Saturday, June 27, 2009

Morning Birds

Birds at birdfeeders make boring pictures, I know, but how could I resist? As I sit having my coffee every morning, I see them outside the window as if I were in an aviary. There is something so satisfying about anonomously feeding these beautiful creatures, silently watching from behind the window glass. They don't know I'm there or where their feast came from, or that their mere presence is enough reward to justify my doing it.

It's a little different from feeding the chickens and the dogs, who have no idea which side their bread is buttered on and don't care. They see me and demand food as if it were nothing more than their right and proviledge. I love their cockiness as much as the little birds' innocence. I suppose it has something to do with my feeling of omnipotence..........a benevolent god who smiles on both those who know me and those who don't, without prejudice. Because of them, I am giving without expectation of acknowledgment or gratitude. I judge myself by this act and am pleased. It is an all-encompassing experience of gladness and harmony...
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Thursday, June 25, 2009


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Painting of Women

I began this painting before I knew I was going to leave the gallery. It was to be my entry in the "Feminist Mystique" theme show. Well, maybe I will show it some other time.......or maybe I will paint over it as I do most of my paintings. In any case, I am happy with it no matter what its life span may be. The experience of doing it was exciting, because it flew out of my fingers the same way many of the paintings I used to do at school did. The format is similar, with the division of the canvas substituted for the multiple canvases I used to use.

I had a small hope that perhaps I would continue where I left off now that I am free of thoughts about selling, but it doesn't seem to have happened. At art day yesterday I was unable to think of anything to do. I ended up doing a quick and disposable painting from a photograph I took of Toni last week. It was fun, but my interest waned after about a half hour and disappeared not long after.
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I've had some trouble trying to think of what to say about Thelma's death on Saturday morning. It was certainly expected, and it is good that she isn't suffering anymore. It 's also good that she didn't have to live out the rest of her life in circumstances that she would have hated. But those are words that mean nothing. Thelma should have lived forever. I should still be able to pick up the phone and call her, talk to her, laugh with her. We should still be having lobster stew at Billy's, still buying candy at Bracken's. We should be making plans for our next trip, deciding on which motel. We should be thinking of our annual trips to Scoodic Point, our visits to the galleries. We ought to be assembling our painting stuff, striking out for some old farm. We should be in Vermont, at that Inn where she got me to teach that workshop. Or we should take another car trip to Florida, to Washington DC. We should go back to the Catskills. We should see more antique places, paw through more junk at yard sales. We should swap more recipes, exchange more paintings, decorate more Christmas Trees, set up more still lifes. We should go to Corea and visit Jean again, maybe visit Betsy. Most of all we should go back to Rockport. We should go there over and over again until we have memmorized the lighthouse, Front Beach, Atlantic Avenue, Good Harbor Beach, the headlands, Motif no.1, Gloucester. And when we have memorized them, we should keep going back to see them new again. We should sit at hundreds more tables with Betty Lou, talk for hundreds more hours about art, about life.

For more than thirty years I rode in the passenger seat of one of her enormous cars as we drove somewhere wonderful. I settled in and let the sound of her voice envelop me, feeling absolutely safe and happy, knowing that as long as I was with her, nothing bad could ever happen.
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Origami Beetle

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Pouring Rain

It is raining so hard this morning that the dogs are still wet from their reluctant walk four hours ago. I put rubber boots on along with my thrift shop raincoat, but I still had to change my pants when I got back. The poor dogs didn't have that option and are lying miserably on their beds waiting for evaporation to take place. I tried to take a picture, but raindrops (and even pelting rain) do not photograph well.

Tonight is the grand opening of the gallery, and I planned to go. Unless the weather improves, though, I may stay home. It would be hard enough to mingle if I had the option of moving outside, but being crushed into a crowd of rain-steamed revellers is far from appealing. I have seen only a few of the members since my dramatic exit and subsequent leave of absense. I would rather see them in a more fluid environment this first time.

Leaving the gallery, albeit temporarily, has given me a sense of uneasy freedom. My philosophical reasons for getting away had to do with the commodification of art, and without a gallery I certainly have taken a decisive step in the other direction. I can test my position now, removing myself from the selling game. I can immerse myself in the process of making paintings rather than turning them into cash. I detest working to please some anonymous buyer, trying to guess what will loosen the purse strings of people whose taste I rarely admire. I hate thinking about displaying paintings to attract the public eye, getting the lighting right.........well, I'm not a business person (and proud of it).

Meanwhile, I'm folding paper to make origami bugs.
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy Day

Please excuse Emma's recent prolonged absence. She is feeling better now and will hopefully resume the chronicling of her sometimes tumultuous life. She is sometimes a bit intense and prone to overly zealous support of unpopular principles. Stepping back, or out, is sometimes the only solution.
It was such a pleasure after having said good-bye to Duncan with David and Thom so recently to be able to help celebrate the news that a new puppy is on the way to join them and our extended family. There is no greater tribute to a beloved dog than to get another one after he's gone. The gift to the dog's memory is to want to continue the experience, somewhat altered, that he once provided. Duncan would certainly want another dog to come along to comfort his two daddies..............and I'm sure he would be even more pleased to know that it is a Dalmation. He is coming from a rescue facility in Pennsylvania, where he's being fostered until plane tickets can be hastily bought and rental cars arranged. David and Thom will chauffeur him to his new home, where he will be happily received by a town full of anxiously waiting friends. He has already been named Dylan, and his picture sat on the dining table as we happily toasted his forthcoming arrival.

Rest in peace, Duncan. You gave Dylan a wonderful gift.
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