Moonlit Night, 2018, Archival Digital Print
This is a good time for reading and thinking when not making things in the studio or doing things around the grounds. So much turmoil in our national life that the quiet of home is welcome. In these dark days it is easy to imagine those in the Medieval Period in Europe choosing to join Convents and Monasteries to pray for the soul of the world. As artists we live in a space between the cave and the public square, positioned in a zone that is without public power. Many kid themselves, yearning to feel relevant, that they have actual effect, but rarely is this true. We follow our gifts but with no sense and even less proof that it helps or enlightens the state of things. Is there a choice? No.
The Presence of Evil, 2018
If anything ever convinced me of the presence of Evil, as opposed to a product of bad parenting, it is this man who seems to delight in tearing children from their parents and at the same time he blames it on the others.
The Dictionary defines the evil as: profoundly immoral and malevolent.
Though I’ve tried, I cannot understand Trump in psychological terms; I cannot use his childhood history as an explanation for who he is nor what he does. Remember when he made fun of the reporter with cerebral palsy? Or the parents of the slain soldier? That was only a warm up. These incidents now number so many it’s easy to forget them. It’s no accident that his supporters resort to Biblical terms in his defense. Confused to be sure, I have a hunch that underneath it, they, too, recognize the malevolence that is present in this man they willingly serve.
I just reread the late Scott Peck’s book People of the Lie. A Lay Episcopal priest and a psychiatrist he wrote: “Evil then, for the moment, is the force, residing either inside or outside of human beings, that seeks to kill life or liveliness. And goodness is its opposite. Goodness is that which promotes life and liveliness.”
And of evil people: “Theirs is a brand of narcissism so total that they seem to lack, in whole or in part, the capacity for empathy….Their narcissism makes the evil dangerous not only because it motivates them to scapegoat others but also because it deprives them of the restraint that results from empathy and respect for others.”
Psychiatry simply does not explain this man and his power to confuse and overwhelm others. What concerns me is that those who have been lured into this maelstrom of darkness may be unaware of how they are trespassing and violating basic moral codes of kindness, charity and empathy.
View from the Henhouse, Archival Digital Print, 2018
The chicks have grown into young hens, beautiful russet red with the beginnings of combs, a few starting to turn from fleshy color to red. Their eyes have darkened and to my eye even betray expression.
The Pleasure of Chaos, 2018, Archival Digital Print
The question for all of us is how we give our gifts back. It is the sole reason we are here and while it would seem an easy mission, in truth, for many, a clear sense of purpose is never formed out of the fog of being. There are always diversionary activities, and with enough of them one can fill up a life. But to what end? If we aren’t aware of gifts then we cannot discover our purpose and we will never live fully.
Pink Dogwood, 2018, Archival Digital Print
The discoveries continue on the Homestead. Walking in the back I discovered a tall pink Dogwood is full bloom. Last spring it was barely noticeable. All my pruning has paid off. It has sunlight now and can breathe and blossom. Like all living things, we need air to breathe, nourishment and care.
The girls are growing up, 2018, Archival Digital Print
In a matter of hours, from the morning feed until the evening one, the six Claras went from adolescent chicks with pale beige feathers and lots of down showing to young hens with russet feathers, real chicken tails and the beginnings of combs. Now I wish I had been in there all day and snapped a photo once an hour. What a transformation as life does its thing.
May Rain, 2018, Archival Digital Print
Everything is muted in these spring mists, all values close and a general dreaminess about the land. I saw a social club of six Turkeys out for a walk in the mist as I was driving to the store to get, what else? bird seed. They ambled along together with full ruffled feathers so they looked like grade school bulletin board Turkeys there in the cornfield behind the homestead.
The Backyard, 8 A.M., 2018, Archival Digital Print
The Earth is awake and blossoming, full of new life and optimism. Persephone is freed from Hades and Mother Earth is joyous.
Up here everything conspires to give pleasure, sight, smell, sound. I live in a paradise. Yesterday a big Crow paid a visit to my front yard, a first. There is a family of Ravens nearby but rarely I hear or see Crows, so this is the first time I’ve seen one land and hang around. He was glistening, curious and a gift to me. I have ground round in the refrigerator for him if he comes back. I’d like him to be a regular.
I’m thinking a lot about watercolor and plan to set up a table near where this shot was taken so I can sit out and observe and paint. In spite of my respect for the medium, I had a show of watercolors that went on tour throughout the United States in the late 70s, I haven’t touched them since then, preferring gouache instead. I’m ready to see what happens.
Two Claras, 2018, Archival Digital Print
This was taken over a week ago and already the girls are the size of Bantams and much more curious about the world. Clara Christina Columbus now jumps on top of the water jug to consider where she might go. To prevent her giant leap for Chickenkind I’ve added screening. The Columbus chick is the most curious of the six whereas Clara Voyant, named by my neighbor, Betty Grindrod, is dreamier and in her own world. And Clara Madonna, the bottle blonde, is just taken with her own beauty. Their markings and personalities are all different and I continue to marvel at the wonder of growth, DNA wiring and individuation. My brilliant former TA John Gross is coming up from New York this weekend to help me prepare the shed and soon the outdoor pen will be replaced with a varmint proof construction. Then we shall await the eggs.
Westside Highway, Rain, 2018, Archival Digital Print
A mighty thunder and lighting storm rolled in last night. The sudden darkness was spectacular for its drama as it came across from the Catskills. I was out picking a few Daffodils trying to grab those beauties before I was struck dead. Those blooms smile at me now right above the sink with a single white Geranium. The Westside Highway shot from last week gives the urban version of rain from the train, but it is far less thrilling than the experience up here.
The rains are welcome now and good for all things growing. I have two climbing roses ready to be set in and various seeds started for the back garden. It looks like a Fox may be living under the foundation of the house and I hope to see kits soon if I’m right.
I’m thinking a lot about the abundance of empty decorative painting and what it means particularly now, and finishing the book on Hillary’s campaign disaster.
More soon on all of these.