Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Into the Woods

An offering of words here for walking, listening, and remembering.

"Into the Woods"

I learned  subtle meanings of epiphany
in one of those endless memory circles
that I travel,

circumventing time, laying dark threads
across my landscape.

I learned  hazy distances of vision
from one of those quiet forest trails
that I walk,

forgetting secrets, leaving steps
behind my shadow.

There is dark.
There is light.
There is the rhythm of remembrance.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Loving the Outer Banks

North Carolina's beautiful, historic Outer Banks is one of my favorite places!  Here a few highlights from last week's trip; it was only two and a half days, but it was wonderful!

A beauty of a salad at the Blue Water Grill, the first seafood meal of the trip.  This is a wonderful restaurant; it's in Manteo, just before you reach the bridge over the sound. 

My first sighting of the wild horses of Corolla, direct descendants of Spanish mustangs.  These beautiful animals are treasures; they are allowed to do what wild horses do without human interference, but they do have human protection.  This is as close as we were allowed to get on our tour.  Those three mares are watched over by their stallion; see him on the dune?

Magnificent "bachelor horse" strolling by the ocean.  Breathtaking!

We were treated to bear sightings, too.  We saw this little guy in another protected area.  I wasn't actually this close to the cub; folks driving down that road to see these critters are expected to stay in their cars.

I took this photo as our wild horse tour took us along the beach, actually along the unpaved part of Highway 12.  I loved this life-saving station.  (Photo texture from Shadowhouse Creations.)
I travel to this wonderful place once every year, and I always find that it's not enough.  My collection of Outer Banks history books helps fill in that time until I return.  My heart is there.


Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Art Museum

I treated myself to a"field trip" to the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh yesterday and had an absolutely fabulous time.  I took dozens of photos ( allowed, yes, except for special exhibitions) and processed just a few for this post.  Here's a sampling of a few favorites.

This very large piece is "Untitled" by Anselm Kiefer.  (I personally find this title, or lack thereof, to be a bit of a cliche, but I loved this work!)  From 1980-1986 the artist spent his time with oil, acrylic, emulsion, shellac, lead (!), charcoal, and straw over a photo mounted on canvas.  It's dark and chaotic and scarred.  There's a vortex of charred paint and spattered lead around the central image.  It's even more impressive in person.  The artist obviously had a very dark vision for this piece. 

I got there before the museum opened and spent a little while in one of several tranquil and pretty outdoor areas.  The grouping of three forever-flowing water spouts is repeated along this particular area.  Just a really nice touch.

One of Rembrandt's copper etchings, around 6 by eight inches, is pictured here.  The museum has several more of them on display, but this lovely country scene was my favorite. 
When I see beautiful art, I frequently focus on the details.  These fire pots are from one corner  of "The Fireside" by Dutch painter Peter de Hooch.  The painting was done between 1670 and 1675.

"Ships in a Stormy Sea off a Coast" by Ludolp Bachuysen (circa 1700-1705) caught my attention, too.  Another Dutch artist.

Loved this landscape from Jacob van Ruisdael, "Wooded Landscape with Waterfall."  It reminded me of the American Hudson River school of painting.  It was done somewhere between 1665 and 1670.

A little contemporary art here, soft white neon that made me stop to wonder about this artist and his circumstances.  It has an immediacy that was said so well. 

What in the world am I doing in this picture?
This interactive screen looks pretty normal from a distance, but as you get closer to it, smoke suddenly bursts from your eyes.  If you stand long enough, the whole screen becomes engulfed in smoke.  As you walk away, your eyes appear at the bottom of the screen.  See those wisps?  They're from people who were there before.  When a new set of eyes appears, an old one disappears.  Somewhat disconcerting and a little weird.  Fun, though.  I got an interesting new selfie from it.  (I've never really like most pictures of myself, but this one's not bad!)
I'll be going back to this wonderful museum in the near future.  I spent just two hours and was a bit visually and intellectually overloaded.  Now I'll be taking some time to reflect on what I saw and to research some of these artists before I return.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Three Art Journal Pieces

Three pieces?  Oh, I really am behind.  Time to play catch-up!

For Journal 52's purple prompt, I was inspired by one of my favorite mixed media artists, Finnabair (Anna Dabrowska).  Her story and her incredibly beautiful work are featured in the March/April issue of Somerset Studio magazine.  My little dreamer on this page is a rather simple take on purple.  I gave my page a wash of purple and pink paint and highlighted it with yellow Recollections Shimmer Mist.  The girl is based on an internet image.  (Sure wish I could do faces like this myself!)  She's wearing a piece of purple ribbon, a cut-out paper violet, and paper flowers that were painted in purples and pinks.  I added some sparkly glass pebbles, a plastic rose, a crown, a piece of silver cord, and a ribbon.
For the friendship prompt I used one of my favorite retro images (internet, of course); I love the colorful look of these fashions.  I added dots of various sizes and textures with acrylic paint, a festive paper pinwheel, and a pennant-style sticker.

Here's my page for the prompt "what feeds me."  We've lived in the south since 1983.  I am constantly nourished by this place.  It speaks to me and inspires me.  I used a wash of iridescent watercolor paint as my starting point.  I used one of my photos and a few lines from one of my poems.  The wooden letters were dabbed with Tim Holtz Distress Ink in antique linen.  The little piece of tree branch completed the page.  Here's a link to the entire poem, complete with another photo of an abandoned house.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Little More Art for Journal 52

An Outer Banks dream:

I love North Carolina's historic Outer Banks.  The old cottages, sometimes known as The Unpainted Aristocracy, have weathered their share of storms.  A few have been destroyed; those that still stand are still used, most by their original families.  My dream is to own one of them.  The Journal 52 prompt was to portray an impossible dream.  I don't truly believe in the impossible, but I used the prompt to show my love for these cottages.  (Watercolor, chalk pencil, stamped letters.)

Here's one of those beautiful old places.  This one was still shuttered in the requisite dark green waiting for its official season to begin. 

Love in Paris:

For the prompt "falling", I used a combination of neutrals and darks.  (Watercolor wash, internet image, feedbag tape, fancied-up letters, paper flower and plastic flower, French poetry.)  If you're going to fall in love, you might as well fall in love in Paris!  I've used this verse by Edouard Pailleron before.  I found it in my grandmother's old French poetry book.

Here's the inscription inside the book, written when it was given to my grandma by an aunt.  It was later given to my mother, Betty Byl.  It's a real treasure.  I love old books, especially those that have been in my family over the years.

Friday, April 8, 2016

My World in Miniature

I was three years old in 1948 when this photograph was taken.  This was a very special dollhouse --- my first.   I have only one piece of that furniture that survived my childhood, that bed on the second floor.  I still have that little doll who was captured in a rather private moment on the potty, too!  The house was given away when I was a teenager.  About twenty years ago I wanted to find one just like it, and I was successful.  I found one on Ebay.   I admit to shedding a few tears when I took it out of the carton.  It's never too late to have a happy childhood!

Now I create miniature places of my own design.  I've been doing these for a little over ten years, and I still get lost in the fun and creativity of it all.  Here's my personal design philosophy:

1.  I never design any miniature setting where I wouldn't be comfortable if I were small enough to fit.  (I sometimes wish I were!)
2.  I never use dolls.  Even the more realistic ones would be out of place; instead I create the illusion that the folks inside simply left for a few moments and will be right back.
3.  I don't strive for the pure or the pristine.  My buildings look lived-in.  Floors are scuffed.  Plates and cups may have food scraps on them.  Drawers may be left open.  If I can make something a bit shabby, I'll do it.
4.  Every building has a story complete with a character and a circumstance.  I'll be sharing them on this page as I post my photographs.


Located in the old warehouse district in Savannah, Georgia, this roof-top condo was a storage shed in its first incarnation.  It was designed and purchased by an urban professional seeking peace and quiet on the weekends without sacrificing all the amenities that Savannah has to offer. 

You can see the old brick on the exterior.  Those gray concrete plant pillars display succulents, and those old wooden shelves on the right currently show the remains of old flowers and plants, long gone due to the first frost.  Those tree trunk slices mounted by the door are reminders to the owner of the woods she still loves to explore.

The second photograph is a full view of the interior.  The old brick inside is accented by old plaster.  Photos of old Savannah and some modern art are hung on the wall.  Those wooden circles on the back wall are tree slices (actually slices of birch branch), and bare tree branches are displayed in an old umbrella urn.  The old stove keeps the condo cozy on cold days, and the tv provides some entertainment.  There are books on the table next to the comfy chair.  The kitchen was installed next to an old brick interior wall, and the little pub-style table is set for breakfast.  The third photo is a better close-up of the living room, of course, and the fourth is a bird's-eye view of the bedroom.   (Just a quick note about the bathroom --- if a miniature character has to live in the building, there will be a bathroom!)  You'll notice the color of the chest of drawers is the same as the front door.  I limited the color choices here; I wanted to maintain the simplicity of the woodsy theme even though it's in a city.

Click on individual pictures to enlarge for detail.

This condo started out as a kit with an oddly curved roof that I flattened by taking apart.  The floors were done with rough, flat planks.  The brickwork was done with plastic sheets that were painted with a mix of browns, and most of the furnishings were purchased.  I made the green chest in the bedroom.  The tv stand is actually a little cut piece from a tree that my husband trimmed back.  It was a challenge doing a one-room place like this.  Dividing the space with full walls would not have worked, so I used little half-walls. 


Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Blues

A song for Journal 52, "Mood Indigo."  Watercolor in shades of blue (phthalo blue and Prussian blue are particular favorites of mine), wooden chandelier cut-out sprayed with Dylusions ink in "After Midnight," and some of the lyrics with a black rose added as an after-thought.  When I was finished, the streaks of paint reminded me of people lining a hallway, perhaps the way into the ballroom!

It took a few days to decide on a song I like; there are so many.  I have favorite singers but wanted to go on the simple appeal of the tune and lyrics themselves.  I liked Duke Ellington's original version best until I found this one with Annie Lennox.

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