Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Decade's End...

... and it has been a most remarkable decade to me, perhaps the best of my life. When I think of where I have been in the last decade and how I got there it is amazing to me, especially since my goal as a younger man was to see the year 2000. What overshadows all of that for me is the guilt of where I live when so many are homeless, my lack of protest against the meaningless and cruel wars in which our country is immersed and the resulting dead and wounded, and the importance of personal questioning and conflict that I have made a part of my life in recent years.
I am fortunate, and I have been blessed with relationships and events that are so precious to me I cannot express in words the feelings that come from them. I do not know where the next decade will take me, but I am in hopes for fewer heart procedures (I will take better care of myself), fewer near death experiences (I will be more careful within my surroundings) and more changes as I allow myself to drift along in the winds of fate and fortune (with hard work and love for others as a mantra).
Thanks to all who have been a part of this past amazing decade... boy, am I getting gray!

Steel and Ice

Well, more work on Torrey's car yesterday as Jen was perceptive enough to notice that the sway bar end was split off and may well have been making some of the noise that has been coming from the front end. I have tried a number of things to quell the sounds from this vehicle and am about ready to give up and let it heal itself (I have had several cars in the past that have done just that), but I doubt that I will be permitted that pathway. I have to change the oil in the Corolla tomorrow (whoops, this morning... sleep escapes me) morning and then will hopefully head to Winter Harbor to finish up on repairng the frame on my truck. The photo is of the sway bar support with all its rubber bushings... four tough to get at bolts, what fun!

The icicles are from the house eaves, cold weather is here.

Why do I strive so hard for symbolism in all I do? Understanding of the constructed meanings behind my work is limited to a few, a very few.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wind, Snow & 2 Angels

A wild day is developing here as the wind picks up, the temperature drops, and the only thing that really makes sense to do is "hunker down". The good news is that can include getting some important schoolwork done for next years classes, some purchase orders together for next semester, and maybe some studio time. I really want to work on putting together some video in Final Cut, so I will do some of that today with what I have for clips.

The weather outside is frightful, and the wind makes a dark shot of the whitecaps in the bay, but the snow along the shore as the tide backs relentlessly away makes a beautiful transition. It is fascinating how a photograph can portray the wildness of weather but not really place the viewer in the moment because it is so singularly dimensional. The feeling is in the composition and how much of the true scene the photographer can capture. I don't think I will venture out into the bay to become more immersed and therefore attempt a better shot.

The angels are simply vestiges of Christmas that we've not repacked into boxes and placed back under the cellar stairs, but they are symbolic to me on a number of levels. I found it interesting as I began to arrange the composition that one of them was turned back to, and probably wouldn't have given the image a second thought otherwise. I don't know who placed them in that position, but it caught my eye and then things happened from that point, resulting in the final image I am posting here.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Amaryllis (pronounced /ˌæməˈrɪləs/)[1] is a monotypic genus of plant also known as the Belladonna Lily or naked ladies. (from Wikipedia)
This plant is in the guest room (Torrey's room), and it is in resplendent beauty right now, so I had to post some photos of it. I find it amazing that in the "dead" of the winter the house plants can bring forward such beauty and delicacy with just an occasional watering. There is something sensuous about the large blossoms, even if they are a bright red, which suits me at this time very much!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas... all and to all a good night.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mothers and Daughters

Christmas eve brought us all to visit "Mom" in the living center this afternoon to celebrate and enjoy the energy of all the guests and sharing laughter and the opening of gifts. I got a shot of Jen hugging her mom that seemed to sum up the spirit of the gathering and express the joy of that human bond between mother and daughter. The elderly have many stories to tell and they might even be more meaningful for all of us if we listen and share them. Ahhh, life........

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Baker Hill Snowshoe Hike

The view from the top of Baker Hill is amazing in the winter as much as during the summer. David and I went up the trail this afternoon and it was an awesome hike. David has used snowshoes quite a bit for the past few years, and he usually has a couple of places he goes. The woods are fascinating during the winter as the small animals leave all sorts of evidence of moving about and such in the snow. I really love the quiet and the sense of solitude the forest brings during this time of year, and now that I have my own shoes I will most likely spend a lot more time in the forest this winter. I need to study maps and find some trails that might be interesting to travel. Posted are a couple of photos from today.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snowy Night

... and I've spent too much of the day inside working on things to give people for Christmas such as fused glass earrings and photos and other such artwork, so it was only natural that I should wander out into the dark void to find what I could find to photograph. There was plenty for me right in the driveway with the new snow and the blowing wind. I walked the driveway up to the road to see how it looked for "depth" getting out in the morning, and the wind had blown the driveway almost clean as there were no real snowbanks on the sides. Here are the pictures, I "flashed" the snow tracks leading up the driveway so there is little motion in the flakes. The shot of the entrance to the house simply uses existing ambient light. Snow is cool in more ways than one!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ice on the Shore & The Christmas Goose

The cold lately has brought with it the building up of white along the shore here in the bay. This morning there were patches of ice across the bay that broke up once the wind kicked in a bit, but I am afraid the ice along the shore will be with us for a while. I will need to get down nearer to the shore and get some photos later today.

This morning brought a Canadian goose to our field, and it is highly unusual for us to see just one. We have had them come to this same spot in the field before, but always in pairs at the least and sometimes whole flocks will land to graze or clean up for a while. This one was standing on one foot but didn't seem hurt or anything. Maybe just separated from the flock and resting for a bit. I hope it heads south soon!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Digital Drawing

Yeah, I did do some digital work last night, finding the time after getting back from a quick trip to Ellsworth. It is unbelievable how fast time goes by when I am working as an artist. Before I realized it I was ready for sleep.
Students are working on end-of-the-semester assignments which tend to be more difficult for most, and so they are much more needy. When you throw in the demands for media (video, photographs, etc.) from around the (busy) school the days fly by!
Here's my last nights work...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Shiny CDs

I shot some photos on my way out of school today after a meeting and it was the first time I remember using CDs as a subject. The funny thing was that the best photo actually was a reflection of my hands as I held the camera near a separate CD. Dan had done some things with CDs in the gallery with his art one students and they were so reflective and bright just lying there that I had to do some pictures of the scene.

A couple of these were pretty close in composition, and I liked the results so I will post them as well. Ahh, the joy of light!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December Face

Drawing is a thing I do every day, not always a lot, but every day. It is like playing guitar for me, and those are probably the only things I try to do every day. Routine is something I have never done very well with, but breaking routine is not that difficult, with a proper context. In my case the context is that of a teaching schedule where it might seem that every day is pretty much the same, but not so (here's where the "attitude" of the context comes into being) because every day "feels" different to me. The minute I get up and head downstairs to the gym I have a premonition of a new and fresh day, but I can't do the feeling justice in this writing because I'm not sure what the source of the feeling is exactly. I know it has a lot to do with attitude and how I sense what is around me. Let me try.

The "sameness" is there, the rooms, the stairs, the lighting, the objects in the house, but there is a "newness" in the quality of the air, in the sense of time and in my knowledge that this will be a new day, with different words, different sounds and different thoughts in my head. That awareness of the unique nature the day presents upon my awakening gives me spirit, it lifts me to an awareness of who I am in the moment and also a feeling that this "uniqueness" will be re pleat with a range of human emotion. Some days will be a wide cascade of emotional textures while others might be a narrow band of joyful satisfaction or of discordant discouragement, but they all fit into the experience of life.
Today was joyful, as I picked a coat up off the floor for a student and hung it in my room (she forgot it after school in the excitement of trying out for a school play), I helped a student after school who was struggling with the technology involved in a difficult assignment and I answered a phone call from a home-schooled student who has signed up with me for a class next semester and wanted to meet with me this week to discuss things he might do in class to help others. These are only three things, but they stuck in my mind as unique and important for today. It was a good day, it started at 3 a.m. as I wanted to get a web site up for my Art Honor kids and I couldn't sleep, so I'll finish this post, and get to bed. The drawing came out of my head as most of them do, but I would be hard pressed in my current state to explain exactly why and where I found it. I do know it has to do with spirit and the holiday season, it might not be all that positive a thing, though.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Snowman Ornament

The first things on our tree this season came from a man who is disabled, but has a facility with the creative process and is able to create such pieces as this to brighten the worlds of others who are most likely much more fortunate than he. Amazing people are among us all.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


The main thing about inspiration is that you never know where it might come from as you move through any given day. I try to keep my eyes and ears open, but it often isn't enough. More is required. When there is not more then one must take what one is given and do the best they can with that simple view, touch, sound or whatever else makes up the individual "muse".
I've had the opportunity to work in the studio today around a trip to Bangor with Matt and Jen to meet our youngest son for lunch. I don't see enough of him and someday I hope to have time to collaborate on something with him, that would be very important to me I think, as life is so short and I know so precious.

So it has been fused glass, a group of small earring pieces that are really a request for things to be given to others for the holiday. I'm OK with that as I love the work and enjoy the result. A photo (not a great photo) of the pieces before firing and another (a little better photo) of one of the pairs after firing which was at the top center in the first photo. I'm also wearing out a red Prismacolor pencil this weekend. Nostalgia?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Brrrrr... Cold Day!

Dress warmly... and don't forget your mittens!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Mechanic's Dream

Ah, yes, the mechanic's dream is the time when everything goes well and the parts fit and the end result is a working repair. Now I may have some time in the studio this weekend!
The non-functioning heater fan (tough to enjoy riding in a car this time of year with no heater fan) is now functioning at all speeds. I was amazed at how simple, and yet physically demanding (lying upside down with one's back bent bent over a stripped center console) replacing an AC/heater control resistor in a 1998 Olds Intrigue turned out to be. All in all, last night and tonight after I got home from school, I probably had 3-4 hours in the job, and now Torrey's car has heat.
The shots I am posting tonight are a bit lower res as I adjusted them for this blog, but I took them with the Canon EOS 7D we got Torrey for Christmas. What a camera! The images are 6 feet by 4 feet at screen resolution and sharp as a tack. One is the interior of the Olds taken apart and the other is the culprit part that needed to be replaced.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Students and Stimulation

Yes, they keep me so busy with challenges and questions and working on solving the many art problems that I push in their direction. I love it, and they seem to love it as well. There really is nothing like the satisfaction that I see in a student's face when they have discovered a new (at least to them) way of doing something or a point of view that is counter intuitive yet works for the application they have designed.

I will often tell students that it has been my experience that a certain way of doing things does not work well and they will pick up on my comment as a challenge to make something work... and then I learn how it can and why. We spend a lot of time in class looking at our art and talking about art in general, and it is very stimulating for me as an artist as I have a head full of ideas by the end of the day.
Today it was "go into the garage" (glad to have one) and work on Torrey's car as he has no heater fan. I took the fan out and it tested OK so now I'm looking at the switch. I often wish we had a mechanical magic wand!
The photos are from my Fiber Arts class (random weave baskets) and from Art 2 working on screen prints. I want to do some screen printing!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

One Hour and Twenty Minutes

...was the drive from Bangor (outer Broadway) to East Sullivan in the snow. After sitting in the dentist's chair with my mouth open (not an unusual "pose" for me) for two and a half hours while fillings were cleaned out, top molds were taken, more cleaning of surfaces, bottom molds taken, nasty chemical smells (reminded me of my brother's boat shop with all the fiberglass) and all the rest, I headed south into the storm. Well, honestly, it wasn't that bad a storm and I had little or no traffic in front of me, so I made good time. It was the first time I had driven the Toyota in the snow and it behaved reasonably well, but I bumped my focus intensity up a notch or two with a large cup of caffeine as I left Brewer. Now with all the excitement of the day I probably won't drift to sleep until midnight.
Anyway, here's a shot of the "guts of the storm" I took on the way home.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Painting Through a Wet Windshield

An unaltered photograph taken through a wet windshield. Hmmm, the world around us and how we see.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Snow Prints

What a wonderful vehicle for describing the passage of time and the movement of human and machinery across a given surface. The record that impressions leave in the snow might be a metaphor for impressions which people leave on their environment and the contact they have with one another, touching slightly or maybe even more than slightly, but overlapping and connecting as chance dictates.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Mountain & The Woods

Wow! I had forgotten that this blog started in the snow last February, and then I looked back through some of the posts I have made in the past ten months and realized the volume of this work. It really does just take working a bit each day to accomplish something that may seem massive when taken as a whole. Building the house that I'm sitting in as I write this, producing a body of artwork that contains hundreds of prints (I just started making them as something new and fresh), and writing hundreds of emails dealing with school, life and the feelings that wash over me every day. It's not just me in this, but everyone who senses and who expresses themselves over time that makes the world turn and the legacy of life meaningful. We are amazing creatures, we human beings. Even though I know that nobody reads this, it is most often a catharsis for me depending on what the mood of the day happens to be.

So the snow moved me today... I was out on the shore and in the woods (times like these I often prefer the woods) and found several shots I would like to post. Cadillac was gorgeous first thing this morning, so that is a must, then a couple of shots of the woods near the house. My Photo One class just did a "patterns" assignment last week, and produced some nice images, so I found myself looking for random patterns of the trees and branches, an easy task with the snow and light working together on the many surfaces.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

First Snow

Busy day, I took the sign to the restaurant and we hung it. It looks good and I am pleased I got it done in time for the opening. The big tide with rain this past week did some damage to the Luna Sea, so it looks like I will have some repair to do in the spring. Oh, well such is the power of the ocean.
I have little or no excitement for Christmas, as I have claimed in the past here, but I am excited by the possibility of snow. I used a flash after dark to capture the image posted here and it looks like we might get the ground covered over night, so I guess winter is finally here.

Friday, December 4, 2009

An Apple a Day for Teacher?

Where does a teacher stand after 37 years? We may have some miles on us, still there's something about the wisdom and softness of age that is significant. Take it for what it's worth.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

So Tired...

... but thinking of my Mom & Dad tonight (photo circa 1946) for some reason. Last night I was up late after the Presidential address and my mind spinning and then up early anticipating the day. Maybe 3 hours sleep. Now it's catching up to me and I'm ready to turn out the light and lapse into unconscious sleep. I felt like I accomplished a lot today with peripheral things at school and my students are awesome, so classes seemed to roll along with good progress. I have been trying to get some supplies ordered, but am drifting off.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

2 Moons

Tonight I am on my own with Matt and the house, everyone else arriving later in the evening, so I took some time to appreciate the moon rising in the eastern sky and solve some photographic challenges in terms of exposure. I ended up setting the first exposure (that I liked - I probably tried half a dozen things before I got close) at a very low shutter speed of 4 seconds, and of course the tripod and shutter delay was needed. I didn't really zoom all the way in for the first shot, and the trees obscured the moon quite a bit. I liked the blue cast, and didn't really "tweak" much with the photo other than to re-size it for the web.

The second shot, several tries later, increased the zoom, shifted position to get more light between the trees, and increased the shutter to 1 second. The light color became much warmer and the halo effect around the branches more pronounced. This "pair of moons" was really worth the exploration and I like the effect of the trees in them. I had thought about trying the "nightshot" setting on camera, but it makes so much grain, I didn't think I would get a good image. Of course, with any low light situation there's bound to be more grain, I guess I should just learn to live with it.