Monday, January 26, 2009

brilliant new day

This has been a heady week. I'm still feeling light as a feather and enjoying the blindingly bright mornings. It felt like January 20 would never come. Even my sixth grade daughter was excited to be watching the inauguration of President Obama at school. She voted in a mock election prior to November 4, and the school elected Obama in a landslide. This was a good sign. In the cosmic game of tag, youth is IT. All we can do is watch them outrun us, and be glad for the forward movement of the universe.

Having children in the White House again brings an important dimension to the presidency. The Obamas mentor parenting in such a visible way. Children and war just don't go together. It happens, but children are wise beyond our reckoning. While our kids can watch this historical moment and be hopeful, they lack the ugly background that makes it so relevant. They don't really get that part. What's significant is what they DO get: an open and embracing eye on diversity in their lives. They can take it for granted now. And their bottomless belief in peace, in the invisible and unseen forces of fairies and superheroes, will propel this world where it needs to go.

I had hoped to watch the inauguration at the island community center, but the internet link wasn't working properly. I didn't want to watch a little TV in the corner of the room, so we came home to settle in for the big moment.

I had not watched an inauguration since 1992, when Clinton was sworn in. The entire spectacle was riveting. Obama was like a superhero, so calm and sure. The sea of people as far as the eye could see moved me to tears. Afterwards, it felt like that helicopter would never take off. A friend told me she taped it for her husband to watch later and they enjoyed fast-forwarding through Bush's departure.

I had to tear myself away to interview Sharoan Dupont for the Island Times. The light in the ballet studio was turning to gold. Her dance was like an embrace of the moment, of hope.

Sharoan teaches ballet on Peaks Island with all the openness and sense of play that it deserves. Bravo, Sharoan!

I worked on an invitation for an upcoming show at the Gem Gallery, "Think Pink, Give Love." Part of the proceeds will benefit the Cancer Community Center.

I found out an island group, the Prayer Shawl Ministry, would be displaying shawls and a collage of thankyous from recipients during the show. I interviewed the founder and guide of the group, Rebecca Stephans. She also teaches yoga and has been a model for the island life drawing group. Rebecca is an angel in our midst.

Truly, Peaks Island is like a Bermuda Triangle of Love. There is a magnetic force that holds this community together, powered by so many creative and caring people.

I talked to Annie O'Brien after she returned from her trip to the inauguration. She said, "It was so big. I'm just beginning to get it. The state people were in had more of an impact than the ceremony. The crowd was so...openhearted. No defenses up. Extraordinary connections were being made."

Let's hope those who experienced it can bring back that swarm of love and humanity to their communities and spread it around.

And just in time for Valentine's Day! Which I consider a favorite holiday. What better opportunity to let all your beloveds know you care.

Think Pink, Give Love!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

six degrees of revelation

2009 has been mighty chill so far. On a recent morning it was six degrees, which prompted a discussion of Kevin Bacon with my daughter. Now there is a Facebook experiment attempting to prove the theory that everybody is 6 connections away from everyone else. Who needs proof?

Just let every day be an inspiration and connection to nature, family, and the world at your feet, I say! The intricate frost on the window became curvy fronds of grass in a revision for my current project. When in doubt, I cut paper. My collage aesthetic runs deep.

This drawing is a montage of sorts. Not going to be used, either. Didn't make the cut, no pun intended.

This one has to be redrawn. Reference checking doesn't permit the beaver opening.

I said: no problemo! I heard there was a beaver lodge on Trout Pond. I x-c skiied out that way over the weekend. There was no sign of beavers, but I had a blast nonetheless.

Inspiration pops up in unexpected places. I documented this bird nest on display at the Ranger Station in Conway, NH during a recent pit stop.

It came in handy for more revisions, along with some real objects from my collection.

Of course, it's important to get out of the studio. Get the stink blown off, as my dad used to say. I always find good sights on dogwalks, such as this intrepid paddler.

Islanders are a salty bunch. Winters are raw yet uncrowded so we celebrate every chance we get. Like birthday bonfires in honor of the recent, awesome full moonrise. Damn the cold, be a hotsie totsie!

And my wee camera simply can't do it justice. Either you had to be there, or see what Marty made of it...a spectacular and sacred spectacle, the biggest red moonrise of the year.

This was for a birthday card for Carol. Did I mention that I like birthdays? Not just mine. But birthdays provide inspiration for card and collage making. A lovely diversion from revisions, in fact. Here's one for ole Russ: make sure you buy him a pint next time you see him.

Um, don't do that with my nephew. He can finally vote, but not drink.

Sometimes, I like to procrastinate (on revisions) and make collage cards for no reason whatsoever, like this one for hotsie totsie Kirsten. Because she deserves it; wait til you see what she has cooked up for King Middle students and Phil Hoose's book, "Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice."
History and story will come full circle. Right on.

Kirsten, you are so cool, you're hot.

And check out this natural phenomenon: sea smoke. I had never seen such a thing til my first island winter, and it continues to fascinate me. The water is smokin' it's so cold.

See? No matter of degree separates anything in Maine. Hot and cold are one. I just learned that Andrew Wyeth has died. He was the real deal realist for Maine's raw nature, in both landscape and psyche. He leaves a deep legacy for artists, Maine or anywhere, to be inspired by place.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

ho ho it's over

Ahhhh. Twelve days of Christmas. Done. In the blink of an eye. Does time seem sped up to anybody? Seriously, this holiday season was a blur of activity. Around here it begins with cards and calendars. My apologies if yours hasn't arrived yet. Here it is meanwhile.

And my daughter crafted this on a snow day from school.

And Marty did his part with a design for the follow-up correspondence.

We had a plentiful haul of gifts, despite our vows to get simple, buy less. I annually dread the obligatory shopping. Not that I mind buying gifts. I prefer birthdays, when I can think about one special person and their special item. Invariably, I wind up seeing more things to buy for moi, so special.

The holiday shopping trip can be less dreadful when done on foot. That is, first I take the boat, then I walk the 5 minutes to the Old Port and I feel better already because there are a ton of great independent shops. Such as Rogues Gallery, where I bought a very cool locally silk-screened shirt for my nephew and a sexy paisley shirt for my Santa baby. It's on Wharf Street, a favorite cobble-stoned alley that feels like another time and place. The shop has low ceilings, like being in the belly of a pirate ship, crooked ole floors (like my house!) and more original designs than you can shake a stick at.

Next door is Waterlily Imports, a colorful, girly shop festooned with birds, beads, and frolicking botanicals.

There I found a scarf and jewelry for my niece and my daughter spent her own cash (a rare event!) on a present for her BFF, besides dropping numerous hints for herself.

Just around the corner, we needed gifts for Posie, the resident mutt. I always smile when I see Mary Anne's comic critters at Fetch. Note the major snowbanks on Commercial Street in the background. It was a very very white Christmas in Casco Bay.

Santa brought this box of beauties for my daughter. I saw something similar at Stones and Stuff, another place full of magical things, fossils, crystals, and powerful vibes that no doubt drew Santa out of the skies.

Back on the island, there is only one place to buy local art: the Gem Gallery.

I love this place filled with my island neighbors, each one a gem. I was delighted to receive a necklace by Carol Cartier
who fabricates unique jewelry and a multitude of desirable objects.

Her poem stamped on the two coins reads,

after I leap if I don't become a bird
I'll be a pile of bones or something unheard of

This is a girl who roams the low tides like me, finding remnants of flotsam and metaphors of jetsam....

After the holidays I ventured to Maine's midcoast with a carload of frisky females to visit friends. A pass through Wiscasset would not be complete without a stop at rock paper scissors.

During the summer, one can window shop while idling in the traffic like molasses, but on a clear day in January we had time to park and pop in. This is the best store to find Charley Harper cards, gorgeous paper for crafty projects, whimsical everythings. I couldn't resist a sleek laptop bag by Danica.

Right next door is Smitten, where maybe we should have gone first. Even more irresistible things over there.

We all found something to love. The displays there are to swoon for. But, had to hit the road. It was back home to the island of sleepy snowmen and gingerbread dreams.

Now it is snowing AGAIN and I need to draw!

Happy New Year! May it be healthy, creative, and prosperous for everyone.