Saturday, October 24, 2015

Branches at Pond's Edge

"Pond's Edge - Branches" watercolor on paper, 11"x15", VClaff 2015

I need a week off to go deeper into work in the studio. Not going to paint is an exercise in discipline right now. When a crack opens into the mystery and I find myself sinking into a kind of deep soul state while painting, the desire to let everything else wait is strong. With the cold weather coming, wood to be put in and the usual responsibilities of life and teaching, tasks cannot be put off. 

"Pond's Edge - Laurel" watercolor on paper, 8"x10", VClaff 2015

"Maple" watercolor on paper, 11"x15", VClaff 2015

"Mysterious Light" watercolor on paper, 11"x15", VClaff 2015

It's good to be working again, good to be sinking deeply into these mysterious tree-worlds, good to have at least some time for it. I had so much time over the summer, but other things needed to happen... timing is everything. I've learned to trust it. 

Tree & Cloud - small study, VClaff, 2015

Small study, VClaff, 2015

Small study, VClaff, 2015

Small study, VClaff, 2015

The celebration of color continues - a short trip around town for errands is 
magical. Walks up the road are slow to soak in the fire of autumn. 
We've had the first flakes of winter, but nothing really stuck, and Rhu seems 
happy with the shifting of the seasons. I am, too - warm fires in the hearth, 
roasted roots and steamed kale and fresh cider and the time of bare 
branches swiftly approaching. For now, though, the most extraordinary 
tapestry of rusting colors covers the hillsides and I find myself gasping 
at the beauty of it.

Monday, October 12, 2015

At the Forest Edge

Small study, VClaff 2015
I remember stating clearly to a small circle of kindred souls, 
that what I desire most is to simplify, to create more time for dreaming 
and being, and to be less on my own and more connected to others. 
In the last few years, deaths - actual and metaphoric - have left me much 
on my own. I trust that my season of letting go has gifts for me -  the wisdom 
of deep, strong roots and a knowledge of the dark earth underneath, and 
maybe some truth yet unknown. Instead of simplifying, the need to bring in 
more to pay for my healing, not covered by insurance, has me busier than 
ever these last few months. I do hope that there is a way to simplify, be, 
dream and create more, and to find my way out of my hermitage.

Morning, VClaff, watercolor on paper, 2015
               Somehow, I found my way back to the studio though, and ideas that 
have been incubating for a long time are finding expression. Something in 
            the small study that wanted more attention came into a larger painting
            and I find myself at the edge of the forest, not as much in the deep 
            woodlands. As always, the small work allows me to explore many directions 
           and to find my way back into the creative process.
small study, VClaff 2015

small study, VClaff 2015

small study, VClaff 2015

Rhu is a bit of a distraction in the studio, running 
in and out through the hanging screens, wanting me 
to go out to the forest on beautiful, autumn days. 
Maybe when the door is shut and the hearth is 
heating, his visits will be to warm up by the stove, 
and not jump up on the drying paintings. 

At school, we've begun working with eco prints and 
contact printing, which this year's class is loving it. 
They are very willing to experiment and play and had 
a great time with the natural materials.

 We had some good results, and will do more dyeing 
this week. Their assignment is to use these papers 
in finished works incorporating drawing in some way.

 Color is bursting out everywhere right now, at times 
so amazing I gasp. 

                       And with the color, comes the push to get the wood in. 
                      This weekend was spent stacking the first two cords, always 
such a good feeling to see the pile shrink outside the shed, 
and become a neat stack inside. This week, the next two 
cords will be delivered and go into the shed.

 In the in between spaces, there are moments to wander
 the garden, finding joy in the small beauties - a hanging 
leaf, a stone angel among the rusting ferns, sweet Rhu 
enjoying a quiet moment on the stones, and a moment 
with moss.