Friday, July 31, 2009
Yesterday, I had a lot of meetings, preparing for the upcoming semester. Some wonderful events are planned. Went to my last sketchbook class. We created still life arrangements. I put a strawberry on the lips of a Roman head, but the young men in my class were offended and removed the strawberry, but didn't think twice about the wine bottle or the phone off the hook.
I found all of this more of a prose piece than a sketch, but I did do a quick sketch twice of the arrangement. I was having a tough time with proportion and placement (composition).
Marilyn really helped me out with "seeing" it correctly. Now to practice what I've learned on my own. Sad. The class is over. Felt like an eye blink.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Sometimes I think my blog is "my letter to the world," even though it's filled with the day to day.
Have been taking long bicycle rides in the park. I "think" I own the park and the lake. I love watching the play of light upon the water. Everything is so green. The sight of chicory means
we're turning toward fall. But we haven't had summer yet! It's been so rainy and cooler than usual. We've had to drain our gardens. Praying that the veggies won't rot. Have been enjoying fresh green beans and peas and cukes. A surprise finding them in the garden. Still no zucchini.
Maybe later this week.
My last art class is this Thursday. Have been working on my sketchbook. I have some ideas percolating for essays and poems. Need to settle down and write. I've been antsy though.
I think I'm caught between two places, and consequently wandering a bit.
Well, this morning looks promising. Time to push the restart button.
Monday, July 27, 2009
The retreat will be held at The Gell Center in Bristol NY. It will be a day of poetry, fellowship and food.
Poet John Roche will be presenting a morning talk on The Black Mountain Poets. There will be four workshops offered in a morning session and afternoon session. Workshop leaders, poets
Claudia Stanek, Ron Bailey, Karla Linn Merrifield and Dwain Wilder.
Members will be able to register at the August 1st, 2009 Just Poets meeting at St. John Fisher College. Cost: $15.00.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Also received yesterday Eating the Pure Light: Homage to Thomas McGrath, edited by John Bradley. Thank you Backwaters Press for sending it along.
“All of us live twice at the same time—once uniquely and once representatively. I am interested in those moments when my unique personal life intersects with something bigger, when my small brief moment has a part in ‘fabricating the legend.’”
• Thomas McGrath
• John Bradley
I've been enjoying my sketchbook class. The teacher must think I'm peculiar because I'm not on task as the other participants are. When I start drawing I drop into a zone, that is so quiet, so peaceful, so delicious-- it's rhythm without time-- I shut out all background noise. Good thing no one shouted fire or earthquake, or whatever, because I was not "there" to respond. We're working on values and I was suppose to be drawing a two value drawing, which I did and then went on to draw with multiple values. So when Marilyn checked my work she was perplexed
by my not being on task. (I'm a teacher's nightmare). I confessed straight away that I started
doing something other than the assignment. This week, I'm going to do the assignments and bring it in for her to check. At one point, I asked her if she thought I should erase the multiple values and she said no, no-- don't erase-- it's working. and she sighed, which made me think of Lola Haskins. Lola used to sigh that way too. Lola would say to me, "You always do that" which I was never sure of what "that" was exactly, but I was doing it. I could never tell if I was being chided or praised. Maybe a bit of both. (I wonder if this has anything to do with being left handed? Or the way I operate in the world?)
What intrigues me is the repetition of drawing, that is drawing and redrawing in the sketchbook,which is "never" a finished drawing, but work in progress, ideas, and so on.
The skill is being able to draw again and again-- transferring the drawing to its true medium, whether it's acrylics or watercolors, or pen and ink, and so on.
Equally, the more proficient one becomes with drawing, the more the sketchbook becomes a sketchbook. Right now I have "drawings" in my sketchbook. So much more ahead of me. I bought some watercolor pencils and a whole pencil set with varying degrees of hard and soft graphite, and brown and white too. I'm enjoying getting to know and appreciate what can be done with these materials. Something new, and I'm sure it will show up in my writing.
Going to a wedding later today. I hope the weather holds out for them. We went to the rehearsal dinner last night. Such a nice time. It was held at Artisan Works, which is a huge warehouse, filled with art-- many rooms full of art and set up as entertaining venues. This is how the Artisan Works works. It supports itself on the events booked there, from private parties to business meetings, and so on. Interesting concept. I like the idea that they pay the artists to house their work. Some of the work is for sale, but most of it is held by the gallery.
Off to the public market.
Friday, July 24, 2009
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Contributors Spring/Summer 2009
Robert Ayres, Anita M. Barnard, David Bart, Andrea Bates, Terry M. Blackhawk, Chelsea Bolan, Nancy Carroll, Anne Babson Carter, Deborah Casillas, Michael Catherwood, Laura Cherry, Kyle Churney, Mary Cisper, Nancy Kenney Connolly, Gary Cooke, Barbara Crooker, Chip Dameron, Melissa del Bosque, Lois Parker Edstrom, Karl Elder, Jill Alexander Essbaum, Robert A. Fink, John Gallaher, Alan Gann, Madelyn Garner, Rodney Gomez, Vivé Griffith, Alex Haley, Rachel Harkai, J. Todd Hawkins, Susan Hazen-Hammond, Scott Hightower, James Hoggard, W. Joe Hoppe, Diane Hueter, Cindy Huyser, M.J. Iuppa, Judy Jensen, Marcelle Kasprowicz, Steven G. Kellman, Jennifer A. King, George Klawitter, Jacqueline Kolosov, Donna J. Gelagotis Lee, Brandon Lewis,
Robert Wynne, Museum of Parallel Art
Selections from the Blanton Poetry Project, artwork courtesy of The Blanton Museum of Art
Monday, July 20, 2009
THE 12TH ANNUAL SHORT FICTION CONTEST
$1500 GRAND PRIZE & PUBLICATION IN INKWELL
COMPETITION JUDGE: Alice McDermott
1. Up to 3 previously unpublished stories, 5,000-word limit
2. Text must be typed, 12pt. font, double-spaced, one-sided
3. Cover sheet with name, address, phone, e-mail, titles and word counts
4. No name or address anywhere on manuscripts
5. SASE for contest notification only – manuscripts will be recycled
6. Entry fee: $15 per story
7. Checks (USD ONLY) made out to Manhattanville – INKWELL
THE 13TH ANNUAL POETRY CONTEST
$1000 GRAND PRIZE & PUBLICATION IN INKWELL
COMPETITION JUDGE: Phillis Levin
1. Up to 5 previously unpublished poems, 40-line limit per poem
2. Only typed entries will be considered; 12pt. font
3. Cover sheet with name, address, phone, e-mail, titles and line counts
4. No name or address anywhere on manuscript(s)
5. SASE for contest notification only – manuscripts will be recycled
6. Entry Fee: $10 for first poem, $5 per each additional poem
7. Checks (USD ONLY) payable to Manhattanville – INKWELL
NOTE: Indicate Poetry or Fiction Competition on envelope.
If submitting to both Poetry and Fiction Competitions, please use separate envelopes.
Submissions not adhering to the above guidelines will not be considered.
INKWELL - Manhattanville College
2900 Purchase Street
Purchase, NY 10577
DEADLINE FOR CONTESTS:
Postmarked between August 1 and October 30, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
One annoying thing: a woman who was an excessive smoker was sitting behind me and was running commentary on everything that was going on. Usually, I can shut out other noise, but
she became more than background. It was nervous talking. She couldn't stop. Shame on me for not saying anything, but she was sitting with the director.
Friday, July 17, 2009
The gesture drawing is very quick. It capture the essence of subject. So it's line and shape contains energy, whereas the actual drawing enters time, and once the lines and shapes take hold, value (shading) determines its dimension (depth, breadth, and so on). This is where I want to improve my drawing. Actually, the sketchbook is all about ways of "seeing" and I know I have to see from many angles. This sounds a lot like creating a poem, doesn't it.
I have a "light" or airy stroke, which my sister Karen, who is an exceptional visual artist, says is my strength (insert: praise from Caesar is praise indeed), but I need to to learn values. (Ha! still learning values.) I use watercolors, pen and ink. The paintings I've done, especially post
word overload(my degrees), I made into notecards and gave them to a lot of people who are writers and write letters. I had this fantasy that they would send my drawings to friends and family, and my drawings would travel the world. Well, my friends didn't do this. They framed the notecards. They said, if you wanted us to send these out, you should have given us two sets!
It just made me laugh. Moral: don't have fantasies.
The sketchbook is all about ideas and images. I like the set up of this one. I want to do a bunch of gesture drawings before the next class and see if my new skills improve.
I'll keep you posted.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Have read quite a few blogs about the Newsweek article, e.g. poetry is dead. I have read this same article since the early 70s. Actually it comes out once or twice a decade and is more or less the same petulant smear. Poetry is song and song is revolutionary in its ability to connect and move people. Poetry and song, when it's really, really good, can circle the world and change point of view.
It's quite powerful. Just think of Mark Johnson's Playing for Change project, which I hope all of you have bought the CD to support the building of music schools in impoverished communities. See Bill Moyers Show for his interview with Johnson. Very inspiring. Poetry has been know to shake it up too. Always, it's person to person, which makes it intimate and significant.
So many or is it so few want to keep things Status Quo? Just think about control. When we write a poem, it's our attempt to still the chaos for just a moment, then release it. A successful poem holds that stilled moment for anyone who enters it. It can be a true relief, a lesson, a
wink and a wave hello. It can stay with the reader long after it's put down.
I told my workshop class (8-12) the story of my parents' first date. They rode in a horse drawn wagon and lit the streelights. The kids said, " Wait, how old are you, M.J. " I said, " As old as Yoda." They roared. They are a terrific group of young writers and more important, hand on heart, good human beings. More of our future competition. Ha!
I put up another batch of strawberry jam, with small berries called Juliettes. They are sweet and tart, whereas the first batch was another berry which was sweet, sweet. We're going to do cherries today.
I have to go and teach. Have a great day. And, the sun is shining.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Please check it out: http://northvillereview.com/
Let me know what you think of the story, and check out the other stories, poems, essays too. Hopefully you will like the review as I do and consider sending your work there.
Also, Joyce Odam's Brevities has graciously included me in her "poems in a pocket" journal-- this is what I call it. It can literally fit in a pocket. I love Odam's poems and her artwork. Besides creating the journal, she sends along bookmarks, which I can never have enough of!
I have extra issues of Brevities. Email with your land address and I will mail you a copy.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Went to the Memorial Art Gallery and signed up for an upcoming Sketchbook class. I'm looking forward to this. It's just three Thursday evenings, which will fly by, but promises to fill up my sketchbook with ideas and doodles and hopefully a bit more technique. Class begins next week.
I hope to get back to Brown's to pick more strawberries today. Cherries too.
The sun is out!
Hopefully tonight, we'll mosey on over to Rochester and see the Average White Band. Rochester has a whole slew of concerts.
Here's a calendar listing from Artist Breakfast Group Newsletter:
Monday, July 6, 2009
The ring of fire was amazing and fireworks galore. I left my sister's after midnight. It was peaceful sitting on the deck after all the fireworks ended. The fires still burning. The lake calm, clear skies, no wind.
Put up strawberry jam yesterday. It took us several hours and so many precise steps. It was like a dance. I love to look at the jars all lined up on the sideboard. The 10 lbs plus an extra quart bought at a road side stand because we were two cups short made 15 12 oz jars and 3 8 oz jars. Not bad. I may go back to Brown's today and pick some more. There is nothing better than a taste of summer when we have two feet of snow.
I have a bunch of things I have to accomplish today. I woke up early, so you would think I'd have a jump on it. But I don't, not really. Have some big decisions to make in the next few weeks and I think I'm waiting for some divine counsel or sign, or both. Hopefully I'll make the right choices.
I think I have a new series of poems coming together. Have been writing nearly every day.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Yes, sun! Went to Brown's Berry Patch today and picked 10 lbs of strawberries.
The cherries are ready too and people had heaping baskets full. They looked like rubies.
The strawberries patch was very soggy. Everyone who was out there picking today was a Strawberry Samaritan. We were literally saving the strawberries. Hopefully I will go back on Sunday to pick some more. We're going to make jam.
It was fun listening to everyone talking about the strawberries. They were planning to have them on pancakes and short cake and sugar and cream, or straight from the plant like the young brothers who said: "I swear to you, mom, we're not lying; we found the biggest, juiciest strawberries."
Mom: "Well, where are they?"
Boys: "O, we ate them!"
Evidence all down the front of their tee shirts. Big grins. My kind of kids.