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
Thursday, December 31
Last Night of the Year
Last night of the year
full moon hiding behind clouds-
Farewell 2009 and welcome 2010!
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
The Glitter Hand
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
Hungry but Sassy
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
to some serious play-
a child's work
Tuesday, December 15
Under the Weather
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
A Beam of Light
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
all the writing on the wall
speaks to emptiness
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
On the highest hill,
the lighthouse sits flaming
in the setting sun
Took this shot during last year's trip to Monhegan Island. I thought of it again when I saw that One Single Impression's theme today was Lighthouse.
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
scraping and shaping
gouging and smoothing silk smooth-
the wood works us well
Tuesday, December 1
the sky, catching in branches-
the almost full moon
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