Saturday, December 27, 2008

Shanghai Surprises

The weather gods were merciful, permitting short windows of opportunity for take-offs and landings despite frigid temperatures and glazed runways. Remarkably, we made all our tight connections from Boston to Shanghai just moments ahead of the worst ice storm in recent history. The full moon hung against an indigo sky above a frothy sea of rose tipped clouds at dawn as we reached 35,000 ft.,a special sight I'll never forget.

I am up in the wee hours of the morning wrestling the otherworldliness of jetlag, sleeplessly sleepwalking, slowly readjusting to the twelve hour reversal of night and day.
Back in the silent snow-covered woods, where few trees escaped the ravages of the fierce winter storm that ripped icy branches and power lines down for many days, I think of the futuristic forest of eye-boggling architecture I found myself in for almost two weeks.

From this rural dirt road to bustling city boulevards lined with buildings which seemed to defy gravity with unexpected bulges and curves, and even invoked mild vertigo in the viewer from certain angles. At night the city takes on a new life, outlined in purple and blue neon, alternating bands of color climbing skyward and descending to begin again.It is New York, L.A. and Las Vegas all rolled into one sophisticated over-the-top hybrid.
As whisper quiet Mag Lev trains flash by at 430 kph at top speed, local Fashionistas take it all in stride in knee-high stiletto heeled boots.

More traditional glimpses of old Shanghai can still be found in Nan Shi, the tangle of tiny lanes lined with dusty bicycles and overhung with drying laundry located behind the old colonial façade known as the Bund.
Here incense wafts from Taoist and Buddhist temples, their courtyards surrounded by candle lit alcoves dedicated to Kwan Yin, Goddess of Mercy, the Buddha and Taoist Generals and sages. It was here I felt I had finally “arrived” in China. Marveling at the triple-tiered upturned roofs, enchanted by the drums and flutes played by a robed procession of chanting priests and laity, I opened my senses to this experience and was richly rewarded. Finding passageways to Ming period classical gardens with ornate rockeries,stunted Luohan pines and jade colored pools teeming with fiery orange carp added to the spell. This was the China of 19th C.Romanticism. Days later, sitting in the chilly fog by a still garden pond in Suzhou, ancient silk city visited by Marco Polo, I enjoyed fresh chewy noodles in scalding salty broth, garnished with emerald green bok choy and savory cilantro. Simple, soulful, perfect. These pleasant memories are the Christmas presents I unwrapped this year.

Our art project at the Zendai Museum was joyfully presented and enthusiastically received by passers-by in the trendy Thumb Plaza in Pudong. Original music that master guitarist, John Sheldon, created for this piece bridged the language barrier with ease and had everyone bopping to the rhythms of East meets West. Pictures and sounds of Eye to Eye are soon to be featured on our blog if you’d care to share the experience.

For a trip through a classic Ming garden visit
I hope your holidays were happy ones!

Monday, December 8, 2008

East and West Interface

As the temperature plummets to zero and weekdays rush headlong into holidays, I find myself totally oblivious to this ritualized preparation for celebration and it is a bit disconcerting.

For I find myself absorbed instead with visas and flight plans and packing for a surprise trip to Shanghai and rushing to finish an art piece that will be presented at the Zendai Museum of Modern Art there.

Over the summer, three other artists and myself collaborated on an interactive project called “Eye to Eye” and submitted the proposal to the Zendai’s Intrude 366: Art and Life call for artists.

This year long art event ambitiously features “one cultural headline a day” from 100 Chinese artists and 266 Western artists who “intrude” upon the everyday lives of the people of Shanghai and introduce new ways of looking at, thinking about, and perceiving art.We were delighted to be invited and our proposal will be presented on December 20, 2008.

For those who may have interest, a blog is being created about this and our time in Shanghai.If you want to see some of the images please go to .

We have been so busy fabricating the 732 images of Western and Eastern “art eyes” needed to produce the strand of interfacing symbols, that only a rough sketch is up at this time. These small paintings on standard shipping tags will be cut and taken away by passersby on the city sidewalks bringing two artists, one Eastern and one Western,together as the strand shortens. Following is the essence of what will be handed out to explain this Western concept to the Shanghainese.

"Seeing “eye to eye” is a North American expression that implies that two individuals (or groups) can come together on a level playing field to express their own perspective while also acknowledging the other’s viewpoint.

It is a courageous act to see “eye to eye”. It causes one to open oneself to the possibility of new thinking. It is a step towards standing on common ground and arriving at mutual understanding.

In this time of expanding globalization, it is more important than ever that this concept of attempting to see “eye to eye” be promoted to open dialogue and insure meaningful cross-cultural exchange between nations.

“Eye to Eye” underscores the commonality between East and West via the human eyes that look out at us from Eastern and Western art.

The “Eye to Eye” project collapses the past with the future. It places us in the present to combine art images that may be obscure with images that have saturated contemporary culture.

Using the simplest of means, “Eye to Eye” offers profound possibility for forging a rich collaborative cultural vision for the future.

You are invited to take away a piece of this artwork as a symbol of a mutual exchange of ideas. Your participation shortens the distance between East and West and permits us to see each other in a positive way."

What a delightful adventure awaits in a few short days, as I leave these silent woods and meld into a sea of 20 million souls!

May each of you find delight in the winter celebrations to come, as we bring 2008 to a close and prepare for a brand new year!All best wishes to you....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Day of Thanks...

It is a crisp and bright Thanksgiving morning here in the hills of New England.
The first rime of ice is spread across the land and Jack Frost’s handiwork is everywhere.The dry stalks of golden rod are silvered and bowed, accepting the season gracefully.Chrysanthemums, once russet red, are draped in hoary lace and all is transformed by the magic of ice crystals and early morning light. Soon white will dominate the landscape and my heart will wax less poetic on the topic of ice, but for now, I as am enchanted as a child at this wonder of nature.

The chickadees fill the stately lilac near the kitchen window and noisily voice their enthusiasm for the warm sunflower seeds in the recently filled feeder. Their cheerful company, so close at hand, will delight me all winter long. I will marvel at their resilience despite frigid temperatures and blustery Artic air. They seem so accepting of whatever the day contains and make the best of trying situations. We Americans could learn a lesson from their pluck and tolerant attitudes as we gather together this Thanksgiving, during these tumultuous times.

As we look around the table at new friends and old, relatives and neighbors, and share the bounty of this holiday, may we rekindle the hopefulness of that first Thanksgiving. A moment in time where Massasoit, the great sachem of the Wampanoag people and leaders of the Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts brought their families together to celebrate the bounty of the land and built bridges of understanding between two separate worlds.

May you all have fond memories to savor on this Thanksgiving Day…

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A New Day for America

An overcast sky and November’s brown and grey landscape cannot dim the brightness of this momentous morning. This day, America reclaims her promise and we stand witness to the victory of hope over fear, of positive action over negativity and lies. Audacity indeed!

This long tumultuous campaign that captured the hearts and minds of the formerly disenfranchised and the “oblivious by choice” populace has ultimately given birth to a new nation. We have done the unthinkable; we have risen above complexion, and seen intelligence and integrity. We have been inspired by confidence and eloquence and commonsense. We have dared to believe that we could collectively take back the reins of power through commitment and the democratic process, to change the course of America,domestically and abroad.

As the financial house of cards comes tumbling down and raw greed and irresponsibility is exposed for all to see, we have chosen a leader committed to tapping the most astute minds across party lines to get us back to fundamentals. A leader to disengage us from wars we never wanted, who will use dialogue and diplomacy instead of unilateral aggression in the complex world we find ourselves in. He will inspire us to seek innovative solutions to finally address environmental issues long ignored and sacrificed for profit.

What a daunting job lies before President-elect Obama. But what a newly roused army of committed citizenry to do what needs to be done to insure a better country for the generations to come. Ask any of us this morning, “Can you possibly do all this?” and hear the resounding reply from across this land,"Yes, we can!”

Welcome back America! We are proud to call you home!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Big Chill

Only days ago the cats and I sat mesmerized as golden leaves from the hickory tree spiraled and spun like flickering tongues of fire against a brilliant blue sky. Today elusive flames sputter and start in the wood stove as damp logs hiss in resistance.The golden days of October have departed early it seems, leaving a skim of ice on the water in the bird bath and the need for an extra layer indoors.
A raw wind is cutting leaf from limb and opening up patches of sky in the woods that surround me. The curtain is being pulled back and I find myself in a different place.
The landscape is transforming into winter. Snowflakes could fall today.

I am feeling a bit “between the worlds” from this seemingly overnight change. The faded colors, a tiny late-blooming flower here and there among the brittle stalks, the absence of the cricket chorus… Were they saying their goodbyes and I was too busy to notice? They have withdrawn and so will the rest of us. Back into our inner spaces. Back to hearth and home. Dreaming before the welcome fire… slowing down to align with this new rhythm.

The cats are curled up deep in dreams, foregoing the urgent need to be outside.
They have surrendered to the season and I will do the same. The element of fire will lead me into its waking dreamtime as a new cycle begins on this wheel of life.
The alchemists perceived fire as “the agent of transmutation”, feeling all things derive from and return to fire. It materializes the life-force and replaces the sun in the dark days to come.

For much more eloquent discourse on the cycles of all things check out Mythos I and II (available from Netflix). These are the final lectures that Joseph Campbell gave in 1987 which were a summation of his life’s work.(This in not the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers) These talks are food for the mind and soul showing how mankind’s narrative and social history is intertwined throughout the world via the natural world and human nature. The old cycles are still active in this seemingly modern world, just somewhat smothered or obscured by the prevailing materialism.
Take a look beneath the surface and be reassured.

May your inner fire be fed by the passions that sustain you…

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Waves of departing geese pass overhead, loudly honking their farewells until Spring.
My imagination is stirred as they call me to follow their quest to warmer climes and new adventures. I stand face upturned and feet firmly rooted in this place. I wish them safe harbors and plentiful food as they strike out under a waxing moon. I will be here celebrating their triumphant return when Winter has passed.

The goose in many ways epitomizes the mystery of migration and passages. They don’t fly in a straight line though it appears that way from certain perspectives. The traditional V sometimes morphs and regroups at this starting point of the journey and continues to refine itself enroute. These remarkable creatures are constantly shifting formations to allow each goose to have an unobstructed view of the journey ahead and to create wind drafts which make easier flights for those following the lead. This way they all find themselves naturally in the flow.Oh, if we humans could be so generous and find ourselves in that flow... For an amazing bird’s eye view of these ancient seasonal sojourns watch the film “Winged Migrations” and you will forever be in awe of the feathered creatures around us.

Other migrations will be heading in our direction over the long weekend to come. The hills are alive with radiant color and the traditional motorcade of leaf-peepers will make the journey to drink in the cool, fresh air and that color of the crimson, gold and orange leaves that are still intensifying. Almost every town in New England will be stacked high with the season’s bounty, craft fairs and antique shows will proliferate and a good time is insured for all under clear blue skies.Locals will complain about the additional traffic but all will secretly take pleasure in sharing the beauty that we are lucky enough to enjoy everyday. It is our gift and certainly helps ease the passage into the shorter days ahead.

Do get out and admire the golden days of Autumn wherever you may be. And may all your
journeys be inspired ones!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Transition to Autumn

Today it is official, summer has departed and the calling card of cool nights and the overhead honking of South-bound geese has been received and acknowledged by all.
Here in the hills of New England we have been trying to ignore the fiery color building on the hillsides, first yellow birch and beech and later bursts of flame-orange maples scattered here and there. But there is no denying the calendar… the Autumnal Equinox is here today… ready or not.
Last week’s Harvest Moon and the mounds of colorful pumpkins, and ornamental gourds sitting shoulder to shoulder with pots of purple asters and mums of russet red and bright yellow along every rural highway have eased the transition. The last Monarch butterflies visit diminished gardens and humans are amazed to see darkness descend by 7:30 pm. A lone female hummingbird sips what nectar can be found in late blooming blossoms. And a pile of split wood waits to be neatly stacked until the first fires are lit. The transition from exterior to interior, extroversion to introspection has subtly begun as our inner landscape reflects the outer.
A bittersweet acquiescence to the passage of time mingles with the anticipation of the glorious pageantry of color to come. No one puts on a more dramatic display of Fall color than New England. Some days are so clear and crisp and the folliage so intense against cerulean blue skies it seems unreal; like an over the top, highly saturated “Technicolor” movie of the mid-fifties. It is my favorite season and one of the attractions that pulled me from the steamy South to these northern hills.
Early morning transitions are particularly magical in this area. On the road to Maine recently as the sun was rising, mists were lifting from the waters of a nearby pond. Two young deer gracefully crossed the road after sampling the cool water; a pair of crows silhouetted on a bare branch and shrouded in fog cawed loudly as I stopped my car to take it all in. I’ve included a photo I took there that sets the stage for the journey into Autumn.
The intimate scene I just described takes place everyday, but most of us are so intent on getting to where we need to be, we do not notice them. Try to take the time to witness the changes taking place where you are today, savor the timeless beauty of the ever-changing season, and remember that you are an integral part of it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Vicarious travels through worldly beads...

The stormy days of late summer have given way to cloudless azure blue. Warm sun falls deliciously on bare skin, in the cool dry air of the season on our doorstep. Where did the time go?
No souvenir shells and beach glass from vacation seaside strolls are found in pockets. No ticket stubs from checked baggage with foreign airlines either but I have been traveling…vicariously, in my heart and mind.
Spread before me is the season’s bounty… not the heirloom tomatoes that stoic New Englanders are still patiently waiting to ripen,but beads… strands and strands of beautiful beads.
Ever since my grandmother provided me with a wax-tipped thread and her treasured box of buttons as a small child, I have relished stringing various colors and materials together to create something totally new from something old and well-traveled.
This summer slipped away, dissolved, in rain soaked afternoons, as I explored the surfaces of antique carnelian, worn smooth by time and touch. It was probably mined in the Ramtanpur area of Gujarat, India and shaped and polished by lapidaries in Cambay. Here they were masters at deepening the color of paler agate to the fiery orange of embers, the most desired shade. Cambay still is a leading supplier of this handsome stone, thousands of years later.
These beads, like all others, traveled in ships and across ancient trade routes via caravans around the world.
Instead of summer beach glass, I’ve designed with beautifully pitted cobalt blue beads from the Netherlands, several hundred years old and collected in Africa in the late 1970’s, when “tradebeads” were reintroduced to these shores. The subdued luminous sheen of these delicious beads resembles the most sublime beach finds, softened by sand and water. Adding to the deep cobalt is every shade of blue and green translucent glass handwound in Peking in the 19th C.and beloved by tribal groups everywhere.
I also marveled at faience beads of delicate hues from the ancient city of Persepolis, made a thousand years before Alexander the Great sacked this major metropolis of the Persian Empire. Holding and wearing these venerable world travelers is quite humbling, when you consider the stories they can tell and makes those smitten by their delicate beauty into modern day “time travelers”.
For those of you who are inclined to do so, I highly recommend spending quality time with Lois Dubin’s major contribution, The History of Beads from 30,000 BC to the Present (ISBN 0-8109-0736-4). Her maps of trade-routes and history of bead production will inspire you to do your own vicarious traveling and to learn much more.
I hope your own summer travels were pleasant ones and prepared you for the busy season ahead. Enjoy the waning days of summer and may your harvests be abundant ones.

Please visit: to see a small sampling of the summer harvest featuring wonderful beads.From the Homepage go to Adornments then Asia/Page 3

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


The dramatic elemental evidence of Earth Changes, producing fires, floods, tornados, and earthquakes across the US and around the world has been unavoidable this summer.
Here in New England, we have experienced almost daily severe electric storms, monsoon-like rains and several destructive micro-bursts in the month of July. The vegetation is thriving in this new northern rain forest and exotic looking mushrooms and colorful fungi are popping up everywhere. Frogs and salamanders are the happiest campers in these parts…

Power outages and power surges have been playing havoc with internet connections, telephones and electronic equipment of all kinds. I am only recently back online since the first round of technical difficulty. During this period of “disconnect” from the outside world, with no television and spotty audible phone service, space was made for reflection… of course this came about between extreme bouts of total frustration and hiding out with hyper-ventilating cats on the basement stairs, while adrenalin producing lightning strikes are close misses.

It is glaringly obvious how accustomed I’ve grown to being “out in the world” via cyberspace, when I choose to live in a remote area and can easily go a week without seeing a “live” person many months of the year. I thought I was alone out here…

The technical disconnect actually made it necessary to connect “in person” (what a concept!) with neighbors and friends dealing with much of the same thing. This was quite an epiphany for someone that has figured out accurately when the Turk’s Cap lilies will unfurl their speckled orange petals, gracefully arch their backs and transform into the elegant arabesques of form that take my breath away. Or knowing when the last goldfinch will leave the feeder after dusk, so I can prevent the bear from absconding with it later in the evening (again). I am paying attention… I am aware or am I? Hmm?

Actually going out into the world “in person” brought an amazing experience. A dear friend that I had lost touch with three decades and a thousand miles ago reconnected with me. She had been within a hundred mile radius for three years and I had seen her face passing through art events several times. I always thought “she looks so familiar somehow”, but then she was gone. What a shock and thrill when we looked into each others eyes this weekend and finally saw the youthful girlfriend whose gypsy ways left few clues to whereabouts for so long. A day later, as life stories were shared with tears and laughter and as rich and challenging journeys were revealed, an old connection came full circle. Its potent electricity delivered an unexpected gift for both of us, a feeling of wholeness, of a part unnoticed missing…a sense of being home in where we stood today, not nostalgically looking back, but instead looking out from within. Priceless!

Thank you dear reader, for being part of this circle of thought… I missed our connection during this time. Thank you for checking out these pages from time to time in your busy life.

Don’t forget to venture out there and allow reconnection with parts of yourself that are waiting for you to stumble upon them. Wishing you pleasant surprises and heartfelt connections when you do!

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Longest Day…

“As the sun spirals its longest dance,
Cleanse us…
As Nature shows bounty and fertility,
Bless us…
Let all things live with loving intent
And fulfill their truest destiny” - Wiccan blessing for Summer

The Summer Solstice arrives today here in the Northern Hemisphere. The sun has reached it apex and the earth is at her height of growth.
The year also reaches midpoint…where have the days gone?
Here in the hills, the celebrated sun is playing hide and seek behind opaque clouds that drift in and lower the temperature to a Fall-like 68 degrees. The brightness comes from whistling goldfinches and sweetly scented lemon lilies, until the sun’s rays finally break through and we all let out a collective sigh of appreciation.
Peoples around the world have observed this potent day for millennia. Native Americans created many astrological sites across the Americas to chart the path of the sun and mark this ceremonial day. Many of us think of the stone circles of Stonehenge and Avebury and the Solstice ceremonies still observed there today.
One of the most enduring ties with these ancient rites was the Druid’s celebration of the day as the “wedding of Heaven and Earth”. This is possibly responsible for our modern notion of “lucky” June weddings. Another interesting notion that was carried over, involves the fermented honey “mead” that was imbibed to celebrate wedding ceremonies during the solstice. Because of the height of the bees’ honey production in June (that produced this euphoric drink) the Full moon of June was known as the Honey Moon… Starting to sound familiar?
Bonfires and dancing and leaping through the flames with one’s beloved were common across Europe on this night, the night also made famous by Shakespeare in his enchanting Midsummer Night’s Dream. In the East the ancient Chinese marked the day by honoring Li, the Goddess of Light. So many stories and rituals take place on this day, many are shared in the classic work by Sir James Fraser called The Golden Bough. It was a pioneering study of magic and religion, folklore and folkways by this distinguished Scottish anthropologist of the late 19th C. I highly recommend skimming it for a fun summer read. For interesting information and great illustrations of early cosmological sites around the world check out Early Man and the Cosmos by Evan Hadingham.

However you decide to celebrate this extended day and enchanted evening, may it surpass your expectations!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Green Living

Even here in the Green Mountains of Southern Vermont the heat index is breaking records as the entire East Coast sizzles.
Over the weekend, just ahead of the wilting weather,locals and out-of-staters gathered to celebrate the arts and sustainable energy,agriculture and the dairy industry in Brattleboro.
Sound a bit dull? Not in the Republic of Vermont, where petitions were signed to impeach Bush and Cheney and every other person it seems is an artist, writer, musician or political activist, as well as organic farmer.
Pamplona, Spain may have her “Running of the Bulls” but Brattleboro and the surrounding area has her more demure “Strolling of the Heifers”!
Streets were lined with the diverse populations that make up this unique community.
Young and old held on to black and white spotted balloons suggesting a bobbing herd of helium filled Holsteins ,as a soulful New Orleans style brass band set the stage.
Theatrical skits spoofing the highly contested nuclear plant entertained, as did unicyclists against GMOS in food production and kids carrying long paper worms promoting composting…
At last, the first band of young doe-eyed calves draped in flower garlands and gently led by their also very young owners rounded the corner closely followed by the heifers, resplendent in flowers as well, who sauntered Main Street to soft applause as not to panic the gentle beasts. Natural accidents did happen, as some stage fright occurred, to the delight of giggling little boys. Attendants dressed as black and white cows or Super Heroes quickly scooped and sprinkled sawdust to keep things moving. Behind them the high school band played “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” with a ra-ra beat and cowbell percussion.
Cute…but not too… as right behind, whirling and spinning like a dervish, was a giant evil faced puppet made entirely of plastic grocery/shopping bags. It reminded me a bit of Nigerian Egungun masquerades where a spiritual whirlwind cleanses the village of evil influence. Would but all those plastic bags disappear worldwide…
Here on this red bricked, old-fashioned Main Street, progressive and traditional ideas coincided comfortably, as quality of life and responsible choices were expressed by newcomers and old-timers alike. Hope for the future was doled out with the locally made ice cream served at the Dairy-Fest, as we felt inspired and remotivated to do our parts to insure a sustainable future for our region and the planet.
Do what you can today, wherever you are, to make a difference for us all… And stay cool…

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Rites of Spring : May Bears

This has been a quirky Spring to say the least. I have noted the arrival of hummingbirds, and scarlet tanagers. I’ve wondered over the fate of four pairs of rose-breasted grosbeaks that have yet to join the two pairs in residence. My flock of canary yellow goldfinches is down to five from the thirty-five usually summering with me.Stormy weather all over the US could have played a role in this...
I have waited and watched, but the visitors that I missed most of all were the black bears that usually appear by mid-May.
I have had up to four at a time in my backyard, but it always varies. Last year I had one handsome male that I named Silus, for his silent comings and goings. He spent every afternoon for a couple of weeks here, rolling in the grass and of course munching on the sunflower seeds put out for the birds. I got to the point where I could converse with him softly from the deck and he’d just sit there and listen, then slowly stand and shyly head off into the woods. But just when I had started to give up on bear visits this year, I noticed both cats were acting oddly. They seemed to be picking up a scent that I couldn’t.
I pulled them back inside and was on the phone when I glanced out the window and to my delight there was a beautiful Mama bear and two tiny cubs about the size of cocker spaniels. Last year's Silus was a one-year-old male and maybe 75 pounds but this female was much bigger. She helped herself to the wire birdfeeder but just emptied out the contents and deftly used those big paws and claws to rifle through the grass and pick up seeds. The little ones tumbled around her playing in the afternoon sun as she snacked. This bear has a distinctive cinnamon circle on her right flank; the rest of her is shiny black, except her nose, which is also a cinnamon brown. I think I’ll call her Domino.
It is quite windy today. The lilacs are in full flower and perfuming the air, fragrant narcissi are still blooming and adding their distinctive aroma to the mix. The large rhododendron is just opening her magenta blossoms and is literally abuzz with bees and hummingbirds. All of a sudden Domino stood up and sniffed the wind in this direction, where most of the flowers are. As she did this, the precious little cubs scooted into the woods and quickly climbed up a tree. I was taking pictures through the window glass and trying not to be seen, as surely they would all bolt.
Domino came right up on the deck and pressed her nose against the glass of the sliding door and looked in, three feet away from me. Of course I missed that shot, as I stepped back behind the curtain for undetected observation. She sniffed at the furniture and birdbath and slowly, carefully moved around not disturbing a thing. The cubs began calling her and come running toward the deck. She gracefully moved down the three steps and led them around it and they all slip back into the woods as quietly as they came.
I have had other mother bears with cubs on my deck in the 15 years I’ve lived here and never have they disturbed anything on it. The birdfeeders were taken hostage quite a few times however, sometimes in the same day. And I really had a battle of wits with a male years ago as he would sneak in all times of the day,grab the feeder and abscond with it.I managed to play keep away and was quite pleased with myself. The next morning I opened the front door and stepped into a pile of scat left on the doormat, nothing else touched, everything neat and orderly... but I got the message! I had to laugh at him pointedly choosing that spot and getting me good!
I am so pleased to have had this traditional visit and hope I’ll have a few more before they head deeper into the woods. Now this crazy season seems a little more on track…
I have a deep and special affection for these shy creatures and wish them a long and healthy life. For your amusement I’m posting a great shot of Silus from last year and today’s Domino and her cubs, shot through the kitchen window and the flowering lilac outside it.

May you have pleasant encounters with whatever “bears” cross your path today!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Buddha’s Birthday

The full moon of May that occurs tonight in the Himalayas and tomorrow night here in the West is known as Buddha Purnima, the Buddha’s Birthday, and is celebrated by many Theravada Buddhists and Hindus at this time. The Tibetans will observe this auspicious occasion at the full moon next month.
I had the pleasure of attending the prayers and festivities for Buddha Purnima years ago at Swayambunath, the iconic stupa with the all seeing eyes of Buddha finely painted on pure gold, that represents Kathmandu and Nepal in the minds of many.
High atop a dusty hill, west of this ancient city, and reached by a very steep flagstone stairway, pilgrims stoically ascend through mists and smoke in a tiny woods populated by a tribe of very charismatic monkeys, ever alert and very well fed by passers-by. More than a dozen small stupas painted white, Tibetan prayer stones etched with powerful incantations, and orange robed seated Buddhas are scattered about the grounds. They provide an excellent excuse to stop and linger and catch your breath as yet two more wizened grandmothers pass easily ahead and up the steep incline.
On reaching the main platform crowds of people, sweet smoky incense, garlands of orange marigolds and millions of tiny oil lamps mingle as Tibetan prayer flags snap in the breeze. Everyone falls into a loosely formed line to circumambulate the main stupa going in a clock-wise direction and spinning large prayer wheels that line the base at shoulder height. Music plays, women draped in shawls and gossamer skirts barely missing the tiny tongues of fire everywhere, chant their prayers and stop to light more candles for requested blessings. Every human sense is stimulated, old friends excitedly greet each other, hands folded, Namaste softly spoken… It is a lovely Birthday party,and surely enjoyed by all.
I sit many years and a world away from the dusty knoll of Swayambu in my lush green hills of New England. A strong wind is roiling through the sea of electric green leaves. Trees moan and creak as they sway from the next forceful wave. The rhythm of the rustling leaves makes me momentarily forget that I am landlocked, until a brilliant scarlet tanager startles my eyes and quickly disappears into the tender,leafy,surf.

May you and yours find many blessings and personal illumination on this auspicious night!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Mother's Gifts

Here in the US, we recently celebrated our annual Mother’s Day. It is a time of mixed emotions for many people. Some gamely put aside on-going personality conflicts to select an appropriate card or gift in hopes of evoking the ideal in this most complex and deeply felt connection. Others will make a phone call that never seems to come often enough for the receiver. Most mothers would just love a little time with their very busy children. Time is what few of us have anymore…
My own dear mother passed away nine years ago. And any experienced personality challenges have sweetly softened to memories of the gifts that only she could have given me.
For Mother showed me how to see with an artist’s eye. To carefully look at nature and catch the subtle nuance in the slant of an old tree that expresses its personality, to read stories in delicate patterns of shadows on the wall, to see faces of cupids or imps on the knees of otherwise ordinary folk, and as I matured in awareness to notice how these faces reflected some character traits of their owners! (Try this the next time you are at the beach!)
She made fairy goblets out of gum wrapper foil and created charming “secrets” for me to find. These fanciful creations were shallow holes filled with arrangements of tiny flowers, stones, berries or seeds under a piece of appropriately sized glass that made a little window. The dampness of the earth kept these natural tableaus fresh for a week and I truly delighted in them.
Mothers in traditional cultures around the world made wonderful textiles and carrying cloths embroidered or appliquéd with auspicious or protective signs to protect their precious newborns and young toddlers from disease and misfortune. The Miao in China and SE Asia as well as most of the “minority groups” of these regions make exquisite baby carriers that are rarely sold. When they do, they usually remove the carrying straps or other parts
In Kohistan, in N. Pakistan, mothers sew coins for prosperity, mother of pearl buttons to deflect evil and sun symbols and trees for strength and long lives. Little girls are given exquisite hats and little boys receive sleeveless jackets gaily embellished with metal safety pins and Western style zippers. Each one is as unique as the woman who makes it and the child who receives it.

What was the gift your mother gave you that could have come from no one else?!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Spring Songs ...

After days of raw, and cool weather, the sun has graced us once again.
Now warblers are joined by Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and the bright green woods echo with birdsong. Early this morning I heard the first dulcet tones that I eagerly await all winter to hear. A male Wood Thrush is practicing the first notes of the season. In a few days the full repertoire will performed and I will be aurally transported to heaven… at early morning and early evening until late August.
The little hummingbirds haven’t arrived, though last night, a raccoon helped himself to the nectar I have had waiting. The daffodils are just starting to bud at this point, so not much in the floral department, to offer the hummers after their long trip North,especially in the stormy weeks just past.
Other Spring songs are in the air besides the birds however. A large group of friends ventured out into the rain and fog from diverse locales to celebrate a significant birthday in a remote area of the Berkshires. A delightful rustic barn with fire roaring dramatically in a large stone fireplace provided the perfect antidote to the bone-chilling damp. And fellow travelers were treated to hearty food and soulful songs from our birthday minstrel.
By midnight, in the flickering light, kids tucked into bed, we adults joined in with the band to raise our voices… singing songs of our youth and laughingly botching the lyrics, once so profound, that somehow our middle-aged brains had forgotten!
Ah, Spring! Ah,youth…!
May you find something to make your heart sing today… in tune and with the all the right lyrics!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

April Showers

After a long spate of unseasonable, gloriously sunny and hot weather, the hills are green again. Unfortunately so was everything else, as yellow-green pollen dusted our world and wafted though our open windows. There had been no rain to speak of this entire month,that is rapidly coming to a close.

The short lived vernal pools that provide an essential but “fleeting” nursery for wood frogs and salamanders were dangerously dry, after being deep in snow earlier in the season. The Spring peepers and their sneezing human neighbors collectively sent up prayers for just a bit of rain to ease the dryness and the allergies.

Our petitions were heard, as April showers have been falling for two days. I slept like a baby as rain pelted the roof all night long, a rhythm I easily fall into. Now the last of the winter’s wood is burning in the woodstove to lessen the wet chill in the air.
And yet, another passage occurs, as canary-yellow goldfinches and the first rose-breasted grosbeaks appear at the feeder and my winter flock of chickadees head back into the woods until the “tourists” leave.They have been such jolly company all winter long!

The woods are alive with frog song and trilling birds as the rain gently falls. I pray the local amphibians will have what they need for this breeding season. Their relations worldwide are in dire straits due to loss of habitat, pesticides, and the rapidly spreading fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis,known as Bd for short.

Frogs are celebrated by cultures around the world as the "bringers of rain". Traditional shamanic societies in North and South America attributed the calling of the rains and control of the weather to frogs. As the rains fertilized the parched earth and cleansed muddy, stagnant waters, the attributes of abundance, fertility and healing were also given to Frog. Ritual objects made of frogs or in their shapes were used in traditional healing as well, especially illnesses brought about by emotional imbalances.

The wonderful metamorphosis that transforms the little tadpole into a handsome frog delights the child in all of us. And clearly displays the power of transformation that this totem animal is also graced with.

In Mexico, especially in the Guerrero region, metal masks in the shape of frogs were worn during ceremonial rain dances. The one depicted here from my collection, features a ruddy-cheeked spirit whose blue eyes also reflect an affinity to water. This wonderful mask of beaten copper was probably created in the early 20th C. It is charmingly painted with multi-colored spots that resemble those of the dapper leopard frogs that will be leaping through these boggy woods soon.

Long may they leap … all over the world…!

For more information on the art of Mexican mask-making, please see: Mexican Masks by Donald Cordry,University of Texas Press

For more information on vernal pools,please go to

For more on the plight of amphibians see: Defenders (of Wildlife) Magazine, Spring 2008, “Slipping Away” by Sara Shipley Hiles.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Seeing with Closed Eyes

Due to my ongoing explorations of dreams, a friend recently shared this poem with me and it made me smile.
I hope it will do the same for you. It is such a lovely thought to warm ourselves with our favorite dreams and fully savor them when they are most needed!

Frozen Dream by Shel Silverstein

I'll take this dream I had last night
And put it in my freezer,
So someday long and far away
When I'm an old grey geezer,
I'll take it out and thaw it out,
This lovely dream I've frozen,
And boil it up and sit me down
And dip my cold toes in.

More food for thought...

“It was the wise Zeno that said he could collect a man by his dreams. For then the soul, stated in a deep repose, betrayed her true affections: which in the busy day, she would rather not show or not note.”- Owen Felltham

“Seeing through the mundane and witnessing the sublime is less than an eye-blink away…”-Bodhidharma

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream…

Friday, April 25, 2008

Creating Compassion

The little village I live in boasts under a thousand residents. Many of us are independent creative sorts that choose to live a simpler life, closely connected to Nature and migrated here from other parts. A group of us interested in art and creativity began meeting seven years ago. Last night at our meeting we had as our focus an interesting exercise in creating compassion through writing and art making. We were invited to bring an object from our homes that we live with but don’t really care for. We could loathe it, find it unappealing, or just be indifferent to it. But for some reason, we haven’t been able to get rid of it (sound familiar?).
We all unpacked our objects and looked at them, some of us making sarcastic remarks as we did. Our hostess then guided us to begin journaling from the object’s point of view, using “I am” sentences.
For instance, my object was a white china teacup and saucer, sprinkled with pink roses, that was from my Mother’s Depression-era wedding. She never really liked the pattern, as she preferred modern things with clean lines. But they were newly married, no one had money and this was a generous gift from a well-meaning relative. We used it for holidays and birthdays in our small family celebrations all my life.
My “I am” sentences about the cup and saucer were something like this…
“ I am delicate and feminine with a nick or two here and there acquired over the years.”
“I am dressed in shy pink roses, scattered about in neither a dramatic or creative manner.”
“I have never been truly appreciated by those who have owned me.”
“I feel out of place in a cabinet filled with earthy stoneware. I am old fashioned but not quite old enough to be admired for my antiquity.”
Next we were to write from our own perspectives and it was interesting to see how after hearing the story of the spurned object, our sarcasm softened and we wrote of more positive attributes… I even admitted to once in a while drinking tea from it to honor the potential usefulness and graceful utility that it embodies. When I do so I am having tea with my mother long since departed. I hear her say as she did several times,” These roses were never really “me” either, but as you get older you’ll find you are more accepting of them…” “Never!” I thought in my youth, but this is starting to happen little by little.
Later ,the cup gently whispered back, as I was doing the drawing exercise, “I am content in knowing that even when empty, I am filled with memories of happy occasions shared with those who have passed on.” I had to smile.
When we all read our comments and observations aloud, the results were almost prose poems and many amazingly reflected the personality and attributes of the writer.
It has been wisely said that many times the things we don’t like in others are traits we often possess ourselves!
Consider the peace that could be found in ourselves, our families, our communities, our world, if we each took the time to soften our judgment of the “other”, hear their story and perspective, and come to a place of empathy and compassion.
It is possible…it just takes effort, an open mind, and an open heart.
Try it and reap the personal benefits … and collectively we all will benefit…
Wishing you and the “others” in your life peace of heart and mind…

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Perceptions, Impressions

The air and light is as soft as a baby’s cheek this morning. A delicate haze in the sunlight brightened with flickers of pistachio, softens the shadows and brings out mauve, lavender and palest lemon yellow. I am seeing with the eyes of the Impressionists.
I have disregarded this visionary group of French painters for a very long time.
Their work reproduced in sofa-sized copies and printed on everything from calendars to museum shop umbrellas had become a cliché that I barely gave notice to or had interest in. I had an ephiphany standing in front of the incredibly long Monet Waterlilies at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Standing close you can only see several feet in each direction, and the scene your mind tells you that you are seeing, transforms into delicious squiggles of luminous paint. It is pure abstraction and vibrantly fresh and alive in mostly unblended color…
Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir “discovered” this way of seeing when they broke the shackles of studying academic art and ventured out into the fresh air along the Seine. The stale formality of Nature as a classical backdrop for historical or classical allegory was transformed into a living, breathing environment. In squinting their eyes just a bit and looking at a sun-drenched scene, all the shades of prismatic color revealed themselves in light and shadow. They kept the colors separated in expressive daubs of paint but juxtaposed them perfectly so the viewer’s eye did the mixing but could translate the artist’s way of seeing at the same time. What a brilliant discovery! This added to the subject of “real life being lived”, and attempting to capture the literal “throb of life” in Paris and surrounding environs in paint on canvas was totally revolutionary….
I have been reading Susan Vreeland’s historical novel about Renoir painting his most ambitious painting, which titles the book as well “Luncheon of the Boating Party”. Though she has done her homework, I was a bit rusty on the ins and outs of friendships and rivalries of this substantial group of French painters and missed many nuances that she alluded to. This has been happily compensated by watching a wonderful series produced by the BBC called “The Impressionists” (available through Netflix). In it Claude Monet is being interviewed in 1920 as an old man, and regales us with the personalities and traits of his friends and contemporaries during these formative years of Impressionism. It is very well acted and filmed on location and has added much to the Vreeland book, which relies mostly on conversation between the characters to tell the story. I highly recommend both for a weekend escape into an amazing time of looking at life and art with new eyes. Time travel anyone?
May you discover a new way of seeing your world and appreciating the beauty that is there before you, if you have but eyes to see!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day!

The radiance of the sun and unusual balmy temperatures have all of us singing in these parts, but not as eloquently as the single warbler that has been trilling for days now from the budding tree-tops. So far he is still solo, as no one is answering his call or disputing his territory. It is his gift to us all….
As quirky as it is to be comfortably walking barefoot outside but having to carefully avoid random patches of the last snow, it is comforting to see that Nature is more vibrant and expansive each passing day. We seem to be going in the right direction. Yellow-green day lily and iris fans and the purple tips of hosta are appearing over night but I am longing for colorful, exuberant displays of flowers!
I treated myself to glorious fiery orange roses yesterday, a belated birthday gift from a friend. What a delicious treat they are and we should all treat ourselves to flowers regularly, if just a small bouquet of wildflowers artfully arranged. They give so much to the beholder and add so much to a home environment.
For your pleasure, I am sharing a glimpse of the staggering beauty of these particular roses in the little photo next to this entry!
The powerful color and expressive shape of roses have been cultivated in silk and cotton floss around the world ,as talented hands embroidered rosettes, solar discs and trees of life onto clothing and utilitarian cloth.
A wonderful book on this subject was lovingly compiled and researched in hard to get to places by Shelia Paine. It is called Embroidered Textiles: Traditional Patterns from Five Continents: with a World wide Guide to Identification. These natural symbols were not just decorative but were believed to provide protection against misfortune and increased life force in nomadic and other tribal cultures. They were also treasured as wealth and provided beauty in sometimes very bleak or harsh environments.
As beautiful as the day is outside I’m equally happy photographing examples of splendid textile gardens and cataloging them for future inclusion on my website
Woven, beaded, richly embellished cloth is a personal passion of mine. I’m including a detail here of a lovely 19th C. embroidery from Uzbekistan with whimsical floral designs to add to the visual celebration for our bountiful Mother Gaia/Earth on her special day!
Whether you are inside or outside today do take a moment to send appreciation to the Earth that sustains us, or think of something that you could do that would contribute to reducing even in a very small way humanity’s impact on her …and don’t forget to stop and smell the roses!

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Yesterday a dear neighbor and I ventured off our rocky ridge and descended down to the Connecticut River valley. For a few moments we were as stunned as if the Land of Oz stretched out before us. The weeping willows along the riverbank were festooned in long chartreuse ribbons of tiny new leaves, the forsythia was blinding in its chrome yellow splendor and the exotically beautiful magnolias were just beginning to bloom….
We are about three weeks behind at our 1100 ft. altitude, not exactly Alpine I admit, but just enough over the line to make a big difference. From our understated grey and brown hills, now and then highlighted with the subtle mauve of maple buds and dusty puffs of white birch flowers, to the floral extravagance of the valley seemed tropical and decadent simultaneously.
Even in the hills it reached 80 degrees yesterday and today promises the same.This is not the normal transition.80 is more of a June temperature than April...
I put up the screens last night, opened the windows and happily slept with fresh air, the first songs of the little Spring frogs called “Peepers” and the otherworldly commentary from courting barred owls wafting into my bedroom. Heaven…
Mudseason, our regional “bonus” season for surviving a strenuous winter, is officially over and I must say despite the deep drifts and thanks to a remarkable road crew that constantly groomed our dirt roads, it was not too bad. Sometimes just getting to the grocery store 12 miles away is an Indiana Jones experience when parts of the road become the consistency of cookie dough and you literally have to go with the flow, helplessly pulled from side to side! It can be quite the adrenalin rush!

The first butterfly has been spotted…it may have been a queen Monarch or a Fritillary.It was a lovely shade of orange but not quite as vibrant as the male Monarch.
I think Icaught a glimpse of the first hummingbird that usually buzzes by my studio window around April 28th. It may have been a shy little pine siskin visiting the birdbath. I only saw a quick tiny bird silhouette at dusk. I must get some nectar mix for them today, as the only meager natural offerings are five lavender-striped crocus flowers.
Now I can wash the layers of the mud off my formerly black car, that has been a demure shade of bisque for weeks and also take off the noisy studded snow tires for another year…
Yes, let me slip on my flip-flops and head out the door back down to civilization.
It is so odd to know its 80 degrees, I’m going out in flip-flops, and my daffodils are still beneath 8 inches of snow!
Wishing you all the pleasures of the season wherever you may be!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rhythmic Alignment

It is a glorious morning…cloudless blue sky, blinding sun penetrating the dense woods at that perfect angle that pops everything out in such dramatic fashion.
The “chiaroscuro” that Velazquez, Caravaggio and other painters used so well and to great effect. I simply love this light and now while the branches are still bare it is possible to see deeply into the intricate patterns the branches make as they interact, and visually interweave. Soon the new leaves will emerge and slowly the green curtain will close around me once again. Several times in the past months the same effect and delineation took place with sparkling snow. It was at just the right consistency to wrap itself around each branch and trunk and left just a tracery of black and grey along one edge. Then it was a magical lace curtain that was drawn around me, exquisitely detailed and totally ephemeral. I tried to capture it with camera, pastel,and oil paint but it was too sublime …
But now great patches of mottled brown earth and dry thatch are appearing in the remaining snow daily. The ground is as spotted as a Pinto pony and new birds are arriving daily and staking claim to the new turf. The faithful Robins back for another breeding season wrest stunned earthworms from the chilly mud and Mourning Doves coo and woo in patches nearby. The woodpeckers still drum but further away , but the rhythm of today is the song of the doves…Ah yes, out of the treetops and back down to earth. Sweet and slightly mournful tones to stir the emotions and those internal waters. It is time to awaken and align with the new season at hand…and all of us must find our own natural rhythm to get us there.
The resident cats just look at me with profound mystification at my need to take this intellectual meander when… duh, the door is wide open onto the deck!
Maya tosses me a glance that says “Later…”, and flicks her impressive black plume of a tail as she returns to Vole patrol duty outside and Luna just gives me her most soulful look that says “These cushions in the sun are in perfect alignment with me”…
When the seasons are as dramatically distinct as they are in these parts and can turn on a time, it’s not quite as simple as breaking out the flip-flops for some of us humans. Slowly but surely I’ll get there…Here’s hoping you are there already, perfectly aligned and moving toward your dreams at your perfect pace and rhythm….as Maya says”Later…”

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Signs and Symbols...

It is a very cold morning here in the woods. The sun is steadily climbing up the hill through the tangle of still bare branches and shyly spilling into my studio.
The most distinctive sign of this new season at this moment is the noise…
The distinctive “drumming” of numerous Pileated Woodpeckers is rattattattinggggg from all sides. It is like being in the middle of a mellifluent construction site! I love this resonance of beak against pith and bark, and the vibration of it reverberating through the woods. Rat-ta-tat-ta-tat! It is a wake-up call for all of us to notice that a new season is at hand.
I enjoy reading about and paying attention to natural signs and omens. They are the language of Nature and are pretty universally agreed upon, for the most part, save Snake and Owl which get bad press in some cultures.
There is a wonderful book by naturalist Ted Andrews which I refer to almost every day. It is called Animal Speak: The Spiritual and Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small. In it the Woodpecker is about the heartbeat of the earth, the power of rhythm, and the use of discrimination. The Pileated Woodpecker is sometimes known as the “Cock of the Woods”,this makes me smile, as the other dominant bird holding forth this morning is the Rooster, crowing loud and true, at my neighbors down the road. The Rooster is about watchfulness, resurrection(as the herald of the rising sun) and fertility…
I love the thought of the universality of that sound resonating at daybreak in Bali, across Africa, in rural areas around the world and here in the US. It is such a blessing to wake-up to these sounds instead of alarm clocks and radio yabbering…(We’ll have more about these cross-cultural symbols later as they embellish cultural costume and artifacts because of their potent symbolism…)but back to natural sounds and signs...
One of my favorite watercolorists was Charles Burchfield, American (1893-1967).
He was a masterful recorder of Nature, weather and the special atmosphere of seasons. He achieved this in a quite unique and symbolic way. There is a lovely little book of his work called Charles Burchfield’s Seasons by Guy Davenport that you may enjoy.
I am going to attempt to post images two favorites on today’s blog page.
The first is ”The Coming of Spring”. It shows hills with trees just starting to bud, riverlets of water running down and bringing the mud to life and pussy willows to explode into fury catkins. This looks just like where I live or at least will, in a week or two.
Burchfield wrote about this picture and the rushing water(which is also musically coursing through my woods as snow melt) “So completely did the personality of the stream enter into my consciousness, that at night when I lay down to sleep, my pillow seemed to be full of sound….” He often creates marks that denote sounds and the vibrations of growth that I just love!
The other image is “Autumnal Fantasy” that has nuthatches instead of woodpeckers but the vibrational notations capture what it is like in these hills this morning.
I hope wherever you are today, that you can take the time to notice Nature and the signs she is giving you!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


"astral journeys, inner worlds" is in the new Studio Gallery at Hampden and will end on April 28th,2008...

ARTIST STATEMENT astral journeys, inner worlds

I am a dreamer by nature and disposition.

Ever since childhood I have recalled dream imagery immediately upon waking. “What did you dream last night?” was my Mother’s first inquiry of the morning. We would review all that had occurred in my nocturnal wanderings and when a synchronistic event happened later that day, she would happily announce,” There’s the end of your dream!”

Beginnings, endings, connections…

”What color was it?” Mother would ask, “How did it taste or smell ?”.
She was a dreamer extraordinaire and it never occurred to her (or me) that most people supposedly dreamed in black and white (how bizarre!) or thought they didn’t dream at all, much less perceive the dream environment with waking senses.

Dreams and symbolism became deeply ingrained in me, as did a longing to travel to the exotic realms of my imagination. As an adult I have been fortunate to explore the world firsthand and through the cultural artifacts that I collect, study and deal in. Many times these experiences are part of my dream life and I delight in recalling sights, smells and sounds of the material world transported to another time and place.

The images offered here are like snapshots of personal dream experiences, I like to think of many of them as “postcards from the Edge of Consciousness”. I invite you to have fun and enjoy the visual journey here…
In the sleep-deprived culture we live in, the dream state is not as restorative for most as it could be. I hope these pictures will bring a smile and encourage exploration in your own rich inner landscapes.

May you have sweet dreams and may all your good dreams come true!
As I was saying,there are many ways of traveling. The long Winter nights were used by traditional tribal peoples to share tales of courage, challenges successfully met by cultural heroes, romance and trickster stories to delight young and old in campfire circles around the world.
Dreaming was taken seriously and wisdom carefully gleaned from dreams shared. I have long kept dream journals and recorded as many episodes as I can recall each morning. I enjoy going back over them and noticing the recurring symbols and themes and speculating on what I am working out in my dreamlife. All of this recently culminated in a body of work called "astral journeys, inner worlds" that is being presented in Hampden Gallery at the University of Massachusetts this month. For more information here's the link
The image in the right corner of this blog is called Dream Journey and is very evocative for me.
I used it as the postcard for the exhibition. The ripe, fecund natural world is being lead into a more barren world it seems, until the old blind man who confidently leads the way is noticed to be following the fiery light of his passion, his soul.... and so it is with each of us when we allow ourselves to follow our bliss.
This work began as simple monoprint landscapes, overtime I collected images from very early (1919) National Geographic magazines that were being tossed at the recycling bin .These were collaged in to populate the scenes as they related to dreams I had been having. Colored pencil and water color washes helped me achieve the effect I was reaching for. I will share more images in a small slide show and include my Artist Statement about this work to hopefully add to your enjoyment.
At the opening I was delighted with the enthusiastic response from other "dreamers" in attendance! I hope this will encourage some of you to tap this rich native source of inspiration that was our collective creative birthright!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Welcome to my blog

After many months of deep snow,howling winds and precarious road conditions...the great mounds of ice are finally receding and adding to the slurry of mud on the sides of our dirt road.The metal sap buckets are still hanging from Sugar Maple trees and still filling impressively at this late date. The barred owls are mating, the lovely maroon colored trillium are stirring under the cold mud and soon a very hungry black bear will be heading for my birdfeeder as the sun begins to set.
This is the stuff of dreams for a transplant from the steamy South. Though I grew up in semi-tropical splendor,waisthigh ferns,the humid air thick with the headiness of gardenia, jasmine,wisteria;the stiffling heat was debilitating to me and I survived these pre- airconditioning summers with a stack of library books and a frosty bottle of Coca -Cola under a shady tree. I made sure that I had my library card as soon as I was six and checked out everything I could find on cultures of other lands. As an only child ,this introspection and armchair travelling served me well on long hot days and still provides respite during the short dark days of a New England winter. I have weathered 28 Northern winters now. My Southern friends think I am absolutely mad and a case could be made to that effect. But this land, these woods ,these rocks and hills are part of me now and I don't mind the slowing down and inward traveling that takes place in front of the woodstove. And I cherish the company of my two compatible felines Luna and Maya... Inward travels are especially sublime....
When I was three I fashioned tiny clay figures of a turbaned man dressed in a long robe and a veiled young girl and a young boy dressed like the man. My parents were astounded...we didn't have a television at that time , no copies of the Arabian Nights...."Who are you and where did you come from?!", my Father remembered saying out loud to me as he noticed the detail in the figures attire.
That is the question I'm still trying to answer...and I'm happy to say I'm getting closer.
This blog is about the threads that run literally and figuratively through my life, the inter-connectedness of passions that started as a very young child, and grew with me over five decades now. My hope is that I may share something with you that you haven't noticed before or that sparks interest or gets you thinking about the threads in your own life. There are many ways to travel and and if undertaken in the right spirit they all lead back to HOME...