Thursday, October 30, 2014
When we get home I paint a little voodou doll that my friend E gave me a few years ago and that I keep in my studio. I like the way the body is made of string, and the forlorn little bell on top of the head. Good mojo for sure.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
But the lumpy black walnut at bottom right is the most interesting to me right now. I found this one in the woods today in a perfect state of transition: the outer hull, which contains astringent and bitter-tasting tannin, has almost completely rotted away (also thanks to the tannin) now that the squirrels and other nut gatherers have gone into hibernation. The hard inner shell is now safe for the winter, until the longer days and warmer temperature and moisture of spring trigger the growth of the tiny seed inside. When the seed begins to grow, the enormous force generated will crack the walnut shell open along dehiscent lines, and the seedling will grow into one of the ten thousand black walnut trees that we spend all summer trying to eradicate from our gardens and yards.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Someone asked how I could draw and still be part of the conversation. No problem as long as I'm not thinking about the drawing as it arranges itself on the paper. If I were to start judging it (not a good start, bad proportions, etc) everything would freeze up, and then I would NOT be able to pay attention to the conversation. But that rarely happens these days, 3400 drawings along the path to 10,000. One of the good things about this practice is that it makes drawing flow without much (if any) mental interference. I'm always pleasantly surprised at how things come out.
Monday, October 27, 2014
I have some other, larger milagros (also called ex votos, dijeos, or promesas) made of tin. I have several hearts and one large flat baby Jesus. I bought these tin ones in Italy; the smaller ones in the collection drawn here came from San Antonio. Once a friend who lived there sent me an arm milagro when I was having a nasty bout of poison ivy with its epicenter on my arms.
Then this morning we were up at 7:00 in order to go out to the hill behind our house and watch the sunrise. On the right you can see J huddling down on the slope taking pictures as the sun came up behind the mountains.
J's blog for his post about the sunrise.
Friday, October 24, 2014
So after the day in the bardo, it felt great to unwind by making a big pot of chicken soup/gumbo and some cornbread. I used some of the gumbo file that I made from sassafras leaves from one of the little sassafras trees in our back yard woods.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Well that was sad, but I found another pair of hiking shoes at the back of the closet. Worse was when I went into the kitchen to make my regular morning smoothie and discovered the blender had broken four out of its six wee plastic teeth that engage with the motor. Very cheap construction! Beware of Braun blenders-- check to make sure the bottom of the top part engages with the top of the motor part by means of a metal assembly before you plunk down your money. These little plastic teeth have been chipping off at the rate of one every few weeks, but this morning there was only one full tooth left, and it was just not up to the whole job.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
On the left is a view looking down on the valley and at the mountain range in the distance. On the right is the pinnacle as seen from below. The foreground, which I did not draw, was a grassy high meadow and relatively flat. The elevation was a little above 6000 feet, a 400 ft climb from the parking lot.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
I can't begin to tell it all here, so go to Cornell University's tannin page . Here you'll find more than you ever wanted to know about tannins, and you'll have a new appreciation for how much smarter nature is than we are.
Monday, October 13, 2014
]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]] (Jesse's comment) I use a plastic coffee filter that is flat on the bottom. I bought mine in the grocery store. You can see it in drawing 3335. If you can't find this kind of filter, you could also strain the ink through two layers of old pantyhose stretched over the mouth of a jar.
I also researched tannin. As I suspected, tannin in plants functions as a protection from predators as well as an aid to decomposition (without which a seed could not get out of the protective hull and have a chance of sprouting). I've made oak gall ink with galls gathered from gall oak trees in parts of Italy and southern France. The tannin in the galls must protect the wasp eggs within the gall and then help the gall decompose so the little insects can escape. Tannin is acidic; hence the bitter taste if you accidentally get a piece of walnut shell in your mouth.
Sunday, October 12, 2014
You might recognize these drawings from a few weeks ago-- water pickeral seed pods from Beaver Lake swampy place. I redrew them today in preparation for a trip to the copy center tomorrow where I will enlarge them slightly for use in a woodcut I'm working on. I expect the real pods have by now disintegrated and sunk to the bottom of the marsh where they'll hunker down in the ooze for the winter.
On the right side of the page is a piece of staghorn sumac with a slightly magnified seed. Nit a very exciting post, I know, but tomorrow I'll document ink making and post a recipe!
Saturday, October 11, 2014
At top left is a conker or buckeye, long considered a good luck charm (and what does a lucky charm do if not protect the carrier from fears and dangers?). A friend told me yesterday about children who live near her and sell buckeyes at their family's farm stand as lucky charms. They do a brisk business. Next to the buckeye is a mala, a set of beads used by Hindus and Indians to keep count while reciting, chanting or mentally repeating a mantra. A friend who had lived in India for ten years gave me the mala, and I imagine it is comforting to hold, just as my grandmother's rosary beads soothed her when she was terrified of a thunderstorm or hurricane. At the bottom of this page is a flu shot, which imparts, along with whatever it's shooting into the person, a kind of security similar to that given by the mala and buckeye to those who believe in them.
On the right is the Real Deal: a bottle of genuine Lourdes water. My French Catholic voodoo grandmother would have cherished a bottle of this, believing as she did in the efficacy of holy water. Lourdes water is not only holy water but it comes from the spring in Portugal where the Virgin Mary is believed by some to have appeared and worked miracles. Thousands of pilgrims make the trip to Lourdes every year to bathe in the waters that continue to flow from a little spring near the grotto where the lady appeared. The same friend who gave me the mala made a trip to Lourdes out of curiosity, and she brought me this bottle of Lourdes water. I'm not sure if it's one of my mojos, but I have been keeping it for a very long time. I am curious to note that in all these 12 or so years it has not shown any stagnate water signs but is as fresh smelling and looking as it was when I got it.
And at the bottom is part of my favorite voodoo pacquet, not really mojo for me but still nice to have around. I suppose my trusted mojo is the Chinese herb and the probiotic-rich yogurt I faithfully take every morning, along with my daily trek in the woods.
Friday, October 10, 2014
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Monday, October 6, 2014
Sunday, October 5, 2014
And here's a print from a carving that I made of that little moon from Chiusi Citta, chiesa di San Francesco. Love it so much with its sneer and its droopy eyelids!
Saturday, October 4, 2014
After our failed seed exploration, we did some drawing and rubber eraser carving, making a sheep logo to put on the tags we're making for our teething sheep. We've decided to call our little teething toys project Chompos. Maya drew and carved and printed this one.
At the bottom left of the sheep page is an opened pod from Japanese iris; and next to that is a armed goddess figure, this one African and made of bronze. It hangs from a bead necklace that I bought at the NO Jazz Fest from an African booth, probably in the early 80s one time when we went back for Jazz Fest.