiving feast with family. 

Rhu Bear is a cat that likes to climb and climb and climb... waaaay up in trees... and 
he has been perfecting the art of graceful falling, too.  

It has taken me months to find my way back here. Maybe because there has been a 
cat to settle in, and many, many leaves to move and gardens to ready for winter and 
students to teach and long roads to travel to do so. Maybe, too, because there is no 
heat in my studio, and not much art to show you. I've been waiting for weeks 
for someone to come, only to discover they were never scheduled to do so. 
I found someone else and then parts needed to be ordered and a week of waiting 
and now, finally, the parts are here and next week I should have heat! 

In the meantime, my camera has accompanied me on my long drives to school, 
and has captured some scenes from my travels - foggy mornings, and the setting 
sun on my home commutes and strange, painterly blurring that happens with speed. 

The lights are flickering and the snow continues to fall. I had more to share, but 
I'll come back another time (hopefully sooner than last time) so I'm sure this will 
get posted before the electricity fails!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Bit of Forest Magic

One warm and quiet afternoon, I wandered in the forest, listening to the  
fading cricket chorus, and playing with my camera in hopes of 
finding the magic that is found here. 

Recent rainfall brought the mosses to life, 

and the light revealed the hidden truth: that, truly, I wander
in a cathedral, the windows clearly visible. 

We've been visited by the deer of late,

and the slow transformation of plants is a wonder to behold. 

Speaking of transformation, Rhu has become quite used 
to romping and climbing outside, and has gained a few pounds 
in a month! Still he's mostly supervised while out, but now 
and again he has a wee bit of alone time when I'm inside 
for a bit or am about to follow him out. 

He LOVES climbing trees! This hemlock is his favorite - and was also 
Pasha's - because of the low, sweeping branches that he can follow 
all the way down to the moss. 

He sometimes seems like a very young kitten, 

and sometimes like a wild and powerful adult. 

The maple trees add a bit of color to the patio, a 
last hurrah before the snows come and cover it until spring. 

 Out and about, there are glorious views of autumn's sparkling 
skies and the branching patterns of trees who have let their 
leaves go. 

At school, I've been teaching my students how to eco-dye paper 
with plants. Not that I am an expert, no, I was one step ahead, 
and had some pointers from Velma over at Wake Robin, and, of 
course, plenty of inspiration and ideas from India Flint

The results of the first vat:

My sample, it has since faded a bit, but still has some magic. 

The assignment I gave my students was that the eco-dyed paper must 
be used as a raw material/surface for a number of explorations. 
Here is Miranda's drawings and other experiments underway. 
I'm excited to see what they come up with for the 
critique next Wednesday. If you want a more timely 
update of the results, find my studio Facebook page
come like me there!

As the light faded last evening, the brilliant leaves were no longer 
visible, but the sky carried on the enchantment until the stars 
began to twinkle. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rhu Bear Comes to the Forest

One morning (actually, Wednesday, August 13) a neighbor rang the windbell on 
the porch and said "I have this little guy and I want you to see him." I thought 
while walking outside - there is a perfectly respectable marmelade cat in her car 
and I will have a nice little kitty visit and say the kitty isn't mine. I told the universe - 
and everyone else that was suggesting I go in search of a cat - that I was NOT looking 
for a cat, but that if a little Maine Coon showed up on my doorstep, I would take 
it as a sign that this was my next kitty. So when I looked into the cat carrier 
in the car, just steps away from my doorstep, and saw this little mini Pasha cat 
looking sweetly out at me... well, that was that. 

Five days later, after I returned from a mini Maine getaway, Rhu Bear came to 
live with me. He is very sweet and affectionate and at first I thought rather mellow. 
Once he was a little more comfortable, the full-on kitten energy was revealed! He's 
been here ten days and has eased into life very gently. Except when crazed kitty 
comes out, he is very well behaved. I am well stocked with little balls, string, 
felted mice, balled up pieces of paper, and a ridiculous plastic thingie (a material 
seldom buy) with a ball trapped inside that he bats around and around the 
interior track. All fine, except that I didn't know the ball makes chirping sounds 
when it moves, so this toy goes to bed when I do. Rhu does, too, and sleeps all 
night curled into me, until I make the mistake of rolling over at 6 am... and the 
little guy begins his morning yoga and I know sleeping time is over. 

Because I took everything off the walls downstairs when the floor was going in, I 
decided it was the perfect opportunity to frame a few of my newer pieces and live 
with them. I'm enjoying the fern lamp with my fern drawing behind it, and in the 
photo below, one of my most recent forest paintings and an older spiral drawing 
above the chest. 

It seems important to live with new work, to get a deeper sense of the story being 
told and to look, daily, at where things might go. 

The month of August was a self-imposed resting time after so many house projects 
along with the renovations. What a gift to sit in the garden and read a book long 
after my morning coffee was gone, and to stretch on the mosses in the warm sunshine
while the dragonflies feasted on mosquitoes. I also had a lovely time getting used to 
cooking on my new, fancy stove. Wheeee, what have I been missing!

Outside, the gardens are overflowing with bees and flowers and the front door 
hosts a wonderful collection of moths. Much to Rhu Bears delight, the moths 
flit around the windows at night providing much entertainment. 

I am back teaching now, which means little Rhu is alone quite a lot at the start 
of the work week, but this ensures that when I return home in the evenings, 
I definitely do not have a cold neck.