The Gaze

Face on the Screen, 2020, Archival Digital Print

I was thinking of Bronzino’s portrait of a young man when I took this. It is actually a still from a short video, I had wanted to get my head turning but failed.  I like the gaze in all paintings and photographs. I’m always suspicious of people who won’t look you in the eye. It portends trouble. Not mere shyness but something hidden and rarely positive.

A Father

Zachariah, 2020, Archival Digital Photo

My proud Pilgrim Gander, Zach, has just fathered a son, Burdock. Pilgrim Geese are doting parents and Zach watches his boy attentively at all times. It is being able to know and observe these beings that balances the horror of the national scene I read about and the ugliness, from the Minnesota murder of a man whose crime was being Black, to the milestone of deaths from Covid-19 that we just passed.

 

The air has changed

Adolescent Turkeys, 2019, Archival Digital Print

The first whiff of Autumn came last week. Now in spite of the high temperatures and the violent thunderstorms and drenching rains on many nights, the summer’s end nudges at us.  Another sign is the young Turkeys who long ago fledged and are now long-necked and adolescent.  The flock is big.  Here are a few stragglers.  Their sibs already crossed the road and were safely hidden in the grasses.  These two had attitude and risked the on coming car.

 

Illumination

Field of Sunflowers, 2019, Archival Digital Print

On Saturday I saw thirty acres of Sunflowers just coming into bloom.  I was reminded of the moving scene in the film Everything Is Illuminated when the three travelers find their destination.  She is an old woman living in a small house surrounded by blooming sunflowers.  How radiant is our world if we can See.

 

I need a plan

I need a plan while hoping the Giant doesn’t climb down that beanstalk, 2019, Archival Digital Print

It dawned on me last week that what makes The Homestead magical, or put another way, what my land elicits in me, is the sense of magic and wonder I felt when I was six or seven. It is the gift this place gives me. Everywhere I walk, explore, see, I make finds I hadn’t expected.  It’s quite preposterous, I know, and I don’t expect anyone to believe me though anyone who has walked it when visiting feels it, too.

The beanstalk in this photo (actually a Wild Grape Vine) is an example.  It is growing in the lush green of the ravine behind the dog pen.  It is a steep drop down there where Deer, Fox, Raccoons and Nicky, the feral cat, run and travel. The Wild Turkeys, too.  The pond is lower and to the right of this photo so this area teems all year ’round with comings and goings.  There is a density here as well, so every day there is a new surprise, a new animal, a new sound, a new flower.

It isn’t a stretch to think that one dusky evening, I’ll be out there with the dogs and hear what I first think is thunder, the dogs will look up and stand perfectly still, my eyes will follow as the ground starts to shake and we’ll see those huge hairy legs start to descend from high above. I’ll open the gate and we’ll run like hell into the house.

A Good Week

Abundance, June, 2019, Archival Digital Print

Zac, Zip, Jerry, and Ruthie enjoy a pan of water, bathing and drinking. There is lavish green everywhere, all shades and variants from pale yellowish to deep blue.  June is the best month.  Everything on the homestead feels harmonious and lavish, generous and abundant.

I marvel at my good fortune to have found my magical spot.  Earlier in the week I picked up a tiny fawn who was lying out under a tree alone.  I put her back down aware that her mother would soon return for her and that I was violating Nature’s plan.  But the experience was memorable and a gift to me.  I took care of four motherless Robin hatchlings and they grew and fledged earlier in the week so all in all, it was a week of gifts and pleasures.

My linocut Nancy portfolio is completed as well.  It was a year of work, hundreds of hours.  Ten prints which I may extend to twelve these interest me so much.  Then to edition them.

 

 

The Great Lady of Paris, France, the World

April, The Hudson, 2019, Archival Digital Print

There is gloom over the loss of Notre Dame. These gifts of civilization stand, we assume their presence will continue until the end of time.  But, it is gone, or so badly damaged that even though they may rebuild the work and give us a look alike, it will not be the fruit of 800 years nor the gift of so many artisans and generations through time.

It is a heartache unlike those for people or pets we loved. This is different. What it stands for is deeper, belonging beyond the personal.  As we watched the horrific scene, the reportage was hard to hear, these rip n’ read ignorant broadcasters who commented on the flames with the same tone they would for a cooking event.  That in itself, spoke to the loss of cultural understanding, comprehension of history, and in a time of Trump it coincided with the devastation of values the right-wing brings us.  Science, Research, all under attack.  The antivaxxer nitwits who would rather have their children die than believe what has been shown efficacious to their health.  Idiots who think that global warming is a plot.  And the Great Lady of Paris turns to cinders.  Centuries in the building and destroyed in minutes — like what is happening in the US as the right wing barbarians sack what we build and treasure.  A gloomy time.

 

Good news! Faculty Development Award

Tree with Seed Pod Swarm, 2019, Archival Digital Photo

I have been awarded a Faculty Development Grant from Pratt Institute for my photography. It is especially helpful when I am embarking on new work and have outdated equipment that must be replaced. This is one of the things that Pratt does for its faculty and I feel lucky to be benefitting from it this year.