Monday, November 30, 2009

Duality and Both Sides of the Brain

Left-handed, right handed, and who's to say which is correct? Well, "them what knows" have always seen the right-brained of us as odd or unusual and even our language directs negativism towards the left-handed of the human species. But it is one brain that we possess isn't it? If it is separate (which I prefer not to believe) then how do we exist and function under that confusion? Does it make us dualistic, and if so why stop at two, why not become pluralistic to the point of many sides? The explanation is that these sides have different functions, different reasons for being the way they are, different purpose. I am questioning how we could manage without dividing up the labor of the mind, how we can daydream and keep track of where and when we are and how we create and destroy at times with equal aplomb.

I'm concerned about where we are as a country and how our leadership has fallen into the patterns of politics that we were promised would change. Robert Indiana created a new iconic text symbol similar to the stacked "LOVE" using the word "HOPE", but I am losing hope as we prepare for a presidential address (from the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, no less) tomorrow night. More troops (our young people) and, of course more fighting and killing... did we learn nothing from leaders of peace such as Ghandi and King? I love this planet and this country, but I hate war and it's contexts, especially the fundamentalist religious ones, whether they be Muslim or Baptist or Catholic. War for gods? Humbug!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dinnerware on Linoleum & The Last Bike Ride?

Unloading the dishwasher came to an abrupt pause this afternoon, but I got a photo that I would probably never think to shoot or arrange as a still life as it was so random, yet there it was, an arrangement of accidental nature. I sort of stopped, grabbed my camera, and took a series of pictures of this "silverware spill" after I dropped the whole tray of utensils on the pantry floor. I just like this photo for the contrast of materials.

This afternoon was so gorgeous that I had to take my bike out, I was powerless, as it beckoned with a voice that was a mixture of demanding growl and provocative murmur. I thoroughly enjoyed it as the last few weekends were not all that "bikish" and it has been a while since I felt that stream of consciousness flowing. I just set the camera on the ground at the side of the road and used a delayed shutter to capture this self portrait (cropped out a telephone pole in the background) of what might be my last bike ride of the season.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Abstraction and Reality

OK, so the first photo I'll post here really isn't an abstraction, but rather the "reorganization" or "re-perception" of reality into something not immediately recognizable. The futon in my studio is now missing its mattress, so rather than have a useless place to sleep, I moved it to the basement. It was sitting on its side and I noticed this point of view and had to try a few shots.

The sun kept poking through the clouds and the wind this afternoon, and I was at the landing in Sullivan Harbor when the sun was playing hide and seek. The view of the mountains is nice there and I waited a while before it showed through brightly and gave me this image. I also think I may have coined a new meteorological term with the way the weather was early this morning. I say I think it is new because I have never heard it before; "driving drizzle".

Friday, November 27, 2009

Second Thanksgiving

A busy day with finishing up the sign I've been working on and guests almost all day from all over the place. It's funny, but I think I did not even notice the rain until just a few minutes ago when I stepped outside and I've been outside several times today. I don't know whether I was just not paying attention or I just didn't care. But the culmination of today was all about food, and I didn't really eat (aside from a small bowl of cereal this morning after workout) until this evening when my brother and his girlfriend came over for the "second Thanksgiving". It was a good day and I enjoyed everything around me, and I hope it was reciprocated.

The photos posted here were taken during and after our evening meal here. I tried to "tweak" the color a bit with Preview, but these kitchen lights are so warm colored they intensify anything with a yellowish cast. One is of a "turkey meat" closeup and the other is a bag of cornmeal crescent rolls awaiting the fridge.

"Conflicting Dreams"

I've been pretty busy the past few days working on the sign for the new restaurant here in Sullivan Harbor, but I always manage to "squeeze" some time in for drawing and such. While the prospect of a few extra bucks (not a hunting pun) is a good thing, the time it takes usually draws me away from something else I would rather be doing. Making art is a true joy and there are a few things that I do which don't hang around very long. Jen gives my fused glass body adornments away faster than I can make them, but it does seem to bring happiness to a few people, so I'm good with it. The title of the piece I'm posting here is Conflicting Dreams, and I really finished it about a week ago but just finally got around to photographing some of my recent work. I do a "conflict" piece with my Art II students, but I'm sure where this piece came from had to do with where my mind has been recently. Projecting into the future is not a thing I do well with other than the obvious scheduled sort of life tasks and events, but my dreams lately have been all over the place as I have been. I've discovered... no, actually just realized, that I am bound to the sea in so many ways. I don't really have to live on the ocean, but need to be near enough to walk to it. Islands have always held a dearness to my heart and I can't imagine that feeling changing any time soon in my life, but there is so much tangled up in my imagination and my dreaming that I cannot see. If I were pulled away it would be the end of me I am sure, but the image I am posting is more about the inside of my head than my connections to the sea.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

My sister-in-law is cooking at the assisted living center that her and Jen's mom is at and today (Thanksgiving Day) she was the on-duty chef, so we went down there for Thanksgiving dinner. It was a chance to visit with "Mom" and see the residents and chat, which is always good for those involved, and there are a lot of nice people down there. I guess it is appropriate that I dedicate this post to my my mother-in-law.

My parents are both gone now, but the girls are fortunate to still have their mom. I always give thanks for the time I had with my folks, but have managed to resolve their absence into memories that I will appreciate for the rest of my life, knowing that my children will miss me when I am gone as well.
Giving thanks is something that I find myself doing often, but the formality of this day sadly gives in to the commercial aspect and justifies for many people a reason to join with family. Shouldn't we do this sort of thing more often without the commercialism or "mandatory" nature of it all?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Edge of Sleep

I don't know what goes on with these sleepless nights. Last night it was to bed at eight and waking up at midnight to a mind full of nothing and everything, not being able to fall into a sound sleep until just before four a.m., when it was almost time to rise. I have ideas of why, but not substantial or definitive and certainly not with any kind of resolution or closure to what is fleetingly passing through the chaos I call my mind. Fantasy or reality, or even both of them simultaneously, align my thinking with the possibilities of life that I imagine, but can only imagine. Damn this imagination, that which is such a joy and pleasure becoming a curse for me that burdens my thoughts and reduces my sense of self, rendering me transparent, a frail ghostly image of who I should or could be without the depths of soul that quench the thirst of my spirit.

The edge of sleep is actually the edge of my bed, empty of me but nonetheless harboring years of memory and history, dreams elusive always and thoughts confused by fatigue, inebriation, excitement, anger or combinations of all of those. I don't hate my bed, but I often resent it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Morning Tree, Long Day and The Sign

Actually I think it is two long days, the first with so much stuff around the house, car repair (my son's car, not mine) and getting brother-in-law's boat out of the water for the winter. Three years ago we sailed that boat here to the bay from Winter Harbor in late December and I didn't want to have to mess with a sailboat (you never see many of them sailing around these parts during the winter) much later in the season.

Yesterday morning was a beautiful start with the light on the apple tree catching my eye... there is so much beauty around us all the time. The day ended after my "brothers" and I got the sailboat settled into the cradle and we came back up the bay to the house just before dark. Kind of an interesting photo with the silhouettes of them climbing ashore.

Today was commercial work... the stuff I am not most fond of but I do get satisfaction from a job well done and positive comments by viewers. And painting is something I always enjoy! One side down and I will do the other during Thanksgiving break, hopefully.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Break of Dawn...

...and I spent it in Trenton watching the sky lighten through the clouds . I like this photo better than yesterdays', and the puffy clouds in the top were a nice element. A great conversation (critique) today with my Photo One class on their portrait project.

I should also include a portrait (hard to choose "a best" one) from that class.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Frosty, Misty Morning

I could see leaving the house this morning that we had another case of Frenchman's Bay being socked in with morning misty fog. The tops of the mountains were the only thing visible and as I came into Trenton the frosty fields were gorgeous with their sparkling coat of thin ice. The "mist" seemed a bit lighter than fog and it was apparent that the sun was having a profound effect on how long those suspended particles of moisture could stay afloat.

As I drove down the island, the light streaking through the trees was beautiful in so many places, and I could only grab a couple of random shots. I've been telling students of the "work"of the photographer; finding the shot is not always easy and it takes perseverance and determination to get a really good shot. I find it a shame that I don't have time for either on my drives to work. If I left an hour early (moot now because of darkness) I would have time to search out and pursue those "great" shots, but as it is, I count up the "missed shots" and lament them all.

Is this last photo a "pun"? I "shot some film" this morning, with my digital camera!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Bay at Sunset

Each evening as the sun sets there comes an aura over the sky that that is a painting, a spiritual sense sometimes overwhelming. Well, maybe not each dusk, but certainly the ones that involve the sun, that glorious orb that sits in the heavens 93 million miles away and heats our faces even on a cold day. We are so fortunate to see what is around us, and should share it as often as we can. I think it's kind of like helping those less fortunate, looking around and seeing what is there, not taking what we have and have around us for granted and passing on whatever we might.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Catching Up!

So there have been a few pictures and a few comments that I have meant to get posted, but I haven't been able to find the time or the "inclination" to get it done.

Last weekend was busy with getting the truck back down to my brother's shop and getting the body off so that I can weld up the frame. I have the parts all cut to replace the old stuff with, but I don't have the welding experience my brother does, so he will do the majority of the crucial stuff and I'll get the rest. Maybe next weekend.

I am posting a view from Winter Harbor taken last Sunday with the rain and all. I think I learned of the beauty of the rain last summer while we were all getting "parboiled" as my mother used to say.

I have a 4' X 6' piece of plywood in my studio. I'm glad I cleaned up the studio so that I have some space to work on this sign. There is a new restaurant opening in town and the proprietors have commissioned me to do a 2-sided sign. I gave them a proposal they like (with a few tweaks - easy to adjust as I used Illustrator to draw it up) and so now need to have it done before December 1st ... what fun!

I had a brief spell (again) where I thought the pics were hard to come by, but then I realized that I just wasn't working at it hard enough and that I had too many distractions, so more focus is a new mantra.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Swords and Scallops

My niece's boyfriend Dave just got back from the Grand Banks swordfishing and they brought supper over last night. What a meal! Those strips of bacon have solid scallop cores and everything was delicious. I wouldn't usually post an image of food before being "prepped", but after it was cooked, it was gone before I could photograph it.

The sunset was astounding last night as the sky lit up in full redness and splendor. Wow!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Traffic is Better!

Especially going onto the Island. There are many many good things that happen around us all, and for the traffic flowing onto MDI the new traffic pattern is amazing! No lights, no waiting, just cruise on through! I love it!

But let's not forget to stop and smell those mudflats!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Frosty Morning

It was everywhere! Frost on the car, frost on the grass and even frost in its vaporized form on the water (seasmoke?) I really don't mind the cold that much as you can dress for it, and the resultant glimmer and gloss is well worth the pain of cold for the visual beauty it gives. The trees at the head of the sound this morning were all covered in ice from the water vapor drifting ashore.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lighter, Cell Phone, Jack-knife & Flash Drive (4gb)

Out of my pockets, out of my head... I think it's nearly time for bed!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Working From a Distance

I just had to pop this photo in as I got permission from the artist and it really captures this young man's free and creative approach to drawing and design. I like the composition of the photo as well, but by desaturating the colors it has a classic "action painters of the 50's" look!

Busy? I Hope So!

This is my classroom during my Art II class, which is one of my favorite classes this year. I have a wonderful group that is willing to try anything and is generally successful. Of course some students have more successful approaches to certain assignments than others, but that can vary widely among the group. They are all serious in their efforts, and although self-confidence levels vary across the class, they have pride in their work.
I got most of them in this photo and I was struck by what a mess (busy?) my room can be at times during the day. The quarter has changed and I now have a first period prep... maybe I can get things cleaned up a bit!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sandy the Cat...

He got a good brushing this morning, he did. His pleasure was more than apparent as he would rub up against me again and again, arching his back and always moving with the brush as tremors of excitement would roll across his body. I brushed him steadily for a long time, and he seemed pretty well contented as he went to his bed for a nap!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Goofy Friday...

... Fridays are almost always fun, but today is that last day of the quarter, so some of my students are "hustling" to get work in before grades go "historical" and become permanent. We have "Tie Dye Friday" as a non official art department theme on Fridays, so I'm posting a self portrait that celebrates the "tie-dye" art form!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Snow on the Mountain & Big Prints

I'm not sure whether I am ready for snow already, but sure enough, there it was on Cadillac and accompanying mountains this morning. George and I noticed it on the ground first and then on the rocks on the side of the mountain. Wish I had a longer lens, but I really just need to get up on the mountains before a lot of snow comes. What a view, the world, the ocean!

My photo students are finishing up assignments and a couple wanted to try 11X14 prints, so I changed lenses on one of the enlargers and let them have at it! Some cool prints. The photo is of one print ready to go into the fixer. Great kids, good students and photographers made the quarter go by very quickly...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

In the Studio...

...and seemingly influenced greatly by what materials and content I am teaching with my Art II students. These things come out of my imagination and my working process. I should clarify imagination as that is one of the discussions my students and I have been having. Imagination can have so many sources that it would be difficult to measure them all, and even if the sources of imagination could be identified and evaluated as to what extent they influence thinking, many sources may be used in a single visual concept. The degree of influence of each source would not matter for most of us as we tend to go with the dominant sources we can identify and connect with easily. When one tries to "get in touch" with the more delicate pieces of the psyche, they often dissolve and lose focus, but by connecting them with another, sturdier, part of the "inner workings" of the mind they can be brought into more focus and in some cases clarified and resolved through connections.

My current piece is obviously about me and much of the confusion I feel in my life. I understand that life is supposed to be hard, and I generally am able to take things for what they are and move on with life, but lately I have so many second thoughts about things. Would I have lived my life the same way given a second chance? Hmmm... "Second Chance" photographed last night in the studio and then again this morning here at school. Example of progression on a piece.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Full Moon... Hooooowwwllllll....

...another period of time where those forces that control the tides on this planet are at opposite sides. No wonder we humans get all "wiggy" when this cycle is going on. Sometimes I feel like just going out to mingle!

This shot was taken last night on the way home from work, and it seems cool to me that with all I have for lens and power that I can see the features of the moon in this shot! Also, the "edge" of shadow at the bottom of the image is interesting, I wish I had gotten more of that in the picture.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Daylight Again!

So waking up is still dark, but by the time I finish my workout and get upstairs for some coffee the day has begun and I am ready to go! Lets get outta here!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ahhh! I Almost Forgot the Sunset!

...and a shot of alders and shadows I took at Alan's shop this afternoon.

The Saturday/Sunday of it all...

As usual, too much to do and not enough time to do it in. We tried to get the sailboat hauled up for the winter, but the winds did not co-operate with the tides or us. We did, however, get David's Olds Aurora trailered to Winter Harbor and I got the motor off the stern of the speedboat, so the weekend wasn't a "bust", we just ran out of time for other things. Saturday morning we went to get materials such as lumber and sheetrock to put up a wall in the old Grange Hall that Lynne is going to rent and start as a store. Saturday night we were down in WH helping Alan get things (a big old scow in four pieces) off the trailer so we could use it for David's car. The top shot was lit by headlights and the bottom is a "niteshot" taken on the Sony while we were working with flashlights.

Nothing went easy. The Olds had wheels frozen so that we had to take the wheels off and free the brakes, but it trailered easily and went up on jacks well at Winter Harbor. The boat took up a lot of time for nothing as the wind came up as we were preparing to go to haul it out. So the weekend had a lot of "we" and not much "we" all at the same time, didn't it?