Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ode d'Eau

Spiral Sky, Lake Carnico at Sunset

Brad was elaborating on lake themed props for the Art of Carnico show--lures, nets, a kayak or two, and perhaps a merhorse--causing me to think back on waters I have known and why I love being close to water. When I was a child, my grandparents had a resort by Big Star Lake in Michigan. Every summer for a couple of weeks, we enjoyed a water-immersed vacation, skiing, pedaling on the aqua bike and swimming across the lake to the Odd Fellows camp (a mile swim!) The boys did a lot of fishing and naturally, we were brown as bears by the end of our stay. We stayed in rustic cottages. Showers were located in the resort's garage and I learned to love the smell of petrol (there was a gas-pump, supplying fuel for all the motor boats.)  When I was in high school, my grandmother could no longer take the winters in Michigan so my grandparents moved to Florida.  My parents divorce also brought family vacations to an end.

Mary in Maine

      As it happened, my mother married a man who grew up in Maine on a bay one over from Frenchman's Bay and Bar Harbor. After my step-father's retirement, they moved up to Maine. Thus began summer vacations (much abbreviated) by the ocean in Down East Maine. The water was icy-cold, so most of the enjoyment was found on or by the water. At the end of Roger's Point, there was a little high tide island with a house on it, which was a favorite low tide destination. The best  time of day in Maine was early in the morning, sitting on the porch sipping coffee and listening to and watching the lobster men pull their traps. It was not unlike slow-motion bees making the rounds. It was a comforting and delightful coincidence when I discovered early one morning on the deck at Carnico with a cup of java, that tractors and farm trucks have a similar sound and cadence. Lake Carnico provides all the joys of water that I care to carry into my senior years. The water is of mild temperature compared to coastal Maine and tamer for trips out in the Poke boat. The vista is more compact to be sure, but there is an unexpected diversity of birds and mammals. I particularly liked when the lost juvenile brown pelican visited for about a month. 

    Brad is right. Lake Carnico is a treasure, a surprising treasure found right along US 68. The Art of Carnico show will be held Saturday, August 20, 2011, from 10 am to 5 pm at The Corner Studio, 240 East Main Street, in beautiful downtown Carlisle.  Come for a visit and enjoy a little summer vacation while you're at it!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Seeing Four Leaf Clover

If last year was my juste milieu year, and it was; then this must be my clover year. I'll be writing more about this another time, but even I am a little surprised at the number of four leaf (and sometimes, five and a six leaf) clover I have spotted this year.  The truth is that everyone can be spotting such clover.  It is a banner year for clover--and the honeybees seem to be everywhere--a happy sign.  How curious though, that sometimes I will spot multiple extra-leafed clover and then go for days or weeks without seeing them.  Once, I seem to spot them, there they are, so obvious. 
The first time I spotted a four leaf clover, I spotted two. I remember the day, it was April 9th, but I can't remember the year.  It was several years before I spotted another one.  That one was April 22, 2010.  David was in the hospital.  I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with worrying about him, keeping the kids updated and walking the dog.  I was briefly home from the hospital, walking the dog and talking to my sister on my cell phone when I looked down and saw a very obvious four leaf clover.  True, I took this as a sign, even though as Father Paul pointed out recently, this is a magical view of things. But I was in need of a good sign and there is was, plain as can be. This tided me along for a good while. I did not see another four leaf clover until this April 20th.  We had just learned that Mary would be going to Brittany to be a teacher's assistant.  It was wonderful news, and a year from the day that David went to the hospital.  I took Carly for a walk and voila! another four leaf clover.  Then I just kept finding them. 

       Father Paul is right, it is not magic.  It is probably just being willing to see (and spend a lot of time staring at the ground--also bending over. Meg noted recently, as we searched for the elusive four leaf, that we probably appeared to have lost a contact lens.)  Being willing to see  is also good for one's self.  The more clearly I see myself, the better my life seems to work.  Instead of constantly trying to fit into a mold, I am starting to just be who I am, no more, no less.  My little green totems appear to be affirmation, magic or no.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Vantage Points

The backdrop for my week was grid-locked Washington, D.C., so my experiences in the last few days have been liberating.  Wednesday evening was the last of four Experimenting with Watercolor & Pastel classes (a new session starts August 10th.) I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching these classes and seeing vicariously through other peoples' lenses on life.  One student approached me early on and said that she is visually impaired; she would need to be close to me, so she could see what I was demonstrating. As it turned out, she painted the most elegant renderings of birds.  Her watercolor work was exquisite!  Clearly, 20/20 vision is not nearly so important as an inner comprehension. Love trumps perfection.
The next evening found David and me at Mary-Louise and Woody's for a vestry meeting (David) and 10th wedding anniversary for Mother Chris and Father Paul.  Mary-Louise had her studio open and the non-vestry hangers-on were free to range, just like the chickens. Oil paintings filled the narrow platforms, custom-crafted by Woody.  Tucked among the oil paintings were lovely watercolor and Sharpie sketches. Their economy was striking. With just a few washes and lines, you could go along the path and have an overview of the whole village. These beautiful visions come naturally to Mary-Louise--I have to admit to a certain jealousy!

        On Friday, we enjoyed a fete-champetre in Estill's garden.  There was a thrilling discussion of art (Estill is an art historian, as is Mother Chris.) I learned about Magic Realism and George Tooker.  Mother Chris and Father Paul knew George Tooker. There was also a spirited discussion about life. Estill told us that he has resolved to speak out against binary thinking. Now there is some balm for the world! The lovely banter continued as the sun began its descent. I remarked on the setting sun and Estill proclaimed, "That is the nineteenth century!" How appropriate that he is able to witness this every evening he is home.

         On Saturday, David and I went to the Evensong at St. Michael's in Lexington. Gene Robinson, the Bishop of New Hampshire was speaking after the evensong.  St. Michael's has an airy and open sanctuary.  The windows are clear, and I was able to see tree tops and clouds. The sun shined on our gathering; some people even had to put on sunglasses.  It was bright! This sense of light and openness reflected my feeling. I was part of a living faith, here and now. Perhaps everyone is different.  We can not help but have different vantage points. But we can come together and enjoy view.

The nineteenth century

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Good Woods

If I had my wits about me, I would have called this show Good Woods, but it came to me too late.  Showing my paintings at Good Foods Market & Cafe does bring several of my loves together.  Of course, there is good food.  What's not to love about that?  I've been a member of the Co-op for over 30 years. Back in the day, I lived in downtown Lexington and the co-op was on Short Street, a short walk from my apartment.  Everything was in bulk bins. My typical purchase was beans, brown rice and nutritional yeast.  So, some things have changed. Twenty years ago, I posted recipes in the co-op newsletter.  My family did not have a computer then, so I would go to the co-op and type up the recipes on the co-op computer.  What a joy it is to have a computer of one's own! I have evolved and so has the co-op.
         Still, a love for walking in the woods is a constant.  This is something I have enjoyed since childhood, back even longer than thirty years.  As David helped me hang the show (on the wall in the Cafe side of Good Foods) people would come up to talk about the images in the paintings.  Most are set in Kentucky; at Floracliff, Blue Licks and Carnico.  I was surprised how many people have connections to these places.  Dr. Wayne Davis and his wife and daughter were at Good Foods. Dr. Davis worked with Dr. Mary Wharton who established Floracliff in southern Fayette County.  The Davis's have also placed bluebird houses at Blue Licks. They planned on heading out that way soon to check on them (and enjoy the beauty.) Karen spoke of hiking at Blue Licks when her sons' ages were single digits.  Blue Licks is one of my favorite places and it was good to know that it is loved by others.
         I am celebrating these loves in my paintings. Six of the paintings are tall and narrow, 48x16". The center painting (of  Floracliff) is 48x36".  The seven paintings fill the wall; the exhibiting space is approximately four by eighteen feet.  The tall, narrow paintings present a slice of a vision I have come upon in the woods.  Good Foods Market & Cafe is located at 455 Southland Drive in Lexington, KY.  The hours are 8 am to 10 pm everyday.  I hope you get a chance to step into the cool woods this summer. Into the Woods (as it is called) is up through August. Good Foods is simply the best place to shop for healthy, delicious and local food!