Monday, February 20, 2012

Sometimes It's Good to Stay in Your Jammies

Sooner or later it happens to all artists:  you just can't seem to come up with anything new.  Nothing to write about, nothing to paint.  Just blank pages, a blank canvas.  I can't say I'm suffering from writer's block, or painter's block:  I've just run out of energy.  Been working on several commissions, and I have more coming up.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I guess I'm EXplaining.  The idea of taking a photo a day, and writing a mini-poem a day, seemed easy enough in the beginning.  But a month into this project, I hit a wall.  The view from the back porch looked the same, every day.  Even the drive to and from work:  the same.  I'd write a few lines, snap a few pictures, but nothing really clicked for me. And then I thought, well, isn't that the way life is?  You can't expect every word to be worthy of a Pulitzer, or take  a National Geographic photo, or paint a masterpiece.  The whole point of this project was to record, for myself, a photographic and written journal of a year in my life. And sometimes my life is pretty darn boring.  And sometimes I am not very creative, and just want to stay in my jammies!

So I took a little time and did just that.  I watched TV (specifically Whitney Houston's funeral), which made me realize how precious life is, and not to take for granted the special gifts we're all given.  I slept late. I ate junk food and spent an entire day in pajamas.   And then I woke up this morning and said, SNAP OUT OF IT! Grabbed my camera, and my notebook, and got busy. 

I'm not going to post all the pictures I took because most are pretty crappy.  And I didn't write anything at all until today.  I took the photo above from my back porch--and yes, I was in my pj's.  I don't know if this is the same blue jay, but last summer there was a blue jay who decided the yard was his--and he would follow me from birdfeeder to birdfeeder, squawking at me or scolding me for slacking on the peanuts.

And here's the mini-poem, or micro-thought for the day:

High in the oak, wrens chatter greetings
as Morning elbows past Night.
Cow silhouettes trudge single file 
toward breakfast and another day
of grazing.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I love moonlight. No matter what time of year, if there's a full moon, you can usually find me staring up at it.  I even braved near-zero temps and a couple of feet of snow once in upstate New York, just to photograph a winter moon.  Yeah, that was back when I was young and didn't worry about things like catching a cold, stray dogs, coyotes...or neighbors calling the cops about the crazy lady outside in the middle of the night, in her jammies, dragging a tripod and a camera all over the place. Tonight I was lazy--skipped the tripod, so this photo is not very sharp, but it does capture the general mood.  Too bad I had to work this morning because the moon was right over our pond and I would have loved to spend some quality time photographing it. Ah well.

Here's the poem for today: 

The moon casts her pale light
across the pond, spotlights
the heron and the wood duck
who exit
stage left.

Here's another work in progress:  a commissioned portrait.  Very early stages--I've just blocked in basic colors and am working on composition.  Will post more photos soon. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Yep, I Only Watch the Super Bowl for the Commercials

I'm not particularly interested in football, but I do enjoy the commercials during Super Bowl. And being from New York, I am sort of in favor of the Giants....but mostly, I'm interested in painting, and today I actually got back into the studio and managed to work on a painting I started months ago.  This is Woody, one of the many beautiful animals housed at the Shelby County Animal Shelter. Thanks to Sheila Collins for use of her photo--this painting, when it is finished, will be donated to the Shelby County Animal Shelter.  This is part of an on-going project of mine. The paintings can either be given to the person who adopts the animal from the shelter, or used in advertising, or auctioned off at one of the many fundraisers held to benefit the shelter.  I also have a couple of paintings of cats that I will be delivering to the shelter soon.  This is one way I can put my talent to good use. By the way, if you live in the area, buy a ticket to the Monarchs, Mutts and Meows event on February 11.  There will be a silent auction  with a lot of great items (including a pet portrait painted by me!), as well as a wonderful dinner at Claudia Sanders and fantastic music featuring the Monarchs.   

And here's the mini-poem for today:

A pair of geese signal their approach,
circle low, then skid in for a splash

Saturday, February 4, 2012

It's Not That Easy!

When I first came up with the idea of writing a poem a day and taking a photo a day, I thought: how hard can that be?  Well, I didn't take into consideration the fact that life gets in the way.  A lot! Hard to believe another week has passed and once again I am posting more than one photo and poem in order to catch up. And that's just online.  I haven't printed any photos since mid-January, so the actual scrapbook I've been making is on the couch, gathering dust for the moment.  But since it's raining today, and tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday, I am taking advantage of both so I can get back into the studio, write and organize photos!  But, as someone once said (maybe John Lennon?):  If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans!
     The photos today were taken in my gardens this past week.  I am not a great gardener, but I love getting my hands dirty, digging around in the soil, and hoping that something beautiful will grow from my efforts. Doesn't always happen, but the little successes I have had make it worth the trouble.  Even better, the wildlife that hang out in the gardens don't seem to mind whether or not I've kept up with the weeding and trimming! 

And on to the mini-poems:

January 31
Daffodils stretch
toward the sun.  
Or blind faith?

February 1
A garbage truck rudely awakens
slumbering sparrows, sends the geese skyward,
and the old heron catches his breath
high on a tree limb.

February 2
Someone left a light on
in my neighbor's house. 
She's not there.
Gone for good.
But the light reminds me--
we promised to look out
for each other. 
One of us failed.

February 3
Morning echoes Pollard
spilling alizarin and aquamarine
across her canvas.

February 4
When I grow tired of humans
I step out to the pond 
where the geese sail quietly,
disturbed only by their leader
as he circles, pushing them
into flight formation.