Sunday, September 30, 2007

Thursday, September 27, 2007

one bookstore incl gods

Powell's - a big reason for living in Portland. A clerk once mentioned she's noticed us there every Sunday for years and my husband quipped 'It's cheaper than church'. He was right.

Reading is certainly one of my favorite activities and a book I'm reading at present which I'll recommend even before I've finished it is by Alan Weisman and called World Without Us. Without a doubt we've become a force of nature on this planet, not so much with our numbers, since it's been said we wouldn't fill the Grand Canyon, but with our lifestyle. Where animals take what they need where they can get it and move on, human beings eventually discovered we could manipulate our environment and stay in the same place year round. I won't attempt to reiterate Mr. Weisman's well developed descriptions of the course we've taken to get us to the point where not only our survival as a species but the survival of sentient life on the planet hangs by a thread - and unfortunately not even necessarily a biodegradable one. But please don't think of it as a depressing book since it isn't and that's not his intention; instead it's something to help us envision our options. It's also enjoyable taking the long view and imagining just how fast strip malls and office buildings would deteriorate and disappear. He also tells some extraordinary stories about what the world looked like before we became so numerous and industrious.

Strangely enough yesterday this article about the 3 Gorges Dam in China made me feel just a little bit better in that we as a race may be coming to understand some important points about how we treat the earth. It's remarkable the officials were allowed to say that. Of course, we're a LONG way from getting done what needs to be done but at least we smartass westerners with our opinions about how everybody else should conduct their lives may not be the only ones who have the beginning of an inkling of a clue about what's going wrong. Thanks to the internet we can see people everywhere learning to cope with change.

The one thing that will never make the world a better and happier place for all species is the continuation of war and mayhem. Yes, lots of people die in wars but every single time that happens more people are born afterwards and with that comes more poverty, disease and stress on the environment. Although I haven't finished reading the book yet I'm fairly certain that one conclusion he'll draw is that education, healthcare, and birth control will help us realize the necessity of stabilizing our population. Groups like Heifer may be our best bet for helping the world to become a better place. Or maybe we'll all get spirited away by a Rapture or aliens (as a zoo exhibit) and the planet will recover enough in a few millenia for another curious adventuresome species.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

What's past is done

At this point I've pretty much decided blogging is probably not for me although I'll continue to look at other people's efforts with greater interest and respect. If, on the other hand, I do continue to share insights, opinions and musings at least this personal art history stuff is done with for now.

The silk bits below were the end result of a year long exploration of the charms and techniques of the medium. I began with big scarves and covered the livingroom floor with drop cloths and newspaper so there'd be no spraymarks, drips or splotches on the landlord's carpets. There I was pinning, painting, drying, steaming, washing, pressing and sometimes doing the whole process over again on single large pieces of silk. Once the colors and designs were satisfactory I'd hand sew each one. It was fun and some friends as well as a few almost strangers got some interesting presents. My favorites were the banner scarves - close to eight feet long and doubled over to eight inches wide - where I got to write silly comments like: 'just an analog girl in a digital world' or 'occupation: quantum mechanic preoccupation: untying superstrings'.

Then I got tired of crawling around on the floor or, more to the point, once you get past a certain age it's harder to stay on your knees for hours at a time and in the real world I enjoy walking too much to risk further joint damage. That was when I went back to my work table and painted the little bags. They're quite nice and just big enough to carry my i-pod (which can be a problem when most of your clothes don't have pockets).

So that's where I am at the moment. There's a frame set up with a piece of heavy charmeuse and a couple of drawings underway that may get transferred. I'm interested in Tibetan thankas but so far very daunted by the prospect of trying to paint one myself. If so, and if it works out and if I'm still posting, there may be a future picture but in the meanwhile I'll be doing (or talking about) other things.

Touching water

Bali dancer

Who me?

Pink perplexion

Blue lady

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Space mandala

You think that I know what I do; that I belong to myself for one or even half a breath? As little as a feather knows what it writes; as little as a ball can guess where it flies.

World mandala

Love comes from primeval eternity and goes to eternity. In eighty thousand worlds, there is not one who drinks a sip from it and does not go at last to God.
Rabi'A Al-Addawiyya

Hummingbird mandala

The beauty of a thing lies in the fact that the possible perfection, corresponding to its inner nature, emerges.
Al Ghazali

Heart mandala

Every time when a light rises from you a light comes down toward you.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Tiger Stop

Last of the lady and big cat images.. the road has ended and there's a hole in the floor. Painting the borders has become more entertaining so we'll have to see -

what's next?

Tiger Walk

A tiny world where the old tiger's walking. When this one was painted I was wearying of the symbols.

Once there were dragons.

Tiger Tale

You can look in a pool and see the moon reflected but it's not the moon.

The lady is blind and needs a guide.

Garden Cats

I've often thought about a world at a slight remove from this one so there was more than one series of painted ladies with non-domesticated pets.

It wasn't until recently that I tried digital photography. I'll be happy never to scan the 35mm slides of long ago so don't worry.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Astute reaction

Perhaps it's the fact this date has fallen on a Tuesday again as it did in 2001 that makes me feel a little extra queasy a certain Commander in Chief still has a finger close to the button of doom. The way things have been going, the little guy he's holding will be rigged up, loaded down and wondering why he's spending the best years of his life in the middle of Baghdad.

Nowadays we have a nice little townhouse apartment overlooking a forest - quiet and peaceful until our neighbours downstairs bring out their air rifles and shoot at anything that moves. It's just kind of bizarre since most of the people who live in this building are medical students and you don't expect that from young men deep in the study of healing. Every so often we think they've grown bored of the senseless exercise and are surprised all over again when they get a fresh supply of pellets from home. Maybe they should go and spend some time here. I'm sure the locals would find them something useful to do.

It's nice to get away from the Culture of no culture every so often and a favorite respite is foreign films and especially, Japanese ones. This was the most recent one. The reviewer preferred Hidden Blade to Twilight Samurai but that could be argued.. may just have to watch the latter again soon.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Trying new things

can be trying. Okay, so there's an author whose books I enjoy but who is perhaps not as well known as I'd like. The point of this exercise is to see if I can actually make a link to his web page.. and I think it's done. More later.. maybe.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

art for art's sake

I like to paint or perhaps I should describe it as more an urge to see something that appeared in my imagination made manifest. I've had some success in resisting this urge in recent years but every so often I'll wander over to my work table and find a piece of unmarked, unstained, unsullied watercolor paper and try not to stare at that frightening blankness for too long. It's a challenge, and as often as not I'll go back to my book (whose blank white pages somebody else struggled over), or will call a friend, or write a letter, or have a nap - anything not to be faced with actually attempting to draw an image whose form has now slunk from the mind's eye leaving one tabula rasa to stare at another. So if I don't run off to make myself a cup of tea or see what the new headlines are on one of my favorite web pages, I may just sit down with a pencil and mark up the paper. It's important to draw anything at that point - lines, crosshatches, hints of faces, words even.. but all destined to be erased so I can hope to see in the shadows left, what it is I'm supposed to be doing.

This particular example was done some years ago and was an attempt to represent a young woman dreaming herself over and over, perhaps to wake up to something real about herself. It may or may not have been successful in that regard but I liked it enough not to throw it away. The colors were nice. Drawing drives me crazy but I really do like colors and sloshing paint around haphazardly just seems wasteful. I was raised to be neat and it's stayed with me.

All this brings to mind some thoughts about impermanence. When we look in the mirror every day, unless we've had an accident or discovered a huge pimple, we look the same. Yet it can't be denied that if we meet an old friend after a long abscence they look different and we can tell from their brief (though, hopefully, quickly hidden) shock that so do we. As we age every cell in our bodies changes and is replaced so how can we think we're the same? We're not - but if you stop to wonder where the bits and pieces of us went.. well, the only logical answer is they went back to the world. Maybe once what was a part of me is now a piece of you and vice versa. I don't mind, do you?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

A spot to call home

When it's necessary to communicate with someone in particular about a subject or event that requires the written form I have no qualms with writing. There have been many years of happy correspondance that I can look back on and things I wrote that seemed to be the right thing at the right time. An online journal is a different thing to contemplate and since my favorite way of communicating is in the visual realm there may be more pictures than words. Time will tell.