Fractals Photos Poetry Prose Watercolor

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Plein Air Painting

Outdoors and watercolors make a fine team. I love to paint outside in warm weather and keep supplies ready to go, whether for a long drive or out to the patio.

My ready-to-go gear includes an 11"x 14" acrylic sheet for a backing board/easel and a sheet of 22/30 140 lb paper cut into quarters or eighths. A watercolor block also travels easily.

A flat piggyback palette is ideal because strips of masking tape can be applied to the top so it's easy to tear off a bit of tape for holding your paper on the acrylic sheet.

To add variety to my color palette, I use an ordinary pill box like those pharmacists give away. Each little lidded area works well for a squeeze or two of color I probably won't use but hate to be without.

A white plastic saucer makes a fine mixing area. I carry a couple of plastic sandwich bags to cover a perfect palette when packing up.

An empty paper towl core is an ideal brush buddy. Simply use a strong rubber band to attach the brush handles to a 12-inch plastic ruler. The ruler keeps the brushes stable and protected inside the core. If you use paper towels, three or four can be folded and inserted into one end of the core. (This tip of mine was previously published in the Watercolor Magic magazine.)

A small peanut butter jar with lid or a cottage cheese carton are great water containers.

It's nearly time to pack up for painting new leaves, fresh flowers and blue skies over swirling creeks and I'm anxious for the season's first plein air excursion.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Bleeding Hearts

Last weekend brought the area's first spring weather and three local tragedies.

Friday, a bright 16-year old girl in the driver's seat of an SUV, which also carried her father and two brothers, crossed the center line where she hit a truck and killed herself instantly. Her father and brothers are hospitalized in critical condition.

Saturday evening, a local middleaged man fell overboard from his 54-foot cruiser and his wife was unable to save him. His body was recovered yesterday.

Sunday, a bubbly, slim blonde lady slit her wrists and neck when her husband went outside to mow the yard. Their daughter and very young grandson stopped to visit in time to save her for stitching and hospitalization. Her physical damage is extensive and the emotional damage to her, her family and a wide circle of friends and acquaintances will never heal.

There's little we can do. Words drop like rocks without touching. Thoughts circle endlessly and uselessly like dogs chasing their tails and, today, I miss the ordinary which is sometimes frustrating in its sameness.

I wonder how many others are lurking at the edge of disaster, by being unaware or careless, where there are no overs except for nightmares and bleeding hearts.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Sap of a Wounded Pine

I want to pat myself on the back but it might be too soon. It's taken me longer than I thought possible to get this simple project together and I'm afraid that by dawn tomorrow, the lines will be scattered and the paintings will turn to black and white. Each time I learn something, I'm faced with another curve, another project, another brain stretch. It is said that keeps one young but it seems to me it makes my eyes bloodshot and my forehead wrinkled. Hmmm.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Schwan Song for Jen

Idaho's February skies were relentlessly gray when my brother called to say a two-week vacancy existed in his Arizona triplex and I was welcome to use it. Fortuitous indeed, as my local 17-year-old granddaughter was experiencing some life difficulty and my feet, as always, were itching.

With the pretense of extending our self life... I grabbed the kid, a tank of gas and a few carrot sticks to tide us over. We hit the road to learn we needed to stop more often for chocolate than gas.

Anxious to see a real roadrunner, Jen took the wheel when I wearied that first night out and drove the under-construction highway through Salt Lake City as if she were on the Autobahn. In a very short time, we arrived at our destination.

The gorgeous unit was fully furnished and, of course, the kitchen was stocked by my thoughtful brother and sister-in-law with fresh fruit, coffee, milk, and cereal but not enough chocolate. Perhaps there can never be enough chocolate. The nearby grocery had additional provisions.

On a day near the end of this interlude, we basked on the patio while Jen did pre-assigned schoolwork and I watercolored. Jen prepared an artful and tasty lunch. We munched while chatting and watching golfers, the purple Superstition range, roadrunners, burrowing owls, mourning doves and bouncing bunnies.

'Perfect,' said I, 'except we have no dessert. Today, we have no ice cream, no chocolate. Poor we.'

'Yeah,' said she. And the doorbell rang. I opened the door to that well-known door marketer, complete with food catalog, order form and a small bag of sample. We talked for a minute or so before he went his way.

Returning to the patio, I opened the gift bag to find two (can you believe this?), two vanilla ice cream bars smothered in chocolate. High-fives and a thank you preceded the miracle of one more perfection.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Today's Espresso - a Haiga

today's espresso
fires my mind, froth wakes my tongue
fails to sweeten words

The tiniest part of a mathematically formulated shape, known as a fractal, is a self-similar replica of the whole.

Haiku works well in conjunction with a fractal when it becomes possible to see something in the shape which might not have been immediately visible.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Smoke and Mirrors - A Fractal

This fractal was made in the Apophysis program. I have two programs and use them for a variety of designs. Fractals work very well for book covers, CD-DVD inserts, movie titles, screen savers and greeting cards as each one is original and it's great fun and a challenge, as well, to fit the fractal to a specific use. A design that works for a book cover may not be the best one for a greeting card.

It's possible that observing fractals started my watercoloring toward the path of abstractals and away from the line of realism which had been my regular practice.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Forty-three Miles North of Soul

Forty-three Miles North of Soul

Shucked by his coyoté
he dares the desert
prickly pear and knife-edged grasses
ocotillo spines pinch pieces
from thinning khaki trousers.

He scratched for the trip
with a guide
greed and dreams high-fived
illegal entry, the last illusion.

Crinkled eyes burned by sun
branded by timeworn laughter
he wears optimism
a crown twice the size
of his ubiquitous cowboy hat.

On the promised side
he passes potters’ fields
planted in dust drowned rows
tidier than life, where death
is marked by a white rugged cross
no olvidado, not forgotten.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The temperature reached 70 before I did

Whew! It was close. I feared I'd hit that number first. It's been a long, long winter with so few glimpses of sun and so few touches of warm that time warped. Doubly tough for this solar fan.

Today's walk in the woods with family members, including a 3-year old hyper kid and a shepherd dog which wore himself out doing round-up for all of us, was a delightful break from the gray and wet. Yesterday, the pool men opened that hole in the ground so hope is on the rise.

I've gained a larger level of frustration since the illegal immigrants began their protests and the illegal part of their status is ignored. There's a large difference between legal and illegal.

The new catalog from Daniel Smith presented several new watercolors. I'll order them. I cannot turn down a fresh color and their paints are incredibly useable.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Memento Mori

Memento Mori

He didn’t talk about
the red-orange flag
or stained knife
the military pistol
or handful of coins
each with a center hole.

He held them separate
paced dark nights
in silence.

When I was grown
he might have spoken
but I was deaf to history,
even his.

Memories marched
beside my father,
beyond the Styx,
left me with his cross.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

One Barn and One Eagle

An eagle glides beyond the last old barn standing. Growth disposes of all that isn't recorded. I've undertaken to photograph a few of the final oldies which remain in my area.

A webcam placed near an eagle's nest in Maine has been chronicling the nest building, egg incubation and, now, the eaglets as they move their way into a cold and windy world. Take a look ~ it's interesting to see! There is a link to the local eagle blog, as well.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I've Never Gone There - Poem and Photo

I've Never Gone There

It isn't like she'd know.
She isn't there
of that I'm sure.

Iris, her favorite flower,
often colors the spot
where an icon stands erect

unlike her ashes beneath
the shelter of tall yellow pines.
I plead absence when asked.

glued by guilt,
I will go there.

I will be too late.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Today a Painting and Thoughts

Today is Breanna's birthday and I sent her card to the wrong address. How can anyone trust me? Jenny's birthday is Wednesday and I'm sure I sent her card to the right address but I'm not betting money on it or off it.

The news has been off in the house for this day and for another 10 minutes but I'm sure there'll be something political that will up my ire and cause red in my eyes. Frustration builds...maybe I'll paint another picture...okay.

Thank goodness 24 is on tonight.

Daniel Smith's watercolor paints are magnificent and it hardly matters what I do with them ~ the color brings a smile and a softer heart.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Fractal Color and Linear Poem


desire flat-lines
in that aspen glade

under a carpet of meadow rue

socks of cobweb
sweeping leaves

sparkle through the day

at dusk, voodoo whispers
tomorrow's name again and again
until frail magic casts off the veil


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Powerfree ~ A Mythstery

Powerfree ~ 2000 Mythsteries and Other Pithy Shorts ~ #20

Once upon a time, there were men (mostly) who roamed the streets with matches looking for a light and they were named lamplighters.

In time, the matches lost their heads and a silly fool went out to fly a kite in some sort of bad weather and used his new key to provide a tail.

Lo! A lightning bolted straight into his kite, stringed now and blew up his key. This act of divine knocked the fool into a cocked hat and when he woke up a light bulb went off in his head. He kited and keyed another while and imagined up electricals.

Much in demand, this form of captured lightning brought a high price and people formed little groups to produce enough to light their path to the outhouse and the cow barn. Soon, otherbodies went from kingdom to kingdom to buy up these small groups, or co-ops as they were then known.

After some time, there were only a few big groups and the price went so high the littlebodies couldn't buy any more. Because of the twin ninos and such the lightning pretty much moved on and alchemists began to make electric out of water.

And it came to pass that the dam electricity faltered because of heavy useage by many and many more folks who were using it to light up days as well as the night. Alas, when the rich got the lucre out of energy, the rulers stepped in and mass-confused the whole system until town criers were invented.

A town crier was a man (mostly) who went up and down the roads crying out the news in his own words. His opinions, called punditings, were commonly accepted as truth. It was he that rolled up and down the roads telling first one and then the other that there would be even-ing power.

Today you get some, tomorrow you don't. Some get it, some don't and so on until eventually it rolls back to your place and you see the light.

And that's how the powerless caught rolling blackouts.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

A Watercolor ~ One Abstractal

A favorite watercolor, this week.