Summer is so very lush. Filled with work and play and art, it's often hard to tell where one begins and another leaves off. Not that we'd necessarily want to determine precisely where any boundaries set them apart. If one exists at all...ideally, perhaps, they mingle and muddle and integrate into the cohesive flow of now.
Harvesting beans comes to mind. Bending over the plants (at my age) is work, and there's frequently a little back pain these days, but I'm full and happy that my gardening project, nurtured no less than any other artwork, has come to fruition, and I enjoy playing "hide-and-seek" with the often elusive pods. Later, more work/play/art happens as they're transformed - cooked and chopped and changed into a soul satisfying bean salad lunch. And in that happy zen gestalt of work/play/art, I seem to find the greatest joy in living, and the very heart of creativity. Does that make sense?
Speaking of creativity, an artist friend, Judy Wood, has posed a question on her blog, "Why do you create?" inviting everyone to share their thoughts, inspirations, and musings. And it's interesting reading. Pop over and check it out! I'd love to see your thoughts.
Noodling around in the studio the other day, I stumbled on a fun new application for those painted papers we made in a Kelly Kilmer class last spring. Remember these?
Taking a cue from my "With One Sheet of Paper" class, I began by accordion folding the 12"X12" page into sixteen 3"X3" squares. Then, using a ruler and sharp exacto knife, I carefully cut the paper into accordioned pages along the fold lines, leaving a "plough" fold at the end of each cut. I especially like this bookmaking technique because none of the paper is wasted or hidden in the folds.
I love the way the pages have turned out.
I think I'll take a black pen and outline some of the forms I see in the paint splashings, then build a story around them. Do you see the mountains and amazing Arizona sunset skies in the page below?
Not long ago, I started playing with watercolor for the first time. Small pieces, ones that I could work on and maybe finish while breaking from yardwork during the heat of the day. It's an entirely new medium for me and, I must say, somewhat challenging, but I'm loving it. This is a landscape in the Painted Desert, near Wupatki National Monument, with the sun low in the western sky.
Sunrise from "a sky island" in the Huachuca Mountains.
This piece started as a "plein air" painting out at Wupatki, near sunset on a stormy evening. I love how, looking across the vast spaces in the desert, you can see brilliant patches of sunlit landscape among the shadowed patches of rain.
Deep into the monsoon season, the gardens are thriving. These are a few photos from my morning rounds...
Egyptian onions blooming, tucked up under a viney mass of runner beans.
Two mystery vines appeared this year, volunteers sprouting out of the compost. We scratched our heads and wondered...watermelon? Cantaloupe? Too big to be cucumbers...A mystery no more, they set fruit, and turn out to be hubbard squash, one of my favorites. Yum. A happy surprise in the garden.
The yellow crookneck squash have taken over. This happens every year. At the height of production they make way more squash than we can consume. Some mornings when I go out, there are five huge squash, ready to harvest. We manage to give quite a bit of it away, that and swiss chard. I tell myself, next year I'll plant just one instead of two. Then when spring comes 'round again, knowing that two will be one too many, I go ahead and plant two anyway, and laugh at myself. This photo is of our final work/play/art landscaping project of the summer. It's a small three circuit labyrinth in the backyard. First, we're laying out the flagstone walkway, then we set the stone into the earth. Last, we'll plant sheep fescue, a short, green, native grass which won't need much water (a plus in high desert country), and that will probably never grow tall enough to mow (a bigger plus?). The labyrinth has deep spiritual meaning for me, and I've wanted to build one since we moved in - seven years ago. I'm so very, very happy to finally be creating it!
Remember: Work/play/art; repeat! Hope you're having a great summer!
Thanks for visiting! Come again soon!