Thursday, May 28, 2009

Foto Friday

Back to the zoo pictures. I love photographing the great apes. First they are studies in black and shades of gray and this one has wonderful "Gym" patterns around. But I also love their expressions. I swear my father used to get this same expression on his face - half amusement and half puzzlement with a dash of satisfaction.

I can remember getting this look when I had gotten into some sort of trouble of a less than serious nature that would have been something he had gotten caught at when a child. It is the "what-am-I-going-to-do-with-you-look." Being my father's daughter I got it a lot. It always made my mother absolutely livid.

In this particular instance I think the look was for a child at the guard rail. And his mother was close to being livid.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Multi-blog Poetry Wednesday

The above image is of the Vietnam Memorial in Angel Fire, New Mexico. I usually post a picture I have taken of it on Memorial Day. Don't know where my head was this time. So better late than never. And I also decided to borrow another Tu Fu Poem and I am not particularly poetic of late.

Day's End

Oxen and sheep were brought back down
Long ago, and bramble gates closed. Over
Mountains and rivers, far from my old garden,
A windswept moon rises into clear night.

Springs trickle down dark cliffs, and autumn
Dew fills ridgeline grasses. My hair seems
Whiter in lamplight. The flame flickers
Good fortune over and over -- and for what?

Tu Fu

Hopefully other readers and participants have poems to share. Leave me a comment here or on my Y!360 page or on twitter.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Plant Bench

The above is the completed plant bench under the front studio windows. I painted the wood to match the other painted furniture in the studio like the bentwood rocker in the foreground. The tile is the same as that on my floor. In fact I saved all the little bits and pieces I cut off. I have always been a bit "waste not/want not" about things but in this instance saving the tile pieces was a good thing.

Below is a detail of the shells, ceramic pieces from the wind chime and stones in part of the top. I used a cream colored grout because I wanted it to look like the sand on a beach and even took a brush when the grout was still wet and shaped the "sand" around the shells to look like the tide had just deposited them on the shore.

The three potted plants sitting on the bench in the first picture are sitting in areas of the top that are just tile.You can still see the detail pieces around the base of the pots.The really good news about this project is that it cost nothing out of pocket. I had found the sofa table in need of repair at the dumpsters. And I had all the other materials on hand.

I am really happy with the way this turned out.

The Plant

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New Project

A sure sign that I am feeling better is I have begun a new project. Well, new in that I have finally gotten round to it. (Said as if one word - roundtoit)

I found this former sofa table at the dumpsters. It was missing two legs. I cut the two it had in half and created a bench 16" tall. I removed the trim around the top (one piece already missing) and added hardibacker as a basis for the tile. I had some of that. And I had the tile. These are bits and pieces I had to cut off when doing the tile floor in my studio.

For interest I added in seashells collected decades ago when I lived near the beach and little ceramic old men that came from a wind chime that fell victim to the winds. And for good measure a few interesting pocket rocks picked up along Utah trails. The picture above shows the lose bits and pieces as I was playing with the layout. Yesterday I got out my tile saw and cut some things to fit.

This is the finished layout with the tiles cleaned of their ceramic dust. Today I have to add the new edge around it. And then grout it. Even had the grout on hand. Will probably have to buy edging
though I have a 1x 4 by 8' I could rip to 2 1/2 wide.

This will not be a sitting bench but a plant bench to go under the front window of the studio to hold some of my many potted plants. The plants and I are looking forward to its completion.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Poem for Wednesday - Ill

I have never been good at being sick so it is good that on the whole of my life I have been in good health. Course I went through the usual run of childhood diseases (before we had vaccinations for things like measles) but I usually had a lot lighter case of them than my brother. Except for the mumps. I really got the mumps.

I never wanted people to know I was sick, especially parents, which meant acting well and trudging off to school. I became the grade school version of Typhoid Mary. With the mumps it was immediately sent home to the cloying ministrations of my mother. As an adult I shut myself up into my cave. Which is what I did when I got the flu. And when I could I penned the following poem. I am on the mend let me hasten to add.


Oh, when I feel ill
I want my blankie
Snatched from me at six
I want to hide in old movies
And hug hot mugs of tea.

I seek to bury myself
Beneath blankets and comforters and purr kids
Close myself off from all contact
Like a grumpy hibernating bear
In the deepest part of the cave.

I am not the best of company
When my health is off
I am not even sure I like myself
When ill
I even avoid me.

Hiding beneath blankets
In books I am not a character in
Movies I have watched so much they are memorized
Until I become curious again
About the world outside my sick room.

Till then let me be
A bump under piles of blankets
Someone you thought you saw last week
If I die someone will let you know
The date of the more permanent internment.

(c) Jacqui Binford-Bell

Another multi-blog poetry Wednesday is our future. Do let me know if you are participating.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday's Fenomenal Foto

This view of Wheeler Peak and the Sangre de Cristo Mountain range is about three miles from my house, though if you saw the movie Lonesome Dove you think it is Montana. That is the movies for you.

Because I am still getting over the flu, though I think I am on the road to recover, I am not doing a lot of painting at the moment. However, yesterday I did feel good enough to bring the camera along on a pet sitting job. It is spring here in the high country and things are just beginning to really green up. We have not had much rain so the wildflowers are still in short supply. And the mountains, even in this southern exposure, still have some snow on them.

I get my inspiration for paintings from the land I live in and many of my photographs become the basis of compositions. It obviously inspires lots of artists. This view will be seen by those traveling the 3T's Art Trail beginning this summer. We have 17 art studios and galleries that will be participating this year with more applications coming in daily.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Let there be flowers

I did not write the following poem. I subscribe to Poem Hunter which sends me a few each week. I particularly liked this one and thought I would post it for Poetry Wednesday.

Alone, Looking for Blossoms Along the River

The sorrow of riverside blossoms inexplicable,
And nowhere to complain -- I've gone half crazy.
I look up our southern neighbor. But my friend in wine
Gone ten days drinking. I find only an empty bed.

A thick frenzy of blossoms shrouding the riverside,
I stroll, listing dangerously, in full fear of spring.
Poems, wine -- even this profusely driven, I endure.
Arrangements for this old, white-haired man can wait.

A deep river, two or three houses in bamboo quiet,
And such goings on: red blossoms glaring with white!
Among spring's vociferous glories, I too have my place:
With a lovely wine, bidding life's affairs bon voyage.

Looking east to Shao, its smoke filled with blossoms,
I admire that stately Po-hua wineshop even more.
To empty golden wine cups, calling such beautiful
Dancing girls to embroidered mats -- who could bear it?

East of the river, before Abbot Huang's grave,
Spring is a frail splendor among gentle breezes.
In this crush of peach blossoms opening ownerless,
Shall I treasure light reds, or treasure them dark?

At Madame Huang's house, blossoms fill the paths:
Thousands, tens of thousands haul the branches down.
And butterflies linger playfully -- an unbroken
Dance floating to songs orioles sing at their ease.

I don't so love blossoms I want to die. I'm afraid,
Once they are gone, of old age still more impetuous.
And they scatter gladly, by the branchful. Let's talk
Things over, little buds ---open delicately, sparingly.

Tu Fu

Do you have a poem you would like to share with us this Wednesday? Post a comment below with your url or on 360 when the tour opens or on Twitter.

Including a Tuesday Poem on Shouting at Street Lights to kick the tour off.

Jacqueline joins us this week.

Nicholas V

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Bonsai to Be

Wee Willow Inspecting Progress

I mentioned in a previous blog that one of my projects for the summer was to turn this evergreen into a bonsai or ornamental shrub. Fire wood had once been stacked against it on the porch and winds and snowdrifts and fallen pieces of firewood had beaten it down and killed branches.

My first task was to uncover it and cut out the dead branches. Then I began opening up the basic structure of the shrub and let the light through. I don't know that this part is complete but I think bonsai are to be done slowly and it is the contemplation of what next to do which brings inner peace.

But being of a decided Western mind set I had to do while considering my little tree. And so I weeded around the plants in the bed beside it all the while studying my path as it were.

This too also did not get done in a single day. This is just half of the bed freed of clogging grass and dandelions. There is a poppy and several Columbine here and the unearthed soaker hose. An as yet unshaped branch of my shrub is in the foreground.

Yesterday was sunny but it had a biting wind so I stayed away from my uncompleted labors and drew some sketches of possible forms for my bonsai to take and also things to do in the flower bed. Beyond this picture is the remnants of another shrub that was killed a couple winters ago after being buried under a five foot fall of snow from the roof. Its roots are going have to be dug out so something can be planted it its place. Wild catnip, tansy and chocolate mint have claimed the spaces around the dead branches as their dominion so it will not be an easy fight.

If the weather is nice today the war to reclaim the flower bed will continue today. And no doubt more shaping will get done on the shrub.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday's Foto & Revised To Do Lists

Since getting over the flu I have been rather depressed. It is spring her and time to begin all those outside projects and yet the budget isn't able to handle the deck I would like to be building for the studio, or the cobblestone walk to the door, or a third raised bed for growing things. And it is as if the flu just underlined this for me.

I pulled myself away from the computer yesterday to sit in the sun on my stoop that will just have to do until the economy picks up and art sales return to former levels or beyond. I had a pen and a sketch book and my goal was to make a list of things to be done around the house that did not require money or at least very little of it.

Weed flower beds is at the very top. Not my favorite of tasks frankly but it does get one in the sun, make things look better and require no money. In one of those flower beds is a low evergreen that would lend itself to being trimmed into a Bonsai. Thank you Bekkieann for that idea. And while I got the studio sign painted I need an Open sign. Plenty of scrap lumber around to do that. And maybe I cannot do the cobblestone walk yet but I could level the playing field as it were and get it all prepped.

And there is buff and fluff both dogs. I found the old trimmers to do my standard poodle. Did her all the time till I found Audrey. Well, I cannot afford Audrey right now and Mardi does need trimmed. Somewhere there is a nail clippers too for them.

And last year I began a rock garden around a small pond. I got the liner in place and a pump on a shelf somewhere. I had an ideal but it got abandoned for finishing the tile in the studio. Rocks are everywhere. It is just hauling them and placing them and filling in spaces. I can even dig up wild plants and shrubs to put in the crevices.

Then there is my plant stand idea. Just a minor amount of wood to buy.

The list goes on. Dad always said if you had the time you didn't have the money and vice versa but I do have the time right now if not the money. And now I have a list of projects that don't require money. I think progress on any level can lift our spirits. In these trying times we just need to be more creative.

Note on Photo: the Cholla blossoms above were from last summer. On Chats with Charley I have another view posted. Digital photography is another of those no-cost projects. And the wildflowers are just beginning to bloom around here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Poem for Wednesday

The center or yoke of the poem below came from an old journal. It was obviously a work in progress in 1976 and one which I abandoned toward the later pages as I abandoned the journal. I seem to never fill them in entirety.

Today I unearthed the poem and found some phrases of merits and it seemed to reflect on my fragile feelings since succumbing to the flu (the vaccine of which is made in egg yokes) so I began playing around with it again. If I remember correctly at the time it was begun I had geese and ducks and was experimenting with making my own tempera paint which uses egg yokes carefully removed from their membranes.

With cold calcium shells
Neatly arranged
Separated in nested cartons

Tea cozies
And angel eggs
Poached in boiling water
Whites suspended in three dimensions
Eaten delicately on toast
With tea and butter

Duck eggs
So large and smooth
Cracked and separated
White from yoke
rolled from palm to palm
Medium for tempera paint

Pretty eggs
delicately peeled of protective shell
Yoke and white suspended in membrane
Like a water balloon of life
Quivering in open palm
No longer able to turtle

She quivered
hugging herself together
With flimsy translucent memories
Waiting to be pricked by experience
No longer the cozy turtle.

Eggs, wonderful eggs
so perfectly sealed
And filled with promise
Cozy and comfortable

(c) J. Binford-Bell 2009

Do you have a poem to share with us this Wednesday? One you wrote or just enjoyed reading. Leave a comment here with url or on Twitter or on my Y!360 page.

Heidi B has hers posted already.

Catfishred on Y!360 and a link to another poetry tour


My So Called Life

Nicholas V