Thursday, August 30, 2007

I've Been Memed!

Britt Bravo has memed me from her blog Have Fun Do Good. I am new to memes – from what I can tell a meme is kind of like a game of tag and once you get hit, you follow the rules and keep spreading the game. So here it goes…

First the Rules:
  1. Post these rules before you give your facts
  2. List 8 random facts about yourself
  3. At the end of your post, choose (tag) 8 people and list their names, linking to them
  4. Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know they've been tagged

Then the Facts:
  1. My nickname, and what most people call me, is Danny.
  2. One of my favorite afternoon snacks is a cup of ginger tea and a piece of dark chocolate.
  3. In college, I thought I might major in photography, but got to Vassar and learned that there were no photography classes to take. Oops. Then I wanted to major in English, but English classes were so popular and I got a terrible draw number, so I wound up instead filling the last seat of Art History 101. It was such an interesting class (each section was taught by the professor who specialized in that area) that I became an art history major. From there, I began researching the history of photography, and it is that study that has really deepened my vision as an artist.
  4. After getting married on September 22, 2001, my husband and I took six months off to travel. Most of that time was spent exploring Mexico in an old Ford Aerostar van replete with a two-person kayak and fishing and camping gear. Our favorite spot was a sleepy fishing village called Xcalak (pictured here), just north of the border with Belize.
  5. I have one brother, four years younger and a whole foot taller than me. His arm appears in my collage, "Paz en el Mundo.
  6. My first "real" camera (aka 35 mm) was a Nikon FE gifted to me by my parents when I finished 8th grade. I still have it.
  7. Growing up, I always wanted a dog. Initially my parents gave me a parakeet, which I named Lassie, who became the subject of some of my earliest photographs. Eventually, we got a cocker spaniel.
  8. The only sport I follow is baseball. A San Francisco Giants fan, I was there when Bonds hit 756!
I’m tagging the following blogs…
  1. Create with Spirit
  2. Ebb and Flow
  3. Lauren Usher
  4. Michelle Bates Photography
  5. Photographing Children
  6. Superhero Journal
  7. Works in Progress
  8. Xola

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Harvest Time

Over the weekend, I harvested quite a bounty. The garden is exploding these days with zucchini, cucumbers, broccoli, chard, green beans, and even pumpkins. Pictured here are the first of our pumpkins – yes, they are small ornamental ones and the big ones have a ways to grow – but nevertheless these pumpkins said to me, "Fall is almost here." Realizing that, I was filled with a rush of sadness. This summer has been so sweet with much time in the studio, in the garden, and in my yellow chair with books in hand. As I pulled weeds from a bed planted with lettuce, I pondered how to keep the energy of summer with me as I move into the fall. The answer I got was that this is the wrong question. Each season is its own distinct time. To try and hold onto what has been only will get in the way of the graceful unfolding of what is emerging. The fall will have its own rhythm and pace, and the more I can accept that and step into it fully, the easier the seasonal transition will be for me.

One thing I do look forward to this Fall is the satisfaction of getting my work out in new venues. I have shows in Portland, Brooklyn, Washington DC, and Woodstock, NY among others. I will also be doing two Open Studios – the first October 13-14 and the second in December. A full list of all these events can be found on my web site. It is good to feel that the fruits of my summer labor will be harvested well.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Art Deliveries

I left the drippy fog of Muir Beach this morning to drive to sunny San Rafael to drop off art at two venues. My first stop was the Donna Seager Gallery to swap out inventory. Donna has been displaying some of my Bottle Dreams pieces with her rich selection of artists books. Today, I brought her three of my new, single bottles, each layered with photos, texts, and maps sealed in mineral oil. I was delighted to hear from Ama, her gallery assistant, that the September show, called “Women’s Work,” will feature one of my favorite local artists, Lisa Kokin, as well as two other mixed media artists, Laura Kimpton and Nancy Youdelman. And in her artist book gallery will be a show curated by Macy Chadwick called “Narrative Thread,” that will include one of my father’s books, “red thread, two women." It's nice to look forward to this.

Then I traveled a few blocks up the hill to the Falkirk Cultural Center to drop off a Sanctuary piece for a group show called “Photographic Narratives.” Curated by Beth Goldberg, this show features several other artists I know, including Beth Moon, Michael Rauner, Judith and Richard Lang, and Susan Hyde, as well as plenty of artists new to me. This show is a nice long one – after its opening reception on September 7, it will stay up until the end of December. The Falkirk is a wonderfully unusual venue. As you can see from the photo I took today, it is an historic building with great architectural detail – inside the wood paneled walls and stained glass make you feel like you have stepped back in time into a 19th Century parlor.

In the parking lot, while leaving I ran into artist Mary Wagstaff, who complimented me on my blog, which is always so nice, because I often write here unsure that anyone is listening. It’s heartening to hear that people are tuning in regularly. Thanks to all of you who make up my audience - whether by seeing my shows or reading my blog - it's nice to know I am connecting.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Editioning Evocations

I spent yesterday signing my editioned prints from Evocations. They were printed in sets of 10 in February, but slid to the back burner, and only now, in the open space of summer, have I found time to tend to each print - signing it, naming it, giving it a number, and then sleeving it in crystal clear envelopes. It is satisfying work, clearing the way for the new to emerge in this series.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Living Inside Books

“There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner, wind themselves around your limbs like spidersilk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you, they work their magic…” -Margaret Lea in The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

This summer has given me the time to dive into words again. I feel like the child I once was who spent hours living inside novels. The first of several books on my path this summer was The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I listened to this story unfold on my iPod. It was so well read that the world around me disappeared and I was wrapped in the twin stories of book-lover Margaret who is recording the life of writer Vida Winter. There are such wonderful passages about the joys of reading. In one stretch, Setterfield describes Margaret’s mundane tasks leading up to 8pm when “the world came to an end - it was reading time…. Against the blue candlewick bedspread, the white pages of my open book illuminated by a circle of lamplight were the gateway to another world.”

One of the other worlds I traveled to this summer was an island off the coast of Maine. A friend lent me her copy of Joe Coomer’s Pocketful of Names about an artist who lives and works in solitude on an island until one day a dog washes up on her beach, then a teenage boy looking for a place to a hide, and soon others…Her solitary life gives way to one of connectedness. There are some great passages about the creative life.

I also succumbed to the Harry Potter craze, and re-read book 6, before reading the new book 7. Although these books are not perfect, they cast a perfect spell. They rendered me half alive to my own life while I was engaged in their plot. It was pure escapist pleasure.

Diane Setterfield warns, “Reading can be dangerous.” For me, the danger is that the worlds in books begin to shine more bright than the world around me. It is as if I must shake cobwebs out of my brain to get back to work (of which is there is plenty). I have to tell myself that later in the day – after I have organized my inventory, shot new images for Evocations, responded to my email, etc. – then I can find my way back to the yellow armchair in the sunroom and open a fresh new book and see where it takes me.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

"Ode to Stillness"

“Is it possible to make a living by simply watching light? Monet did. Vermeer did. I believe Vincent did too. They painted light in order to witness the dance between revelation and concealment, exposure and darkness. Perhaps this is what I desire most, to sit and watch the shifting shadows cross the cliff face of sandstone, or simply walk parallel with a path of liquid light called the Colorado River. In the canyon country of southern Utah, these acts of attention are not merely the pastimes of artists, but daily work, work that matters to the soul of the community. This living would include becoming a caretaker of silence, a connoisseur of stillness, a listener of wind, where each dialect is not only heard but understood.”
Terry Tempest Williams from Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert

Summer has opened up space and time for me. In that new openness, I find myself not wanting to add more doing, but more being - time to watch the fog paint changing colors on the hills out our front windows, and time to sit and re-read some of my favorites, like essays by Terry Tempest Williams.