About this blog

Just Ambling, July 11

"What, he growled, is the real reason that she was able to make those flowers? Some things take living long enough to do, I said.  I was speaking from across the line, across the cut.  It just took time, I went on to tell him, and it wasn't purposive.  It evolved, first from silhouettes, and then from handiwork and collecting shells and designing shell grottoes, and then designing her dresses, and then from drawing and painting and gardening, and from being supported in her enthusiasms by her sister and her husband, and lastly from not being able to paint, from a feeling of the world dimming, and from the energy of the natural world and the way she was supported by her friend.

The whole combination of things amounted to how Charles Bukowski defined age.  Of all the sloppy, unboundaried, drunken poets I never thought I'd have a good word to say about, he nailed it.  On the radio one day I heard him wisecrack, "Age is the sum of all we do."  That's a bit of what happens to a plant, too.  It keeps adding up unti it blooms, but even after blooming, after mid-life, so to speak, it keeps going, because it has to start withering.  Only in drying does the real fertility begin, the seedcase forming, and only then are the seeds available to be blown apart and travel and settle.  The fierce winter of dormancy is part of it all - the biennial approach to life.

The Paper Garden, Molly Peacock

June Full Moon

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game           
                                    Joni Mitchell

A full year of this blog I wasn't sure I'd stick with it, but here I am.  It has given a structure to this year, like a skeleton.  A year seems so short these days.  Looking back I see that the front garden peaked around the time of the summer solstice.  This year it peaked about a month ago--this is more typical I think.  Today, an unusual bit of rain after some beautiful days.

Somehow, the watercolor sketches have turned up in a new form in some little still life collages.  Something fun and playful as a balance to more serious and spare paintings.  This is an effect I definitely was not expecting from this process, but I was hoping for surprises!

May Full Moon

The career of flowers differs from ours only in inaudibleness. I feel more reverence as I grow for these mute creatures whose suspense or transport may surpass my own.                        Emily Dickinson

Fresh lettuce! Salad straight from the yard with green onions, parsley, arugala, coriander.  What could be better?  A few clear, calm days, everything freshly rained upon.  The very full moon clearly visible.  A soft fragrance in the garden in the evening.

Nearing the culmination of this year's cycle of paintings, which usually runs from September through the beginning of June.  Thinking about "What is beauty?"  Meanwhile, lots of experimentation with smaller "designs."  A feeling of experimentation in general!

April Full Moon

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.

Margaret Atwood

Bright orange poppies, yellow-orange gazania, reddish-orange African daisies, pale orange small African daisies, deep orange flowers of the plant next to the front stairs that I can't remember the name of.  Then there's lavender, purple, white, pink, yellow and the deep red of the maple leaves, not to mention green.  Full spring in the front yard.

Some of the more challenging and interesting parts of this project are the watercolor sketches and snapshots which are outside my usual artistic mode of expression.  A way to practice beginner's mind.  Smelling like dirt is also outside my comfort zone--another thing to practice!

Spring Equinox

Now the rain is falling, freshly, in the intervals between sunlight,

A Pacific squall started no one knows where, drawn east as the drifts of warm air make a channel;

it moves its own way, like water or the mind,

and spills this rain passing over.  The Sierras will catch it as last snow flurries before summer, observed only by the wakened marmots at ten thousand feet,

and we will come across it again as larkspur and penstemon sprouting along a creek above Sonora Pass next August,
Robert Hass

Spring is already established, the date only makes it official.  The time has changed--lighter in the evening.  Substantial rain at last.  A relief, if only partial.  The garden is flourishing--lots of new vegetable seedlings going in: lettuce, artichoke, parsley, tomatoes.  Summer starts to appear in the mind's eye.  Plans for household projects start to push up to the surface.

Lots of work in the studio. Paintings and design ideas.  A bit difficult to slow down to the tempo of the blog, but this is it's purpose. A chance to pause a moment, look around, to see where I am.

March Full Moon

Beautiful,  mild, sunny day. Still very little rain but enough to produce many wonderful flowers--calla lillies, poppies, geranium, tulips, wallflowers, and of course, the perennial african daisies.  To eat, there's lots of arugala, mustard greens, kale and lemons.

A very outward time for me--galleries, celebrations, small commercial ventures.   A time of letting go, taking risks, not clinging, finding that lovely inner stream that flows from one thing to the next.

I have always kept ducks, he said, even as a child, and the colors of the plumage, in particular the dark green and snow white, seemed to me the only possible answers to the questions that are on my mind.               W.G. Sebald

February Full Moon

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host, of golden daffodils . . .

William Wordsworth

Daffodils! Cyclamen! Primroses! Rain! 
New opportunities!