Monday, April 30, 2007

Doodle at work

Sometimes I don't know when to stop. I think this might be a case where I've stopped too soon. If I continue on, and it comes to anything, I'll repost it.
Worked on the big hawk wing today. Hope tomorrow I'll have something to post there also.
Today was definitely a mountain day. (Dragging myself uphill the last 24 hours). Tomorrow is bound to be better, right?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Details details

Two details from a hawk wing drawing I've been working on today. So far so good. So far it's just pencil, 32" x 80" deep. Feels good to be working large. Large gestures, physical movement. Lovely way to spend a Sunday.


What if a whole notebook was filled with simple simple images of tension and space- filling? Quick drawings with lots to teach me about our place in the physical world.
Most of my pictures don't challenge me like this one does.
Think. Research. Explore. For god's sake, push against the edges of what I know (I admonish myself.)

Friday, April 27, 2007

The wilderness in my yard

I discovered a really really big black snake, snaking its way into the little house behind our house. I suspect that there was a squirrel nest stashed in the attic. Well, no more.
Native Virginians tell me to embrace the black snake, that it keeps our cottages and root cellars free from mice, small bunnies and voles. Awp!
So... my visual response to said experience.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hung out to dry

And here's another of those possible animated drawings. What if the laundry was wafting in the breeze?
The honey bees are lazily losing their way back to the hive... I read in a London paper that the cause of CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) could be cell phones – wow, well, their magnetic fields. Bees get confused and cannot find the hive. They simply disappear. I suspect that we are bombarded pretty much constantly by electricity that can warp us in odd ways. Not to mention that NOWHERE is safe or free from it. A new kind of pollution. Could we give up our cells? Horrors! (Mine languishes in the bottom of my bag, out of battery power I'm sure, and pretty darn quiet.)
I've pondered sound pollution in the same way for a few years now. None of us living today has experienced true silence. I'd like to.
Anyway, I'm worried about the bees. Who will pollinate our crops, make our honey, tend our hives?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Puppet show?

There's something about this drawing I really like. Certainly the simplicity; also I think it's the quality of movement. This could be the beginning of my new animation. I'm waving as they're flying away. Or, bandits in bunny costumes get away with all the orbs... of course there are witnesses.
It's important for me to go back over sketchbooks every once in a while. They change over time; no, my perception changes over time. And there is much to rediscover, utilize.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Here is a portrait of my husband Hal as he pores over a drawing of his own. It's great fun for us to draw each other (although here he is working on an African mask drawing). Turn off the TV, put on some music (Elvis Costello's George Jones Sessions) and add a splash of white wine. Great evening.

Monday, April 23, 2007

For rent

Email from my sister in upstate NY. She needs a snappy flyer to put up at the health food store around the corner. Apartment for rent.
Since I used to live there, I know the house well. Last summer I planted an herb garden along the edge of the driveway.
So, Miss Aida, here ya go.

Party party

Okay, big party at our house yesterday. I did not clean up and I did not blog last night... but here I am now and I've pretty much got all the brownie crumbs dug out of the carpet.
Here's another portrait of I-still-don't-know-what-it-is. This one seems more of a cartoon. I'll be drawing later in the day and blogging again when I get home from work tonight. Ciao for now.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

What in the world ...

... is this? Hal found it in the yard as he was raking up. Tuber, last season's apple, alien pod? (If it hatches, we're probably in trouble.) We're mystified. I guess that's why I'm so enamored of it. I have some other drawings I'll post later. It has enough character that I think I might work with it as a model. Like gestures, 30 seconds, 4 minutes and 1 hour sittings.

Friday, April 20, 2007

A good Virginia day

Long shadows to the east of us as we walked on the beach after work... clean sand, lots of birds and not many oyster shells. Friday night in Spring, no worries, just some sorrow and some regret. The only way out is through.
Here's an image from the archives, very west coast of Ireland. Cheers.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Just drawing tonight as I waited for some images and stories at work... cheap lined paper (reporter's notebook) and an ink pen. Do materials, or context, or presentation enrich or cheapen art? Is a work more valuable if it's painted on archival quality linen or spray-painted on a concrete underpass?
My inner and outer worlds are colliding (again): Bird images and wings make sense to me – my dead hawk in the back yard; doves chickadees and blackbirds on the feeder out front; white doves loosed at Virginia Tech in memory of the shooting victims; darkness fleeing the light.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pondering Agnes Martin

Back in March I spent some time at the Milwaukee Art Museum, specifically standing in front of this painting by Agnes for quite a while. I would have spent the whole day...
It's like she said, reminding me of perfection.
Today I've been thinking about the way she lived her life: solitary, always working, or preparing herself to work. I don't know how to commit like that without sacrificing, as she did, people, community, responsibility and wholeness. Things that are important too.
And these other important things distract me. Today I didn't draw at all.

I'm having trouble uploading my image... will try again tomorrow. Good night.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I found this molted skin of an insect – a big insect – on the side of the house last summer. I think it is so beautiful, as if he had left a shadow of himself here, a parting gift. One foot in this world and one I don't know where. Is he off somewhere exploring and flying and free?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Live oak leaf

Today I was drawing live oak leaves. But I got really distracted, and disinterested, and shocked by news of the killings at Virginia Tech. I spent the evening in the newsroom, everyone trying to make sense of what happened, organize the information we had, and get the information we didn't have. Keeping busy when it seems that the world is ending.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Hawk wing continued

It rained pretty hard on and off all day ... I spent some time studying my hawk – two weeks dead now and still hanging in the tree outside my studio window. I've been reluctant to spend time there; not much about this dust-to-dust thing is pretty, though I sure appreciate the body/energy flowing back into the communal pool. It's just made me sad.
So, today I drew through the window. It seemed like the rain was washing away all the darkness, all the rotting, all my misgivings, every body's transgressions. Being removed that much makes the work more of a study in dark and light. I probably made up some of the details. I'm still loving the sweep of the wings, how perfectly suited to flight they are.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Remains of the day

I guess this is what one gets when one draws while watching back-to- back episodes of Law & Order... Yeah, it's Saturday Night, my first night off from work in ages, and the only one for a while longer. And how do I elect to spend it? More like I just let it happen to me.
The drawing started out with impressions of a piece of ribbed shell I found on the beach. After that it was a sort of back-and-forth, black and white, background/foreground dance. Sometimes I just have to throw up my hands and go to bed. Good night.

Friday, April 13, 2007

More meditation

Today was a mountain day; difficult to get out of bed, difficult to get going. It's late now and I'm ready to be done with this day. Attached are two drawings from the morning meditation... the high point of the day, unless I remember the turtle I met up with on the way out of the neighborhood to go to work. A sure sign of Spring – sunning himself on a branch near the edge of Pleasure House Lake. Oh yeah, and the numerous wisteria in full bloom, exploding all over Tidewater. Life ain't so bad...

7 minute interiors or meditation while drawing

Okay, this morning first thing I woke up and got centered to draw. These drawings are not necessarily of the collective unconscious, maybe not even of my own unconscious, but they are a genuine effort at drawing while thinking about drawing. My inner self always seems to me to be murky, foggy maybe, and shifting. As I'm sure I've written before, elements stored or hidden there rise to the surface and then recede, showing maybe only a trace or part of themselves, then floating away for a while. I keep going back for more. I'm not saying that I want to know them more fully, only witness and experience the ebb and flow.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wait wait

Yeah, these are not new pieces, as I had predicted in yesterday's blog. Excuses? Naw, just work, life, etc. So, help yourself to two more 7-minute pieces, and the last of the reasonably good ones.
Today I was uploading images for a show at a college in North Carolina. I found, to my interest, that of 20 or so drawings I was considering, hardly any of them made the grade for me. These were pieces I previously felt way good about. Am I changing? Sure. Am I raising the bar? Perhaps. Am I just having a bad day?
It always comes down to this for me: Work a lot more. Make a lot more drawings. Use the bad ones for wrapping paper or insulation or mulch or kindling...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Seven minute drawing

I spent about an hour this morning making quick drawings and reveling in the graphite. I've been thinking about it a lot lately. A lot of them were nothing special, but, as always, drawing is better than not drawing.
My work is often about the same things: fragments of living – or previously living – beings. Or records that resemble cave drawings: animals taken down for food, seed pods, marine life, entrails, leaves and stems, genitalia... what sustains us. What we need.
I think maybe tomorrow I'll try working on a more interior level... see how the images might change.

Monday, April 9, 2007

"Shake it up"

I got this block of brick red crayon from my friend Emma Hoolihan. I went to her house to draw one night, we drank a lot of wine and made a huge wall drawing. I love this color and it shows up in my work from time to time. Like blood, or lightening, or loss, it sparks things up in a serious way. I'm getting through the day, minding my own business, taking care of business, and then, BANG, something big and unavoidable cuts across my interior landscape. Change is good, right?

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Bring back the graphite

I've forgotten how lush and, I don't know, sensuous graphite can be. hard edges blending into soft graded areas. I have huge blocks of it... sometimes I am "off graphite" for a while because of the mess. I hate tracking it through the house. My cat tracks it through the house. Everything gets gray.
But Spring is here... I'm going to set up a wall for graphite drawing outside. Maybe the broad side of the shed.
Graphite lends itself well to mystery, to covering up secret things. It easily becomes that primordial pool or fog from which all things (good and bad) surface, float, arise, or recede.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Imitation printmaking

Not long ago I was experimenting with this process of drawing that yields an effect of printmaking. It involves layers of ink on Plexiglas (0r, in my case, plastic wrap taped to the table surface), objects for scraping into the ink, paper for printing and pencils, fingers, etc. for making marks... Multiple prints can be taken, but each one is a ghost of the one that came before. I think what I really dig about this is the simplicity of the process, and the way it invites minimal mark making. A morning goes by and lots of prints are made, most of them not very good, but as always, it's better than not drawing.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Rats ...

Today I spent all my drawing time working in the yard – it sorely needs it. I heard that if we have opossums (we do), then we won't have rats... I hope that's true. My red-tail hawk is decomposing in a big stinky way... it's hard to be outside with him. His body has relaxed and his wings are swooping down to the ground. Still very beautiful. I'm fascinated by his wings and look forward to the revelation of his interior (bone, ligament, structure).

Thursday, April 5, 2007

... or I'll reach back a few months ...

... to another drawing that I think is a map of the thought process of that time spent. I was working on an animation (lots of math and frame-counting, etc.) and noticing a dried gourd standing on the table; also a pattern of sorts carved into the wood of my drawing table; a sudoku puzzle in the newspaper; a phone message jotted down. This, I think, is the essence of drawing for me: the recording of experience, however common and everyday. Sifting through thought, action and idea, I may or may not find meaning.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Not much time for drawing today

Work, chores, books ... not much time left for drawing today and energy is low. Simple drawing is OK. Brass rubbing stick has all the tone I need.
I'm thinking, and researching, that my osprey is not an osprey at all, but a young red-tailed hawk. This is not the first time that my powers of observation have failed me. An astrologer once told me never to rely on my own judgment, about people especially, but I guess about everything. And so, that beautiful predatory bird I've seen at the water's edge for the past many years is a familiar stranger to me.
Tomorrow will be just as hectic, and so I will draw quickly and spontaneously for the next entry. Good night.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Osprey wing continued

Today I rested him on the ground for a while to draw. He was lying on his back and the cool breeze ruffled his feathers and raised his wings as if he would fly. So beautiful.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Osprey wing

Today I drew from the bird hanging in the tree. It is an awkward point of view, but I cannot figure out how else to keep the local varmints from dragging him away.
I was saddened by the vibrant life gone out of him. A bird falls from the sky and his eyes are like clouds; I had seen him fly along the beach many times, hunting, searching. The promise of Spring and new life is in the air, but not for him.
I meant to make a more realistic drawing today, but time escaped me. I took the unfinished piece to work with me and let it evolve as it would over the evening. I rather enjoy the mix of real/not real. Or outside/inside.

Sunday, April 1, 2007


Walking on the beach this morning we found a near-perfect young osprey, not long dead. Both sad and beautiful, we brought him home to live in our live oak tree.
Not much difference between living and not living, at least for today. It makes me not afraid.