Black and White and Tints

The Pond at Dusk, 2018, Archival Digital Print

Tinted photographs have appealed to me since I first tried my hand at making them. I was a child in a family with cameras. Our darkroom was on the third floor of the house, a long climb for me. The fresh prints would come into the dining room after a session (sweltering up there in the summer with no air conditioning) and we’d all look them over. My mother, a trained painter, was the prime mover in coloring them. We had a big set of Marshall’s. Those tiny metal tubes were precious jewels in comparison to the standard tube of paint. I applied the tints with Q-Tips and cotton balls.  My touch was awkward and the process required patience for the subtle effect it produced.  Too much for an eight year-old.

The effect still appeals to me.  Using digital media the work is done with the software.  Taken yesterday, the pond in the waning late light of early evening — I write “magical” too much — but it was just that.  This moment needed that haze of green accompanying the black and white underneath.

Hen’s Delight

Fresh Local Corn with a Side of Polenta, 2018, Archival Digital Print

The girls are eager for fresh corn; not so much about cooked polenta. I try various foods to see what they prefer.  It’s clear. They see the corn arrive with me and start making happy sounds — not clucks but other little sounds of pleasure in their throats.  Watermelon is a second on their goodie list.

 

The heat has broken

The Front Porch, 2018, Archival Digital Print

and last night we had soft rains which freshened the air and made everything glisten this morning. I like to the watch the vines take over and cover everything especially the chair on the left which is almost unseen now covered in lush vines and flowers.  It is a good time to read Somerset Maugham’s short stories of the tropics and savor the generosity of Nature.

 

 

Hot

Hot Morning on the Harlem River, 2018, Archival Digital Print

It was already hot on my way into town yesterday for my last class of the Summer Semester. My talented students did not disappoint. Their Final Projects were original and well realized. Coming home was not as successful. The train was sold out and late leaving Grand Central and continued to slow down, arriving forty-five minutes later than scheduled. That coupled with the non-working air conditioning made for a journey home that reminded us of how poor our infrastructure remains as the costs for it continue to rise. Nothing has been done about this by our paid employees in Congress.

Upstate it was hotter than in the city, close to 100 degrees. At the station my parked car was uninhabitable. But, other than my worry about my chickens, I was enjoying the new experiences. The girls were fine and when I brought them a big bowl of ice cubes later they were dancing on them, their big yellow feet stepping and stomping in a dance and pecking the cubes, clucking to themselves in delight.

Summer is in full bloom.

Our beautiful world of Nature balances the ugly folly of men who want power at the expense of our planet.  As we approach our birthday, let us hope that the sanity returns to our nation.

 

A Moonlit Night

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.

 

A conclusion

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.

Malevolent.

Profoundly immoral.

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.

 

To the Henhouse!

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.

 

Studio Pleasures

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.