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
Friday, April 28
Today's PhotoFriday challenge is "Famous" and I don't know when I have ever had such trouble with a theme before. I racked my brain and searched my i-photo archives, but had a very difficult time coming up with anything. Fame is just not something I think much about, at least when I am thinking in photographs. Then I remembered taking this shot of my friend Eliza last time we went to the Met, a few months ago. The big banner with the marble pillars soaring above seem to fit the bill. Plus, something about the two of us, relatively unknown little painters, traveling in from the boondocks (well, Philadelphia isn't the boondocks really...) to worship at the Big Important Temple of Art (which is how I think of The Met.) Kind of funny, in a humbling kind of way!
(I actually felt relatively famous today because Ned Batchelder just used a photo of mine, "Big Hug", on his blog. Click here to see it. Ned is an old college friend, a computer guru, and also the parent of a child with autism.)
Thursday, April 27
always put me in mind of this poem by e.e.cummings:
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
Wednesday, April 26
P has violin lessons with a really wonderful instructor. She will play a passage for him so that he can hear what she is talking about: so intelligent. And yet I think this is his first teacher to do that with any regularity. Yesterday, when I dropped him off it was still light. But when I came to pick him up an hour later it had gotten dark. Both of them were so absorbed in the music that they didn't even hear me let myself in, let alone think to turn on any more lights. There was a beautiful, mysterious feel to the moment.
Tuesday, April 25
This aloe vera just kept getting bigger and bigger. Unfortunately, it was living in the house of Woman-who-never-repots-her-plants (that is my name in Houseplant.) I did lean it up against things, and attempted to keep it in balance by tying it to a stick. Not good enough. I don't think it was really trying to commit suicide but it must have added one millimeter too much of new growth, upsetting its precarious balanced state and....CRASH! Unfortunately, it is now taking its chances out on my compost heap.
Monday, April 24
Henry gets some reassurance from Paul on a recent hike at Hawk Mountain. Henry was all big happy smiles on the way up to the North Lookout, but on the way down he became anxious for some unknown reason. He needed a lot of hugs to help him get down the mountain.
One week ago we had brilliant blue skies and emerging blossoms. This morning, the skies are rainy and the blossoms are mostly carpeting the ground. Spring goeth all in white...and green...and gray...and brown...
Sunday, April 23
There was an informal luncheon meeting and gallery talk at the Manayunk Art Center yesterday, where my exhibit "Only Human 2" is showing. I didn't know most of the people who came to hear me ramble on about my paintings, but a good friend came with her two children. Sweet little R seemed as happy as a clam. Fresh strawberries to eat and interesting things to look at: life is good!
Friday, April 21
BODY OF WATER
Well, OK, technically, it's clay. But it is a model of ancient Sumerian irrigation technique that P did for a 6th grade social studies project. It is a beautiful objet d'art, on its own. The school even kept it for a while on display in the Library. An acquantance who came to the house, and knew vaguely that I was an artist actually gasped in admiration when she saw it and asked it was one of my pieces! My heart swelled with maternal pride. Just like the levels in the Sumerian water ditches (or whatever they were called.)
No idea what they are. From my neighbor Hiroshi's "arboretum", and he didn't remember the name of them either. Lovely though. Aaah spring! I could never understand when the poet T.S. Eliot went on about "April is the cruelest month..." To paraphrase him crudely, all that burgeoning life, sunshine and flowers just depressed the heck out of him. Obviously the poor fellow would have benefited greatly from the new SSRI drugs, although the world of poetry would probably have lost a unique (if depressed) voice. Anyway, to me, spring is a very welcome refreshment of spirit. And a great season for taking yet more photographs!
Thursday, April 20
KINETIC and STATIC
A cold but sunny spring day at the playground. Note that Henry is still wearing long pants and a turtleneck, while H has already transitioned to warm weather clothing, shorts and a tee shirt despite the still-nippy air. It's a season of fashion confusion!
Tuesday, April 18
THY NEIGHBOR'S TULIPS
Thou shalt not covet. But thou can go take a picture.
Monday, April 17
treehouse. This is a piece of site specific sculpture by the artist Martin Puryear. Fortunately it is the kind of site sculpture that you can walk into and sit on, my favorite kind. It is beautiful, perched over a deep ravine in a hidden corner of the Horticultural Center here in Philadelphia. Some of the trails leading to it are blocked off and overgrown (it is a very underfunded public horticultural center), but there is one path, weedy and trash-strewn you can follow to get there. So it gives you a hint of a holy grail: you may follow a few dead ends before you finally find the right path. And then you have to watch your step: it is not a smooth manicured byway. But then you come out of the tangled, confusion into this beautiful, light, clean space. You cross the wooden bridge into the treehouse poised out over the ravine, and it feels like being held very delicately in a giant's hand.
Sunday, April 16
Good Passover, belated Joyous Equinox and any other seasonal holidays I have inadvertantly omitted! Happy chocolate to all.
Friday, April 14
There is very little space left on our fridge door. Postcards, kid's photos, exhibition announcements, shopping lists, coupons, doctor's appointment cards and more, crowd the space. I realized I was having trouble editing the "fridge shingles" when instead of removing anything I went out and bought more, stronger-powered, magnets. The better to keep the ever-growing layers held fast. It is 3-D collage, an evolving piece of installation art. That's my excuse anyway!
My friend Katie's son J loves to eat tomatoes, just as if they were an apple or a peach. Forgoing all botanical debate J's taste buds told him instantly that the tomato is a fruit, to be eaten out of hand. Or off of head, as the case may be!
Saturday, April 8
pussy willow in the wheelbarrow. I am surrounded on almost every side by outstanding home gardeners. They nobly overlook my own current gardening mode, which consists solely of picking the plastic toys and detritus off our so-called lawn, every once in a while. And these master gardeners often share their largesse, for which I am very grateful. My next-door neighbors recently gifted me with long branches of pussy willow, when they pruned their bushes. What a plant: friendly, silly, yet elegant too!
Friday, April 7
A rack of furniture part templates. Paul's shop is a wonderful place to go for photography, full of weird shapes and great light. I was thrilled when they asked me to take some candid shots for the new website (not up yet.) I always sneak photographs and here was an open invitation to shoot at will!
Thursday, April 6
This inviting pile of cushions is in my friend Alex's house. Just the sight of them makes me want sink down amongst them gracefully, and call for a box of stuffed dates and a hookah. Instead Alex and I stood around comparing frame stock and had some chewing gum. "Ou sont les neiges d'antan?" Ou indeed.
Wednesday, April 5
This pizza was a little too gourmet for the boys. No red sauce, some unusual cheeses along with spinach and mushrooms: not a little-boy-pleaser. They each ate a piece dutifully, then passed on having more. Fortunately I had anticipated this possibility and provided plenty of extras (salad, veggies, fruit), so real hunger was not an issue. But I am fed up with making two seperate meals: people need to just eat around anything they can't stand. No more short order chef at the Cookshop I'm afraid! She has retired. In fact, I'll take it even further: she has moved to Florida! I see her living in a little pink campervan in a run-down spot near the beach. She has strung up some fairy lights in the nearby scrub trees and and set out some ratty old deckchairs to make a yard: just a small piece of heaven!
Monday, April 3
P did this intricate doodle the other day. I think it took him by surprise and so he showed it to me with a kind of "look what came out of my hand!" I asked him what he was thinking about when he drew it and he said "I have no idea. I wasn't really thinking about it." No matter, it is excellent.
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