Monday, October 20, 2014

The Journey Never Ends

A brief tour through the last 2 months of my life since I returned home...I decided on my trip that I live in the best place in the country for me. It has been a long, lingering, sunny, wonderful Fall.

My back yard, where the NW ground covers are finally choking out most of the dandelions and spite of the fact that my yard is surrounded by fields. You can see a ceramic face (on the fence) and a turtle with black birds (ravens or crows, there is a difference) on its back. Ceramics by Bill Kobe, stonework by me.

Doug and Thayer at Ediz Hook, balancing rocks on a log. So good to spend a day with them and Hugh and Connie before Thayer went back to Israel to save the world. He and I email about politics.

My solution to not wanting to have to remember to water plants: painted drift wood, white rocks, and a clay face with moss from a woman in NY...I talked with her about her cancer, and she gave me this piece...connections.

After Doug and Thayer went back to Seattle, Hugh and Connie went out to Rialto Beach, 20 degrees cooler, and misty on a sunny day...seems so wild compared to the coast of Maine, but also in dampness.

This piece came to me, practically assembled itself, wheels and all from things I had in the studio and with a made-up alphabet for Art and The Word show at Northwind Gallery in Port Townsend...the gel medium on the base was still wet when I took the piece that creates itself. The hat is the tip of a firework that found its way into my yard.

Me on Rialto Beach, pouring the Atlantic water into the real Pacific Ocean, sea stacks in the background...I know both oceans are connected, by this was a capper to my cross-country journey

A small wall hanging, using a piece of driftwood looking like a woman, an altered Polaroid of me printed on silk, and fabric collected over time and travels, even though I didn't collect any fabric on my recent journey...I guess a part of me knew that I already have plenty...but that doesn't mean I won't get more. Some fabric computer printed from our trip to Stash Dash.

Sticky buns for my family...they were appreciated. The popover tin made good buns. We also made an Amazing cherry tomato cobbler.

Donkey Tail Euphorbia patterns...

more euphorbia...things like this don't grow in New England...they propagate themselves all over my yard...I've moved some babies to the front, and they also keep the weeds down

More Doug and Thayer and balancing at Ediz, my home beach...I've always needed to be this close to salt water, and for the last 9 years I am. It must be tough for Doug to let his son go to scary places, but I think he is a good Dad, and he and my youngest brother, David, are the closest I'll ever come to children of my own...both very, very good men.

A small wall piece based on my parents' wedding...made me think about how much married people influence the course of each other's lives...I built my foundation of making art, appreciating music, and gardening when I was married...taught my ex-husband to read.

New beach in Port Angeles

It has been almost two months since I returned from Heroine's Journey 2 and started Heroine's Journey 3, which will last for the rest of my life...I've been so busy making Art, getting ready for shows, seeing friends and family in the Northwest...AND enjoying the wonderful Northwest fall weather, that I've just gotten out of the habit of blogging, and am going to throw a bunch of pictures and HOME experiences at you all!

Port Townsend with a turning tree. I currently have work in two shows here. A sweet Victorian Touristy town, 50 miles from my house. The downtowns on the Peninsula have planted maples that do turn bright red, in spite of mostly evergreens in the natural forest in these parts.

Deer on a hillside at Hurricane Ridge. I enjoyed the Olympic National Park with Hugh and Connie in September and made that experience into a wall piece currently hanging at the Port Angeles Public Library in a show celebrating the 50th anniversary of Olympic National Park...this is 19 miles from my house. 

The daylight is shorter, I'm starting to get back into my pre-trip yoga shape, The kitchen counter is crowded with works in progress. I finished one more portrait and started another...I won't be a Famous or hugely successful painter or writer, but I can't stop making stuff, writing every day. It took me a good while to get over feeling guilty about not having to get up in the dark and go to work, and to believe that there will be enough money to support my modest life style. Thanks to my good friend, David Carris, for setting up my finances and talking me through lots of panic attacks, and to my mother for raising me as a frugal person...(went a bit overboard, but I'm finding a balance with help from my friends). 

There are highways and rivers and railroads running along side each other all over this wide country. Beautiful things to see, and maybe we always love elements of the landscapes we grew up with the best. There is something precious beyond words about old friends...and there are friends growing into old friends everywhere we choose to settle. I choose here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Home the end of every Journey

I arrived back home a month ago was supposed to be 8/24, but the afternoon when I was on my way from Pendleton, OR, to stay in Longview, WA, and check out what had happened in Astoria, OR, since the last time I was there...I saw how close I was to home and just came the rest of the way, by a circuitous route up the Olympic Peninsula, along the Hood Canal.

Mom, the day before her 90th birthday, big family party and new great granddaughter

I think I did an excellent job of staying with the Journey almost all the way...there was so much to see and think about, so many friends and family to look forward to meeting with. Even the subtle changes along the highways were interesting, going from Western Sentinel Evergreens to Eastern Washington pink/gold/smokey desert...across the top of the country, with fracking and sad grids of dusty trailers and no living thing in sight...the Magnificent Windmills, rolling green, packed humanity, New England Villages, Maine seacoast, then down the Delaware Water Gap, across the truck-packed hills and highways of Pennsylvania, Midwest--lush to high desert, mountains close and far, sagebrush, dramatic thunderstorms when all I could do was keep going and hope the lightning missed me, gas stations further apart, the great ribeye in Real West, the sweet Rugged Country Lodge in Oregon and home along the Columbia River Valley. 

A typical Road/Railroad/River arrangement, with the river on the other side of my car

Thirty-Seven Days, 8.000 miles, and I didn't even begin to see all there is, but maybe hit the high points for my own self. I saw places I've lived, including one that has been turned into a park, family and friends...I apologize to the considerable number I missed. Drove through Glacier National Park and saw snow, but didn't have time to stop. Collected salty water from the Atlantic and a couple of weeks after I got home, Hugh and Connie and I drove over to Rialto Beach to mingle the Atlantic with the Pacific...I baptised some of the Vermont Granite from Barre that now lives in my back yard, along with a turtle of the four directions and a ceramic head from Bill Kobe in MN and a cement leaf from Anne Arthur in Michigan....we all talked and looked and ate...such riches! Each day I spent some time away from the Interstates, small tastes of communities.

The coast of Maine 8/6/ dots below the horizon are surfers waiting for a storm wave

Why did I do this? Experience? Life Review? To discover my next project?...I'm not any more clear about the next phase of my life than I was before I left, except: 1) if the Cross-Country Trip was Heroine's Journey 2, the rest of my life is Heroine's Journey 3, and 2)The Journey is the Destination are still good words to navigate by.

Pacific, Rialto, 9.6.14 I touch the Western Shore...with Hugh and Connie--just realized they were a month apart

There are a lot of railroad/river/road  arrangements across the country. The ones that appeal to me most are the ones that remind me most of Vermont, where I was born and where a part of my heart will always live. This top left corner of the Olympic Peninsula is where Home is now and will be as far ahead as I can see...there was no place else I wanted more to live, although it was hard to leave VT...people and places...mostly the north half. The first 4 weeks after I got home were full of family visits and enjoying the tourist attractions of my own neighborhood...and preparing work for shows...maybe that's what I "do" now.

Hurricane Ridge.9.6.14. I was so quiet a squirrel used my left shoulder as a Springboard

Now that I'm home, I've gotten back to being with family and friends here, good food, new art, even though I see that I'll never achieve the level of fame I might have thought at times I wanted...enjoying the process is good enough for me...

New Multi-level Wall piece, finished today

The pictures, writing, souvineers, memories from my trip will furnish raw material for a long time to come. Stay Tuned!  I'll be posting again regularly now on both blogs, here and at Hot Flash Women

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Montpelier and Burlington, Heroine's Journey catch up, 8/8-9/2014

My nest in Theo's room...thanks for sharing, Theo

Another cool VT house in Montpelier

Montpelier Saturday Farmer's Market...I bought some syrup for David Hastings. If I weren't a born Vermonter myself, I'd think that the scenery and characters were provided by Central me it will always be the most beautiful place in the world, even though I love my home in the cool blue Northwest.
My cousin, Holly, the grandma biker

I should publish this on my Hot Flash Women Blog, too. I met my cousin, Holly, in Vermont's state capitol as she and a group of fellow motorcycle riders came to present toys to the Shriners for sick children...almost a thousand bikers, and Holly on her red Harley...what a sight!...and Sound! and a very, very polite and kind group of people.

Bikers bring toys up the State House Steps

David Carris tells me that VT has a State House, rather than a State Capitol building...we are a small and unassuming state. The requisite politicians gave speeches.

Below, Friday, 8/8/14 after the antique art at the Shelburne Museum, I visited the current arty section of Burlington on Pine Street. Everything is jazzier and busier and prettier than when I lived there in the Eighties. Montpelier is more my speed now. Arts Riot has the food cart and music event in Montpelier on Saturdays...where I got the amazing lobster roll that will long live in my memory.

Brass, eagle, fabrication....I hear that on Arts Walk it's an amazing scene

Driving through the secondary roads in SW Iowa yesterday, I saw how I love landscapes that remind me of the ones of my youth in VT...Is it that way for everyone, resonating with their formative backgrounds? I know people whose primal landscapes are Arizona...Tonight I'll be sleeping in Wyoming...I see more dryness creeping in already in Nebraska. I anticipate some mountains...or rock formations...I'm trying not to load my car down too much. I'll be building some kind of homage to my journey in the back yard with the sculptures and rocks I've collected.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Portraits: Alice Neel in Bennington, VT, 8/10/14

Tonight I'm in North Platte, Nebraska. After a strange time in Indiana, when I couldn't find the place I'd reserved through and found an angel instead, who saved me from a place I learned that a TripAdviser reviewer had said not even to go into the parking lot.

Goldie is going to have a radio talk show in Fort Wayne. She wants me to write her biography...stories everywhere

I know that my Art Works have been cooking in the back of my mind throughout this whole trip, but today, when I left my last familiar stop and headed into the last week of my journey, I really see the portraits blossoming. 

Annie let me know that there was an Alice Neel show going on in Bennington, pairing her paintings with an itinerant portrait painter of a century earlier. Even though I have seen photos of these paintings before, it's a special treat to examine the brush strokes up close, see how much of the canvas is bare, study the outlines....

This one was sliced up by a jealous lover and then put back together

I'm on the home stretch of my journey now...Tuesday evening now, I'll be home Sunday. Get back to painting....Excitement!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Travels with Charley. 8.18.14

My little mother, in front of what was Blacks Department Store, Waterloo, Iowa

I have fallen further behind in my trip documentation, spending a few days with Mom on my way home from the East Coast. I am learning my/our way around a Waterloo, Iowa, vastly changed since I last lived here in 1965. I am experiencing how men sometimes/often get thrust into a position of dealing with the cars and unfamiliar places and situations, and feeling compelled to act confident for the sake of others.

Normally I read huge amounts all the time, and use daily writing to help me see and process...This is pure exhaustion-generating experience. Steinbeck's slim volume has been keeping me company all along the I head off into lots of unknowns. I see my future self in my mother...but also where my life has differed. I flash on all the scenes from the past mnth, the people, the experiences. 

I admit, I'm a little nervous about Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon...when I reach the left coast on Saturday, it will be more familiar territory for the run home, the stop at Ruby Beach to ceremonially join the Atlantic water with the Pacific...I'm reaching out to friends to join me in spirit along the rest of the way home.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

West Side of VT, Shelburne Museum, 8.8.14

Shelburne Museum...round barn like I saw in Passumpsic

Never-ending fun and absorbing images/ideas. I started out Friday morning, not knowing exactly where I would end up...since I had not driven up along Lake Champlain as I used to do to visits friends in the state, I headed toward that area. I love that VT is small enough to travel to all parts of it easily.

The Shelburne Museum is a town-sized collection of buildings and experiences collected by Mrs. Webb--what fun she must have had! I visited as a child, and several times over the years, but it was a perfect  brilliantly sunny, but not too humid, for walking around, looking, and talking...the docents in each building are happy to discuss their charges. Nancy Crow had been for the opening of the show of her new work. The Northeast Fibers person I met in Williston...Jennifer? Told me to go and see the hooked lamb rugs...A beautiful place to spend the day.

Part of the automaton collection...interesting multiple images

Hooked Ewe Rugs

Patty Yoder

Variations on a theme allow deeper investigation

Nancy Crow monoprinted textures

Classic Prosperous Vermont barn

Nancy Crow color play with MonoPrinting

Nancy Crow 6-foot tall tryptych. The Docent showed me all the obsessive stitching for dimension

I wonder if I got my 4-legged doll idea from the Shelburne

Another perfect scene toward Lake Champlain from the Shelburne

Classic Round Barn...revolutionary way to tend cows with less work, dropping the feed through from the top level

Lighthouse with the ship Ticonderoga in the background

I want to do some red lips for my yard..these are a molded plastic seat...I'm thinking of coated papier mache, imbedded with mirror glass...more for the small planes flying over to see

Cool Figures...inspiration abounds!

Weather vanes...outlet for creativity

A flying automatron...a video shows them in motion, but the actual images are so Surreal! Inspirational

This is the lovely Shelburne Beach. A very kind teenager let me come in to take a all the gorgeous places in the world belong more and more to the rich and privaeedged?...

Driving around VT is like being in a's SO pleasing in color, shape, texture, arrangement. My younger brothers spent most of their formative years in Iowa, and they appreciate it's subtle beauties more than I ever could.

The people I've met everywhere, especially the Midwest, are very very nice, from the man who fixed my windshield on a Saturday (seems so long ago now) to the women at the Red Roof Inn in Fort Wayne, Indiana, last night who took in a confused and weary traveler and made everything good.

Message: Be nice to everyone...never knowing when and where you will get it back.