April 2008 Archives
Maybe it's having just read Clay Shirky's talk on Gin, Television, and Social Surplus, or maybe not. Tonight I find the television more interesting to look at when it's turned off.
Artist Velma Parker made fabulous hats from newspaper, tissue paper, ribbons and artificial flowers at Art All Night this year.
I passed an art supply store having a sale today, and bought a few Derwent Inktense watersoluble pencils - got versions of the three primaries and a couple of greens. Think I can fit them in my pencil case along with everything else, and look forward to playing with them...
Every year for the past eleven years there's been a one-night, all-night art show in Pittsburgh. It's run by volunteers: no fees, no jury, no censorship, no commission. Anyone can submit one piece. In 2007, 850 artists of all ages, and all levels of experience took part. It's a fantastic community party. The energy and creativity are inspiring, and the crowds get bigger every year. I'm submitting this small gouache painting, "Ipswich Bay." Framed, it is roughly 7" x 9". If you happen to be there, look for it - and if you see me in the crowd, please say, "Hi."
Hand and swash of color. Walking home today involved moving in and out of various pools of scent - especially noticing viburnum in bloom, but also apple trees, cherry, plum - all blossoming and dropping petals into the wind. When the rain came (we were almost home), I smelled earth and wet sidewalks. Spring.
Today I arrived at the symposium early, and had time to sit on the wall beneath the branches of the splendid magnolia outside the theater. I drew. While I traced the outline of petals and branching twigs, while I breathed in the scent, a light wind ruffled through everything and the petals began falling around me. And on me.
This weekend has been one of those times when I really pause, pay attention, and appreciate Pittsburgh. Maybe it was the symposium gathering women to talk with one another about art, activism, and equity. Maybe it was seeing the way networks of new friends, old friends, experience and opportunity can expand with thoughtful tending. Maybe it was the power of all that creative energy in one room. In a city the size of Pittsburgh, small groups working together can have a significant effect - in neighborhoods, in institutions, in politics, and in business. Drawing every day has taught me about the way a gesture, repeated, can have a powerful cumulative effect. I see that happening in the city around me.
And in this season of change and new growth, I feel an irresistible upwelling of optimism and hope. Happy spring, everyone!
And don't forget to vote on Tuesday.
I'm participating in a symposium tomorrow, so spent this evening organizing (and reorganizing) what I was going to say.
Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh. Had some time at the school arts festival between looking at art and listening to music - so I drew the view across the back field and the street beyond. As I was finishing, darker clouds moved in from the west and the light rain began again. Which makes the day sound gloomy - but that was just the weather. Art brought its own light to every corner of the day, and I was left mumbling platitudes, stirred beyond language by the landscape of work itself.
Not sure who picked this - from the length of the stem, I suspect a child. I can remember my mother saying, "Leave a long stem, pick it with a long stem," and I never really understood why. Forgot all about it until I got to the age when small people began presenting me with just-picked flowers, and I heard myself saying the same thing. A blossom with no stem will float in water, though... and this one has a lovely smell.
Late night sounds: keys clicking as I type, the clock ticks, and in the other room, the gurgle, rush, and roar of our dishwasher. Something wooden settles with a soft creak. A bookcase? A floorboard? I don't know. I will myself not to hear the mouse. (No mouse.) In a moment I'll hear the spring move in the clock, the chimes, the hour. And then it will be tomorrow.