Friday, August 5, 2011

What Is Your Story?

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Most often when I connect with an image it sparks my imagination and calls to mind stories. Characters and scenes often emerge. Sometimes, the stories are my own and powerful memories are evoked. On other occasions, the events involve imaginary characters. Some pieces set me off to pondering questions. Another will color the air, fill a room with its distinct atmosphere, and wrap me in a mood that may linger for quite some time. As I worked on this piece, a certain type of tale kept creeping into my head.

I wonder. What stories are suggested to you by this one?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Caterpillars, Tomatoes, and Kitchen Chores

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There I was standing at the kitchen sink—apron, rubber gloves, the whole rig, fully immersed in cleaning the kitchen, except for admiring the clouds, and the horses, and—and "tap, tap", it is The Husband beckoning me to come outside.
Now, to fully appreciate the tone of the moment you need a bit of background. I am not a full-out slob and I have never lived in what anyone would call a pigsty. Still, neither did anyone ever describe me as fastidious. I own white cotton gloves only for handling prints, mats, and glass when matting and framing my work. It would never cross my mind to apply the white glove test to furniture or any other belongings. Please.

I tell you all this just so you appreciate the risk of interrupting me while I am in the midst of a household chore. The mood is usually transitory, at best.

With a sense of misgiving, I dropped my chore and headed out the door. The Husband would not give up a single hint as to the cause for the summons. (Sure, I would have known had I seen the photos you have seen.) I had to follow him to the tomato plants and wait patiently (even as the enthusiasm for my chore in the kitchen waned), while he built the suspense as to who or what had had the temerity to munch on his plant.

Immediately, I was able to eliminate from the suspect list the baby bunnies, along with the ground squirrels, because of the height of the damage. Once again, I slandered the deer. I am ashamed of myself for jumping to such a conclusion.

When The Husband felt he could draw out the suspense no longer, he finally guided me around to the point where I could view this king-size caterpillar. Am I naive, or is this guy really huge? Maybe I just don't know that much about tomato plants and creepy crawler critters, but I was impressed.

Oh, by the way, there is a happy ending. The kitchen got cleaned up, also. Not bad after an interruption that engrossing.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sweet Nectar and Nostalgia

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By now, a blind man could see that I am hopelessly ensnared by nostalgia. As I browsed old folders searching for the photo of the garden angel, I came across a picture of peaches, also taken in the backyard of our home in the San Fernando Valley. The peach tree, planted by previous owners, bore gushing, sinfully sweet and delicious fruit fit for gods. There is no way any mere photograph could do justice to such a fruit. Still, I decided that, at least, I might romanticize the photo a bit and convey some of my wistfulness by adding a couple of those Shadowhouse textures.

Did you ever taste a fruit so perfectly balanced with sweet and tart that you will never forget it's nectar? So delicious that you cannot resist licking the sticky juice off that finger? Any fruit is better, of course, if eaten immediately after having been plucked from the tree. Aiming for perfection, let us hope this experience was savored on a warm, sunny day with just a hint of breeze and you could tilt your head back slightly, close your eyes, and hear the leaves rustle as you counted your blessings.

Ahhhh, nostalgia. Digging into dusty boxes from the cellar or attic, perusing a tattered photo album, or searching through old folders on a hard disc—there isn't that much difference. Mostly, the memories are wrapped in the sweetness of time's healing and today's remembering softens the sharp edges of a time gone by.