Sunday, December 20, 2009

I had a very fun party last night to unveil my Wine Cork Christmas Tree which was LOTS of fun to make and of course collecting the corks was the result of much joy too! One of my friends who was a heavy contributor of corks was thrilled to see what I'd done with them. People brought wine (with corks) so I think I'll add another layer or more to next years tree!

I just love how the snow rests on the window edges of the building in back of me!
When I lived deep in the country, miles from anything, a friend visited one day and upon leaving looked up to the sky like the one in this photo, then turned to me and said we'll have 6 inches of snow in the morning. And yes today as then, I woke up the to a solid 6" of powdery white fluff and it was beautiful! My friend was a farmer as was all his family from as far back as anyone could ever remember. All their information about nature came directly from nature. They worked too hard to sit in front of TV to catch weather reports which were/are notoriously wrong. Where I lived I could barely get one bad radio channel and certainly no TV so my observational skills grew strong by the end of winter. To this day I try to figure out what the weather will do just by observing then double check with the weather report on TV and I always marvel at how much we have lost in the ancient art of pure observation. It just wasn't all that long ago when observation was all we had to rely on. After that winter I left the area but have stayed in touch will most everyone back there and we talk often about all the changes they see in crops, insects, animals, tree habits, weather patterns and they are afraid, very afraid of the climate changes they are observing.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


For some reason this year I am seized by the Christmas spirit even to the point where I made cookies. There is no way to describe how monumental this is, normally I hate this over-commercialized holiday they start advertising in May, but recently even over-heard myself humming xmas tunes! My last memory of baking anything was when I was married - a long time ago. Whatever I baked we devoured and both of us got really chubby. Post divorce I slimmed down, then I quit smoking and got chubby I'm just normal or at least that's what I call it. All that could change tonight when I bake then do a quality check those cookies. The last time I made cookies was probably 30+ years ago so I marveled today at the easiness of falling into the rhythms of blending, mixing and (gasp) it felt so good. Flour, sugar, shortening all over the counter, the scent of fresh scraped (organic) orange peel in the air. I happily remembered spending time with my grandmothers while they trained me to do this very thing. It was all done today (and then) by hand - no electric mixer. At one point I grabbed 2 forks to blend the dry ingredients flashing back to when I was taught to do that. It was such an automatic a gesture! One grandmother taught me how to make cakes and truly great pies. To this day I am still the best pie crust maker. My other grandmother taught me how to make muffins and fudge. About the fudge...I still can't eat it. She made a tray of fudge one day and we ate the whole tray. I've never been so sick and can't even stand the smell of it to this day! My Mom also excelled in pie making, something she perfected after she set the kitchen on fire - she took that as a challenge! Mom did lots of things really well but my most favorite memory is of making pie crust for when I came home from school. Waiting for me was a nice little plate of plain pie crust (which is the way I like it) right out of the oven with a big glass of milk. Such a great memory! Ah the cookies are cooling so time to sign off and do a thorough quality control check of them, even if it means eating a whole plate full of them!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Monet at MOMA...afresh!

On the trip to NYC when I saw the Hockney exhibits the day turned into a great whirlwind trip where the clock seemed to stop and I got to see a lot of terrific art. Besides Mr. Hockney's exhibit I went to MOMA to see Monet's Waterlilies - a recently installed exhibit in their new section, it is up until April. Now I know a lot of folks just groan when they hear Monet, it's like hearing Vivaldi's 4 Seasons or the 1412 Overture .... yet again. However I was drawn to this exhibit because of one particular painting I had never seen "The Japanese Footbridge." Wow what a painting! It is a flurry of rich colors, brush strokes, abstract and real at the same time, which happens to be one of my favorite things when the boundary between realism and abstraction cross. Never mind that anything Monet groans under the weight of it's popularity - take a deep breath before walking in that room, shed what you know or think you know and just go in, it's astonishing! These paintings are wicked abstract and truly only come together at a distance. I was looking at one of the best known Water Lily paintings up close and could only marvel at how crazy the surface was, the color application is simply whacked. Talk about dry brush! The paint looks positively gummy in places but water thin in others. Colors layered and globbed on top of each other I got up close and personal to them and just marveled at his process. If I had done that painting I could NEVER have been so brave to do what he did then walk off ... hence just one of the many reasons why I remain obscure! These paintings are amazing to behold close up and far away. So for all those who cannot bear to see another it, spend some time with them especially up close. After seeing the exhibit I feel refreshed and must go to Paris to the L'Orangerie to be surrounded! (Ok busted...I just want to go back to Paris....)

David Hockney's exhibits in NYC

Just a few days before Thanksgiving I was in NYC for two pick up work from the Salmagundi Club and see two David Hockney exhibits at Pace Wildenstein on 57th and their other gallery on 25th. I'm a huge fan of Mr. Hockney and the exhibits were so satisfying! My particular favorties were the gargantuan paintings of "Bigger Trees Near Water" but what adds to their drama is that as he was half way done painting them through the seasons when they chopped them ALL down. If you see the painting you know that it is a considerable number of trees, a veritable forest and the reason for this churlish act seemed limp at best...they were diseased and could fall...but all of them? Knowing this little tidbit added to the viewing of the nearly flourescent log paintings and added a touch of ghoulishness to the one of just a large stump which read like a torso with logs (limbs?) around it. I felt uncomfortable looking at that one and moved on with great joy to my other favorites the Elderberry bushes. These were two terrific shows which will no doubt help with my current work as I have been painting dense sets of trees with dramatic shadows and currently working on a set of trees at night.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It hasn't even started snowing yet and everyday I think of the Caribbean!

My first blog!

Hello! As much as I've resisted doing this here I am. Never say never as they say! I have a lot of thoughts about art, travel, books, etc and figured this is a great place to put it all down.