Friday, September 28, 2007

Boston and its aftermath

Last week's journey to Boston and environs was the usual whirlwind of activity. What was surprising was how little drawing we actually managed to squeeze in. All of the folks we hoped to visit with ended up being available (what!?!?), so we largely went from one warm and wonderful conversation to another. A whole lotta "blah blah blah," as we say. But GREAT blah blah blah.

Not much photo-taking went on, either... but a few highlights can be dredged up:

A day spent at Plum Island with another artist friend, Barry Van Dusen. In the morning we visited the banding station here... catbirds and one brown thrasher were our rewards. Later we ogled shorebirds (sigh, I'm so bad at peeps), and made a few sketches. Mostly I was chewed on by mosquitos and no-see-ums. Inland skin and blood must have been a rare treat for the little buggers, since no one else seemed bothered by them.

Men at Work: Denis and Barry

On the weekend Denis gave a presentation and workshop for the close of his exhibition at the Mass Audubon Visual Art Center in Canton. That's the back of our friend and fellow field-sketcher Clare Walker Leslie in the striped shirt. It's a little crazy how many tribe members are in Massachusetts. I'm beginning to feel as if I didn't get the memo when the headquarters were chosen.

From Canton we sped to Lexington for the opening of "Birds of America" at Francesca Anderson Fine Art, where Barry had work on display. Our friend Cindy House had a typically fabulous piece there as well, and I have to say that her surprised face when we walked in the door will long be a favorite memory of the trip.

Mystery art lover, Barry, Denis, Sherrie, Cindy

I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't know the woman in pink on the left, but the rest of the rogues in this gallery are, left to right, Barry, Denis, me, and Cindy. You can tell who came straight from the field and who was on duty for the party, can't you? The two in the middle look a little ragged.

(And, WHEW! Also in this exhibition were some pieces by Coloradoan Bill Alther. He didn't get the memo about Massachusetts, either.)

Sunday evening Denis headed for Maine and I took the fast ferry to spend Monday around Provincetown. A great sunset over the city as we sped away... a few hours for sketching the next day, and then the trek towards home. This time I think the only thing I left behind was a hairbrush. Somewhere.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

If it's Wednesday, I must be home

Email, mail, and phone triage is underway. In the meantime, a little sketch from Provincetown on Monday.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Here and gone

A surreal moment this past week: The day after I got home from New Mexico, a favorite college chum I hadn't seen in 24 years, and with whom I hadn't even been in contact until a few weeks ago, turned up on my doorstep.

We managed to squeeze a lot of running around into the not-quite-an-entire-day we had. The NEXT day I found I was really glad I had taken photos of him at Cottonwood Lake and on top of the pass, otherwise I might have thought it was all a crazy dream. Here. And gone.

Home is starting to feel a little like a crazy dream, too, since I'm off this afternoon to the east coast again. Beantown, here I come! (Here. And gone.)

But autumn has arrived in the high country. Aspen trees and black bears are pulling their attention inward.... like me they seem manic one day and introspective the next. My admonition to you all: get out and be a part of it. Autumn will be here and gone before you know it.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

One more creative blogger

Yes, yes... I realize this blogger love-fest could go on indefinitely, but I want to be sure to introduce you to one more Second Life creative.

Genome Island is the brain child of Max Chatnoir, the alter ego of a brilliantly innovative educator at Texas Wesleyan University who is using Second Life to teach genetic concepts. She's blogging about the process and experience at A Seacoast in Bohemia, and again, if you've got a Second Life, visit Genome Island. Pat the kitties, sort the peas, admire the flowers, and enjoy the protein symphony. But be careful. You might learn something.

I'd like to thank the Academy....

Well! Color me golden, and basking in the light of high praise. Debby at Drawing the Motmot has presented me with a Creative Blogger Award! What a nice note to come home to after a week on the road.

Of course, the fabulous thing about awards in the blogosphere is that honorees get to tap the next round of award recipients.

Naturally, I'd award Debby right back, but that would make us dizzy. I stumbled upon her blog early in my own posting adventures, and was immediately inspired to attempt production of something equally insightful, informative, and beautiful. I fall short most of the time, mostly because she keeps raising the bar.

Since Debby's done a stellar job of honoring our fellow artist/naturalists, I'd like to tap a few of the creatives in other fields who challenge, inspire, and some days perplex me.

Envelope, please....

1) Alyson Stanfield is the beauty and brains behind the Art Biz Blog. She's an art career coach who won't buy in to whiny artist excuses, and she's the reason I started blogging in the first place. She has recently put her money where her mouth is and finished her new book, hooray!-- so kudos and creativity awards are definitely in order. Alyson: You were right, you were right, you were right. Dang it.

2) Bill Schmoker is one of those people who you SWEAR must have a half dozen clones running around. He's an excellent and active birder, a dynamite photographer, a doting father, AND a high school science teacher. Not to mention erudite blogger and Sunday funnies analyst. Pop on over to BrdPics and see what I mean.

3) I'm afraid you'll need skills in either French or Japanese (or a decent online translator) to read the notes accompanying Tsunéhiko Kuwabara's charming sketches, but tell the truth. Don't you always look at the pictures first, anyway? I knew Tsunéhiko first as a sculptor, and it's fun to see his take on pencil and paper.

4) Okay, okay. I confess. I recently got a Second Life. (Which really ought to be called Fourth or Fifth or Sixth Life, but who's counting?) I'm finding this virtual world darned intriguing, and meeting some interesting folks there, to boot. Hackshaven Harford is the Second Life alter ego of the project manager for NOAA's education island, and while I don't yet understand some of the subtleties of the SL vernacular, I DO understand amazing feats of creativity and discovery in a new medium. It's pretty much 180 degrees from my own work, and that's what makes it so fun. If you, too, have a Second Life: Go to Meteora. Ride the hurricane chaser. Swim in the tsunami. Watch Science on a Sphere. And watch out for cows plummeting from the sky. Just set a timer so you know when to go home.

5) And finally, Katherine Tyrrell's blog, Making a Mark, is an amazing repository of exhibition notes, art history, sketches, commentary, and more arts-related links than you can possibly get through before you have to look like you're working again.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Land of Enchantment

Yup. I'm in New Mexico.

I've been on the road about a week, wending my way slowly across the southwest corner of Colorado and into the Land of Enchantment. (24-hours after my arrival in Farmington I think it should be called the Land of Outrageous Library Booksales Causing Me to Fill the Trunk of the Car with 40 Additional Pounds of Reading Material.)

The last several days have been... well... they've been a lot of things. Last Thursday I met several delightful and accomplished women for whom I did a little field sketching workshop. We did some drawing, and indulged in panini and books and the stunning views above Crested Butte. A fine way to spend an afternoon, and invigorating as always to meet new people.

That evening I stayed with friends in Montrose, caught up on some chisme, and admired the progress of their work on their new house. Their chinchilla, Santiago, consented to sit with me for a little while, too, which satisfied a childhood desire long-stifled. I had friends in grade school whose family raised chinchillas, but those critters were declared untouchable. FINALLY, 35 years later, I got to sink my fingers into that ridiculously dense pelt. A good reminder that some goals just take a while to attain.

From there to Durango, for the Colorado Art Ranch Artposium, "Mapping in the Arts." More about this later, but it was a fabulously mind-expanding, idea-inspiring, question-launching, laughter-filled gathering once again. Of particular intrigue to me were the presentations by Peter Turchi, whose book, Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer, I have been enjoying very much and Nikos Salingaros, outspoken thorn-in-the-flesh of contemporary architecture and eloquent proponent of biophilic design.

And now I'm in New Mexico, visiting friends and enjoying that off-balance feeling that comes with being in unfamiliar territory. Tomorrow I'll turn around and head for home, since the next day I'll be receiving a visitor of my own... a college chum not seen in 24 years.

So... in addition to still feeling snake-skin-ish I am now feeling like a manic squirrel, stockpiling ideas and experiences, memories and explorations for the shorter, darker days ahead.

Life is good.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Morning skies and slow change

Still moving slowly around here. At least I am. Sumacs down by the river went from green to gold in two days. Why can't I manage that much drama so quickly?

I did manage to go on The Quest for the Perfect Ponderosa last week. I've a mind to do a new, largeish linocut of a ponderosa pine, and I'm hunting for the right candidate to immortalize. I have a particular character in mind: a fan-shaped crown, branches open enough to reveal the trunk. A "survivor" type, standing in an open meadow. It's a shape I consider ubiquitous, but a recent drive around the county proved me wrong. More common here are the dense, pointy-topped, thickly-clustered variety. Younger, healthier trees. Hmmm... have I stumbled into the coniferous equivalent of Club Med?

I think I've found "the tree" now, but I need to spend some more time with it. It's unfortunately adjacent to a house with large dogs, so I'm not sure how well my desire to park out front for an extended period of time might be received.

In the meantime... I found some green yucca pods to draw. In all my years of looking at yucca, I don't think I've ever noticed the pods in their green state. Flowers, yes. Open pods releasing seeds, yes. Dry pods in the middle of winter, yes. Green pods? No. So here they are.

On the road again at the end of the week.. off to Colorado Art Ranch Artposium in Durango. I have it on good authority that there are still some spaces left, so come on down!

Linocut in Progress: The Third Act

Time to wrap up this linocut ! And we are wrapping at warp speed (see what I did there?)... because there are deadlines. Exhibition deadline...