Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Drove the Jeep Today

I escaped from my icy prison in Black Lake and headed south to visit my sister. She has a Jeep Rubicon and so in addition to shopping and dog training (my two and her one) we have been out off roading in the Manzano Mountains. They got snow too but it has melted into mud in some spots and frozen into icy sheets on north facing slopes making for tons of fun and driving challenges. And Debbie let me drive.

Drove the jeep today!

Over hill, over trail
Through snow
And Mud
Oozing dark mud
And puddles of thick soup.

Free wheeling and no wheeling
Sliding down slopes of snow
I would not wish
To walk
Back from the woods.

This definitely is not my mother's 63
Must be more my father's child
Slipping and sliding
Rock and rolling
Giggling with my sister.

(c) J. Binford-Bell

Every once in a while we need to slip our bonds, traipse over our normal boundaries and explore our inner child to find and renew our creative voice.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Upon this Winter Solstice

This Yule I gave time to a distressed former friend. She had been there once for me. I figured this was a gift to her in return even given her betrayal this summer. Since then I have kept my distance. Centered myself on my studio completion and the striving to reach a level of achievement within myself with my art. I invited her with others to my studio opening last night.

It is All About Her

I sat
And listened to my old friend
And saw her not hearing what she said
Of excuses and reasons for her behavior.

She talked
of DNA and genetics and the latest research in favor of
She heard not a word
Of what she repeated of teachers.

I watched
Someone I no longer
No longer wanted to know
On any level but chitchat.

She sat
Across from me in the morning sun
Talking nonsense she should would not once have believed
And giving it too much weight.

She'd grown
Less and ponderous but without weight
The sun streamed through the windows
And touched her not.

I tried
To listen to her excuses
What she thought meant so much
But saw only what she had once been.

Have has she become just reasons not
For the inexcusable
All about her surrendered soul.

For your very souls
And give up all hope
Of being more than just yourself.

Is a nurtured hope
Of one's soul to itself
Excuse for less is but death.

(c) J. Binford-Bell Winter Solstice 2008

I drew three runes for direction this solstice. I got Growth, Transformation and Opening. Auspicious beginning for the new solar year. But with growth comes leaving behind those people and things that limit us.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Path

The Path

One by one
They go away
Stay away I find I pray
What made me find them
Good Company
So interesting once but not now?

One by One
They drop behind
Or did they take a different turn
Or I
Why did I once find her
Why did I seek her company?

Little by little
He ceases to call
And we have less and less to chat about
Him I used to love
To whom I was once married
Could I really have been in love?

Bit by bit
My friends are changing
Becoming alien things
That has changed so much
Me that walked away on another path?

One and Two
And stop to buckle my shoe
Move along now I have things to do
of importance
All of which do not include you?

One by one
The come again and go
Talking nonsense that seems to bore
Did I once so raptly listen
Was I as shallow as you?

Why, oh why?
Did I once like you and you and you
Seek out your
Have I grown so far beyond
Or just stopped to let you pass?

By and by
We all do change
Choose our own and different path
Set another
Don't you notice how I stare at you
Wondering why you are still here
on my path.

(c) J. Binford-Bell December 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Neatness and Creativity?

Studio Work Space with Handmade Table

I devoted some of my time yesterday to unearthing my work table. I have this tendency to get all my brushes out and all my jars of watercolor and mixing trays and spread them all about even though there is a pull-out flat file to the right where all of this stuff is suppose to live. I made the desk this spring to my own specifications. Working in water media requires flat surfaces.

I have finally committed myself to an "open studio" party this coming Saturday to show off my studio to my friends. I have made myself a hermit while finishing the studio following the firing of the contractor a year ago July. The studio is now open informally but in May it will become part of the 3T's Art Tour here in northern New Mexico and I will have to keep minimal regular hours. I am rather looking forward to that next summer.

However, I am not sure I am looking forward to the neatness it will require. I spent blocks of time yesterday cleaning up after a spate of painting and the making of Sailing on Solar Winds. Today I need to clean up my desks from designing and printing invitations and making Christmas ornaments for the tree. I am not a neat person. One flat surface gets too crowded and I just move to another. And the new studio offers tons of flat surfaces. Some even are on rollers and slide out for my convenience.

And artists (well, at least this one) seem to seldom toss anything out. Never know when you will need that colored pen or that jar or that single earring of a pair you used to love or the great piece of drift wood. For projects like my mobile this treasure trove of shells, branches, charms and crystals was invaluable. I am sure it is all about just storing them correctly so they can be easily found and accessed. Like I stored the rice paper I still cannot find. I seem to lose things when I put them away. It is not like you can file them under "C" for collectibles in a file cabinet.

Any suggestions from other creative people out there?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Solar Winds Sets Sail

Sailing on Solar Winds

I hung my first ever mobile yesterday at the apex of my studio. This "dreamcatcher" is a "charm" for my studio and my work. Its hull contains "offerings" to spirits on the Solar Winds. That is the uniquely personal part of the project.

But on a totally artistic level this mobile was an interesting venture. Making a mobile is not easy nor is photographing one. They move. They are designed to move. And there are all sorts of balance issues to be considered. It is not just a matter of equal weights but of pivot points and counter-balance.

I really think I want to make more mobiles. I certainly have the ceiling to display them on. And I have always enjoyed ventures into 3-D art. I may even make some mobiles to sell but this one is mine. I made it for me from the cutting of the willow to the tying on of the crystal given to me by my mother. I made it rather like a wizard makes their staff.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I am working on a mobile for my studio. I have a 14' ceiling peak in the room and it looks so empty. I just had to fill it with something. Then at a fair I saw some rice paper creations by a couple friends of mine and the ideas began. Their mobiles center around women on ladders and flying kites but they had one style which used a boat. My mind immediately started developing variances to their design.

I considered trying to explain what I had in mind and having them do it for me. First larger, two with outriggers. Oh, and it must have a sail. And I think no figure at the "helm" as it were. And red willow. Can you get red willow.

What I wanted truly was a "charm" or "spirit guard" or "dream catcher" for my studio. Years ago a friend made me a house spirit to guard my home. It has been to several homes since then but it always guards well. One of the features of this creation was a hallow bone that I insert offerings of flowers and grasses into. My new studio spirit had to incorporate that aspect as well.

When I began that was all I knew. It is by no means finished but the above photo is my beginning. It is 18" tall and 30" long. And while I have some ideas of where I am going - it seems to control the direction.


I am not sure
Where I was heading
What direction I had chosen
It seemed more about
Just keeping on
One foot before the other.

I have not stopped
Of late to check the distance traveled
Or the path I'd chosen
Seems a while since
There has been a fork
A choice to be made.

I have not questioned
The course I have taken
Or the heading plotted
Or where it is I want to go
It wasn't always clear or easy
Just a way to travel.

I never considered
Turning back or pausing for long
If asked I might have said
It seemed the way to go
Though to what destination
I still am not sure.

I never thought
Stopping was not an option
It was a journey
I never questioned
Toward a goal
I ill defined.

So imagine
Finding the path you are on
Is going where you want
And where that is
Is closer
Than you had ever thought.

(c) J. Binford-Bell

Friday, December 5, 2008

Shadow Life

I am first a painter. I see photography as a tool for painting. I go out with my cameras and take quick photos that I will later use as a base for paintings. But every so often I get one of those photographs that stands alone as just a great photograph. I think this candid shot is one of those. I call it Shadow Life.

A friend on another blog said I should enter it in a competition. I am so out of touch with the photography world I haven't a clue. But I do think I will print this one out and frame it to hang on my wall because it pleases me. I think art should not be always about sales and competitions. So I consider photography and my jewelry making like tithing. And what I gain from those experiences help me to refresh my creativity on my painting. Gets me out of paint to sell mode.

Art should be about expression. Customers should buy works because they connect to what you were trying to express with that particular work of art. But they do buy because it matches the room decor. And they avoid work that can be disturbing. One viewer of this photograph though it less than happy.

Yes, and that is why I like it. It makes a statement about life.