Friday, February 29, 2008

Return of the Blog . . .

Sounds like a horror movie. Indeed. There have been premonitions of things to come.

A fierce moaning has sometimes swept around the corners of the house and through the trees.

Little purple things have been creeping out of the earth in my yard.

Strange shapes are floating in the air and covering the brown winter grass.

I am not surprised that the computer has held little interest over the past month. I have been out of touch, out of time and out of blog mind-set . . . . I have been watching for the Return of Spring.

I think it's coming . . . .

I'll work on the Return of the Blog.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

An Elephant's Toes

The circus is in town! I remember the excitement of the 100th Anniversary Year of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. We had tickets for our three and six year old. Imagine our surprise when we spent most of the performance with a crying toddler who was frightened by the clowns.

So this year, almost 35 years later, we have taken the circus in tiny bites for the little ones at our house -- reading at the library with the clowns last month and, during our walks in the neighborhood this month, standing on the sidewalk just twenty feet away to watch the tigers, zebras and elephants.

The white tigers slept, paced and purred, the zebras pranced, and the elephants got a bath.

As we watched the big elephant's bath, we could almost see a smile when the spray of water tickled his ears and squirted between his toes. And that surely was a sigh when he lifted his giant legs for a tummy wash. It has been a lovely way to erase the fear from such an exciting adventure.

I wish it were as easy to introduce the great adventure of painting. The truth is that, like the circus, it can be scary to face -- all at one time -- those squiggly tubes of new color and expensive paper and "try this brush" and other people watching who surely understand what to do and . . . maybe hiding under the seat is good!

Why then do most first timers want to come away from their first exposure to pigment and brush with a full-blown, three-ring masterpiece? Ah. The nuances they miss. The possibilities they don't understand. The fright of just being a part of what's happening all around. Overwhelming.

Learning to paint and going to the circus for the first time. Great adventures when you are ready. Like the circus, painting deserves an introduction in tiny satisfying bites.

By the way, we'll always have a new perspective on an elephant's toes.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Pretend Them Into Something Different

As a child, Lucy's mother was fascinated by this structure which used to rest on top of a downtown building. It has been placed on the grounds where, in1791, George Washington reviewed the "troops" at the Academy which later became my high school.

Before we moved back to our hometown, we often came for visits and a little sight-seeing.

On today's walk, Lucy discovered it. She alternately danced, sang and pretended it was the Baby Jesus's Stable. I couldn't resist a little video to remind myself of how most of my day is spent.

Every day with a two and a half year old teaches me to make new discoveries and then to pretend them into something different.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Needing A Map!

It was the day for the drive across state for an alumni council meeting at our Alma Mater. Daughter represents her Class of 1989 and I represent Class of 1963. I realized what a great divide there had been between "my" school and hers in those far away years when I looked at the campus and its growth just since last year. Amazing.

I will be planning the 45th Reunion of my class for October this year. Some of my classmates always return for Homecoming Weekend. They will stake their tail-gating tents for the football(!) game, check out the progress of the new library, stop in the bookstore for their class year discount and, maybe, pop into a favorite downtown spot for a traditional hotdog. They will certainly see the changes since last time! If they should look for John Wesley, they will find him presiding over near the Chapel. The frat houses are now down the street from a new parking lot. A couple of large boulders have appeared on the Residence Quadrangle below Turner Hall. . . .

For others, it will be their first visit back in some time. They will recognize Hawkes Dorm and the antebellum columns of Smith Hall (where I watched John Glenn's historic journey) and Pitts Dining Hall. But for the rest, they may be needing a map!


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Quote Of The Week: Gesture of Humility

Once a brush is useless for one purpose, find something else for it to do. Treating your tools with respect is part of the whole gesture of humility you bring to painting."

I have often clicked on a link to, usually because someone has referenced a section for the valuable information which Bruce MacEvoy has set out with such clarity and creativity. I generally just read what I need to know, but on this day, I browsed. No, I rambled. Here are some things I loved:

"wating for something to take hold of me | of
my life | the sense that school like hospital is
a place where people wait for a change
they cannot command"

"(watercolors are like people: they turn out badly when you try to make them into something they're not. i didn't know what watercolor was, or could be.)"

"this wasn't my usual retail experience. the patrons and upkeep immersed me in the unfamiliar side of art, the disordered, whimsical, erratic, random side of art, the somewhat tacky and stifling side of art ... very unlike the overeducated, professionally groomed, highly directed approach to life that made up my own delusion of life's meaning, wrapped around me like my soft leather jacket and porsche sportscar."

I'll plan to ramble here another day. The thoughts, the solid information freely shared, the inspirations -- all are reminders that my creative energy needs the added awareness of gestures of humility.

Update: Since this is such an extensive site, I thought the site map might be helpful.


Monday, February 04, 2008

Color of the Week: Pink

We said goodbye to 97 year old Mildred, my "Aunt Sister" and
hello to Baby Will this week.
Mourning and celebration came together, like sisters.

The Sisters

I'm not sure Aunt Sister would have approved all the pink flowers. They were beautiful, but she loved her blossoms in all shapes and colors. She never came to visit without a bouquet which she had just picked from her yard tucked into a jar or an old coffee can. She also never came without something fresh from her kitchen, but that's another story indeed.

She was the oldest and feistiest of seven. She raised five intelligent, talented and successful children on a hard-scrabble farm in middle Georgia until finally moving into town where she ran a corner store and barbecued a pig or two every Saturday. All the while, she kept whole greeting card companies and the U.S. post office in business with her scripture and note-filled missives sent for any (or no) occasion. I think of her as red, definitely not pink.

Some years ago, she asked my mother to speak at her funeral and so Mamma did. There in the stained glass glow of the First Baptist Church, she shared some poignant memories, told a few sad things, but mostly made us glad that tiny, determined "Sister" had been part of our lives.

The middle child and the seventh child of a seventh child remain. They are, as sisters often are, sometimes best friends. This week, they waited together and quietly offered support and hugs to their family and friends. They left the cemetery in a February wind and drove home.


Baby Will

That evening, the sisters took up a new watch: in a hospital room where they awaited the arrival of Baby Will and looked to the future. Of that, Aunt Sister would have approved.

I know blue is supposed to be the color for little boys but Baby Will was the loveliest pink just minutes after he was born. A tiny 6 pounder, he will be a big boy if he, like a little puppy, grows into his feet!

His mother beamed, his father cried and his grandpa just smiled. My sister, the new grandmother, was doing what she does best -- just taking care of everyone. My mother added his name to her book along with those of her other great-grandchildren, Lucy, Ben and Belle. There was a warm glow all around.

Yes, pink was definitely the color of our week.