Sunday, May 31, 2009

Here Comes the Sun... (doot n' doo doo)

A bunch of pictures to post today now that the sun is out! The bay was like a mirror this morning and so I was torn between kayak and bike for a workout, but the bike won because it's the bike (and I need to justify what it cost). So I did the Medical Center loop and was around 40 minutes with stops for pictures, so it went pretty good. The workout part is easy, but still some soreness in the hip afterward.

I've had thoughts recently about getting older and have pretty much decided that I am going to fight it for all it's worth and that it doesn't make any sense to live any other way. Life is short (or long, depending on your point of view I guess) at least right now it seems that way to me, and I would like to be able to give it all I have And that's the thing isn't it? You have to have something to give it for it to be meaningful! Sitting doesn't really work for me in developing things to give life, so I will keep doing... I may have captured the "Spring Tree" image to follow up on the winter one I got last February at the beginning of this "blog" adventure (see it below). It's hard to believe I have now made 101 postings!

I had mentioned blueberries in a previous post, and I have this picture of the blueberry section of our field and it looks like we will have a bumper crop this year. I can hardly wait to photograph their "blueness" this summer and fall.

Also a cool picture of my bike before I took off this morning. What I like most about it is that my brother came down on his tractor yesterday and you can see the "footprint" of the tractor in the gravel of the driveway. Evidence of other "vehicles" using the driveway in this case makes a photo that transcends the idea of pictures just capturing a moment in time, they can display information that removes any temporal isolation from the "shot". Just as a side note, you can click on any of these photos to get a full-sized view of them...

There seems to be a lot of rambling in my writing this a.m., but it is just that I am high energy, psyched about the day, it's my brother's 60th birthday, and I will just take what life gives me!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Misty Rain

The last few days have been challenging for keeping a positive attitude and looking forward to summer. Once again, pragmatism creeps into thinking and the feeling of "whatever is, is" works out and lets the beauty of the daylight hours be whatever it is (although soon after the sunshine blueberry pictures coming up - just waiting for the sun - I plan to do some night things) and in this case mostly just rain. The top shot was on the way to Seal Cove to an exhibit (on channel 5 news last night) of art students and teachers from around the Island, and it was very nice to see all of those levels of art in one place. Reminded me of the Mall Show in Bangor, but in a cute little venue.

The second picture was this morning early from the house and showed the fog/rain hovering around the mountains and islands. I really like the softness and think watercolor whenever I see that! Need to make more art! Drawing on photos printed on matte heavy paper is making me sing lately...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Dandelions & a Dirty Sink

So I go outside after supper last night and up into the field to look at the garden (doing very nicely with peas six inches tall - fisherman's version) with my camera in hand and nothing really on my mind... on my way I notice two things; the obviously effusive blueberries blossoming in the field (pictures of those later) and the dandelions that have gone to seed. Within a few minutes I am on my belly in the damp grass (remember it rained much of the day) looking through the camera at all the possibilities for a good photograph of these magical delicate and perfectly round objects. I ended up with a couple of dozen shots and have chosen one for this post. A thought of "I hope nobody sees me doing this" flashed through my mind.

On a totally unrelated and random topic, I shot a picture of my art room sink today, and realizing that I don't have any regular classes except digital media in that room right now, I at first thought "what a mess!", but then I quickly realized that the students I do have in the room have been working independently and have been doing some amazing things this past semester. So now I'm thinking "Wow! My room really looks like there's something going on with my students there!" Take it for what you want it to be, because that's what makes it what it is! (you can quote me on that...)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Drawing on The Edges

That seems to be all I have time for recently. I have this drawing sitting in my room (18X24) and a couple of charcoal pencils near it, and whenever I get the chance I do a little bit on it. The result is a disconnected grouping that takes a different life on each time I see it. Oh, for the chance (or will) to just sit down and start on something and then see it through to completion! Every bit of studio time is only that - a bit, and without the steady and constant flow of working time work suffers. As artists we have to make ourselves work by putting away the things that sustain us in life such as shelter and sustenance. OK, so there's a happy medium... who has found that - and how?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Long Day to Waterville & Music on My Heart

To the left is our leader today (David Yanoski) in Waterville while we were working with the State Assessment Rubrics for Standards as the goal. Our session leader (raising standards with an arm up) is a member of Dr. Robert Marzano's team for educational reform and he gave us a lot of information and vocabulary that will be useful in developing this work. While this "stuff" is not just for the arts, the arts can benefit more than any other discipline (I think) because we have such good standards to work with and because we are always looking at different ways of establishing and assessing student performance. A long day and an arduous (not amorous) task that leaves one feeling tired but content.

Music is truly such a powerful thing, and seeing and hearing a context for music always makes me feel stronger and healthier. Even if I have only a very few minutes to play or sing at some time during the day I will try to get it in, and although sometimes I don't manage to accomplish even that I can listen and move to musical sounds... we should all do it every day! (that's an "A" chord)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What 4:30 a.m. Looks Like

Through a screen, of course... I am so simplemindedly dysfunctional at that time of the morning with the most narrow focus of the world that I have all day I can hardly believe I took this photo. The photo is hardly worth much just as a photo, but it shows the "junkiest" part of the house and I thought it was a good expression of the way that time of day might be viewed. Art does, after all, connect to emotions and state of mind, and this photo certainly shows the "back side" of thought through the subject. The screen is an addition that appeared first in a photo in Rockland and I may use it from time to time to represent the barriers that separate us all from our "true nature".

I am also considering posting photos more of my artwork, as that might very well be another side worth delving into at least a little bit.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Final Memorial 2009

I did manage to make it to Winter Harbor and I did manage to visit my parents' grave. I trimmed some of the bush out of Mom's eyes so she could get some sun and then just thought for a bit. I thought about what at the time seemed to be "all those years" that we spent together when they were really fleeting and filled with many things. A part of me really wished for them back, but I don't know if it was because I deem myself lucky to have had the childhood that I did or that I am in the final stages of this existence and feel that time back might be better spent or maybe even something else. I do know that the days are never long enough, I hate to waste time, I would like to be able to do 10 things at once, and life is what it is.

My grandfather passed in 1974, my mother in 1985 and my father in 2000. These are the two stones that mark their burial and tie me inexorably to Winter Harbor. I miss them all and often wonder if they are watching me.

Memorial Day and Garden

The first photo is the headstone of the girls' father, and I wish the rhododendron bush had blossomed, but I will get a good shot when it does. I plan to go to Winter Harbor to visit my parents' graves when I finish this...

The garden is planted! After a bit more tilling and a lot of shoveling (I always have liked the raised bed and all agreed this year, so we did it that way) to put in the rows. We planted corn, potatoes, beans, spinach, seedlings (peppers, tomatoes and onions), all kind of squash and such, cucumbers, some more peas and I don't remember what else. While the day started sunny, warm and beautiful it became cloudy and windy toward the end and lost all the sharp shadows.

Memorial Morning

There will be more later as we are planning to plant the rest of the garden today, so I must needs to get to work. Would like to go to WH to see parents sites, but may/may not. I can't stop photographing the apple blossoms. These are from up across the road...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Day in the Garden

Well actually I started off with 10 miles on the bike this morning, riding from the house west to the Taunton River Bridge and back. Some of the hills were long, but it really wasn't a strain, so I'm sure I can get to the point where I can get to Ellsworth or Winter Harbor from here fairly easily.

When I got back David had repaired the roto-tiller (the intake manifold had been broken in an accidental collision) and gone over the upper corner of the garden, so I started on the other end to finish, got interrupted by running out of gas, then filled up and finished tilling. It's still pretty wet on the lower end so I only went over the last 15 feet once and will do it up better when it dries out.

Jen and Matt and I are going to Belfast to meet Torrey for his birthday (May 28) and give him cards, take him out to lunch and such. Maybe we can go through some of the shops downtown in Belfast, usually some good art galleries as well. I'm looking forward to seeing Torrey again.

I just can't get enough pictures of the blossoms that are out now, taking many, many and can't decide which ones I like the best.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Delicacy and Death

Sure, we all appreciate the beauty of an unfolding flower, the softness of the petals, the often contrasting colors of the style, stigma and anthers at the center of the flower. This is the time of year to take all this in and watch as nature unfolds her marvelous beauties to us in the fine delicacy of the flowering trees. My favorite has always been the apples, they have such a variety of colors and shapes of flowers as well as sheer numbers of blossoms on a single tree. Are there that many apples that form? There usually are. The tree down front is getting gorgeous and I want to wait until just the right moment to capture its effluence of color. I will have my second seasonal photograph of that tree and I can hardly wait! I took one tonight, but...

So mixed in with all this beauty is the amazing, at least in my mind, increase of roadkill I've seen on the highways recently. When I took this bottom photo I also took a picture of a Dr. Pepper can in the bushes near the raccoon, thinking that in context, they both seem as though just thrown away, no longer possessing any meaning. Not that the can ever did anyway, but the loss of living things bothers a bit. And this one was very young. For what its worth.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Music in the Arts

Of course music is in the arts! Even on our fire drills we have what I like to call one of the essential elements of life (as are all the arts) as our Music Director, who is headed to the All-State performance in southern Maine today with the Choral Director and a dozen of our excellent student musicians, plays for us on the "pink guitar". He and I frequently have morning duty together and find ourselves performing mini concerts for the students as they prepare for school. Our most recent was a medley of Elvis tunes including Don't Be Cruel, Heartbreak Hotel and Hound Dog. We have no plans to take our show on the road at this time, so our audience is restricted, although there are plans in the works to do some recording next year.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Morning Sun

...(to be read in a singsong voice) "always makes me happy!" The rays were bursting through early today as I stepped outside after my morning workout. The day just goes well, and today has, as it is just about time to head for home.
I headed a panel for a senior exhibition today and it was on photography and it was great! The student was a bit nervous, which is common, but he was also very well prepared, knew what was up with the subject he was talking about and had a great number of examples of the work he had accomplished with his mentor. It just seems like another wonderful day to be alive!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Students Always Have an Eye on You...

... so I'm thinking it's a good thing to be aware at all times how you present yourself to students, what you say to others in the environment of the halls and classroom and how you respond to student's questions and to their needs. The photo with this post was taken by one of my students without my knowledge. Oh, sure, I know about what time it was taken in the context of the background and the photographs surrounding it in the camera, and I have an idea it was one of my photo students because of the composition and the use of zoom, but it really doesn't matter because a good picture is just a good picture. It may not necessarily be flattering. I just had Photo II students finish up and critique an "unusual portrait" assignment, and while most of the portraits were truly unusual and unique, one of the sophomores did a portrait of a classmate that was simply "unflattering", but it was a truly unusual portrait to capture someone at their worst, and the rest of the class "got it". Kudos to all of them, they're great and I love them.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fantasy... The Polar Bears are Coming!

... so on the way to school this morning, visions of surrealism dancing through my supplely imaginative mind due to a project I'm starting with my digital media class, I was startled by a sight seldom seen in this neck of the woods, and there are a lot of woods on Mount Desert Island. I did have to turn the Red Ranger around and do my second double-take (redundant, I know) on the dream-like and surrealist vision occupying the picture plane of my eyes. Now, understand that I don't really believe that the earth is cooling (in opposition to the "global warming" crowd) or that polar bears are migrating south to MDI, but to see a surrealistic scene such as this could easily sway me for a moment! Viva la vie!

Burning Sun

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Shooting Through A Screen

... doesn't really seem like that good an idea, but I had no choice yesterday in Rockland, as all the windows were screened in anticipation of the warm weather bringing flying insects to the Island Institute's building downtown. The fourth floor allowed enough height to see the water over the tops of the buildings on the south side of Main Street, but the screens were an obstacle. Well, sort of an obstacle as I actually think some of the moire patterns I see on the image as I change its size are intriguing. Any sign of pattern or sense of movement in the photo is kind of special, especially as it was taken from such a high point of view.

The CREST (Community for Rural Education Stewardship and Technology) workshop went well and moved along quickly as everyone had the opportunity to present ideas and practices that had been tried during the last year. I got some usable ideas for working with web design in my regular classes, and why not if it is presented in a simple manner to kids and allows them to present their work to a wider audience. It would be cool for students to be able to do that! Anyway, it was a worthwhile "in-service" that moved along, kept everyone busy and allowed for some reflection and planning so there was a sense of accomplishment as well.

The "dinner" afterward was very nice, in a classy Rockland restaurant I will not plug here. Some excellent dinner conversation over a variety of topics (I was "shushed" when the political conversation got intense) that included jokes, anecdotes and some serious "shop talk", which is common when a bunch of teachers get together. For dinner I had mussels, salmon and a butterscotch pudding "to die for". Yum!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Morning Bike Ride

It felt great to get "out on the road" again after the winter inside... I can barely wait for summer! I also got drawn into the woods near the house by the light shining through the trees, and though I got some good photos, I'll share but one. Has everybody that has ridden a bike imagined themselves as the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz? I did this morning, what's up with that?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Weeds, The Tree & Sundown

What do these all have in common? It's a real easy answer... they're all beautiful! I'm not a big fan of weeds, but this seemed a strong group of the old lawn weed growing in a patch of gravel... it would be like us living on the soft shoulder of a road or building a house on a sand pile - not much foundation support.

The apple tree (I've taken so many photos of it) stood in front of a beautiful background this afternoon with the fog/mist rolling into the bay. The water moved back into the distance and then disappeared suddenly.

... and the sunset. Something beautiful almost every night and I hardly ever take the time to watch it, but when I do time slows down and the beauty of our planet overcomes me.

Organize and Simplify

My desktop has become confusing and difficult to navigate, so short term goals are forming to simplify my surroundings by making a place for things and keeping them there. It's so easy to get into the flow of things when you are very busy and to put off the actual "clean-up" and organize part of any activity because there is something else coming up to accomplish immediately. Taking the time to put things in their place is an art when you make it a part of all that you do, but when life gets so complex with all its parts that you can't see each tree because the forest is in the way, it's difficult at best to employ that art form. I think I need to become more orderly, my desktop never used to look like this!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wild Water

The wind is howling and the bay is somewhat wild, it's late and I need to get to bed so this will be short. I just want to share the nature of the water this afternoon and the sense of being at the edge of the ocean!

It Does My Heart Good...

... to see the sun shining across the bay on these early mornings as I do the "start to the day". Checking email, how the Yankees did last night, jotting down what I have to get done today and yes, sometimes blogging are the beginnings that keep things together. I don't see it as routine because it is always different in some way and when it gets so it isn't I kind of like to look for ways to make it different. Sometimes the days (or the fates) impose themselves and change happens externally, and even though that might not always be a good thing (major spill - 15 minute cleanup, etc.) it does give the day a fresh texture.
I need to start back on my breakfast regiment, I haven't been eating my blueberries and oatmeal. My right hand has the "stubby pinkie", ahh mirror image PhotoBooth.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Great Day With Student Artists

We did our National Art Society "event" today, and it was good to have kids fill the art room. (well, not fill, but...) There were a dozen of them painting in the art room preparing panels for the "Mural" . It was really great and the parents came around three-thirty and they seemed to enjoy the whole process. They really came through as a group! We only had one student miss and not show up, so that was very neat as well. It's been a busy day and I have to do progress reports, so I will end here...

Cloud Covered Mountains

This was yesterday on the way to school, and it took me about five tries to get a picture of the cloud covered hills that I liked. This one is looking down Somes Sound from the head and is less than a mile from school. I start every day with this ride through some very pretty parts of the state, but I don't always appreciate what is around me. I must try harder.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Still Smouldering...

... even after all that rain. Boy I guess when it heats up like that it really is hard to put out. The consuming fire took all sorts of scraps of old wood and brush, leaving only the metal nails and other steel debris in its bed. I believe the coals are still burning somewhat and the wind has fueled them efficiently today.
Up early this morning making Mothers Day cards for the mothers from the boys, and I hope it was a good day. I think it (awareness of surroundings) sometimes gets by me when my head is in the clouds of work or imagination, and this afternoon was a bit of both. I'm sure tomorrow will be another day, full of new adventure and learning.

I had my art society students ask me to do a panel for their mural, and I chose Robert Indiana as my artist to emulate (not copy or interpret) because he is a Maine resident and because his work has such bold meaning. I just like it, and I was a sign painter for a while myself.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Moss on A Rolling Stone...

... keep on movin' and you might get out before anyone knows you're there! Too much to do as usual, but today was full of accomplishments that needed doing, mostly cleanup "stuff". I had to write testimony for the hearing on graduation requirements in Augusta on Monday among other things, and I still need to work on a painting for part of the Art Society "event" at school on Tuesday. I feel very much like a rolling stone who is gathering moss, but I'm sure I can shake it off as long as it's not too heavily rooted. Time usually swings things around... as long as you keep pushing things ahead... you know, just to keep it all moving and the moss won't slow you down!

David and I burned the brush pile after supper tonight and I got some heat on my face. Got too little time on my bike today, and there's no time before school. I might have to start riding after I get home, although I'm usually too frenetic after a busy day... it started really pouring as soon as it got dark, but with a pretty good bed of coals I expect the fire to still be smoldering in the morning.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Plant

Not much to say, just finished Barbara Greenstone's online conference (went real well) and have this picture to post (what kind of plant is it?)... I may add more in an edit tomorrow. My world is moving in short jerky bursts...

Pre-Dawn on Five Hours Sleep

I have no idea what today will bring, but I am optimistic. It looks like the Eagles have left me hanging, the political flow has sucked me in for next Monday, I still have POs to finish up and two exhibits at the same time in the gallery. I am really counting on my NAHS kids to come through for the show next Tuesday, but time will tell. Oh, yeah... and I need to get quotes from kids! Where does this energy come from? I have no right to it really...