Works In Progress…

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Aren’t we all?!

Who said something about standing in the spring rain?

Oh, yeah… that would be me.
And here, it happens every day… faithfully. Everything reflecting in the lovely Italian marble floor… so beautiful, so… dangerous. I brought an old box of pastels, broken and worn. I used them years and years ago…I think. I’m so used to my soft pastels in the big box there was no hope of bringing along. So… the old box would do, of course!

Mistake.

I used these? Seriously.

They are the hardest, most frustrating materials. And…they won’t be returning to New England… they’ll be used up or buried on the island where no one will ever think of looking for them. A mystery one day when unearthed.

Until then… a reflective pool after a spring rain.

A work in progress.

After the Rain

After the rain – Pastel work in progress – approx 20×15

Collecting time…

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For all we really do is stand here

in a springtime rain and wonder if

time is passing by or we are passing

through time. Grasping every moment,

every drop, every breeze, every tick

of time. And do what we should do.

Beach pebbles - 12x9 watercolor

Beach pebbles – 14×10 watercolor

Waking…

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I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.

I learn by going where I have to go.

From “The Waking”-  Theodore Roethke – 1953

image

It’s a sad thing when your electronic devices remind you that your last post was one year ago… Very sad indeed… Sigh…

Then… Good morning. Waking. Inspired, as always by a tropical sun and warm breeze. Making use of my time and all these reflections and shadows. I’m waking… Going where I need to go.

 

Back on Earth

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Hovering just above the red earth…

trying not to touch the ground.

What is this magic place?

No, no… don’t tell me.

I really don’t want to know.

I just want to stay a little longer. 

Ngorogoro Crater Conservation Area

Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area

The earth and sky touch each other in a different way. There is a primitive look to the way the clouds hang at the edges before they curl over and flow gracefully on their way across the 20 miles of open space. They move in slow motion, unable to break through an invisible ceiling that prevents them from spilling onto the floor of the crater. Like an enormous stage set for a grand performance, the curtains have gone up and we’re speechless at the prelude.

Taking a break from the studio, family obligations and the daily routine of “life at home” we’ve ventured off to see what there is to see in Africa… well… in Tanzania, anyway. Some other parts of Africa are having their medical and/or political issues… but… Africa is a very big place… a very big continent, actually. And Tanzania has something we’ve been longing to see… very large spaces of unspoiled land where animals roam without barriers. These areas are protected. Access to humans is controlled but, poaching does occur sometimes. The animals are free to go where they want and some do migrate in and out of the parks and conservation areas. Some stay within the relative safety of the controlled parks. I say ‘relative’ because predators are everywhere and few species are spared being the prey of lions, leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs, eagles and others. Some animals are food for others and nothing is wasted… everything nourishes the cycle of life in this amazing place.

The season…

The end of art is peace
Could be the motto of this frail device
That I have pinned up on our deal dresser—
Like a drawn snare
Slipped lately by the spirit of the corn
Yet burnished by its passage, and still warm.

-Seamus Heaney

(from The Harvest Bow)

Artful Death

Harvest Bow-1

Harvest Bow-2

Harvest Bow-3

Harvest Bow-4

… and here we are again. The season… of compelling beauty. I’m drawn to it’s forms and shadows… textured decay and frail life in color and light. Too soon gone again.

Alternatively… you could

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Puddle Pidgeon

… just wallow in the soggyness of a day filled with angry skies and downpours. There is no use wasting the day. Put on those wellies, put the camera in a plastic bag to protect those vital electronics and go forth and find the beauty in the day. It’s out there… just go find it!

What to do -12

In the Spanish Piazza… Ave Gratia Plena, Dominvs Tecvm, Benedicta Tv In Mvlieribvs… Once a year, firefighters scale the monument on the Feast day and offer fresh flowers.

The rain provides a reflection that is otherwise not there... and an opportunity to capture the forms without the crowds.

The rain provides a reflection that is otherwise not there… and an opportunity to capture the forms without the crowds.

Stop and warm your hands over the chestnut vendor's roaster near the Trevi Fountain.

Stop and warm your hands over the chestnut vendor’s roaster near the Trevi Fountain.

What to do…

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… on a miserably rainy morning in the Eternal City… and you want to be out walking around seeing things and absorbing all there is to see and do in a magnificent capital city like Rome. What do you do? You go out and do all of that… and take your camera with you to record what other people are doing out on a rainy morning! What else?

Catch up on your email on the Spanish Steps.

Catch up on your email on the Spanish Steps.

Enjoy getting your picture taken.

Enjoy getting your picture taken… sorta.

Rest your feet and hope nobody takes your picture with this silly orange poncho on.

Rest your feet and hope nobody takes your picture with this silly orange poncho on.

 

Ask young beautiful girls to take your picture.

Ask young beautiful girls to take your picture… it works sometimes.

Stay inside and check out who didn't show up for duty.

Stay inside and check out who didn’t show up for duty.

Try to ignore your jet-lag as long as possi..b..zzzzzz

Try to ignore your jet-lag as long as possi..b..zzzzzz

Make a note to self to pack your own suitcase.

Make a note to self to pack your own suitcase.

Forget about the puddles... it's just a dress.

Forget about the puddles… it’s just a dress.

Sit down, eat gelato, meet new people and talk to everyone.

Sit down, eat gelato, meet new people and talk to everyone.

Is there more? Oh yes… later… Ciao

BTW… from the FREE Dictionary

Word History: Ciao first appears in English in 1929 in Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, which is set in northeast Italy during World War I. It is likely that this is where Hemingway learned the word, for ciau in Venetian dialect means “servant, slave,” and, as a casual greeting, “I am your servant.” Ciau corresponds to standard Italian schiavo; both words come from Medieval Latin sclavus, “slave.” A similar development took place with servus, the Classical Latin word for “slave,” in southern Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Poland, where servus is used as a casual greeting like ciao. At the opposite end of the world, in Southeast Asia, one even sees words meaning “slave” or “your slave” that have developed into pronouns of the first person, again to indicate respect and humility.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved

A Restoration Story

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A friend asked me to help her with a photo of her father and his mother that was cherished but in very poor condition. The photo had been printed long ago from a transparency and had faded in its frame to the point where the faces had become dark shadows and bright blobs. In addition, the top of her father’s uniform hat had been cut off and she asked if it could be put back on. After a little Google research on Marine uniforms, I was able to affect a reasonable improvement of the photo but… I’d wondered if they could find the original negative or slide. I was sure I would get more “information” in a good scan of whatever original they could find. Here’s the photo from the frame and the temporary fix… still very poor.

Scanned print from a framed snapshot.

Scanned print from a framed snapshot.

 

A little bit better but not by much. At least I was able to complete his hat!

A little bit better but not by much. At least I was able to complete his hat!

Huzzah! My friend’s father came up with an original slide transparency of the photo. I was hoping that the original had the rest of the hat… that whoever printed it had just cropped it badly… but… NO, it was taken that way in the camera. The good news was it was not scratched nor overexposed, so… there was lots of information in the image and little spotting to do.

Lots of color and detail in the old slide but... still had the hat cut off.

Lots of color and detail in the old slide but… still had the hat cut off.

This time the detail had to be there when I repainted the top of the uniform hat. A few color blobs wouldn’t do the job. With a bit of Adobe Lightroom adjustments and Photoshop the faces came out of the shadows which is the whole point of an image like this… a cherished memento from a happy time with a loved one from a long time ago. The details are what makes the experience of being transported back to that moment.

 

Restoration.

Restoration.

Did I get it right? I don’t know yet. My friend is happy with the results but I want to hear from her father. Is the day right? The light? Can he feel the pressure of his mother’s white gloved hand on his arm? Does he remember pinning on her corsage… or watching her face as she pinned it? Does he remember feeling the pride that is so obvious in the expression on her face?

I hope the new print will bring back wonderful memories for a very long time.

Aftermath…

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Storm

Winter storm Nemo is just getting started at 7:30 on a Friday evening in New England.

A winter storm in New England… a Nor’easter as well, with its spiraling bands of snow overhead and gale winds whipping the tides… sigh. An all too familiar set of circumstances here. We deal… that’s what we do. It’s inconvenient at best, a true pain if the power is out for any substantial length of time… but for once, in the case of Nemo, we all seemed more than ready for the work it takes to move it all out of the way so life could go one… just go on for goodness sake. We endure…
it’s what we do. Afterwards… it’s a different world for those of us who like to look really, really close.

Even before it's over...

Even before it’s over…

The garden doesn’t see to mind the new white blanket.

Shadows and light in the aftermath of the storm...

Shadows and light in the aftermath of the storm…

... play tricks on the eye and mind.

… play tricks on the eye and mind.

And familiar things in the world look different… look like other things even… a man sitting watching birds, or a graphic ocean wave from a Japanese woodblock print.

A red-tail hawk on my kitchen window.

A red-tail hawk on my kitchen window.

Storm surge in miniature in the corner of the window.

Storm surge in miniature in a frosted corner.

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