Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Poem for Wednesday - Begin Again

Begin Again

Thought I would begin this day
With a stolen moment in the sun
But so much has already gone before
That to do so I must begin

I meant to put me on the top of the list
So why do I so often start
From the bottom up
Doing all the busy tasks before dawn
While I still have a full head of steam
I begin.

But must maybe this mid morning break
Is the real beginning of my day
And what has gone before is but preamble
Tithes I owe to others
Allotments to the busy world apart
From me.

My world begins with this stolen moment
A last cup of coffee sipped in the morning sun
Mulling over what I really want to do
What color to paint my sky
What subject for the painting
Not begun.

And so as I take the last sip of coffee
And drink in the possibilities before me
I listen to the birds and the breeze
And celebrate the opening of a flower
My must do's behind me
I begin.

(c) J. Binford-Bell

Do you have a poem for Wednesday? Join us.

My So Called Life
with more summer thoughts

Intelliblog and Nicholas V from the 360 days

Dangerous Meredith

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Blessing Way

Blessing Way 18 x 24 Mixed Media on Canvas

There may be some tweaks in this painting's future before taking the official photographs, but there is a lot I really like about this one. I managed to get sheep into a painting that is not of a church. I first put Navajo women in a painting called the Guardian this winter.

I like the combination of the goddesses in the canyons with the people of that land, but it raises all sorts of issues about scale and perspective. I don't want to lessen the grandeur of the cliffs and monuments but I don't want the women to pale into insignificance. A friend raised the question about the facelessness of my goddesses and people. I told her I don't want them to be a specific woman. Too much detail and they are no longer every woman.

The other question raised by Blessing Way is ownership of what may be termed the Native American Spirituality. Here in the southwest we are swamped by Wannabes. I am not Navajo and yet I have always felt an infinity with their spiritual path or blessing way. I have decided I have come to that path not from a desire to wannabe like them but through the land as they have. There is something about the Colorado Plateau and its vast empty spaces and awe inspiring sandstone monuments shaped by the wind and the rain that leads you away from ownership of the land to being its partner through your journey. By putting simple people in the paintings with my goddesses I am trying to convey that marriage of body and soul, of land and spirit.

Churches are ever so much easier to paint.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Poem for Wednesday

This is Multi-blog Poetry Wednesday even if I posted it on Tuesday. See below for others linking in with their poems for Wednesday's tour.

I find myself very effected by the news of the D.C Metro crash on the Red Line. I know people that ride that train daily. I have ridden the trains on the Orange Line. So I felt compelled to write a poem for Poetry Wednesday.

Now I lay me down to Tweet

The metro train on the red route was rolling along
Sixty miles per hour through the Maryland suburbs
Summer blooming in the country beside the track
She was texting on her Blackberry
Her life in a 140 character Tweet on Twitter.

It is possible so was the engineer like the one in LA
Totally unaware of the stopped train at the station
Disgorging weary DC workers at the end of their day
Intent upon fishing out the keys to their SUV’s
Unlocking the doors and starting the air conditioning.

In the central control room where it is programmed to prevent such things
Maybe the routing clerk spilled his coffee on the keyboard
Or was answering his cell phone
Making a note to bring home bread for dinner
Or tweeting when he should have been paying attention.

The birds sitting on the blooming Red buds
Were the only ones totally aware
Of life and living and the soon to be setting sun
As train A climbed up the back of Train B at the station
Like a horny stallion on a broodmare in his paddock.

Someone tweeted or is it twittered
‘I think we have hit something’ before they were slammed
Their Blackberries lost in the rubble on the tracks
Scores of injured tagged with green and red for emergency transport
Nine dead with black tags.

If they had known it might well be their last glimpse of earth
Would they have closed their newspapers
Shifted their attention to the here and now
To the blooming red buds laden with birds
Looked at the clouds in the sky one last time.

Would the commuter that tweeted
‘I think we might have hit something’
Want her 140 characters back for a more significant text
'Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.'

(c) Jacqui Binford-Bell

And yes there will be another multi-blog tour so leave me a message with your url.

My So-called Life has popped in with her poem by Robert Burns on Tuesday. Way to go.

Dangerous Meredith

Shouting at Street Lights


Monday, June 22, 2009

The New Economy

I feel a lot like the kitten in the picture above. Fairs are exhausting. Thankfully I am doing less of them this year. The economy made me take a long and hard look at my usual slate of fairs and delete some - the more expensive and further away.

Artists knew the economy was in recession a full year to two years before anyone in the government admitted it. It hit us first. Lots of my artist friends that existed on fair sales declared bankruptcy that first year. This year we have all pulled back severely on expenses because you cannot rely on previous sale figures to predict any given sales event.

This last weekend was a good fair. Not great but good. For this economy it was very acceptable. What I really noticed was my reluctance to spend any of what I made. Normally when a fair is good there is a lot of artists buying art or trading art. And that did not happen this fair. That extra boost on sales that comes from your fellow exhibitors in the closing hours was just not there.

I packed up and came home and ran my credit cards and prepared my deposit slip for the bank and then looked at what I "have to spend" before my next fair. It is relatively little. I need to paint a few more paintings and I already have the canvas. They will need framed and so there will be $40 to $60 for wood to make frames. And printer ink has gone up so much in price that I am going to have some cards printed instead of doing them myself. There is an Internet based company a friend has used and I should be able to get 500 done for $40. One print cartridge for my HP is $39.

I want the majority of this weekend's profits to stay in the bank. I never want another winter like last one when I had no idea where I was getting the money for the heating bills or pet food. Many of my fellow exhibitors at this weekend's event feel the same, and artists are not known for a conservative approach to the budget.

I am just thrilled that there are people who still have expendable income; money they can spend on art. They are buying at the lower price points on a whole but they are buying. And those artists that sold prints just sold prints. I have been debating prints for some time and I think I am currently on the "originals only" side of the argument.

I noticed when I was catching up with the news of the last three days last night that a recent poll reflected that most people believe Obama has improved the economy. But most also think he does not have a clear plan. Who does? We have not been this way before and I think we are all making guesses. In some cases more educated guesses. None of my artist friends have gotten past spend less as to a game plan.

Any thoughts among my readers as to what is a wise move in these days?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Art Sunday - A Bit of Bragging

I was judged Best of Show at the Red River Art and Wine Festival yesterday. And wanted to honor the judge and his work today. Ed Sandoval is one of the best known artists in the Southwest today. He was born in Nambe, New Mexico and currently lives in Taos where he is considered one of the local characters. Artists must have character.

I met him for the first time yesterday and found him very enchanting and very serious about his judging chores. He was considering composition and use of color and handling of medium and overall presentation. So naturally after receiving the award I felt highly flattered and went immediately to Google when I got home to review his work.

I am not sure if I am most impressed with having won Best of Show or having met this living legend of the artistic world or that he considered my paintings worthy of note.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Another Multi-Blog Poetry Wednesday

I am going to post a poem by William Blake this week. I have been too busy to find that calm creative center required to write poetry.

The Angel

I dreamt a dream! What can it mean?
And that I was a maiden Queen
Guarded by an Angel mild:
Witless woe was ne'er beguiled!

And I wept both night and day,
And he wiped my tears away;
And I wept both day and night,
And hid from him my heart's delight.

So he took his wings, and fled;
Then the morn blushed rosy red.
I dried my tears, and armed my fears
With ten-thousand shields and spears.

Soon my Angel came again;
I was armed, he came in vain;
For the time of youth was fled,
And grey hairs were on my head.

William Blake

More poems from William Blake

Please join us if you have a poem to share.

Djeseru is our first this week

NicholasV at Intelliblog

Shouting at Street Lights posted an interesting poetic challenge earlier this week

Dag T joins us for the first time this week


Kennedy James

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Two More of the New Paintings

I was posting a blog on Profiles and remembered I had promised to post two of my new paintings here having only posted two before. Promise kept. Avid readers may note that the first one is a duplicate of the Manzano Mission painted in 11 x 14 format but this one in daylight as opposed to moonlight - or dawn rather than sunset. I often do my mission churches in diagonal as well as rectangular format.

I could argue that my diagonal mission church paintings are merely a novelty but they are a novelty that sells. And it is not just to collectors looking for something new. I think turning the canvas on point occupies more space. Ergo a smallish painting looks larger on the wall and seems like better value for the money.

As for repeating subjects I defend that with Monet and his waterlilies. And there are just a finite amount of old mission churches in New Mexico (though I am continually amazed when I find a new one) but there are four seasons and an infinite number of cloud formations. Thus every "repeat" of a church is new. I have done the church below before but this is the first time in spring.

Certainly no different than flowers or self-portrait or your mistress again and again. Though I must admit with Picasso he did change mistresses a lot.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Left Brain Tasks Begin

Artists Create. We are predominately right brain thinkers though my left brain friends would say that was a oxymoron. I used to be an ambidextrous thinker with a relationship of 51% right and 49% left. But following my head injury I am 70% right and 49% left. I am very happy with that 90% of the time. It has really improved my painting and other spatially based activities.

But I now come to that left brain side of the business of art. My first art fair is in one week and all the neglected left brain activities are looming. No avoiding them any more. I have to title and price all the new paintings, update my inventory spread sheet, and make title cards. I then have to take inventory sheet in hand and decide which paintings are going with me to this first of the summer fairs. Here, on this last task listed, I get to trip back to my right brain for a while and visualize my booth and what will fit on the walls, but primarily for the next week I will be spending my time in alien territory.

I feel so at sea in my left brain that I have been known to put things off for weeks. This means that by the time I reluctantly set myself to task I will have to camp out in rational thought. Or should I say attempts at rational thought. This generally makes me irritable. Artists need to create. No rational person wants to be an artist. You have to be driven to be an artist which requires unbalanced thinking. But the real problem here in my left brain is that I discover a whole plethora of things I have also put off.

So bear with me here. It is always worse the first fair of the season but following the 20th and 21st I get to be normal again for me.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Multi-blog Poetry Wednesday

I had written poetry in my 20's and 30's and then got too busy to be reflective, changed over to prose and free lance writing. Even wrote technical manuals. Then I got involved with blogging on Y!360 and there was a Poetry Wednesday tour.

I joined in at first sharing the poems the poets had written and I had merely loved and cherished. Then one day I decided to put pen to paper (poetry is always written thus for me) and came up with the following poem. Not a great effort or earth shattering but it opened the door for me to again write the poetry of my heart.

Passing the Ball

Balls of knitting wool
Needles, hooks
Twined into textures

Mother taught me to knit
Crochet, sew, embroider
Sat beside me
Upon the couch
Retrieved my dropped stitches
My patterns
With Warmth

Arts shared
Skills taught
Treasures created
Handed down
From Mother to daughter
Intricate patterns
Of Life

I sit now
On the couch
Knitting memories
To keep me warm
A sweater
To show
I learned

See what
My mother taught me
To do
I knit, Crochet
Cross stitch, crewel
And Sew

Of lives
Knitted together
keeping me warm

J. Binford-Bell October 2007

It is another multi-blog poetry Wednesday and you can play with us with a poem of your own or one that you cherish written by another. You can post your poem on any blog platform and just provide me with your url in a comment here or on Profiles so I can link you in.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Orchid Cactus Bloom

The Orchid Cactus bud began to open last night and completed the process this morning. The blossom is 11 inches across. No it does not smell but it is definitely too beautiful for just one photo. I took over 50 from when it was a bud and I have culled them and put the remaining into a slide show.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Back to Painting

I have not painted much in the last month because I just have not felt like it. Shortly after getting over the flu it hit me that I had two shows in the next five weeks and one is less than two weeks away.

I have ample inventory of paintings but I had run out of my mission series. They are very popular and this is not a year to pass up any opportunity for a sale. So in the last week I have been working on five small mission paintings. The two below are 11 x 14.

The Abiquiu church is one of my favorites. I think this is my third version of it. They all sell.


But my newest find in churches is the one at Manzano. From the front it could be just anyone of the many adobe churches found in small towns around New Mexico. But I love the rear view. I did the first one at night, but I have another I am doing of this same view on a 12 x12 diagonal canvas but in the daytime.


I will be posting the other paintings I have completed another day. Started sketching out three possible more paintings. But I need to frame these first. The next ten days will go fast. The first fair of the season always hits me unawares.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Slide show?

I have been playing with slide shows on FlickR and trying to post. Given the great instruction I have gotten from blogging friends with more smarts I thought I had it right. But I was getting nowhere until I decided that maybe my "privacy" settings on FlickR was my issue. So today I picked a folder there marked public - my zoo pictures. And below are the results.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Foto Friday

We have been having rain here almost every afternoon or evening. The weatherman says it is a monsoonal pattern. But we don't usually get monsoons until July and August. Monsoonal weather is when there is a shift in prevailing upper level winds bringing moist ocean air over otherwise dry areas. Here that moist air reaches the mountains and rises to condense as clouds and form huge cumulus thunderheads. They are beautiful to behold. And I spend hours in the studio trying to capture on canvas just the feeling of these clouds.

I very much enjoy sitting on my studio stoop at afternoon break time and watching them grow up and up and up. On the dark underside you will see lightning flashes. The fur kids head in first at the sound of distant thunder. It is the static electricity in the air that usually gets me at last inside before the drenching rains hit.

See Frani on her new profile page for more fabulous fotos today.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Multi-blog Poetry Wednesday for June 3, 2009


What manner is this spark
We at turns call energy
Or well being or drive
Or grace?

We take it for granted
Each day it is with us
And only note it
When lost.

Missing its illumination upon waking
We are inclined
to wallow in bed
or pity.

Finding it again after a period of absence
We are want to define it
As a brighter light
A clearer sky.

And why does this spirit
Bring us calm
As well as energy
And Inspiration.

I cannot say when grace went away
Or what miasmas of body or soul caused it to go
But I noted the moment of its return
With a smile.

Oh, how very blue the sky
How fresh the breeze
And sweet the song of birds
I am sated.

Full after days of parched soul
Warmed by the spring sun
That only yesterday brought
A chill.

Today I had an abundance of well being
I sat and basked in the glory
Of feeling energy again

Today my spirit awoke
And I became aware
Of just how long it has been

(c) Jacqui Binford-Bell

Another Multi-blog Poetry Wednesday tour is open. This week we have Profiles joining us. As Y360 is closing down I will be posting the tour on both Profiles and Y360 as well as Creative Journey.

If you have a poem you can give me a message on 360 or write in my guestbook on Profiles or post a comment on the Multi-blog Poetry Wednesday post here or there or there. Need your url.

My Granny Square Afghans

This site is suppose to be my creative ventures and tomorrow (later today) it will be the base for another Multi-blog Poetry Wednesday so please check back. But today I wanted to feature my "while ill" crafts - my afghans. The above one is my first and is smaller, sort of lap robe size.

Second Granny Square Afghan

And this one is full size and I got more creative on my color uses and number of square motifs to arrange. Sitting in my easy chair crocheting squares is very relaxing when I am watching a DVD. And until you link them all together you don't have to be under a blanket of yarn. So I am starting another lap sized one.