Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Reminder of Golden Moments

On my not-so-daily walk, (lately, it seems to be a weekly walk!) I was looking for a way to get a better photograph of a gold-rimmed church dome in the afternoon sunlight. As I turned to go around the block, I discovered that the entire street behind me was bathed in a golden glow. . . . No, that is too gentle. This was as if everything had been gilded. It took my breath away!

And in that brilliant glow, everything seemed to frame the tallest building in our town and it uncovered some forgotten memories. For more than three years I maintained a studio there -- first on the 15th floor with balconies opening to the east and west and then in a larger space overlooking the River.

There. . . I was able to bring my art history students for a tour of the building with both up-close balcony views of the early 20th C. architecture and interior views of the I. M. Pei modern addition. The juxtaposition of the two parts is stunning.

There. . . I was able to host a show of works from around the US which were sent to me by members of an Internet art group. Some of them traveled from Tex, NY and FL to meet for a weekend of face-to-face sharing.

There. . . I was able to work much larger and show my work in a variety of large and small gallery spaces. It was a blissful creative time for me and I was sorry when I knew the time for me to leave had come.

But in the image of the building that afternoon, I was reminded that there have been many times in my forty years as a painter which were filled with delightful, delicious, and golden moments and I was assured that there will be others.


NOTE: Sixty seven years ago, my parents met in a golden moment on the ground floor of that tall building. They were married three months later on January 17th and had 56 years together.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Just as I approached the second anniversary of this blog, I suddenly had no time to blog! Is that a conundrum or a quandary?

Perhaps it is a paradox -- when there is time to write, there is little to write about!

I've been reading about:
15 things to NOT do in your blog
12 things which will bring more readers
5 links which you must have
7 ways to make money with your blog
10 effective ways. . . .

Oh, dear! I just need to get the words down and posted.

I didn't think I would make it this far and sometimes I have to do some back-tracking and catch-up, but it has served as a good sounding board for me. The process of turning visual images into words and organizing thoughts has been a good thing for me.

I think I'll just keep posting some quotes and links; make a few personal observations, share a creative idea or two and season all with a few photos or sketches.

Happy BlogDay to me!


Monday, January 21, 2008

Link of the Week; The Bradshaw Foundation

While checking references for the Niaux Caves this week, I discovered this delightful website. It makes ancient history interesting, mysterious and real.

It provides a lot of information on rock art and it's origins and culture. The iLecture films are inexpensive but well-done. I felt that the photographers could have visited Niaux on the day that I went.

Check this out their iLectures at


Saturday, January 19, 2008

At the Back of My Brain

My daughter put a slide show widget on my computer and, as it scrolls through my photo files, this photo of Boomie and her babies pops up. For a long time, whenever I saw it, something familiar registered in the back of my brain and it was NOT of cats on my dining room floor. I just didn't know what. There just seemed to be something about those stretched out cats, the muted color, the je ne sais quoi. . . . At last, there was no 'aha' moment, I just began to feel the connection, almost like a tiny fizz of electrical current.

It seemed to open a window of memory into the Cave at Niaux in the South of France. There, in the black rotunda, we stood where the animals were randomly, yet purposefully, drawn. There, in hand-held light, we took in the mystery of the tumble of horses and bison on the rough walls. There, deep in the mountain, we watched the minutes rush by and knew there would not be enough time before we had to return to the 21st Century. It was a powerful experience and I do not understand why the images of a puddle of kittens should unlock that memory.

Yet there it is; that fizz of recognition. It escapes explanation; perhaps it doesn't need one. How often does this happen when I don't make the connection? Is this what is meant by "letting your past inform your creativity?" Are there edges and marks and words which I don't quite recognize, but when used, would give layers of meaning to a simple creation?

Or is this just a glitch in the files at the back of my brain?


Note: Although other caves are more well-known, many are closed and have created exact replicas for visitors. Niaux is still open and numbers of visitors and length of times for each tour are tightly controlled.
For more on Niaux, go here.
For a description of my visit there, see my blog entry for April 19.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Color of the Week: Winter Prickly Pear

In the South, we are amazed at the beauty of winter snow and ice in other places. We sometimes forget that photos of our own landscapes can be just as interesting.

I have taken photos of prickly pear in Arizona and in Georgia. The color of the blooms and 'pears' is always eye-catching. This week I found these winter ones just three blocks away. I'll try to remember that colors and patterns are still there in the dusk and cold.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Photo of the Week: Gulls

These birds appeared this week in A Winter Walk.

I loved the birds and decided to crop the photo and present a different composition with a more horizontal orientation. Although the original emphasizes the vertical flight, I like this one better.

An overcast day, an iPhone and some crackers were necessary to get this shot.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

200 Miles in 100 Days

I've created a tiny blog to force myself to find the interesting things on my daily walk. It's mostly a journal to mark the days by creating a picture of my walk with words and images. Some days I will have longer strolls; others I will walk faster over shorter distances.

Since I won't be on a track or following a straight path, I thought the marker on the RiverWalk was a good symbol of my meanderings. I will try to do this for 100 days and hope to cover 200 miles during that time.

At the end of the 100 days, I will check the benefits and decide if I should continue or change focus a bit.


Friday, January 11, 2008

I Think I Am In Love

I love the twists of words in delicate phrases and strong sentences.

I love reading stuff which makes me think about stuff I think I already know.

I love having to turn to the dictionary because I've just hit a word which might be a made up one for all I know.

I love reading New York Times Arts writer, Michael Kimmelman, for all of the above reasons.

Kimmelman is not afraid to use the very plain "awful timing" in the same sentence with the much more sophisticated "symbolic culmination." He makes no apologies for describing the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art as being "in hot water" or for putting his museum colleagues in "the same jam" while throwing in such five syllable mind benders as "disputatious," "balkanization," and "hagiographic." And who but Kimmelman can get away with saying, "Any old Monet show. . . ."

Arts writers everywhere have reported about the announced retirement of Philippe de Montebello after 30 years as director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. By comparison, they are just reporting. Kimmelman gives us a gift; the gift of a man and his Museum. He quotes de Montebello who described the Museum as ". . . the mystery, the wonder, the presence of the real that is our singular distinction and that we should proudly, joyfully proclaim." He compares this director and his Museum with the previous director, Thomas Hoving, a mad genius who left an "insatiable, acquisitive, blockbuster-besotted, mass-entertainment palace." He gives human qualities to de Montebello with word pictures such "bully pulpit," "plummy baritone voice," "(swooning) bookish women" and "basic good sense" which lets us understand the palpable presence in the Museum that we feel. He conjures images and memories as he writes about the legacy of this director and calls the Met "simply one of the nation’s grandest achievements."

The last time I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, I was accompanied by Flat Stanley with an assignment from a second grade class in rural Georgia. I 'saw' things which the children might enjoy. Next time I visit, I will be accompanied by the words of Michael Kimmelman and the spirit of Philippe de Montebello. I think I will see and feel a different space.

Yes, I think I am in love.
- o - o - o - o - o - o -

Read the whole Kimmelman article here
Read my Flat Stanley story here
(photo: Annette and Flat Stanley at the Met)


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Personal Prescription Plan

I have finally given in to the 'prescriptions' of my doctor. "Take this pill and walk for 30 minutes every day." I dislike taking medications -- my vitamin is a Flintstone Chewable, fer cryin' out loud. I manage the pill with my morning coffee, but I like to walk TO something and . . . it is hard to figure out a regular time to walk . . . I'm not a morning person . . . and . . . how many more excuses would you like? So the plan is to make it interesting, if not fun.

On Monday, Lucy and I walked the mile to the library, paid a fine and got new books. Yesterday, my walk involved the double stroller and two little ones who were excited to feed the ducks at the river -- it was a much longer walk. Today, we just strolled about a 1/2 mile while watching for the threatening rain. Along the way, there are occasional stops to pick up a stray doll or juice bottle, watch a bird or to take a photo like the ones from yesterday in overcast light with my iPhone.

I left this guy's picture out of yesterday's blog, but I think I like his attitude. No one said I had to be a serious walker, but perhaps the effort will eventually result in smaller size Jeans, lower blood-pressure and lifted depression. It's a plan with attitude.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A Winter Walk

I like these photos from yesterday. The weather was balmy and in the 70s with spatterings of rain through the sunshine. All were taken with my handy little IPhone.


"Live in the Moment"

It seems that everywhere I turned this past week, there was something about making resolutions (with the caveat that 'of, course, they don't work!') or getting control by reorganizing everything (I haven't figured out where to put all the tubs and shelves I bought LAST year) or detoxifying by getting rid of clutter, weight and relationships (my treasures are not clutter and what do they know of my weight or my relationships, so there.) Aack! It's a wonder we don't shoot the New Year Baby and keep the Old Man!

"I resolve to . . . ." "I will get control . . . ." "I will get rid of . . . ." Such negative attitudes to paste onto the beginning of a fresh new year! How about a few positive thoughts for a change? My friend Robin Walker often says, "Live in the moment, Annette." NOW! Not later, not yesterday, not tomorrow.

I followed a link to Christine Kane's 'delightful' blog which is filled with ideas for being "creative, conscious and courageous." I love her "Architecture of Delight" and the suggestion of listing "100 things I Love." But especially just now, her "Resolution Revolution" fits my notion of being positive. She offers the idea of selecting one word to live by. I once used "patience" as a mantra and, if I hadn't recently discovered "joyous naughtiness" as my watch words, I might choose the word "delight" in her honor. (She has a whole list of possibilities.)

Live in the moment. Delight in it. Savor it. Acknowledge it. The moments will add up to a terrific year.


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Color of the Week -- To Be Determined

The playhouse came primed and ready for paint. It was a surprise from Susan and me. It will stay on the front porch for now since our porch is one of the favorite 'rooms' in our house. The floor frequently has chalk drawings. The rocking chairs are comfortable. The flags in the ferns by the door often get waved for no particular reason -- maybe just because they are there.

There will be lots of porch time to paint and decorate the house in the spring -- we'll have pictures.

The colors are -- to be determined.

Note: I love the capability of my iPhone to capture images in low light. I sometimes take photos with both it and my Olympus for comparison.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Throw Away Week

The week between December 25th and January 1st is, for many people, a throw-away week. There are no parties, no presents, no family get togethers; they have finished. For them, it is a week to put away the decorations and reminders of Christmas. It is a week to return unwanted-wrong sized-bad color gifts. It is a week to sort and shuffle and organize and throw away. Well, no wonder they dread the holidays. They have spent all their time getting ready and then they forget what they got ready for!

>For us, it has been a quiet week with time to enjoy the house decorations, sing more carols and read more books.
>We watched a few fireworks and enjoyed our front porch on few balmy evenings before the chill hit.
>We shopped a little, listened to the torrents of rain which eased the drought a little, and prepared for the drop in temperatures which was NOT a little.
>We delivered Lucy's new playhouse to her delicious squeals of delight while it was still on the truck; "It's my HOUSE."
>We sadly helped some neighbors move from their much-loved house to another town.
>We have quietly celebrated the New Year with the appropriate black-eyed peas and leafy greens.
>We gave some thought to what the New Year will bring -- perhaps a painting and better blogging, a couple of new babies in February, some family parties, a score of milestones, maybe a few ladies dancing, lords a-leaping, maids a-milking . .
>We have taken the time to observe and enjoy and absorb the joy.

And that is not a week which should be thrown-away.