Hi. I'm a painter, a writer and a mother of three teenage sons, one with a severe disability. This is a journal: riotously disorganized, full of art, food, children and everyday domestic events. Unless you are a friend or family member you may not be interested, but you are welcome to look. Artists who are parents may find some common ground here, as well as parents of children with special needs. For art only, see my site: nancybeamiller.blogspot.com
Tuesday, November 29
season is here at last! Like many people I am partial to the cute little boxes they come in and always save them for months before (once again) coming to the conclusion that they are fairly useless for anything but firewood. Oh well! In the finest tradition I have already started my yearly stockpiling.
Sunday, November 27
It was a very happy holiday for me as my parents (pictured, freezing cold but being good sports) and brother James and his family trekked down from CT to be with us. I really enjoyed preparing the feast and being the hostess for the first time in donkey's years. I had the slightly odd feeling that I was channeling my talented mother-in-law as I whirled from stove to table in a more efficient manner than usual, and for once I even remembered to light the dinner table candles (my usual recurring hostess error)!
Saturday, November 26
DUCKS IN A ROW
on my studio windowsill. How many of something do you have to have before it is a Collection (with a capital C)? I seem to have a little rubber ducky collection (with a lower case c) at least.
Wednesday, November 23
leap behind H from the biggest bonfire I have ever seen. The farm we belong to (a community supported agriculture scheme) had a big thank you bonfire and potluck for its members. It was great. The bonfire itself seemed a small mountain of brush, but it was amazing how quickly it died down. Then the kids toasted marshmallows and ran around waving burning brands like a troop of savages. They were in heaven. By then it was night and as I looked around the flame and lantern-lit faces I got the sense of what it would have felt like aeons ago, if this was my whole tribe celebrating some ancient festival. Then I had the realization that in some way this WAS my tribe celebrating some contemporary festival. Hmmm. Now if only I knew everyone's names!
Monday, November 21
I happened to be standing in my friend Pat's house, camera in hand, when her cat decided he wanted to come in. This is how he lets them know. Maybe this is how the term "peeping Tom" came into being?
Sunday, November 20
TRANSITION TO WINTER
is visible in this shot I took yesterday morning of frosted leaves. We had a hard, killing frost, but then the sun came out in full glory and warmed everything up again. I took this photograph at about 8 in the morning in Laurel Hill Cemetery, where the Philadelphia Area PhotoBloggers met up for a communal shooting spree. It was the first such event I have managed to attend, and it was a little surreal. I pulled in to the frosted, dead quiet cemetery lit dramatically by the rising sun and found the group wandering in ones and twos among the graves. It was very very still and quiet except for the occasional click of a shutter.
Friday, November 18
It is the many small imperfections in the stone which which make this baby buddha all the more appealing.
Last night was the opening reception for my friend Alex Tyng's show at Fischbach Gallery in New York. Drove in with a bunch of other people to cheer her on. It was a great night, the reception was really fun and as we left the gallery on our way to dinner we passed this oddly compelling banner by artist Patrick Mimram. "Art For All, Dharma for One." Do I know what it means? Not really. But I made Alex pose in front of it. Oh, the incredible good-natured patience of my friends!
Thursday, November 17
of Lego pieces. Really very attractive in an abstract way. Then made into Super Death Blaster ships by the boys. Less appealing to me then, personally. I remember I loved to make Lego houses when I was a kid, complete with little Lego families (using simple rectangular pieces onto which I imagined faces and characters.) But my brothers would often demolish my little villages to make their Lego tanks and aircraft. There is nothing new under the sun!
Wednesday, November 16
in action. Sometimes you just need a starting point. We had relatives visiting, a family with both artists and engineers in it, and I was not really very surprised to see that little cousin R here took to our Tinker Toys like a pro. Instant tinkering. Instant deep absorption.
Tuesday, November 15
I had a great photo shoot in my friend Pat Fiorella's chicken coop a few weeks ago. The only thing is, I ended up with hundreds of dim and blurry photos of chicken-like shapes. Those guys are flighty and fast, and the lighting was so low. Pat and her daughter Sondra were a little easier to capture as they filled a box of eggs for me. This looks like a really fun chore, more of a treasure hunt!
Monday, November 14
Titanium oxide white, my new favorite color. Or non-color. I am suddenly so, so tired of color.
Sunday, November 13
I keep this little rubber Kewpie Doll, a relic of my childhood, hanging around in my studio. I guess she is a sort of talisman. Occasionally I hear her voice a little louder than the other things in the crowded studio, and I include her in whatever I happen to be painting. Looking at this macro shot I just took, I see that I need to dust her, the poor little thing. Maybe that's why I haven't heard her voice much lately.
Saturday, November 12
CURIOUS LITTLE OWL
in my neighbor's yard the other day. Hiroshi came over and told me to come quick and bring my camera, so I did. His eagle eye had somehow noticed this tiny, well-camouflaged owl sitting motionless in a dense tree next to his house. I am still not sure how he did it, but he is very aware of wild birds, has various feeders out and binoculars etc. Still, very impressive. We identified it from a Stokes Field Guide as being a Saw-Whet Owl, and according to those experts "Not easily discovered, because it is strictly nocturnal and roosts during the day in dense conifers." Not this one!
Friday, November 11
by years of sea and salt. Found by my nieces and treasured like a rare jewel.
Monday, November 7
and loving it. A dancer at the Renaissance Faire last month, where the crowd went wild for a band from Germany, Corvus Corax. Henry loved them too. I think a lot of people had come specifically to see this group but we, of course, stumbled across their path by accident. Hard to describe the music: medieval trance bagpipe? Anyway, it put everyone there into an extremely uplifted state. When the set finished Henry started crying. Must get him CDs for Christmas. But listening to it on our puny little CD player won't be able to recreate the wild, pulsing, almost euphoric atmosphere.
Saturday, November 5
thy name is Henry. Right at this moment anyway. Even as I post the air is filled with Henry's strange cries of despair (an odd cross between growling,whining and shouting, I don't know how he does it.) Fortunately, our neighbors are inured to it and I can hear my neighbor practicing her cello, an interesting accompaniment. He was always such a Buddha of placid contentment that now these periods of anguish are very hard to take. Is he sick? bored? frustrated? pondering a nihilist interpretation of man's place in the universe?
If only he could talk and tell us what the problem is! Hen had a nice day: lots of walks and visits to parks. We even stopped in at the French Bakery, where the sweet girl who works behind the counter recognized us and immediately served us ahead of everyone else waiting in line (to my discomfiture and Henry's delight: No-Wait French Delicacies!) Oh well. I suspect he is not feeling well, but despite enormous effort we have never progressed enough with his language to make this clear. It is very hard for me to read about parents of other autistic kids trying to fine tune their grammar, or complaining about echolalia. Instead, we have wails of blank despair. And, now, posts of verbose despair too!
Friday, November 4
Looking at this tree, lit up by the midday sun, was like watching a bonfire in extremely slow motion. I was so astonished when I saw it driving by that I actually pulled over to the side of the road, so I could gape in safety. Felt like there should have been a few traffic cones in the road with safety signs: AMAZING TREE AHEAD! Slow DOWN! Fines DOUBLED in Tree Watching Zone!"
Thursday, November 3
H and his favorite birthday present. He'd asked for canvas boards, and I also bought him a table easel and paints, which I guess was largesse beyond his wildest imaginings. He was thrilled, commandeered my studio floor and used up all the canvas boards within a couple of days. Need to find a source for buying them in bulk! He nearly missed the school bus this morning, he was so engrossed in a drawing. "Honey, you have two minutes to find your shoes and put on your jacket and catch the bus!" I shrieked, suddenly coming aware of the time and H's shoeless and unready state. Unhurried, he replied, "OK Mom, but first I need to just finish this bit here..." How well I understand and sympathize. The curse of creativity!
STAINED GLASS WINDOW
onto my life. I wish this particular "Jack Sprat" window was not right near the front door of H's school, so that I see it every time I go in. It is all too true! And unpleasant. Off to get a comforting cup of tea. With cream!
Tuesday, November 1
was Hallowe'en, and as many of you know, one of my least favorite holidays. Actually this year wasn't so bad. Maybe because I am distracted by a lot of pressing work deadlines I haven't been focusing on it, and so it came and went pretty painlessly. I did go to H's school costume parade. This little bride, striding along so resolute and anxious, the lone figure in white in a sea of black and gore, struck me as the personification of how I feel about this holiday. (Pure projection, and she was probably thrilled and anxious only to get back to the classroom for the big Halloween party.)
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