Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Catch-Up from NOLA Celebration Trip


P and I and two of my bros and their wives from Colorado and Mississippi converged in New Orleans with cousins this weekend-plus-Monday to help celebrate our beloved aunt's 100th birthday with her.  Above and below are my usual airport sketches.

We had the great fun of staying in an airbnb two houses away from the house we lived in the year P and I and M and D moved to NO for P to finish his engineering degree.  This wonderful old neighborhood was the one I grew up in, near City Park and the bayou.  E was born there.

We made a beeline for our favorite coffee shop, the Fair Grinds.  The colors in this tiny place are almost the best thing about it!

On Sunday after the Fair Grinds we strolled around our old haunts, the exotic tropical plants everywhere, horsetails blooming merrily around a garbage can.  After Sunday afternoon's party we went out to the lake front for a little party before dinner and after the big party.  Since my bros and their families and my cousin  live far away from us we used every minute to hang out-  dinners every night, river front walking Monday night, etc.

Not a sketch, but my favorite picture of my aunt and her friend at the party.  

Monday morning P and I walked around the old neighborhood some more, this time to the NOMA sculpture garden and the old Casino, which is now a Morning Call in City Park.

Around 10:00, when the heat and humidity drove us inside, we went to the French Quarter with my cousin D and went to the voudou museum, where I overheard two guys making a prayer following the directions on the right in front of a prayer stump.  One asked the other:  What did you wish for?  The other said : Impeachment!

More at the voudou museum.

Sadly , we had to come home yesterday morning.  I loved looking down at barges and ships on the Mississippi.  

Friday, September 15, 2017

Sheep Like White Rocks, Bulls Chewing Mildly


The sheep, unattended by the bulls, are piled up like stones in a New England field.

Then they seem to sense me, and one by one they lumber to their feet and face northeast.

Meanwhile the three erstwhile guard bulls are lounging and chewing their cuds under a tree across the road.  No conclusions to be drawn.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Post -Hurricane Steers and One More Inflatable House


So the hurricane has passed through us and left in its wake a sulphurous yellowy light and some playful steers.

These guys were joyfully licking each others' heads and backs,

playfully mounting each other,

and generally playing in the still- puddly field after Monday night's fierce wind and slanting rain.

And here's a reminder that in watery places boats belong close to houses.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Plow Day and a Few Numinous Objects


Plow Day happens in September on the college farm when area farmers who use teams of animals to plow gather at a field on the farm and plow the field.

This year there were a couple of teams of mules along with percherons and other draft horses.

I asked my friend K to point out those of her many collected objects that seem especially numinous.  This rusty metal mantis and small carved wood woman--

this odd metal hedgehog's head on a marble slab, a totem rock that I found and gave to her--  and then I saw this fascinating little etching labeled Birdie by an artist named A. Fedar,

and a flying pig made out of raku-fired clay.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Living Below Sea Level: a Retrospective


I made this book right after Hurricane Katrina.  I grew up below sea level in New Orleans, and water was our element.  This watery time seems right to ponder the implications and adaptations of living below sea level.


I can remember going to sleep to the distant sound of a pumping station after a rainy day.

I wasn't living in the city during Katrina, but my first of several hurricanes occured when I was five years old.  My Dad carried me down the street to the big church on Esplanade, later took me outside to see a patch of blue sky that he told me was the eye of the hurricane.

Graves in the neighborhood cemetery were above ground.

From certain streets in the French Quarter we could see ships passing on the river at second story level.

In the dark ground-floor basement of our raised creole cottage was a drain through which water rose frequently and ominously.  Crawfish holes rose their clayey collars in our side yard.



From the ferry the city looked dwarfed by ships.

I loved watching clamshell-laden barges slipping past my bedroom window during naptime when we lived briefly in Lakeview near a canal that has since been filled in.

Mediums used:  water-soluble crayons, absorbent ground, pen,  paper plate lithography, watercolor,  diluted fluid acrylic base on Arches cover wove paper;  with cover image of mica, encrusted sand, and digital output.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Better Than Praying: Floating Docks in Tidal Villages


A clever if  curious adjustable walkway and floating dock in Bear River, NS-- another good example of working with instead of defying nature ( and then praying to be spared when nature does its natural thing, such as a tide or a storm)

Monday, September 4, 2017

Vernacular Building on the Bay of Fundy


The Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia is the site of the world's highest tides.  Twice a day the tide rises and falls as much as 50 feet, the equivalent of a five story building.  Buildings along the many rivers in the area experience drastic tides on a daily basis, but they're built to withstand the flood. The value of not resisting or ignoring nature.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Catch-Up Vacation Report 3




Rosie and the kids-- constant motion-- back in Maplewood for a week.
Beautiful vegetables at the farmers' market with Kerstin.  Background is poured diluted acrylic.

On Monday we all went to the park for eclipse viewing!  And here's Abby drawing and telling me about her very recent licking match with her brother.  She drew the brown bird too.

A scene from out in front of Able Baker on the left and skylines sketched on the ferry going across the Hudson to get to the city the circuitous way with Penn Station out of commission for NJT.

Sketching with Nate in the Egyptian section of the Met.  We both love sharwabties.
Some more from the Met, and a page from Monday's eclipse sketches based on comparing pinhole images vs direct viewing thru eclipse glasses.

Backyard fence and gate sketch on the left and Nate's schematic on the right.

It doesn't sound like fun, but Nate and I had a hilarious time organizing his bazillion things into categories for the bins in his bedroom.  This spread illustrates our favorite category:  Angry Scotsmen (objects with no real use but which he is not ready to part with for some unknown reason, such as the Angry Scotsmen mints tin that is empty and can't even be opened, but yet----).

On Saturday we all went walking through a beautiful woods that had  fairy houses in secret places all along the trail.  Abby especially loved the houses and told me which ones to draw.

More fairy houses

Abby's mousie doll with tiny rasta cap I crocheted for her using a crochet hook that Erik fashioned for me out of a wire.  On the right Nate working on his Yetti.

Sadly, we are back in the airport on our way home.  Loved this vacation so much!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Report Day 2


On Sunday we headed to Cape Breton, driving along the southwest coast to see what we could see.  Here's  Andi on a bench at beautiful empty Judique Beach.  A little further along we happened upon a fiddler at a  restaurant/Celtic music interpretive center, where we stopped for a snack and to watch ceilidh dancing and listen to the music.  We turned back afterwards and took a scenic route home, stopping at  Cape George to stand on cliffs and look over the bay.  The little building below is the barn of the house next door to us.

On the left is L, looking a bit like Elvis Presley, whom he does not look like!  On the right is a flowerpot island in the Minas Basin on the Bay of Fundy, at Burncoat Head, where the world's highest and lowest tides occur.  We happened to arrive just before the lowest point of low tide, when we were able to walk out on the red clay bottom of the basin.  After thoroughly exploring Burncoat Head we ate at a local restaurant where the menu suggested that we poutine our fries for $3CD, which some us did.  Poutine, we were told, is thoroughly Nova Scotian, a gravy-like dish involving mushrooms and peas and cheese.

On Tuesday we drove down to out second airbnb near Annapolis Royal, oldest colonial settlement in N America after St Augustine, FL.  Here we are staying in a 150 year old farmhouse on a blueberry farm.  On the left are two old outbuildings with our host below doing her recycling.  On the right Andi and L hang out their laundry.

Wednesday we were lucky enough to be on the waterfront for a festival in Annapolis called Tall Ships.    Several antique ships sailed into the harbor coming from nearby Digby to the accompaniment of WWII planes flying overhead, men in kilts shooting off what might have been muskets, and a local band playing the Canadian national anthem.  The ships then slowly turned around and sailed back out of the harbor on the tide.  We also did a walking tour of old buildings near the waterfront, including an antique shop that has these lovely glass bobbins for embroidery.

Thursday P and T and I explored Bear River, our tiny town, while the others went on a zipline.  There was a coop art gallery as well as a room in the back of the community center that had a historical artifact collection .  Lunch at Myrtle & Rosie's was excellent and the wifi was strong!

Late night game playing on the right--

Random scribbles as we headed out to Digby Neck on Friday.

We took two ferries to get to the end of Digby Neck, and on the left are some ferry people.

At the tip of Digby Neck is Briar Island, remote, uncrowded, rocky with thistles, tomato-like rose hips, amaranth, and so many other plants.  We sat high over the bay and saw whales blowing and breeching!  There were maybe six other people out there.  Seals crowded onto one close-in island.  Gulls and other birds screamed.  

These days are so packed full of discoveries!  On the way home from Digby Neck we passed a sign for Balancing Rock, so naturally we pulled in to the trailhead parking lot, which was empty.  We hiked along a well-documented, mile-long wildflower trail and eventually came to 276 steps ( T and I counted them) that took us down the cliff to a landing platform near the balancing rock!

Here is our group selfie, but the balancing rock is barely visible on the left.  Then we climbed back up the 276 steps, hiked the mile, and headed home.  Tomorrow we leave, and we do not want to!