Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Fuzzy Memories

As I post the sketches from France, I am surprised at the little details which pop out of the sketches. Things I thought I wouldn't forget. I took this photo through a dusty window in France, but if it had not had a date on it, I might think it had come from an old memory of Japan.

Memories are like that. They get fuzzy. They connect with other memories. They recreate themselves. They recreate us.

Today, I've added 3 more days of sketches to the April Blog. They begin just after my list of thanks. Click here for the Archive:

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Conversation Between Two Friends

This afternoon, I called my friend Rebecca for a little conversation. I had not talked to her since the trip to France. Finally, she said it was so nice to talk with you. I replied, You didn't get to talk much. She said, Well, it was nice being your sounding board. Conversation between two friends. Everyone needs a friend like that. When I hung up the phone, things were clearer and I focused a little better on the task at hand.

There are a few more pages from my sketchbook. I just got them posted in the April archives. Check for Day 14, 15.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Tripping over the Back of My Brain

I had a project idea today. Daughter Susan said I have too many others ahead of it and I should put it somewhere in the back of my brain where I would trip over it occasionally. That didn't seem like a reliable place.

I had just read this quote in an e-newsletter discussion about repetition, "In retrospect, the point you wanted to stop seems to be the point were you were really just beginning." (John Fitzsimmons) My friend Ellie had just emailed that she has completed her 100 Tiles project and she mentioned the value of imposing constraints -- hers was minimalist landscapes on 4" x 4" canvases. (You can see her little paintings at
As I looked at them, I started thinking about my 4" x 4" sketchbook and the daily sketches in France: repetition and constraints.

I decided that I should continue the daily 4" x 4" sketches, but the notations should be things I might put "somewhere in the back of my brain" -- painting ideas, projects to try, information sources. It might interesting to see what I trip over later.

In my April archive, scroll down to find Day 11, 12, 13 from the France Sketchbook. More about the ant artist on Day 12.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Adding Days

Some weeks I wish I could do that -- add days! There doesn't seem to be enought time to do all the necessary chores, the projects, the exciting things and the family visits. I did manage to add Days 6-10 from my residency sketchbook/journal. You'll find them under the April archive if you are checking out the progress of the trip.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Madonna of the ATM

While in France, we often drove the 4 kilometers to Chalabre and the ATM. It took a while for me to notice this gentle statue in a little park across the street. Funny how we get focused on what we think is important and miss something so delightful. Happens to me more often than I'd like.

I have added some more days of my residency sketchbook. I also adjusted the dates so that you can find them all in the April archives.

Monday, May 08, 2006

van Gogh's Presence

As we left the Toulouse airport and began the 2 hour drive, the images flashed past as we followed Ellie's little blue car. Driving an unfamiliar little car (and not having driven a straight shift vehicle for a while and with no knowledge of how to put it in reverse) on unfamiliar roads, I dared not take long looks when something interesting flew by. BUT as we left the Auto-Route and wound through the tiny towns -- Laroque d'Holmes, Peyrat, Bastide sur L'Hers -- and entered Ste Colombe, they began to feel familiar. How could that be?!!

When I walked into the back bedroom at Maison du Cerisiers, I knew. Through the window, I saw van Gogh's painting of the plum trees; we had cherry trees, but it was the same! The painting was influenced by his exposure to Japanese Ukyoi-e. You can see it here: Japonaiserie: Flowering Plum Tree (After Hiroshige)

We know that Van Gogh did not paint in this part of France, but his images, his spirit, his memories are here at other turns as well! How can that be?!!

On our 4th day, we were joined by Chin Kong Yee, a painter/photographer from Malaysia. What an exciting addition to our thought processes! His meticulous images, his discovery of the unfamiliar gave us new food for thought! Will we be influenced in our work by this contact with Kong Yee's culture as Van Gogh with that of Hiroshige? Will we be influenced by the 'presence' of Van Gogh? What will we paint under the influence of these ancient and mysterious cultures of the Aude? How will that be?!!

(For more more on van Gogh and his techniques, check here the Van Gogh Museum's newly designed site:
Several languages are available, so click for yours. )

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Dior, Cat'Art and the Paradox

One of the things I missed while in France was my daily visit on the website of the Metropolitan Museum as a new work of art pops up on my screen and I spend a minute or two exploring some tiny jewel. A Dior dress one day last week seemed perfect for the images which are now in my head from the South of France. The description with the dress says that "Dior reveled in the paradox of the natural and the sophisticated." The dress is called "May" and is described as "'simple' patterning of meadow-gone-to-weed" and "flowering grasses and wild clover . . . rendered in silk floss on organza. You can see the dress and more at:

Dior would have fit perfectly in the paradox which is Cat'Art -- a Center for Contemporary Art hidden away in a tiny ancient village -- where forgotten spaces are being renewed with the creative spirits of today's artists. Check the blog entries for April 1-5 for my impressions of the first days. You may want to begin with entries from late March to know a little more about the trip.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Finally, Sharing France

I have been trying to decide how to share the France experience with you. I now know that it will take two forms. I will post images from my daily sketchbook here under their appropriate date -- you may have to go to the archives to see them -- and then I will create a webpage with a combination of sketches, photos and commentary which I hope you will enjoy. The webpage will take a while, so I will let you know when it is up.

Meanwhile, I am enjoying the blogs of Karen, Robin, Cheryl, Ellie and Pat. I think you will, too.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

On Being Remembered

Several years ago, I judged the Outdoor Art Exhibit at Piccolo Spoleto in Charlesto, SC. I surprised myself by selecting a very traditional painting for the top prize. The selection stunned the artist who "thought it might be a mistake" and pleased the Mayor who got to hang it in his office for a year. When Mayor Joe Riley presented the award, Joanne Evans cried on the shoulder of his good suit! Since then, awards have become a regular thing for her and I often get updates. This week, she sent a press release about her selection in a national competition sponsored by Early American Life magazine as "Best of the Best" in representing 17th and 18th century art. The release states that "Beginning in the early 17th century, classical fine art began what was considered a radical departure from historical style. Most evident in the 'new' subject matter was the departure of human representation in the artist's work. . . .Flowers, fruit, animals and other objects were presented in elegant detail, but normally without human presence or representation. . . ."

I had a job to do and she deserved the award, but I appreciate being remembered. You can see her work at