Looking with fresh eyes
8:00 am 28 July 2021
I started this piece several years ago and recently pulled it off the 'in process' shelf. It has a multi-layered history that began in my studio in Maine. One night during a full moon, I placed the bare cloth under a patch of yew bushes beside the Kenduskeag Stream that runs alongside the studio.
So it began imbued with moonlight, then moving to Tasmania it became imbued with charcoal from the clearfelled burned rainforest. The two small square pieces were added a few years later...one is a particular boulder I used to see every time I went up the Golden Road outside Millinocket in northern Maine. The other one is a canary in a cage referencing a canary in a coal mine.
Everything I need seems to pop up in my work (and life) just at the right time. I had a birthday this month. I've been thinking and meditating on adapting to change and looking with fresh eyes. The older I get, the more of a necessity this becomes. We're building a shed/workshop at the house and I anticipated dread dealing with contractors (past experience), losing some trees and disruption to the landscape. To save myself from disruption, I decided to do things differently this time and simply stay out of it. Let go and let George handle it, as in remove myself, don't even be home when they're bulldozing.
Seeing with fresh eyes. Over and over again. I'm more in love with this piece than I was the first time the images popped out from the wax and charcoal back in 2001. I have more confidence in my ideas these days, and I'm more willing to adapt to change.
Lingering in the studio
6:30 pm 20 June 2021
Today was a glorious winter day in southeastern Tasmania...bright sunshine with a nip in the air wafting with the smells of moist dirt, eucalyptus and toadstools. I
caught sight of a flock of spotted pardalotes whooshing through gum tree branches with a pesky Tasmanian minor in pursuit.
In the studio moving from one project to another, I was in the flow... Painting with ink & crayon... sketching leaves and branches... making notebook covers. Sipping hot lemonade from my little Hepburn cup with 'dollop handles'... Yo-Yo Ma and murder mystery podcasts in the background.
And, I finally settled on a simple design for the outdoor shower enclosure: 1965 mod-print fabric hung from a string of fairy lights.
2:18 pm 21 May 2021
It's Fall here in Tasmania in the southern hemisphere. It's 70˚F sitting here in the sun and feels just like a Spring day in Maine, US, minus the blackflies. If I was there I'd be up the Stud Mill Road, probably walking barefoot in the middle of Hunter Brook, wearing a wide-brimmed hat covered with netting tucked into a long-sleeved high-collared shirt. At the moment, I'm barefoot wearing a muumuu and a wide-brimmed hat blocking the sun's glare while I write.
We've had lots of rain lately filling our two 24k litre water tanks and greening up the paddock nicely. Fall here really is like a Maine Spring making it impossible for my brain to flip hemispheric seasons... as if it matters.
The clouds are fantastic this time of year. On my way home from work around 3:30 in the afternoon, I usually stop at our local IGA situated on Ralph's Bay with a 180˚ view of uninterrupted sky. You can't help stop and stare... a slow time-lapse movie right before your eyes. Try it.
8 May 2021
Setting up outside is one of my favorite ways of loosening up my drawing and painting. There's something about being outdoors, facing the outside wall of the studio that focuses my attention but keeps it loose at the same time. I don't aim for exact rendering of a specimen... I just go with the flow and see what happens. I have hundreds of what I call specimens... sticks, shells, rocks, bits and pieces of bark, bone, metal...whatever catches my eye. I love that feeling of being amazed by what I've just drawn... how my hand and my brain and my heart work together and come up with something mysterious but familiar...
A view from the back porch
I start my day sitting on the back porch looking out into a thicket of wattle trees, gums, blonde grasses and bird baths. The L - shaped deck connects the house with the studio. There are two comfortable chairs, a daybed and two low tables usually stacked with books and a scattering of seashells, rocks and sticks.
Sometimes I sit in a favorite chair I found on the side of the road in Flagstaff Gully. She's a 1960's era red naugahyde easy chair with delicate legs. It's just me and the birds at first light, half an hour before the sun comes up. This quiet time helps set the pace for the day and reminds me that today is the day...
In the studio
It seems like no matter how large the work table or desk, I always end up using a space not much larger than the piece I'm working on. I like close boundaries and having lots of materials close at hand.
5:35pm 5April 2021
Sometimes while I'm doing dishes looking out the kitchen window, if I squint just right, the sunlit grasses look like snowfields. I've been living in Tasmania since 2004 and I still miss a good northern hemisphere winter. In June, I can see snow atop kunyani, the 5000' mountain overlooking Hobart, but nothing compares with an evening walk on a country road in Maine, snowflakes falling through streetlight glow.