...to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free....

19 April, 2011

heading out

Tomorrow I begin a small solo journey to the Far East
where I will spend time with my 
much-missed grandson and his parents.

Don't know if I'll be posting from there--it depends on a number of things.
I'll be taking photos, and thinking of ways
to show you what I've seen while I've been away.

Take good care, good people.  Enjoy the burgeoning spring.

I'll be back!

18 April, 2011

april's river

The river quickens in April.
There is snowmelt in the mountains in western Maine
and we on the coast have hosted a 
few torrential rainfalls in the last few weeks.
Altogether that makes for lots of water, going fast.

We're at the swinging pedestrian bridge I've shown  you before. 
Here is the river looking downstream toward the rapids 
and the hydroelectric dam.
Quite a difference from the frozen water of midwinter!

This is looking upstream from the bridge.
The water is tea colored--both due to the tannins from dead leaves
that fall into the river, and also from the soil
that gets caught up in the flood and the roaring that is spring.

I live about a half mile from the river.
At night, I can hear that roar in our otherwise quiet neighborhood.

Trees that are ordinarily on shore seem to float in the river, while standing still.
There is light, and color and reflection--
and the power of the water is humbling.

I like the way these trees seem to hug each other
in the face of the spring flood.

In the quieter months, this little spot is just about still water
gently flowing into a quiet backwater pool.

No swimming for Pokey in that backwater in April!!

16 April, 2011

skydiving for donuts

Yesterday evening, just outside the Portland Museum of Art-- 
wish you could have seen it.  All of a sudden
there was this quick swoop from the sky down to a sidewalk trash can.
A herring gull effortlessly picked up a paper bag in his beak
 and flew it to the sidewalk in one smooth move.

I'm thinking, he's flying along and suddenly sees the 
Dunkin' Donuts logo and cannot help himself.
(Reminds me of me some days....)

Then he started to walk down the sidewalk carrying it in his beak 
very much like an old man with a huge package.
Of course, I followed,  trying to extricate my camera from its case 
and be unobtrusive at the same time.

(Try it sometime...not easy!)

"Hmmm...hope it's Boston Cream.  My favorite"

"I can't stand the suspense--what's for dinner??

...And what is with this woman who keeps bugging me with that little black box
she's got pressed to her beak?"

"I'm getting out of here.  Taking my bag with me.

"Lady, go away!  Have a little mercy.

Let me dine in peace!!!"

13 April, 2011

sharing time

Just a quick hello on this pouring-down night.

I thought today that if I went outside every hour and took
a photo of the same patch of grass, 
I could document things getting much greener 
in the space of a grey and rainy day.

(But I didn't want to get wet, so I just thought about it.)

I'd like to recommend a blog to all of you.

I first found Brian Pfeiffer on a Monhegan Island blog.
He is from Vermont, but comes to the island
every year to witness the amazing bird migrations there
in spring and fall.
I love his posts, and I often come away much
more informed for having stopped by.  His photos
are beautiful, and his knowledge of nature is plentiful.

Today's entry is perfect, as it takes the notion of 
"April is the cruelest month..."
and turns it on its head.

Go see for yourself.  You won't be sorry!

12 April, 2011

they're back!!

The birds are busy everywhere these days--
looking for dried grass, new sticks, moss,
old pieces of thread and yarn--
anything and everything to make a sweet nest for the 
new life soon to appear.

Just as you are coming down from Witch Spring Hill
into Bath on Rt. 1 heading (north)east,
There is a tall power pole in the wide 
median between the opposing lanes of traffic.
It sports a huge osprey nest on the top.

This nest has been on this pole for almost 20 years, 
maybe longer--since the osprey started to thrive again
in these parts of the world.
(Though one or two summers ago, the old nest was replaced 
by the one that is there now--a few feet away on the same pole.
...I'm guessing she was "updating".)

I have been looking hard every day for the last few weeks,
excitedly anticipating the return of the osprey pair
who raise their chicks here each summer.
On Thursday, I saw the first one.

Cars are supposed to slow down as they descend the hill into town.
But drivers do it most consistently in the springtime 
when we are all looking for the Definite Proof that winter is over.

This morning, there they both were.  
There was nesting material being flown in,
and might I say, 
a little, ... um....fooling around going on between the two of them.

I pulled over into the breakdown lane and got out my trusty little camera.
(I won't tell you again here how much I want a long lens.)
It was a lovely interlude, despite the cars and trucks zooming
beside me,  some entering the highway and all
picking up speed to go up that hill 
on the southwest-bound side.

My flashers were on, and I was minding my own business
(and that of the osprey)
when suddenly I noticed a visitor had joined me.

"Oops!"  says I.   "The things I do for my blog"....

Meet one of Bath's finest--Officer Jensen.   
As you can see, he was not put out in the least bit
by my dallying on the highway.   
He just wanted to make sure I didn't need any roadside assistance.
We chatted about the lovely day, the other osprey and eagle
nests in the area, and then bid each other a good rest of the day

I love Maine in any season.  
Our springtime is short, but it is full of charm.

10 April, 2011

"book in a box"!

Boy, did we have a good time!

As promised, I have some shots for you of the project
we worked on during the last two days.  
There were five of  us, counting Natasha.
In the group were three artists, all three of which are also teachers,
a woman who describes herself as "the wife
of an artist", (and who has beaucoup de talent herself),
and yours truly--blog writer/photographer (and only in the last
five years capable of seeing herself as having any
artistic talent whatsoever.)

In her quiet, easy way, Tasha had led us into our assignment 
first by giving us a list of things to bring to the workshop,
saying we were going to "work small", and
asking us to bring lots of photos of ourselves from all ages,
and papers, fabrics, magazines, images we love, buttons, lace
thread, beads, sparkly things--
all of which had to fit in two 8x12 envelopes.
Plus markers, paints, pencils scissors and a small notebook.

I don't know about you, but I am 
the principal photographer in my family, and so 
there is a dearth of photos of me hanging around, except the 
childhood ones which live in a box anxiously awaiting
the day I begin to organize my life.
So I brought photos of my "peeps", in former parts of their lives:
my husband, children, their spouses, my grandkids
and my dog.

We discovered when we arrived that the workshop project was to 
make a kind of "book" of small collages
from the materials we brought, and also from 
things Natasha had for us to use: art magazines,
her own art supplies, and the inspiration of all the wonderful work
she has everywhere in her studio 
(see yesterday's post). 

She also gave each of us a small, shallow white gift box
which contained 10 blank pieces of nice, thick,
white watercolor paper.
These were to be the "pages" of our "book in a box".
We were supposed have each page represent a certain theme, 
which you will see below.
We were also supposed to put a picture of ourselves on every page somewhere.
As it turned out, some of us were prominently positioned
on our pages, and some were hidden in a 
"Where's Waldo" kind of way.
(Don't you love how we can all start out with the same assignment
and create completely different finished projects?)

Most of us decorated our boxes first.
We used whatever we had on hand, and were 
told we could have no white spaces.

Inspired by Tasha's ideas, most of us
decided to put some 'legs' on our boxes.

                                                  Even decorating the legs, if we wanted!


Here's the top of my box,

and the inside--remember, no white space!!

(The people image on the inside cover is not mine.
It was made by Betty Pinette, an artist with Spindleworks
in Brunswick, which I'll tell you about another time.)

We also had fun creating the pages, which were not bound,
just placed inside the box as we made them.

First we found images we wanted to use
from the papers we brought, our old art, magazines, photos,
drawing on our pages:  anything we wanted!

Becky had one of the most charming collections for a page:
fabrics she had collected over the years to make a quilt.  (Which she 
hasn't gotten to yet, given that she has two young boys
to look after.)

What you are seeing above are pieces of her old jammies!
See her face peeking out from  under them?

This is Anne Tarbox, a painter from North Yarmouth, Maine.
Can you believe she cut up some of her watercolors
to make pages for her book in a box??
Aren't they beautiful?

Most of us, as I said before, followed Tasha's instructions:
Each page was supposed to have a theme.
There were ten in all, one for each page.
Here are some of the themes.


Here are some of the pages people made:

(the maker of the above collage is worried you will misinterpret
the meaning of the page with text.
It is about Christmas, which she loves, but she
doesn't love all the commercial hoopla that goes with it....

This, from "the painter's wife:"

Aren't they just beautiful??


Finished projects, as shown on the lovely handmade rug
in the living room of this old farmhouse.

A wonderful two days, with wonderful women!

Thank you, Tasha!!

09 April, 2011

Natasha's magic studio

I played at my friend Tasha's all day today.
She is the maker of the stunning quilt you see below.

Tasha is a fiber artist first and foremost, creating her fiber art in 
a collage-like way. She hand dyes and paints all her fabric.
Then she puts together pieces of this fabric, along with embellishments
of all kinds (beads, figures, threads, sparkly things),
lays down some tulle (a fancy name for fine netting),
and quilts the layers together by machine. 
The finished products are gorgeous art quilts, museum- and 
art book- and gallery-worthy.
 Tasha also knits, and makes jewelry and bags and fun figures....
If it is made with fiber and color, she does it.

Tasha is full of magic. Say hi to Tasha:

She is a supremely talented, kind, funny, generous soul.
I love Tasha.  A lot.  (Can you tell?)

From time to time, 
Tasha gives workshops in her studio for humble earthlings such as I.
I've taken several paper collage workshops, and 
a workshop that taught me how to make 'spirit stones" with
smooth river rocks, waxed twine, wire and beads.
Last spring I took a doll-making workshop with her.
Here is the doll Tasha began at that workshop.
She started out with a dowel attached to a block of wood, then
added this and that she had 'just lying around' the studio.

The doll is still a work in progress, and I love her.  Wish you could
see this lady up close! She has dozens of small
charms of hands sewn to her.  Tasha named her

The studio in which Tasha creates her magic is an enchanted place in itself.
Her motto is "more is better".  
Maybe you can get a sense of that as I walk you around a few 
horizontal and vertical spaces in this room full of light,
lime green walls with lots of varied color trim,
 books and beads and quilts and yarns and charms
and glitter and sequins and brushes and paints,
treats for the eyes and spirit everywhere
...and so much more. 
(Like bowls of chocolate nestled alongside the art supplies.)

No need for more words.  Tomorrow I will share with you what
we are making this weekend in our paper collage workshop.
Right now, feast your eyes, and get in the spirit
that is Natasha Kempers-Cullen from Topsham Maine.


(sneak peek for tomorrow: )

                              (made by my old friend Becky)

                             (made by my new friend Anne)