Thursday, December 31
Tuesday, December 29
Henry before the throne
of the Third Heaven of the Nations' Millennium General Assembly. Oh, how he loved it! He loved the whole museum (the Smithsonian National Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery) actually, dashing around in high spirits, laughing with excited glee. If the museum director had been there I would think it would have warmed the very cockles of his heart to see such whole-hearted (whole-bodied?) aesthetic enjoyment. Kudos to the Smithsonian museum guards, who seemed to "get" the situation at a glance and were very cool about Henry's unusual museum behavior. Despite some parental anxiety (will he body slam the Edward Hopper in a transport of joy?) watching his delight made me see the work in a new way, myself.
No man remains quite what he was when he recognizes himself.
-- Thomas Mann
Monday, December 28
not from the merry feasting,
but from too-tight clothes
This senryu is for the Haiku Bones prompt of regret, and I see it also conveniently fits the Sunday Scribblings theme of delicious. This incredible confection is a bûche de noël, a special Christmas cake we have every year after our Christmas dinner. We used to pre-order one from the local French bakery but then a few years ago my incredibly gifted and talented friend Nancy Trainer, whose family joins ours each year for dinner, decided to try her hand at it...ooh la la! Nancy makes the mushrooms out of meringue and the bark from chocolate and the holly berries from marzipan. The cake is filled with mousse au chocolat...c'est vraiment incroyable!
Friday, December 25
And Happy Everything Else!
Here is a holiday blast from the past: I made this two-color woodcut for Christmas 1991, the year I graduated from art school and got married. I cut the panels, then Paul and I set up a little production line in the livingroom of our tiny apartment (and because we used oil-based ink, the place stunk for several days!) Inspired by the yearly holiday prints of one of my teachers, Homer Johnson, I think we intended to pioneer our own tradition of hand-made prints every year for Christmas...just shows the kind of spare time young people without kids, a house or a full-time job have! However, the next year we bought our first house, and then the Christmas after that I was on bedrest pregnant with twins...and this turns out to have been a one-time only "tradition". Fun though! :->
~All the blessings of the season to you and yours~
Wednesday, December 23
is how I am feeling as we careen towards Christmas, or Stressmas as I like to joke. Ha ha.
I love this old wooden bowl and nut chopper. I can't remember if it was my grandmother's or my husband's grandmother's, but the time-smoothed handle fits so sweetly into my grip, just like a loving handclasp.
Tuesday, December 22
Paul recently brought home a bag of shimmering, all-holiday, glitter for some project.
Henry has been enjoying playing with the glitter That body bend, with right hand back behind the head the left hand up near his face is a particular stim of his. It shows he is fully engaged, completely absorbed by whatever he is thinking about or playing with. (One of his doctors once affectionately dubbed it "La Cucaracha"!)
Henry especially likes to pour the glitter onto his left hand...
The Glitter Hand in action!
Okay, now THAT is fun! There's been a whole lot of sweeping going on, as you can imagine. But no problem. Contemplating Henry's delight in this simple activity fills me with a (brief, but deep) sense of peace and joy.
To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
William Blake - Auguries of Innocence
Sunday, December 20
sudden gust of wind,
snow falls from the cedar tree-
fleeting stars appear
This is for the new haiku meme my brother Bruce and I recently created: Haiku Bones. The prompt today is fleeting. Please join in the fun, if you are so inspired!
Saturday, December 19
We are in the middle of a snowstorm and our bird feeder is mobbed with birds. I've never seen so many cardinals, jays and juncos all at at once! Although there seems to be a rule that only one male cardinal may feed at a time: the other birds are not quite so territorial. It's not easy being red, I guess.
Friday, December 18
My friend artist Dorothy Corbit had her 90th birthday yesterday! I took this shot last week when I visited her in her new living quarters, the assisted living section of her senior residence. The portrait next to her was painted by her friend Howard Hoffman, a few years back, and shows my beautiful friend in full painting gear. Dorothy is recovering from a severe illness, and at ninety that is no joke, although she is handling it with her usual graciousness and humor. Please send her good thoughts and sparkling light!
Photoshoot Painting Feast
In a triple creative strike a few days ago photographer Sarah Barr came to my studio to make a special kind of photograph (it involved elaborate preparation and odd, choreographed posing) of me painting from the model, who happens to be artist Mary Walsh! We joked that all we needed was a video artist filming the whole event to make it complete. Mary added another layer of artistry by offering to provide lunch. I think Sarah and I were expecting a couple of hoagies and were stunned and delighted by the beautiful gourmet feast she arranged for us. I could not resist taking a picture before we started.
Thursday, December 17
Tuesday, December 15
Or perhaps I am right at the same level as the weather, which is shivery cold, gray and gloomy! I'm sure it will pass off quickly enough...and what a great excuse for reading detective novels and drinking lots of hot tea with honey! I love the little note Paul pinned to the tea cozy for me...
Sunday, December 13
cold bright autumn day -
the last leaves float to the ground
like lost promises
This is for Haiku Bones, a new weekly haiku meme created by me and my brother Bruce, and its inaugural prompt: wistful...Please feel free to join in the haiku happening!
Saturday, December 12
Onwards and Upwards
New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth;
They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth;
Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires! we ourselves must Pilgrims be,
Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the desperate winter sea,
Nor attempt the Future's portal with the Past's blood-rusted key.
James Russell Lowell, 1819–1891, The Present Crisis
Friday, December 11
Wednesday, December 9
More dough in the freezer, and I planted flower bulbs last week (beating the season's first snow by only a few days so maybe they won't "take". But we'll see!)
When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other. ~Chinese Proverb
Tuesday, December 8
Shopping with Paul over the weekend he picked out a large container of green grapes. With a worried eye on the ever-mounting tab and a suspicious glance at the color of the fruit I said, "I don't think those will be any good. They look a little past it." Paul replied, "Maybe, but I want them." So okay.
They have turned out to be the most delicious grapes ever.
When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.
-- Francois de La Rochefoucauld
Sunday, December 6
Friday, December 4
Mary and Keith's Excellent Adventure!
My cousin Keith and his wife Mary have quit their jobs, sold their house, bought an RV and are touring the United States for a year, along with their little dog, Tina. We were lucky enough to host them for a few days last month as they headed south. That's a picture of the intrepid trio in front of their rig, with my oldest son P. We had a lovely visit and are glad to be able to keep up with them on their peregrinations via their lively blog:
Mary and Keith's Excellent Adventure!
Pink Doughnut with Clouds, Nancy Bea Miller, 4 x 6 inches, 2009
Today is First Friday, so there is a slew of artistic activity in Philadelphia and environs. I'm in a small works group show, along with many friends including Elana Hagler and Elaine Lisle, at Artists' House Gallery.
First Friday, December 4, 5 - 8:30pm
Sunday Reception,December 6, 1 - 4pm
Artists' House Gallery
57 North Second Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
I'm planning to attend the Sunday reception; please stop in if you are downtown!
Thursday, December 3
Tuesday, December 1
Monday, November 30
is not a favorite task for most artists, but it is necessary. Oddly, people have very strong and conflicting opinions about frames, all people with good taste even, so you just never know.
When I started showing in New York my gallery director came on very strong for her preference for a slim, plain wood, surround...what's known sometimes as a Chelsea frame: shadowbox sleek and contemporary. I strove to come up to specs (this was New York after all!) but due to some time pressures I had to send in a few pieces in my husband Paul's handmade and hand-gilded frames. The gallery director grudgingly allowed a couple of those frames in the mix but let me know it was on sufferance. Then a well-known collector bought one of my pieces in a Chelsea frame but requested that it be re-framed in a gilded frame like another of my pieces he'd seen in the show! After that my gallery director eased up on the Chelsea frame requirements. In fact, she eventually began praising and requesting the simple gilded frames!
On the other hand, I recently sold a piece in a gilt frame but only closed the sale after I promised to re-frame it, this time in basic black (a hot trend in the Philly art world.) So, think before you sneer: when it comes to framing all bets are off! :-)
These paintings are being prepped for various small works exhibits: the three smallest pieces will be at Artists' House Gallery (57 N 2nd Street,Philadelphia) and the reception is this Sunday, Dec 6, 1-4. Hope to see you there!
Sunday, November 29
Thursday, November 26
Early this morning I was doing a little last-minute cooking prior to driving (several hours) to my brother Jim's house for Thanksgiving. I'd just finished the sweet potato casserole and was starting in on the icing for my sister-in-law's birthday cake WHEN Henry came into the kitchen and started to shake, stumble and fall. Paul and I instantly recognized this as a grand mal seizure (he had one in September) and we were able to catch him before he hit the ground. He turned blue for a moment so I called 911, but as soon as we turned him on his side, cleared his airways his color came back but by then the ambulance etc was on its way. So, lots of big, eye-catching drama on our street this morning!
A few hours were spent in the hospital, and now we are home again and Henry is taking a nap. Apparently seizures really knock the stuffing out of you. They certainly do out of the sufferer's parents...Paul went and took a nap himself. No traveling to family today (they live several states away!) I feel particularly bad about my sister-in-law's birthday cake lusciously sitting on my kitchen counter, far from the birthday girl!
We'd hoped his first seizure, back in September, was a one-off. But now it seems that's not the case. Thinking ahead to all the doctors and specialists we will be seeing, yet again, makes me feel pretty tired myself. Apparently autism goes very often with seizures, and the teen years are a key period when they might manifest. Never a dull moment with Henry! ;-)
Wednesday, November 25
Tuesday, November 24
Saturday, November 21
Wednesday, November 18
Monday, November 16
is today's theme at Moody Monday and it made me think of my recent trip to Monhegan Island. In lovely Cathedral Woods, at the center of the island, people of all ages delight in building fairy houses. This was a particularly good one! An acorn cup of green moss tea anyone?
Saturday, November 14
with painter and sheep (it's Beaver Farm a few weeks ago, of course!) That's Dianne Morrow painting the old ram, Elvis.
by William Blake
O Autumn, Laden with fruit, and stain’d
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may’st rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.
The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust’ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather’d clouds strew flowers round her head.
The spirits of the air live in the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.’
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat,
Then rose, girded himself, and o’er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.
Friday, November 13
is here again, because I have a number of friends doing some pretty big things! All art things this time. Above is Fred Danziger, taken at the opening of his current show Near and Distant at Rodger LaPelle Galleries in Old City, Philadelphia. Fred and I met when we both started showing at Sherry French Gallery in NYC at about the same time. We've spent many hours in each other's company at Chelsea openings for the past several years! Fred's striking show, based on different textures found in nature, is up in Philly for the next several weeks and I highly recommend a visit:
Near and Distant: Paintings by Fred Danziger
November 6 thru December 31, 2009
Rodger Lapelle Galleries
122 N. Third Street Philadelphia, PA 19125
215.592.0232 Wed ~ Sunday 12pm to 6pm
Crowded Beach, Giovanni Casadei, 10 x 11.5 inches
Old friend Giovanni Casadei (we went to art school together) is currently exhibiting at Gross McCleaf Gallery in Philadelphia. His beach scenes are delicious, as refreshing as a scoop of rainbow sorbet, which they somewhat resemble at a distance! He is also exhibiting his well-known interiors and other landscape paintings.
Light and Space
Gross McCleaf Gallery
Nov 6-28. 2009
127 S Sixteenth Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102
10:02 am, Sarah Barr, C-Print
Pal Sarah Barr is exhibiting two fantastic domestic-themed photos in the Betsy Meyer Memorial Exhibition, a juried group show at the Main Line Art Center. It's only up for a couple more days so catch it while you can! I have several acquaintances in the show too including Ruth Wolf, Tilda Mann, Nancy Halpert and Kari Souders. It's really a fascinating show!
Betsy Meyer Memorial Exhibition
October 16 - November 16, 2009
Main Line Arts Center
746 Panmure Road, Haverford, PA
Thursday, November 12
Many YOUNG Hands
Taken at Colonial Day, an all day re-enactment staged by my son H's history class. The printing activity was extremely popular (and crowded!) I climbed on top of the table to get the shot and was made very aware of my middle-agedness when I needed a strong young arm to help me get down! ;-)
Wednesday, November 11
Ani and Guy Alma and me at the Plein Air at Beaver Farm exhibit. We are standing in front of paintings by Lynne Campbell and Stuart Shils.
Photo: Alexandra Tyng.
I was leading a blogging class two days ago which really brought home the fact that I have been blogging less and less these days! Ironic. It was especially embarrassing to be showing my students how to utilize a blog to update the news section on a website and have to explain that actually, gosh, I haven't updated my own in several months. Blush! I still love the medium, but I think that Facebook has tapped into my available balance of web energy, at times depleting it entirely. I still have a real-time life to live so any more time spent doing something else on-line means less time spent blogging. Oh well!
Also, I have been unusually busy with various projects. The most exciting one took place last Tuesday, November 3rd at Rosenfeld Gallery in Philadelphia where the Plein Air at Beaver Farm exhibit took place to benefit Camphill Special School. I am still coming down from the rush of organizing this event, staging it and experiencing it. It was incredible! The attendance was more than twice than anticipated, we ran out of wine three times and half the work was sold in two and a half hours. I'm still a bit knocked back by all this, and so grateful to the many people who helped make this such a big success! Now I am caught up dealing with aftermath (ongoing!) All positive, I should add. To see an excellent, pithy, recap of the event with a few choice photos, head over to my friend Alex Tyng's blog. I thought she did a great job describing the evening.
Here are some shots of the evening, all taken by Courtney Coffman.
Wednesday, October 28
Thursday, October 22
Calzone or Stromboli?
I made my first calzone a few days ago, or perhaps it was a stromboli? I'm pretty confused by the different definitions. I remember eating stromboli for the first time when I was 18, thanks to the Penn food services. I found it to be a delicious novelty of thin dough, sauce, cheese and pepperoni, rolled up like a jelly roll: yum yum!
Now at our local pizzeria, we often order what they call a calzone: something like a folded over pizza, crimped at the edges, filled with a variety of different options, but always including sauce.
However, the definition of calzone on Wikipedia says:
Although most strombolis are rolled, strombolis have also been known to be prepared like a calzone, where the only difference is that a stromboli has the sauce inside of the folded crust, where the calzone is served with dipping sauce on the side.
This concoction I made is folded, not rolled, but it does indeed have sauce (and other goodies) inside of it. Perhaps it is a new hybrid: Calzoli?
Friday, October 16
Several friends of mine have been busy recently, and I thought I'd boast a little about their achievements. Above you see my friend Katie, also known as Dr. Katharine Beals, who just had a book come out two weeks ago. Since I've watched the whole book birthing process from idea to drafts to re-writes to actual published volume I feel like a proud auntie. The book is called Raising a Left-Brain Child in a Right-Brain World and is published by Shambhala books. Congratulations my friend!
Beth Randall is an old friend with whom I had lost touch till she showed up taking one of my classes at the Main Line Art Center a year or so ago. What a pleasure to renew our acquaintance, and to watch Beth's prodigious talent flowering. Not that I had much to do with it, but nonetheless I was very proud to attend the reception of her very first solo show a couple of weeks ago: the work looks great! If you live on the main line you really should stop in and take a look:
Oil Paintings by Beth Randall
Oct. 2 -- Nov. 1, 2009
824 West Lancaster Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA
Blush Roses, Frances Galante, oil on linen, 12 x 19
My friend Frances Galante is having a one-person show too, in Old City Philadelphia. I unfortunately missed the opening reception but I went to see the show last week. The work has a beautiful clarity and freshness that speaks straight to the heart!
September 30 to November 1, 2009
Artists' House Gallery
57 North Second Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106