Sunday, May 25, 2014

May Gratitudes

may 9, 2014 gratitude, gallery juana
tomato plant and shadows
I am trying to grow plants inside as our rental has no gated garden area outside to keep the deer out.  I like having the deer come by, so I don't mind going without a garden area.  Inside, I've got a cherry tomato plant, a holly hock plant, sweet peas and some basil.  Have you ever tried growing vegies or flowers inside?  Which ones worked for you?   My jasmine plants do well, and now I am trying vegies.

may 22, 2014 gratitude, gallery juana
married trees
I've been running this trail for a year now, and I am still discovering treasures along the way.  This week I saw this tree with two trunks joined at the base.  I stopped to take a closer look when I  realized they were actually two different trees that had grown side by side eventually becoming one at the base but remaining as two in their trunks.

may 24 2014 gratitude, gallery juana
Yesterday my husband and I rode our bicycles to the a quiet beach that is used mostly for fishing and boat launching.    There were some steep hills but the views were worth the climb.  We sat on the driftwood and had a picnic.  On the way back, I bought a Nasturtium plant from a roadside stall.  Once this has flowers, I will put it outside for the hummingbirds.

joining sunday sketches

Saturday, May 17, 2014

dragonfly, gratitudes and newspaper collages

kawaru I linocut by gallery juana
kawaru I in orange, linocut, 5 x 7

Last month I completed two linoleum blocks (my dragonfly and circles) and printed some two-color prints. I named this series Kawaru

Kawaru means change in Japanese and the circles remind me that life evolves continually. In Japanese and Native American cultures, dragonflies symbolize renewal, courage, strength, swiftness and activity.

is it real?
pen portrait and newspaper cuttings collage

Last month, on account of being completely focused on my fake journal, my other on-going projects got temporarily dropped. One project is more like a pastime and involves working in a ledger that I bought at the second-hand store. I take newspaper cuttings and collage along with pen drawings inspired by people seen in the newspaper.

cut here journal page by gallery juana
cut here, hand in colored pencil

This week I added some more gratitude notes and sketches: working on my bicycle, watching a deer graze just beyond my patio, noting several flowers on my cherry tomato plants, deep shadows in my art room from the flood of sunlight coming in, cut tulips and a seashell from my husband.

tulip sketch

shell gratitude

Hope everyone is having a good weekend. Sending out healing hugs to Alexandra at Sunday Sketches.

Saturday, May 10, 2014


possibilities, wip1
Possibilities I, collage, wip

We know what we are, but not what we may be.
― William Shakespeare

possibilities, wip2
Possibilities I, collage, wip

Last week I started an online course studying the brain and was introduced to a book written by Jean-Dominique Bauby, The Diving Bell and The Butterfly.  At 43, he became permanently paralyzed with locked-in syndrome and only able to communicate by blinking his left eye.  He wrote the aforementioned book while in that paralyzed state.

possibilities, wip3
Possibilities I, work in progress

My diving bell becomes less oprressive, and my mind takes flight like a butterfly.
There is so much to do.
Jean-Dominique Bauby,The Diving Bell and The Butterfly

Possibilities, collage, 6 x 6

And his imagination, assailed by a multitude of possibilities, was tossed back and forth like an empty barrel drifting in the sea and bobbing on the waves. 
Gustave Flaubert from Madame Bovary

joining sunday sketches

Sunday, May 4, 2014

bird watching, final week

Fake Journal april 28, 2014
4.28.2014, crow sketch and bird watching notes

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

Wallace Stevens (excerpt)

Yesterday I noticed two crows taking trips back and forth to a nearby evergreen, a Douglas Fir, carrying twigs. I believe they must be building a nest high up in that tree.

This morning they are busy again. Once they have the twig, they do not return directly to the nest location. Instead, they go from tree to tree, waiting for up to 30 seconds at each stop, before they finally fly to the nest location.

Fake Journal april 29,2014
bird watching, april 29, 2014

I could hear a bird singing and I've heard this bird before. Its song sounds like the opening to Beethoven's 5th but with a shorter last note and not so ominous sounding.

After checking Cornell Labs' Macaulay Library, I believe it is the black-capped chickadee's song. Although, the song I'm hearing is more defined, it is closest to that bird's song.

Fake Journal april 30, 2014
layout of bird watching area and two viewing spots.

Observations upon completion of the Fake Journal

This began as a project for the Fake Journal month in April. My character was an amateur naturalist, someone who could easily identify their natural surroundings.

I spent the month of March preparing for the project by taking color notes on the birds that came to the feeder. The first entries in this journal follow that format.

I also checked out Sibley books on birds and trees and naturalist books from the library and read advice from professional scientists on keeping journals. These were people who had gone from the lack of tech age to the tech age and were arguing for the advantages of keeping a written, illustrated journal.

Frustrations and Break Throughs

In the beginning, my frustrations stemmed from not having enough drawing, so I made a conscious effort to draw the birds. Then I became frustrated with the drawings. Birds are not easy to draw for me, so it was a constant learning process with each drawing.

I gained peace knowing that these feelings of inadequate drawing skills are often shared by the scientists who keep journals. Letting go of those feelings brought me back to the purpose of the project: being a naturalist keeping a daily journal.

What I Gained

Birds hold a tender place in my heart for the memories of my Mom. She often watced them as she ate her breakfast. For this project, although not my intention, I fell into the same habit: taking notes on the birds as I had my breakfast.

Mornings became reflective and meditative as I sat watching for birds. My main bird watching was for one to two hours in the morning, but throughout the day, I couldn't help but run to the window when I heard a bird or stop repeatedly while on my run to take note of birds and trees.

I learned to slow down and take note of nature.

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.
John Muir

sending good vibes out to Alexandra who hosts Sunday Sketches and also joining fake journal month
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