Saturday, March 31, 2018

Working Large

Screenshot from Working large by Jane Davies.

I love this video of Jane Davies demonstrating how she works large. I plan to try this again in the upcoming week.  Below are two earlier painted works I did on large, cheap drawing paper (18" x 24").

I'm hoping for some dry, warmish days next week so I can paint outside. I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, March 30, 2018

A Baker's Dozen: 13 Children's Poetry Books from 2018 (You'll Want Them All)

from Seeing Into Tomorrow - A Collection of Haikus by Richard Wright, photographs by Nina Crews

Crews, Nina & Richard Wright. (2018). Seeing Into Tomorrow. Illustrated by Nina Crews. Minneapolis, MN: Millbrook Press.

from In the Past

Elliot, David. (2018). In the Past: From Trilobites to Dinosaurs to Mammoths in More Than 500 Million Years. Illustrated by Matthew Trueman. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.

Giovanni, Nikki. (2018). I Am Loved. Illustrated by Ashley Bryan. New York: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books.

from An Extraordinary Ordinary Moth.

Gray, Karlin. (2018). An Extraordinary Ordinary Moth. Illustrated by Steliyana Doneva. Ann Arbor, MI: Sleeping Bear Press.

from A Place to Start a Family: Poems About Creatures That Build   - collage by Giles Laroche.

Harrison, David L. (2018). A Place to Start a Family: Poems About Creatures That Build  Illustrated by Giles Laroche. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge.

Latham, Irene & Charles Waters. (2018). Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship. Illustrated by Sean Qualls & Selina Aiko. Carolrhoda Books.

Metropolitan Museum of Art & Lee Bennett Hopkins (Ed). (2018). World Make Way: New Poems Inspired by Art from The Metropolitan Museum.  New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers.

The Horse's Haiku

Rosen, Michael J. (2018). The Horse's Haiku. Illustrated by Stan Fellows. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.

from Every Month Is a New Year: Celebrations Around the World. Collage by Susan Roth

Singer, Marilyn. (2018).  Every Month Is a New Year: Celebrations Around the World. Illustrated by Susan Roth. New York: Lee & low Books. Note: Will be Published on 4.16.18.

Tuttle, Sarah Grace. (2018). HIDDEN CITY: Poems of Urban Wildlife. Illustrated by Amy Schimler-Safford. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmand Publishing.

VanDerwater, Amy Ludwig. (2018). With My Hands: Poems About Making Thing. Illustrated by Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson. New York: Clarion.

from Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Up

Walker, Sally M. (2018). Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Up Illustrated by William Grill.  Somerset. MA: Candlewick.

from Did You Hear What I Heard?: Poems About School. 

Winters, Kay. (2018). Did You Hear What I Heard?: Poems About School. Illustrated by Patrice Barton. New York: Dial Books.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

#SOL18: Live

Painting I made after Rob’s death. I incorporated his writing into the work. 
“A beloved spiritual teacher once told me that I kept protecting myself from losses that had already happened.”  Geneen Roth, This Messy, Magnificent Life: A Field Guide, p. 15.

I’m heading south. The sun has yet to rise and the sway of the double decker train might lull me to sleep at another time, but not this morning. I’m reading Geneen Roth’s new book when I find myself suddenly stopping to reread the line I quoted at the top of this post. Something in these words has pulled me from the shared universe of book and reader into this present moment. The words resonate for I too have attempted to safeguard myself from old pain.

The heart wants what it wants.

What the last two years have taught me about grief is that new pains arise. Or at least I used to think they were new. Now I’m less sure.

I want to think that the last vestiges of grief are signaled by an acceptance to give up self-protection and live knowing the very definition of living is so often some degree of pain. Living first meant contending with the multiple losses that accompany any one death.


What might Rob make of my and Devon’s lives now?

A few days ago, Dev and I watched the recent Star Wars movie—the name escapes me. By my count this must be episode 8. Both Rob and Devon were fans of Star Wars and for the first time that I can recall I experience a sense of Rob as the film started. It was brief—perhaps a minute or so and quite understated, but nonetheless there was a shift in energy. I felt his presence—a shiny kindness that surrounded me. As the feeling dissipated I looked up and outside a back window—the same window I stared out of for the 19 days Rob had been home before he died—the reddest cardinal I have ever seen sat on a snow covered branch. It remained there for more than 5 minutes and finally I turned my eyes back to the movie.


I thought moving on was the goal. Now I see that as more trap than movement. It’s not moving on after all. It’s living. Nothing more than that.


Live, brilliantly.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Barn Burning/Moon Rising

Moon's Rising and Birds (M.A. Reilly)
The 17th century poet, Mizuta Masahide, wrote the following haiku after watching his barn burn to the ground:

“Barn’s burnt down now I can see the moon”
I love Masahide's thinking-being in the world. As I reread I think, sad things happen. How I name life as it is happening, matters as well. Living in the middle of things allows for possibilities in ways that event-based time often does not. Living in the middle allows me to better see how mechanical renderings of life yield lots of beginnings and endings. How I name something as started or ended is often a matter of routine. For Masahide the barn burning was neither end nor beginning. It was.
In Alan Lightman's Einstein's Dreams, mechanical and body time are considered. Of all of the times proffered, this is my favorite description. 
Lightman writes:
24 APRIL 1905 
In this world, there are two times. There is mechanical time and there is body time. The first is as rigid and metallic as a massive pendulum of iron that swings back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. The second squirms and wriggles like a bluefish in a bay. The first is unyielding, predetermined. The second makes up its mind as it goes along.  
Many are convinced that mechanical time does not exist. When they pass the giant clock on the Kramgasse they do not see it; nor do they hear its chimes while sending packages on Postgasse or strolling between flowers in the Rosengarten. They wear watches on their wrists, but only as ornaments or as courtesies to those who would give timepieces as gifts. They do not keep clocks in their houses. Instead, they listen to their heartbeats. they feel the rhythms of their moods and desires. Such people eat when they are hungry, go to their jobs at the millinery or the chemist’s whenever they wake from their sleep, make love all hours of the day. Such people laugh at the thought of mechanical time. They know that time moves in fits and starts. They know that time struggles forward with a weight on its back when they are rushing an injured child to the hospital or bearing the gaze of a neighbor wronged. And they know too that time darts across the field of vision when they are eating well with friends or receiving praise or lying in the arms of a secret lover. 
Then there are those who think that their bodies don’t exist. They live by mechanical time. They rise at seven o’clock in the morning. They eat their lunch at noon and their supper at six. They arrive at their appointments on time, precisely by the clock. They make love between eight and ten at night. They work forty hours a week, read the Sunday paper on Sunday, play chess on Tuesday nights. When their stomach growls, they look at their watch to see if it is time to eat. When they begin to lose themselves in a concert, they look at the clock above the stage to see when it will be time to go home. They know that the body is not a thing of wild magic, but a collection of chemicals, tissues, and nerve impulses. Thoughts are no more than electrical surges in the brain. Sexual arousal is no more than a flow of chemicals to certain nerve endings. Sadness no more than a bit of acid transfixed in the cerebellum. In short, the body is a machine, subject to the same laws of electricity and mechanics as an electron or clock. As such, the body must be addressed in the language of physics. And if the body speaks, it is the speaking of only so many levers and forces. The body is a thing to be ordered, not obeyed. 
Taking the night air along the river Aare, one sees evidence for two worlds in one. A boatman gauges his position in the dark by counting seconds drifted in the water’s current. “One, three meters. Two, six meters. Three, nine meters.” His voice cuts through the black in clean and certain syllables. Beneath a lamppost on the Nydegg Bridge, two brothers who have not seen each other for a year stand and drink and laugh. The bell of St. Vincent’s Cathedral sings ten times. In seconds, lights in the apartments lining Schifflaube wink out, in a perfect mechanized response, like the deductions of Euclid’s geometry. Lying on the riverbank, two lovers look up lazily, awakened from a timeless sleep by the distant church bells, surprised to find that night has come. Where the two times meet, desperation. Where the two times go their separate ways, contentment. For, miraculously, a barrister, a nurse, a baker can make a world in either time, but not in both times. Each time is true, but the truths are not the same. 
The world feels overpopulated with truths some mornings. Then tensions between living mechanically and bodily clash. At these times, I find (not that I always follow such advice) remembering the barn burning, the moon rising quiets the noise.


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