Saturday, April 24, 2010

This is the Gamble Gardens in Palo Alto, right adjacent to a main road. I think the owner left it for public use. The plant I liked the best (and there were many spectacular choices) was borage, with its fuzzy stems. It must seed itself, because it was all over the garden. I decided to try to get some for my own garden. This is a classic garden in classic late spring.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

His Golden Slippers

Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Here's a snowy egret from the Palo Alto Baylands yesterday. I had the most divine time! Things have changed a lot since I went on so many birdwalks here 20 years ago. It is still wild, weedy and beautiful, with the changing water levels, amazing birds, weeds and clouds.
I have another place I often go to now, closer to my home. I wrote a poem about it and my poem was recently chosen as one of 30 poems on Santa Clara County (for the thirty days in National Poetry Month) to be posted--one each day--during April. My poem went up a couple of days ago and you can see it here.

I also made a panorama by blending 12 vertical shots. Here it is. Wish you could have come. Tomorrow, the garden I also visited Tuesday.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

You'll have to park in the Dirt Lot

I went to a great poetry reading today by Willis and Tony Barnstone. It was held upstairs in the Firehouse at San Jose's History Park and sponsored by the San Jose Poetry Center and by the local Jacaranda Press. It's a baseball Saturday (the stadium is across the street) and the parking lots were full when I got there. But I was thrilled to get the senior discount $2, instead of the baseball day $6, and to actually get a spot. The reflections in the puddle in the dirt lot were really quite pretty, I thought, and the orange fencing punched up the color quotient. It took me a while to walk from there, but the reading hadn't started yet when I arrived. Nice cookies, Sun Chips and an odd assortment of orange pop, gingerale and juice.
My only previous knowledge of the name Barnstone was of the children's author, Aliki (Barnstone,) whose children's books were published under Aliki, as a single name. But at the library, we knew better and always added the typed label: Barnstone and shelved them under B. I guess she's the mom, but I didn't ask, but she also does adult stuff and translations like the guys I heard today and I read in Wikipedia, that his parents altered his name, and it is unusual. I always liked her books and I wanted to ask about her, but restrained myself. There is much more to tell, and I'll tell it in the next post.
Pictures of the Barnstones reading and the History Park here.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wildflowers at Blue Oak Ranch

The spring wildflower walk of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society was held this afternoon at the Blue Oak Ranch in the foothills above San Jose. I don't know the name of these little beauties, yet, but will let you know when I do. Highlights coming soon. More pictures here.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, April 09, 2010

Joan Schulze: Poetic License and the BIG RISK

There is a retrospective exhibit of her work (she lives nearby, in Sunnyvale) at the Museum of Quilts and Textiles in San Jose. The work is well-hung in large spaces. There are central benches so one can sit and look for a long time. This small, handsome museum is an unsung gem! Today the artist will be here from 11-1 to talk about the work and lead a tour. I have worried about getting a parking place, but when I get there 10 minutes late (I had to stop for gas) I am the seventh person there; by the time she finishes, there are thirteen, including a couple from Bend, Oregon, who just dropped by. Alas, photography inside the museum is forbidden, but here is shown the outdoor view across the street. Tell me why the trees are wrapped in red tape, is it art, commerce or law?

Joan Schulze: Her voice is very soft. I look in my bag for my hearing aids. They aren't there. I begin to pay a more fierce attention and soon understand her quite well. Leaving the museum, I reach for the camera from my bag and there is the case in the little pocket I usually only keep keys in . . . I put the aids in and get to hear traffic sounds on the way home.

She is talking about her California quilt as I come in. I hear only her interesting, uncontextualized phrase: “to give California back to myself.”

She shows us the correspondence between two quilts many years apart. She shows us the autumnal color palette in the center of one and at the left side of the newer one. I notice that she looks at the museum label to check the date when each piece was made.

“That's what happens when you have a retrospective” [and a lot of your work is up on the walls,
you can notice correspondences.]

“A lot of my work is autobiographical.”

She talks about her interest in displaying the back side to see the quilting, knots and thread ends. The process of the quilt and the emphasis on the assembly of it. “I wanted to make a statement about who deep the layers of a quilt are--not only physically but emotionally.” “to celebrate the beginnings and endings of things”

After some time, she started using paper and “marrying it with fabric”

“Anytime I say it's a quilt . . .” [it's a quilt?] 2 layers, three layers . . .

On her time in Holland on on of those USIA exchanges—there was no sink in the workroom there.
“Now I can work all day in my studio with only a pint of water.” [She may have said a cup. But
I couldn't believe that long enough to write it down.]

If you paint your fabric (dilute acrylic) on a tarp the paint will settle and make different patterns on the back of the fabric.

[A series of smallish 30” square quilts with translucent and transparent elements are hung at about a 45-degree angle to the wall so one can see both sides—]“the light comes through.” [They are based on the garden.]

“Artists need to take a BIG RISK.” “. . . am I doing something new; am I challenging myself?”

[When looking at my] “failures, can I take another avenue?”

“I'm addicted to entering exhibitions. . .” On her 2008 piece in the Triennial, “It has legs.” and is getting a lot of useful attention.

Method for transferring images using glue: Use PVA [polyvinyl adhesive] available at art stores and bookbinding suppliers. With a large brush apply it to the face of a color copy or photocopy (inkjets won't work) While wet, press face down onto cotton or silk fabric. Let dry at least one full day. Iron back side through freezer paper to remove all traces of moisture. Dampen a shamwow (or some such) and lay on the paper side for a time to dampen the paper thoroughly. Then, using rubber gloves, peel (and rub?) the dampened paper carefully away. [It looked to me as if some of the pieces in the exhibit had some paper left on them. Since the quilts “marry” paper and fabric in other ways, why not this way?]

Joan quotes an artist (not sure, but I think she said) Klee, “as you work the image will reveal itself.” No need to think everything out in advance. See what happens while you work and respond to the developing image.

On making art: “If you are living a fragmented life, you learn how to concentrate in a short space of time.” [I should note that this has been difficult for me.]

Look at your accidents [to see what you can learn.]

When questioned about “appropriation”: “I didn't even think about that; I was raising four children . . .]

She used to make artist's patches on her children's clothing. They thought it was so cool, that they began to rip here and there to get more patches. “I finally had to say: no more than one patch per clothing.”

On submitting art to exhibits and competitions: “Put the thing you don't want in your home out there.” These are things that might not be "pretty," they might be scary or a little unsettling. You might not understand everything about what you have made, and some pieces you might not want to look at every day or explain to your family or casual visitors.

“Traditional art doesn't inform my work at all, even though I like being part of history, especially women's history.”
In the text above, where I wrote down the exact words I am pretty sure I heard her say, I have enclosed those words in quotes. My sense-completions are in brackets and the other text is mine.

Afterwards, since my notebook was already out, I made preliminary versions of some haiku:

museum silence--
air conditioning's faint hum
this early April

quilt exhibit--
the woman with white curls
holds a magnifying glass

Reminder to self: some things for this woman (me)to do:
Get some PVA. Get some acrylics.
Try small collages, paper and fabric, glued and sewn. 5”x7” and 8”x10.” Frame them.
Use pieces of my monoprints as a base for fabric and other papers.
French knots. Small beads, buttons. . .ribbons, lace.
Monoprint on fabric. Possible with oil inks I have??
Use my unworn too-thin cream-colored silk blouses for transparent layers. And try printing on them.

Acupuncture and Herbs

On a trip to downtown San Jose today, I marvel at the uses to which some of the fine old houses have been put.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 05, 2010

Duck Nap

Duck Nap
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
See their eyes watching me as I walk closer and then closer?

Here is the first paragraph of
Beyond Intention; poetry and the art of recklessness by Dean Young in the Nov/Dec 2009 issue of Poet's and Writer's Magazine.

"Let us suppose that everyone in the world wakes up tomorrow and tries to write a poem. It is impossible to know what will happen next, but certainly we will be assured that the world will not be made worse. I believe in the divinity of profligacy. The creation of art--okay, just the attempt at the creation of art, as well as the appreciation of it--ia both an enlarging of the world and an expanding of consciousness. To write a poem is to explore the unknown capacities of the mind and the heart; it is an emotive, empathetic exercise, and, like being struck by lightning, it will probably leave you stunned and singed, but also a bit brighter-- and your odds of being struck again then become much higher."

I would like to give you a link to the whole article, but it is not online--I think it is part of the forthcoming book THE ART OF RECKLESSNESS, forthcoming from Graywolf Press in August, 2010. I just preordered it from Amazon.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Across high desert in early February

I have been looking again at the iPhone photos and found this one in a fromthecar series I really like. I have been reading so much poetry and other stuff as I clean up my stacks of printed matter that ti is hard to decide which thing to blog about, so here is a photo for tonight. May the mists be with you. . .
Posted by Picasa

Another sad, sad story

Originally uploaded by jhhymas
My dentist's lovely newish digs features a fish tank. The fish think the camera is a predator and I have worked very hard during several recent visits to snap them. I like this one for the furniture in the waiting room. I got the final bridgework installed yesterday, and my familiar friends were gone and replaced with (still elusive) stranger-fish.
A heater malfunction had cleared the tank and caused the weekend death of all the others. These yellow guys were particular favorites of mine. My dentist is very prompt, so sometimes I stayed after just to watch them.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Yesterday at Almaden Quicksilver Park, looking at the beautiful grasslands and playing with the iPhone photo applications. I haven't mastered this yet, but like this effect, particularly fun with an undistinguished shot. Gorgeous clouds; it's been raining ever since, off and on. Our water heater is leaking and we are awaiting rescue by our special fixit man.
Posted by Picasa

A lovely sketchday

A lovely sketchday
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
I really have more talent as a writer, but this sketching idea keeps calling to me. I have lots of pens, brushes, colors and lovely notebooks (too beautiful to ruin) and have recently gotten together with a group that paints and sketches weekly. I can never decide which to so watercolor or ink drawing, so this week I did both and then superimposed the ink on the painting through the magic of Photoshop. Voila! I'm merrily off in a new direction!