Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Real Snow!

I realize that this isn't a big deal to many of you, but we don't often get a foot of snow in Kentucky, so I'm excited! Snow just floated down like big white feathers, it streaked sideways in the wind, it fell in buckets and just kept coming. Then the shiny ice pellets came, sounding like millions of june bugs tapping on the windows. This was followed by- guess what?- more snow!

Since we've been off all week (believe it or not, we teachers are more excited than the kids), I've had time to work on art, and also to try out my new camera. I stood on my back porch and took pictures of birds at the feeder about 30 feet away; if had set up the tripod (not really practical in the snow) and zoomed in all the way, I could have taken pictures of their eyeballs. I LOVE this camera!

I call this cardinal Marilyn because she loves to pose- or really, she's probably just a glutton because she's always at the feeder. I thought she was beautiful, though, and she didn't flit around as much as the smaller birds. Did you know that birds can move astonishingly quickly? Unbelievable! I really did need a tripod.

Hey! I just found out we have another snow day tomorrow! Whoo-hoo!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cyberspace Name Change

I finally decided to give my blog a new name. About a year ago, when I was so sadly ignorant of all things bloggish, my son was setting up this blog for me. "What do you want to call it?" he asked. In my typical, quick-witted fashion, I replied, "Huh?" He shook his head and typed in 'Look at this thing I made today', and since I could think of nothing better at the time, it stuck. At the time I thought it would be a daily painting blog; I tried this for a while but it about killed me, since I have a day job which tends to suck all the life out me.
So today I came up with a name which is more apropos of the true nature of this blog. I guess I had to actually do it for a while before I could see exactly what it would be, if you know what I mean. What it seems to be is some sort of visual diary, where I rattle on to whoever's out there in cyberspace. 'Cyberspace' used to seem like a sort of goofy, overblown term until I started doing this, but now its meaning makes perfect sense. I feel like I'm releasing words and images into a sort of vast empty void where they float around until possibly, by some random chance, someone looks at them. It's like, "hey, is anybody out there?"

Saturday, January 24, 2009


The extra-cold weather we've been having this winter got me thinking about those far northern places where it's almost always cold. In some of those places, people endure not only the mind-numbing cold, but somehow withstand extended periods of darkness as well. I cannot imagine how they survive such conditions; I whine and complain if the mercury dips below the freezing mark, and hate it when it's already dark at 6:00 p.m. I tried to picture what it would be like, to live in a place so dark and colorless. And I thought about the aurora borealis, which plays an important part in the "His Dark Materials" trilogy by Philip Pullman. Most of the story takes place in the far north; just reading it made me feel cold. I've always wondered what the aurora really looks like, and if seeing it could in some way compensate for the cold there. So here is my imaginary aurora borealis, to distract me from the cold. You may notice, however, that I couldn't stop myself from including some "ice flowers" in the foreground.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inaugural Poem by Elizabeth Alexander

Praise song for the day.

Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others' eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.

A farmer considers the changing sky; A teacher says, "Take out your pencils. Begin."

We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed; words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, "I need to see what's on the other side; I know there's something better down the road."

We need to find a place where we are safe; We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables.

Some live by "Love thy neighbor as thy self."

Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need.

What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.

In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp -- praise song for walking forward in that light.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Martin Luther King/ Inauguration Day

Though none of my work could be considered 'political' in any way, I felt the need to commemorate the extraordinary times in which we find ourselves living. In particular, I wanted to honor the great Dr. Martin Luther King, who envisioned this day before the rest of us could. Our hope now resides in a man who has the courage to take on the heavy burden of attempting to lead us out of this fearful time. May all that's holy protect and inspire Barack Obama, our new president. I put together some images of a few small parts of this country that I consider worth preserving. Peace.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Red Tara(s)

My friend Mish saw the gold and green Taras and asked if I could make her red, or black, or white. Those are her other colors, you see, in some of her 21 aspects. So, I started thinking, Hmmmmm.... I guess I took it as a challenge, to see if I, as a Photoshop beginner, so to speak, could figure out how to manifest these color changes. Here are some of my attempts at Red Tara. It's a lot harder than it seems like it would be- you can't just push the color bar over to red (darn!). Can I do black or white? We'll see...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Transformation 32

This is the latest in the Transformation series. The formation of the universe, the slow bonding of one element to another, the making of stars and planets over billions of years- these things are endlessly mysterious and fascinating to me.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

And the winner is...

I want to thank everyone for helping me decide; your feedback has been very helpful. This is the one I'm going with, at least until I change my mind!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New camera!!

Okay, long story short (or maybe not): I have not had a camera since last summer. I was taking pictures while standing on a rock in the middle of the Kinneyconnick Creek. Of course, I had to stand there to get a better shot of - whatever it was. So the camera slips out of my hands and lands on a rock- striking right in the middle of the lens (what are the odds?), resulting in a big scrape on the glass, which causes a big floopy blurry spot on all my pictures.
I set out to buy a new camera, but couldn't decide what kind to get; if you've been reading my blog you'll see several references to my inability to make decisions, and this is a lot of money we're talking about here. My son would come up every once in while and photograph the artwork that was too big for the scanner, so I continued to put it off.
I finally ordered one on December 29, because to get the special deal I had to order before December 31. It came yesterday, so I'm very excited, and this morning it was raining ice, which reminded me of last year when we had an ice storm. The sun came out afterward, making everything sparkle because it was encased in ice, like this magnolia tree I took pictures of. So if it happens again, I'm ready. Oh, and I got a strap for this camera.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Art Teacher

Over the holiday break, I tried to make some headway against the general disarray/disorganization of my "stuff". A teacher friend I was talking to was doing the same thing, and was somewhat dismayed that she was unable to throw away so much of her students' work that she was running out of room to store it. I know exactly what she meant; these things contain so many emotions and memories, so much of the kids' and our own hearts and souls that it's difficult to part with them.

While going through some boxes in my basement, I came across some samples of student artwork I had saved. I was struck by the realization that I was actually not such a bad art teacher after all, and that I came up with some fairly innovative projects. I found these two examples of a collage assignment, and thought they showed a lot of creativity, as well as being pretty amusing. Anyway, they made me smile; I hope they do the same for you.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Please help me decide!

I'm still working on the whole logo/letterhead/business card deal. Here are four more attempts, and I'd really appreciate it if everyone could give me their honest opinion. Which is best, and why? Or, if they all suck, that's fine, but what can I do to improve them? (Oh my god, I sound like a teacher!) Better ideas than these are certainly welcome; sometimes you get stuck in a particular mindset and it's hard to get out of that "box" once you're in there. So please, help me out of the box!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year (Insight)

I would like to wish all of us a happy new year. I told my son today that nothing had changed after the ball dropped on Times Square, except that now we have to change the number we write on our checks by one digit. Does the world look any different? Do we feel different than we felt one minute earlier? Has my living room suddenly become smaller or larger, my bathroom cleaner? Of course not. To all appearances, nothing is different at all. But while things don't look different, perhaps the way we look at them does, or can, change. Symbolically, the new year is a new beginning in some way; a chance to start over, to be better, to right what's wrong. If we look at things differently, it's possible to do things differently.

So I wish for all of us a new beginning, a fresh view on old problems, a new insight. May we all try to be better, to think better, and to treat each other better. Happy New Year.