The Eternal Reliability of the Turning

TockTock Free Ranging in the Plant Shed, 2018, Archival Digital Print

There is reassurance in the turning of the wheel and in spite of the things that seem disruptive, each settles in and is absorbed as life continues, the sun rises and travels through the sky and sets in the west only to rise again into our eternity. Maybe not all of eternity but certainly in ours, the life of a mite relative to all time.

My new boy TickTock escaped his crate when I brought him home from a Connecticut farm and is free-ranging in the plant shed.  My confidence in being able to catch any living bird has been challenged by this fast and beautiful boy.  I keep telling him about the six hens who await his morning song and beautiful feathers but TickTock wants none of it.  He’d rather perch and poop on my washing machine.

 

The Artist’s Pleasure

Sunday Morning Convocation, 2018, Archival Digital Print

Photography as a valid member of the Fine Arts has always been problematic. What is there is there which means that the nuance and encapsulated time compression of Painting doesn’t hold the energy of a masterpiece or if it does, not in the same way. Photography is nonetheless a thrilling medium capable of both the outlandish and the sublime. The recent visit to my yard by a Bear set off ideas and potential events.  I was trying to get the feel of a Bruegel.

 

An Unexpected Visitor

 

Feeder, Lawn, Bear, 2018, Archival Digital Print

This huge fellow visited my front lawn on Tuesday morning around nine. He was only interested in bird seed and decimated the feeders. I was sitting on the back porch steps when he arrived in his black-hole black, a darkness I have never seen on an animal before and his huge brown snout. What good luck to see him so close!  After thirty minutes of looking around he wandered away.

 

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.