Thursday, December 6, 2007
As my dear friend Robert explains:
I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate wilfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better.
I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree~
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.
Indeed, one would do worse. Farewell MacDowell, until we meet again!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
These days the first snow never seems to last. In fact, rain is forecast for the next few days and the muted, monochromatic world will become sticky with mud over Thanksgiving. But for now, perfection holds its breath.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Colony life is enigmatic. I came across a section of Wallace Stevens' poem, Auroras of Autumn, which hints at the effects of colliding creativity in a contained environment. As artists, our mode of thinking resonates together and the more time we spend, the more eccentric we become, tuning ourselves to each other’s energy. Smoke and explosions tread on the heels of quiet contemplation. What will happen to us, when we leave this place? We seemed to exist quite happily before here, so surely we shall be able to do so upon return, but perhaps restructured into slightly different people.
And of each other thought – in the idiom
Of the work, in the idiom of an innocent earth,
Not of the enigma of the guilty dream.
And knew each other well, hale-hearted landsmen,
For whom the outlandish was another day
Of the week, queerer than Sunday. We thought alike
An that made brothers of us in a home
In which we fed on being brothers, fed
And fattened as on decorous honeycomb.
This drama that we live – We lay sticky with sleep.
This sense of the activity of fate-
The rendezvous, when she came alone,
By her coming became a freedom of the two,
An isolation which only the two could share.
Shall we be found hanging in the trees next spring?
Of what disaster in this the imminence:
Bare limbs, bare trees and a wind as sharp as salt?
The stars are putting on their glittering belts.
They throw around their shoulders cloaks that flash
Like a great shadow’s last embellishment.
It may come tomorrow in the simplest word,
Almost as part of innocence, almost,
Almost as the tenderest and the truest part.
Monday, November 12, 2007
“Since time was created, had a beginning and will have an end, it is a creature with whom we can have understandings and misunderstandings.” – Madeline, L’Engle
Time is not an old man with a long beard and sleepy eyes. It is a creature: volatile, temperamental, full of energy, bursting into sprints and then curling up next to the fire and ignoring all attempts to prod it forward. The coming and going of various people in the past few weeks has motivated the time-creature to stretch itself up from the cozy fire and venture outside of a sniff of the late fall air. And now, with only 3 weeks left before I return to real life, Time has suddenly decided to bound forward, dragging me behind. I have so many creative adventures I want to try, people I would like to get to know better that I fear negotiations must begin.
In the meantime, I'm still working.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
The leaves have shifted from reds and oranges to the late season brown and gold palette. Most trees are now bare, their spindly branches casting spidery patterns on the forest floor.
I have managed to be very productive and last night gave a short presentation of old and new works. Everyone seemed enthralled by the plein air experiments I have been doing. Last Monday, on a brilliant warm afternoon I spent 4 hours moving red leaves around a wall. Leaves and rocks are not the best of friends, I discovered, so it was a somewhat frustrating experience. But the results were better than I expected. I combined it with some other footage I’ve collected over the past 2 weeks to make what could be the first draft of a visual poem. We shall see if this leads anywhere. It’s starting to get cold these days, so my warm studio with it’s large window looking over the disrobed forest is becoming more appealing. It's very cozy.
Here's a link to the new work. Let me know what you think!
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
On Monday, five of us decided to take a day off and add our numbers to the summit of ‘the most climbed mountain in the world”
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
My new home: Mixter Studio
Can I just rave about the food here for a moment? A picnic basket with my lunch is delivered to my doorstep every day. It usually includes a thermos of the soup of the day, some sort of delicious sandwich and some fruit or cookies.
I’m at the beginning of the delivery loop so today my spinach-feta calzone was still warm when I took my first bite. I requested the cook not pack me any cookies at lunchtime since the pumpkin cheesecake at lunch and the apple cobbler at dinner yesterday clued me into their secret plan to fatten me up before they throw me back into the real world in December. But I might break down eventually. I love food, both making it and eating it. But I don’t think I will miss being in the kitchen too much if things continue in this vein. There is this philosophy that an artist must suffer to produce great works and the ‘starving artist’ holds a badge of honor. Clearly MacDowell thinks this theory is crazy. Good food will inspire the artist to good works.
I hear the dinner bell ringing…
Back out of all this now too much for us,
Back in a time made simple by the loss
Of detail, burned, dissolved, and broken off
Like a graveyard marble sculpture in the weather,
The poem is “Directive” and that’s what this place is about. Escape, however briefly, from the complexity of life, so that one can find the direction to head in.
And if you’re lost enough to find yourself
By now, pull in your ladder road behind you
And put a sign up CLOSED to all but me.
Then make yourself at home.
The place gives me the feeling of being away from peering eyes that dissect and assess my work. No one is watching me, no one has any expectations of me, they simply want to feed me and make sure I have enough space to spread my creative wings in any direction. Which leaves me free to take risks, make mistakes, waste time with experiments. Making myself at home didn’t take long. Yesterday I walked around the grounds with my camera and was already inspired to try something new, just for fun. Already I feel the compass orienting.Here are your waters and your watering place.
Drink and be whole again beyond confusion.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
I'll be at the MacDowell Colony for the fall, which seems to be a wonderful little corner of the world where everyone just wants you to be the artist you've always wanted to be. They make it pretty easy - give you your own studio off in the New Hampshire woods with no email or phone connections; they surround you with other inspiring artists at meal times, they even bring your lunch to your studio in a picnic basket! Sounds too good to be true. I guess I'll find out soon enough! Right now the last few bits of equipment and warm clothes are going into the suitcase. More from the deep woods soon!