Tuesday, May 26, 2015

LONE PINE

Do you remember this picture from a very famous movie?
Now is your memory jogged?
Now?  Perhaps you never saw Back To The Future.
This is the scene where Marty bursts out of the barn with the Delorian and runs over one of the two pine trees on farmer Peabody's ranch, Twin Pines.
(Did you also know that in the movie farmer Peabody's son is called Sherman a tribute to Peabody & Sherman? I may not remember why I walked into a room but I have memory cells of totally useless information to entertain myself)

And, as you sip your morning coffee you are probably wondering why on earth I am babbling on about an old movie and Twin/Lone Pines Mall.

Get a second cup, trust me, I'll get you there.

Last Monday John put new blades on the year old lawn tractor. He actually commented on the fact that the blades just needed to be sharpened not bent back into shape or replaced all together. I beamed.
For those of you that haven't popped in to visit over the years, I have a very bad lawn tractor blade issue. If there is a rock or submerged boulder in the grass I managed to hit it, despite my husband so graciously painting the tops of them blue. Rocks and lawn mower blades don't play well together.

So, feeling rather pleased with my progress as a lawn mower jockey I backed the tractor out of the barn, last Monday and made my first pass on the lawn. By the time I reached the forsythia bushes by the pool I heard a clunk and the blades dug into the grass turning it into a dirt shaped circle. I shut everything down, then started it up again and took myself back to the barn. 
I walked away, closing the barn door feeling like a 14 year old that just wanted to shrug her shoulders  and roll her eyes when questioned and say, "I don't know what happened, I was no where near it."

Monday night wasn't a good night to bring up the subject because John got home late and there would be no time to fix anything. Tuesday he was gone in the evening, Wednesday, Riley had her last swim lesson and he took her, you see where this is going right? 

Yesterday morning with Justin's family down for a visit I decided bringing up the subject would be a no brainer. Lots going on, not a lot of time for a long discussion on the impossibilities of my having done something wrong on my first pass. Blades were changed, no discussion. I can breathe again.

HAH! Did you actually think THAT was the story? Oh sweetie-pie, just get a warm up on that coffee and sit back. 

In Wisconsin, when you get cold spring days and one warm one you work like crazy in your yard to try to clean up winter's mess and stay ahead of Mother Nature. We had cool weather, plants and grass all growing like crazy and then yesterday, Saturday the sun shines, the temperature soars, the grandkids hit the pool and I start to tackle the 101 gardening jobs on my list.

I mulched, I trimmed, I planted, I weeded, I cut down volunteer walnut trees and watered potential transplant sites. Basically, I worked my bottom off. I wish.

I can cut the main section of the back yard so the kids could play on it. I left the back 40 for the end of the day. Probably not my best decision. I cut the trails in the woods a relaxing easy to do project. I keep my eyes focused on the edge of the path and just keep going around the interlocking figure eights until I have cut both sides. A no brainer. At one point my mind suggested that I actually look up and enjoy the woods while I was in there. A fortuitous moment because I lifted my head to look into the eyes of a very startled deer. I stopped and she ran off.

I'm tired, hot and my stomach tells me that is is getting close to dinner time and I haven't finished cutting the lawn.  It's going to rain Sunday and Monday so I really need to finish this job. 

There are two sad, dying pine trees at the edge of the woods where I cut the grass. They stand about 10 feet tall but most of the lower limbs are gone and what remains has been hit with some sort of pine blight. But, they still stand as sentinels and the grass still grows close to their base and the beauty of my new mower is that is can cut very close to things without any difficulty.  That is until last night. 

As Myrna Loy said in the movie, Mr/ Blandings Builds His Dream House, "All I said was..........." Well, all I did was cut the back side, make my turn to sweep out and come back in and cut another side along the base of the trunk. Unfortunately, something happened and I didn't sweep or turn I got stuck. 

Now, common sense would tell a person to just STOP and perhaps back up and I would love to say that is what I did but I think I did more of say let's turn the wheels that way and then this way and back up and what the hey let's try forward again until despite all odds and as John later said, "A team of engineers couldn't have even executed what you did. The damn tree looks like it was growing out of the lawn tractor."

I wish I could say that was a slight exaggeration. 

As I stood next to the tractor studying the problem it occured to me that this was going to be a lot like that old story.

      A man is sentenced to die by the Kind.  As the verdict is announced, the man says, "Wait! If you spare my life, I promise that in one year, I will teach your horse to talk.  If I fail, you can kill me then."
The King is intrigued and figures he has nothing to lose, so he agrees.  Afterwards, the man's friend says, "ARE YOU CRAZY? You will never teach the king's horse to talk."  The man laughs and says, "Think of it this way.  I have an extra year to live and a lot can happen in a year.  I might die.  The king might die. And who knows, maybe the horse will learn to talk."

And, so I waved to John who was walking toward the back door and said, "Youhoo, I need your help up here." 

I even suggested that he stop by the barn and get the tractor to drive it on up so he wouldn't have such a long walk to me.  That idea was rejected and I watched him after a long hard day, trudge out towards me.  "Is there something wrong with the lawn tractor? Is it broken?" he innocently asked.

I smiled and waved and muttered under my breath, "nope nothing broken, nothing wrong except a pine tree is now part of the apparatus.  

My husband, the Stoic stared down at the pine tree wedged between the two wheels. "Got any ideas?"
I shrugged and made a motion as if to lift the back end of the tractor. "Nope, that's about 800 pounds." he replied.
"Well, cut the damn tree down then, it's mostly dead." I shot back.

I walked away.  There wasn't anything I could do at this point. I offered up my entire file folder of possible solutions. He yelled after me, get Justin.

So, I sent Justin out to deal with the problem. Two male heads, in this case, would probably be more creative than me.

Then I heard the chain saw start up. The back forty, which sported Twin Pines with pine rust blight now sports only one, hence the new sign, LONE PINE.

From the kitchen window I saw Justin return the lawn tractor to the barn. I guess other than being wedged in "great tightness" like Pooh Bear in a bee hive, it is fine and I will live on to cut more grass rather than take down diseased pine trees.

:)Bea

Saturday, May 09, 2015

I just LOVE the Internet!

You may wonder why on earth this is the picture of the day. 
As some of you that have followed me for awhile know, Wisconsin, especially around our area of the state has been putting in Round-a-bouts instead of stop signs or traffic lights. I've been informed that this is supposed to ease traffic hold ups, save on gas and probably gives drivers a little feeling of some playground fun on their drive to and from where ever.
You probably also remember that I hate round-a-bouts and have had more than one nightmare dream where I have been assigned a yellow safety vest and helmet and put in the center of a round-a-bout to direct the drivers where they should go.
The conversation this morning, on the way for coffee was general and pleasant.  I can't even remember at what point it all fell apart but the "discussion" centered around round-a-bouts.  I vaguely remember it beginning with something about the fact that in southern New Jersey, where I grew up we called them "circles". It was suggested to me that perhaps they weren't the same thing then as a round-a bout.
It was all downhill from there. It was pointed out to me that Wisconsin traffic engineers would not be putting them in if they were unsafe and so on and so on. 
I like a debate as well as the next person, perhaps NOT before I have had coffee. I also know how terrifying those circles were especially the one that seemed to be close to Camden and was one we took on the way to the hospital where I Great Aunt worked. 
So, after Riley calmly playing the role of tolerant grandchild and getting Grammy and Grandpa set up at the table with their water and coffee, she patted our arms and then proceeded to drink her apple juice and wait. 
The silence was broken by an agreed upon nod from each of us and we talked of other things.
That does not mean that I had threw in the towel on this discussion. I'm wrong about a lot of things, I admit it but not circles or round-a-bouts or the idiot drivers that think beating out the oncoming car is far game and what yield sign? Or the number of times I have seen police cars hanging around round-a-bouts to nap just such a person. 
We got home and I googled the above. BINGO, exactly what I had said. I printed it out and taped it to the door frame. Enough said.
When I came in from gardening this is what I found posted below my message, on the door frame.

I will take that as an apology. 

:)Bea

Monday, April 13, 2015

ANGRY FENCE NO MORE


Remember the angry fence? Back around the holidays I drove by this house and was shocked to find that a huge, nasty old looking fence had been put up, almost over night?
I pondered about what the house on the left had done to anger the neighbors on the right. The property seemed well kept, the decorations not my style but certainly not fence blocking bad.
At the beginning of March the fence in all its ugliness was still standing, dividing the two properties right down the middle. Remember this wasn't a fence to keep anything in or out it was simply an "in your face" fence.


Then I drove by about about three weeks ago and found the fence was being taken down. Imagine my surprise when I saw the large board sections being stacked against.........
are the ready for this?  The house on the left.  The house with the Christmas decorations. The "innocent" house or so I thought. 

Apparently, not only was the fence put up by the house on the left but they put and trust me when I say this, it was not, the "pretty" side facing themselves. Not the legal way fences are to be put up. You want a fence up you have to look at the backside of it. Nice side goes facing outwards.

So, there are the posts, cut down at ground level, the board sections stacked against the side of the house and the fence in no more.

I mused about this on the short drive to the gym and then thought to myself, ok, probably see it go up right side out, but then why cut the posts off at the ground?

A problem like this could occupy my thoughts for longer but I had a good book so I forgot the matter.

Went away for a couple of days to visit a dear friend and when I came back...........
Yup, a For Sale sign now graces the lawn.

Now, I remember saying I would send healing thoughts their way. I certainly didn't expect the answer would be this. There are no longer any board sections stacked against the side of the house. Christmas decorations are long gone. Drapes are drawn. All is quiet except for the row of stubs on fence posts, cemented into the ground.

Now there is a story there I would love to know. I can think of a couple of ways it might have gone but those aren't very pleasant thoughts to think about.

:)Bea

Monday, March 30, 2015

Another Black & White Photo Challenge Day.


















I am a fan of color but there are times when a black and white photograph can just direct your eye to the focal point. 

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you are doing something creative today. :)Bea

Sunday, March 29, 2015

From the woods to the beach.

This is one of those times I wish I had a telephoto lens for my camera. I would have gotten a clear and beautiful shot of this Red Tail Hawk sitting by its new nest.
I've always known that a pair nested in our woods. I could never find the nest. Yesterday, while driving home up the road that runs by the North end of the woods I spotted one of the hawks up in a tree by the very edge of the woods. A nest that hadn't been there a week ago now filled a v-shaped limb.

I don't know how many eggs they lay.  I know that over the past 15 years out here I've only ever seen one baby each year, make it to flying stage.  


I had a visitor out in the studio yesterday afternoon. Riley came out to work on some coloring of pictures when she spotted my scrap bin on the work table.
She asked me what I was working on and I told her I was in the beginning stages of pulling a color palette for an abstract piece. Of course, she wanted to work on her own piece. I've been teaching her how to use the little color wheel I have for just color selection for her paint projects.
I think she did an excellent job of making this rather interesting abstract fabric square. She hasn't tacked or sewn anything down yet.  We took this pictures so we could turn it into a black and white and take a look at value and contrast. 
As far as I am concerned it is never to young to hear the terms and meanings and get her to see how they apply. Then we will talk about any changes she wants to make to the piece. I think I'll have her use a glue stick to attach the pieces before we learn how to use the sewing machine.
I've been looking in my computer for old pictures of the Studio Artists. I've come across a number of folders in my computer picture section that are from four years ago and in unlabeled or sorted folders.
Like a golfer that can remember a course, hole, ball placement and number of strokes I remember exactly where I was standing, the weather, light and when I took a picture. I remember this early morning walk along the beach clearly.
It was a morning that shore birds ignored me and concentrated on the ocean waves coming in. I have no idea what kind of birds or gulls these are. I love their markings. I love the contrast of the dark ones in there with the light ones. I love that the composition has a diagonal slant and makes a triangle.
Well, I tried the faux wax method on my collage, Hundertwasser's Heaven. I followed the recipe, mixed the soft gel matte to the inference colors and the pinhead amount of Nichol gold and spread it on thickly.  While applying it I have to say it did give the appearance of wax, especially when you smoothed it and spread it around. Apparently, over night though it leveled itself out and the next morning there isn't a clue that anything had been applied. Well, I take that back since I had used gloss medium the matte had taken all the shine off the piece. It's framed now in a modern looking black frame. I didn't use real wax because my substrate wasn't going to be strong enough to hold it. I guess I am going to have to research this more if I plan to try it again on a piece.

Have a creative day. Let your soul dance! :)Bea

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Love finding those old special shots.

Found this in an old photo folder. Still like it.  I remember when I shot it in St. John's of all places.

Hope you all have a creative day. Do something, anything, remember right now, this minute you have the rest is up in the air.  :)Bea

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A little Rothko, Pollock or Composition with your coffee?





I felt bad about the two sad Black & White photos I posted on Monday.  My mind was occupied on the white stuff all over the lawn.
The other night while looking for a photograph in Picasa I discovered a folder that simply had a date and a ton of pictures in it.  Imagine my surprise to see some really good black and white compositions in there.  Taken back in 2011 they probably have never been posted.
I do like a misty or foggy morning for taking pictures. A little harder to stop the car and hope that I don't get rear ended or squished like a bug when I am out of the car taking a picture.
I hope these are showing up in the blog and you don't like I seem to have to do now, click that tiny little square up in the corner of where the picture should be.

I have no idea why my computer has suddenly developed this.  Honestly, if you have watched enough Twilight Zone series, in your lifetime, you could think that your laptop has suddenly developed a mean streak or a really bad sense of humor.

"Bea doesn't realize it now but soon she will be in a great debate with her computer.  One that will change her life forever...........do do do dooooooooooo."

Ok, dating myself but those of you that know what the hell I'm talking about hummed the theme song, didn't you?

Tomorrow is Technique Workshop Day at the Studio. As we have been since January we will be exploring, once again, in depth, Compositional formats and designs. Mary made us an easy to look at chart of the list from Joan Blackburn's book. Sixteen different formats are listed in her book.
While researching further I found the following shaped compositions mentioned in an Abstract Art book, Z, S, C, X, O, L and V. I have a feeling that some overlap and that there are probably more different names for the same compositions out there.

Linda and I did go through an Abstract Art book and look at the different pieces of artwork and try to put the right format to them.  It isn't as easy as you think. Some are obvious but others had to be worked out. I'm still not sure we got them right.

I have a comfort zone when it comes to composition. When I take photographs I tend to use a low horizon line, place focal points in the lower third on the right or left. You can see that in the tree and barn photos above. The third photo is a little unusual. I seldom plant things dead center.


Although, these three from the Journey Series seem to have trees smack dab in the center.


Hmmmm, apparently I do put them smack dab in the middle. And, I seem to prefer leafless trees and stark contrast. Interesting. Well, there are enough low horizon ones to feel like I might have nailed that one.
The other topic we will be covering will be Abstract Shape Language.
I knew about geometric, symbolic and organic but I hadn't really thought through free shapes or shapelessness. When I researched shapelessness I was referred to the work of Material Painters, Action painters and Color Field Painters.
Three terms I had no idea what they referred to.

Well, if you have sat in front of what appeared to be a large black painting by Reinhardt then you were looking at a Material painter. Look long enough and the black has subtle variations. It can upset people.  When his black paintings were first exhibited at MoMA in 1963, their reductive imagery and stark palette shocked visitors and it was said that at least one Museum membership was cancelled in protest. My, my, people.

Action painting was widespread from the 40s t0 early 60s. Maybe you have seen a Jackson Pollock painting?

Now, Color Field painting, like Rothko, Still or Jenkins is something that I love. Classes I have taken with Julie and Chris steer me in that direction with the blending and working of color into the canvas. Less emphasis on brushstrokes and more on the layers of color.

Well, tomorrow will be interesting. Hope you have a creative day!  :)Bea