Posts Tagged ‘art’

Why yes, I dream of having a writing retreat some day. Somewhere. Somehow. I’ve been dreaming about it for years.

I used to think it was difficult to impossible to get away when the kids were in school. There were always gymnastics/dance performance/big tests/band performance/etc. that required both parents. I did manage to get away for a couple of writing seminars or a long weekend alone. For those, I just booked a room at the Sheraton in nearby Portsmouth NH where I could go down for a meal if I needed a break or order room service for minimal interruption. Or go out and wander around the downtown if I was temporarily stuck.

I always thought it would be easier after the kids left home and we retired. No obligations, no kids to take priority, no…

No money.

Well, not exactly no money. But not a lot, either. And would I rather spend it on a week away somewhere to write, or on going to visit the kids and the pending grandbaby? If I have to choose between a week-long canoe trip in the Canadian wilderness with spouse, or a week in a cabin alone with my thoughts and my notebook? What about two weeks in China? Writing is important, but it’s chugging along. Do I really need a retreat? Do I even want it?

Even though the answer has been no so far, I still dream of spending weeks or months in Italy soaking up the sun and alternating painting, writing, and hiking or biking. Maybe a villa in Umbria, maybe an apartment in Rome. But I know myself well enough to know that I’d most likely spend all the time doing things, seeing art galleries, finding new trattorias and gelato stands, going to concerts, and generally being more of a tourist than a writer.

Which makes me think that the way things are working out is just fine :)

Today’s post was inspired by the prompt in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out what’s on their nightstand, check out the rest of the tour!.

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red swirls

red swirls

Art class project. Part of a probable triptych.

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One of the problems with keeping this blog up to date is that when I’m doing interesting things that I’d like to write about, I don’t have time to post. I took my smartphone on the Tuesday-Wednesday hiking trip, but after the hike Tuesday I was too tired to do anything but crash after dinner. I didn’t even stay up for fireplace and goodies with our friends.

Wednesday morning I woke up pretty early — it’s hard to sleep in with the sun shining in your tent — and when I came out of the bathroom, I found this lovely lady waiting for her turn:

luna moth

We saw this luna moth just sitting outside the women’s bathroom in the morning

I didn’t go on the Wednesday hike with Neil; it was longer and more strenuous than I was up for. Instead, I spent the day with my watercolors at Silver Cascade. I really like the way it turned out:

Silver Cascade 20 June 2012

watercolor of Silver Cascade in Crawford Notch, New Hampshire

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art class tonight

I am quite pleased with this one.

6 June 2012

I think this might be the cover for Darien’s story.

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from this week’s art class

Last night’s art class produced this watercolor:


watercolor from Wednesday night’s art class

I don’t know what’s going on with it. I think it has elements of Chinese art and possibly Buddha going on in it. Neil says it resembles some Indian art he read about, as well.

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Sam Gilliam

Another Color Field artist is Sam Gilliam, who does absolutely marvelous unsupported canvas paintings as well as more conventional supported canvas and wood panel works.

from an exhibition in 2009

from an earlier exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

video of Gilliam at work on an installation. The sidebar includes links to other interesting interviews with Gilliam.

an interview with Gilliam about his 2011 installation Close to Trees

I don’t have any desire to try to imitate Gilliam’s work; it comes too directly from his own perception, soul, and experience. But that by itself is a valuable lesson: if I dig deep and express what’s most truly me, then that truth will stand out clearly to others and will connect in a way that’s far deeper than if I was trying to please those others. And that’s as true for writing as for painting.

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The first artist whose work I could recognize and enjoy was apparently Salvatore Dali. I have to rely on my father’s word for this, however, because I was only about three and don’t remember the incident. Apparently we owned a book that included a section on Dali, with reproductions of several of his pictures. I loved Swans Reflecting Elephants. I wasn’t bothered by the grotesque violence of The Burning Giraffe or the bizarre and creepy The Face of War.

But I couldn’t bear to look at the melting clocks in The Persistence of Memory”. I’d sit on Dad’s lap while he turned the pages and we talked about the pictures, but when we got to that page, I’d hold it down and wouldn’t let him turn it until he promised to turn two pages so I wouldn’t have to look at. Once when he tricked me (my version) or accidentally only turned one page (his version :) ), I burst into tears, ran screaming out of the room, and had nightmares for weeks.

It doesn’t give me nightmares any more, but I still find it kind of creepy to look at.

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