Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Out of the bosom of the Air.
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent and soft and slow
Descends the snow. Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels
This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
Now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The cat and the moon

The cat and the moon

The cat went here and there
And the moon spun round like a top,
And the nearest kin of the moon,
The creeping cat, looked up.
Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For, wander and wail as he would,
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet,
What better than call a dance?
Maybe the moon may learn,
Tired of that courtly fashion,
A new dance turn.
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
From moonlit place to place,
The sacred moon overhead
Has taken a new phase.
Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils
Will pass from change to change,
And that from round to crescent,
From crescent to round they range?
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
Alone, important and wise,
And lifts to the changing moon
His changing eyes.
-- William Butler Yeats 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Girl at Sewing Machine


Edward Hopper, Girl at a Sewing Machine

Girl at Sewing Machine

(after a painting by Edward Hopper)
Mary Leader

It must be warm in the room, walls the color of over-steeped tea,
the sun high,
coating the yellow brick exterior of the apartment building,
angling in on
the girl, stripped down to camisole and petticoat, sewing.
She's a busty girl,
soft, no doubt perspiring, slippery under her breasts, moisture
trapped on the back
of her neck under all that chestnut hair. She doesn't notice,
though; you can see
she's intent on her seam. She doesn't slump over the machine
but bends from the hip,
her body as attuned as her hands. Her feet, though not shown
in the painting,
are bound to be pudgy, are probably bare, pumping the treadle
ka-chunk ka-chunk ka-chunk
but that's unconscious. Her point of concentration is the needle,
silver, quick,
its chick chick chick chick chick, necessity to keep the material
in perfect position,
position. What is she making? The fabric looks heavy and yet
billowy, like
whipped cream, or cumulus clouds; certain girls, while large, move
with grace (when nobody's
there) but in public, conceal, or try to conceal, their bodies
beneath long clothes.
They favor long hair, feeling it wimples and veils embarrassment.
Yes, I know this girl.
Only in her room, only when unseen, can she relax at all, peel off
a hot blouse,
a brown skirt, like the one heaped on her bed in the background,
take pleasure in
a good hairbrush, the bottle of scent on the dresser, the picture
of her own choosing
on the wall. Whatever she's making--let's go ahead and say it's
a dress for herself--
she is not, as you might think, dreaming of a party, a dance,
or a wedding. No, she's
deciding to flat-fell that seam--time-consuming, but worth it--
stronger, better-looking.
I'm sure she knows by now not to expect much attention from boys.
She's what? twenty?
eighteen? She will, in time, use many words to describe herself,
not all of them bad;
but not once will one of them be "pretty," or "lovely." Those
aren't for a fat girl
though she can take a mass of cloth, and a cast-iron machine,
and make a beautiful shape.

I heard this poem on Garrison Keilor's  The Writer's Almanac quite a while ago and just discovered the painting on Pinterest.  I thought they would go together well without realizing that the painting was the inspiration for the poem. Thanks to the internet, they are together here!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Huexotzincatzin Prince of Texcoco, 1484

Inspired By Flowers by Richard Dunkley

Ustedes Me dicen, entonces que tengo que perecer...
como también las flores que cultivé perecerán.

¿De mi nombre nada quedará, nadie mi fama recordará?

Pero los jardines que planté son jóvenes y crecerán...

Las canciones que cante ¡Cantándose seguirán!

Príncipe de Texcoco, 1484

Must I go on just like this
like the flowers that perish?

Will nothing remain of my name?

Nothing of my fame here on earth?

At least flowers, at least songs!

Prince of Texcoco, 1484

Inspired By Flowers. by Richard Dunkley

I found this poem in an airline magazine, on my way to Mexico.  The article said this poem was on the wall of the Museo de Antropologia in Mexico City. I liked it so much, I wanted to see it and also had neglected to rip of the magazine.  I got in a taxi and told the taxi driver about the poem and off we went.  We didn't find the poem on the wall but he had a copy of Azteca that he was reading and this very poem was on the front page.  Serendipitous?  I think so!

Thursday, May 17, 2012


In front of the refrigerator
Lighting the darkness,
Leftovers, cheese rind
Milk past the expiration date
Wrinkled plums
Trying to fill myself
With what’s missing
Love, companionship, encouragement
In my sleep, standing, swaying, eating
Dreaming of banishment, betrayal, shame
Praying, wishing, hoping
In my sleep…

Saturday, March 31, 2012

I confess...

Magnolia Tree Before and After

May I just first say, I'm a hobby picture taker.  Just out snapping for my own pleasure.  But, I love Photoshop.  I spend a lot of time tweaking my photos before posting them on Flickr.  I don't think it's anything new.  Photographers have been altering photos to suit their vision for quite some time.  Ansel Adams said: "Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships."  I think he would have really loved Photoshop.
When we're out shooting, the beauty carries us away.  The light! The color! The textures!  We merrily snap the shutter and miss the telephone wires, the fire hydrants. the parking meters, the hot mess of old dead ivy.
So I clone stuff out.  I jack up the colors.  I play with shadows and mid-tones and stuff until I have the photo I saw when I snapped the shutter.  Don't judge me.  I can't help myself.  Of course, I have my limits.  I still prefer the photo looks like something a person would recognize as something their eyes might actually see.  I've seen some amazing things done with High Dynamic Range.  Per Wikipedia: "...HDR is a range of techniques geared toward representing more contrast in pictures. Non-HDR cameras take pictures at a single exposure level with a limited contrast range. This results in the loss of detail in bright or dark areas of a picture, depending on whether the camera had a low or high exposure setting. HDR compensates for this loss of detail by taking multiple pictures at different exposure levels and intelligently stitching them together so that we eventually arrive at a picture that is representative in both dark and bright areas."  In the wrong hands this can go wrong in way too many ways:
High Dynamic Range Mashup
Fortunately, there's lots of fun stuff one can do in Photoshop:

Spring branches tarted up with texture, etc.
I love to work in textures and layers.
Rapture of the Deep
I made an entire sketchbook of these for the Sketchbool Project.
It was very much fun.
Sometimes I just make collages for myself:
"When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain" ~ Mark Twain
 Sometimes it's for a purpose:
"Through the Fire"
This image was for a benefit for breast cancer.  Portraits thought to show women with breast cancer, Diagnostic images of cancer. Molecules of Fluorouracil, Cyclophosphamide and Methotrexate used in chemotherapy for breast cancer.

Here's one for a show called "Dark":
Spring Greetings!
Peeps in Paradise
Happy Spring, everyone!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Writer's Workshop

Lynda Barry

 Today, I had the good fortune to attend a Lynda Barry workshop: Writing the Unthinkable.  I think she has been doing this workshop for a while.  I see others who have taken it talking about it.  She is interested in what an image is in a deeper way and the process of writing with a pen or pencil on paper and how the brain is engaged when we do this.

She shares a process she uses to access memories and hone them into a perfect short story just about the right length for a comic strip.  It seems to work very well.  Many people read their seven and a half minutes stories and they were fresh and tasty!
My Wonky Spiral
 Part of the exercise is to sit and make a spiral on a blank page while she recites Rumi and reminds us we are in our bodies.  The poem is beautiful and I was grateful to be introduced to it.  She recited it about four times for us and I will carry it with me now and it feels like a gift.

Thanks you Lynda Barry!

Waves on the beach

You're sitting here with us, but you're also out walking
in a field at dawn. You are yourself
the animal we hunt when you come with us on the hunt.
You're in your body like a plant is solid in the ground,
yet you're wind. You're the diver's clothes
lying empty on the beach. You're the fish.

In the ocean are many bright strands
and many dark strands like veins that are seen
when a wing is lifted up.
Your hidden self is blood in those, those veins
that are lute strings that make ocean music,
not the sad edge of surf, but the sound of no shore.
Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī (Rumi)