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.

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Becoming Hens

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

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.

 

Reward for Enduring Winter

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

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.

 

Weather again, always the weather

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.

 

As things start to turn

Retreating Snow, 2018, Archival Digital Print

I started a painting yesterday, this thing that seemed to come from some source other than me. It presents itself and wow! I am surprised by what I see and how it got here.  Later I was out finding images to shoot and was reminded of Morandi’s landscapes, the drained color and almost imperceptible hue differences, I see him everywhere now.