Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I start so many projects that lay scattered and unfinished in my wake. I think I need to start celebrating those that do get finished so that I keep the momentum going and maybe even circle back around and pick up some of those abandoned projects that float off in the distance. I recently finished a felted purse made with some hand-dyed wool from Ireland. I am pretty happy with the shape, but I don't know that I can reproduce it as I didn't really take notes. I just knit away, lined thing up, stitched them together, soaped up and agitated. My table is done as well, though I can only take credit for the vision, not the follow through. Now I just have to clutter it up with stuff. Maybe we will be able to reclaim our dining room table for eating someday soon. Yay, finished projects!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Hills of Heather

Ian and I left for Ireland in the spring at an emotionally difficult time. While we had a wonderful time in a beautiful county, we had no close friends to talk about life, love, stress and sorrow with. Little things would remind me of the friends I missed. Acupuncturists abounded in Dublin reminding me of Megan, the beautiful, ornate, mystically inspired jewelry reminded me of Stephanie and the fields of heather always made me think of Heather. Almost every time I saw a hillside of heather, I thought to myself; "I should take a photo for Heather." But, the light was never quite right so the shot never came together. As Heather's birthday was Friday I thought a watercolor might be in order and so I returned to those coastal hillsides. I started with a field on a coastal cliff but it started to go wrong so I simplified and tried just a sprig. I recovered the hill from total disaster and so now there are two. We'll have to see which heather she prefers....

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Drone in the minor key

I listened to a This American Life program today that was all about mapping with the different senses. I was particularly struck by a story about a musician who mapped the sounds that surrounded him at work and in his home. He tested each sound he heard to find out its note and suggested that the tone of a sound might invoke a certain emotional response. So, the tone of the heater running might subconsciously lead to feelings of happiness or anger depending on the note. And that unnatural low drone that permeates a post-industrial existence might lead to disillusionment and despair. I have stepped outside in the many places I have lived and that drone is always present, albeit always a little different. That drone induces a feeling of hollowness and detachment in me. It is somehow a feeling that seems the opposite of inner peace, it is more like an uncomfortable inner emptiness. Remembering these experiences, I wondered if this guy wasn't on to something.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The world looks hazy through burning eyes...

Fall is a time of productivity and celebration, a time when the air is clear, the quality of light is bold and somehow everything seems more lucid...or at least that is usually how I feel. This year is somehow different. I guess it is the shift away from school and toward a still uncertain future in the working world that makes this fall feel like there is still a little too much haze and humidity in the air. Or is that actually due to global warming? Ambivalence and all, this weekend we enjoyed fall to its fullest with a pumpkin carving party and a hike through woods blanketed in a quilt of brightly colored leaves. I especially loved Heather's pumpkin with the burning marshmellow eyes...its got to be tough to see what lies ahead when your eyes are in flames!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Catching up

After a busy week of work and job interviews, I finally had some time to relax last night. I made a nice dinner of hominy stew, which much to Ian's satisfaction I made entirely too spicy. We drank some wine, talked about life and all the exciting decisions facing us in the next few years and watched an episode of Prime Suspect. I also had some time to catch up on some watercolors. I am trying to tie my watercolor for the day to some experience of that day. Jessica reminds me of pomegranates and last Friday was her birthday and bachelorette party so I painted a pomegranate. We spent the day Saturday in Richmond with Patrick and we walked along the James looking out at all the bridges; car bridges, pedestrian briges, destroyed bridges, so I sketched layers of bridges. Sunday we celebrated with Jessica and Bill at their wedding so I sketched this.....

10.14.07 For Jess and Bill

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Sometimes I feel like I have broken into millions of pieces and each tiny piece of me is plugging away at some idea independently of all those other pieces. I am going very slowly in a million different directions but nothing ever seems to get finished. I think I need to call a group meeting to see if we can find a way to work together, maybe find those areas where we used to overlap before the break. I think I am feeling especially shattered and scattered after two weekends of travel and not much recharge time. I have come to realize how much I need that down time of doing not much of anything to stay happy and creatively engaged. I think this coming Sunday I will finally have some time to just sit and day dream, it will be much appreciated.

10.11.07 Buttons

Thursday, October 11, 2007

An intertwined life

I started a new work project today in Lexington, VA at a garden called Boxerwood. We will be helping them with some long term visioning and conservation easement assistance. It is a really great place with a living machine constructed to deal with all wastewater on site, a fun children's garden and lots of great garden spaces. I found out halfway through that the Doctor who owned the property and started planting the garden was Dr. Munger, Sally Mann's father. She grew up in the house and one of the offices was her bedroom, in which there were several of her photographs. The women who run the place now had lots of stories about the family and were happy to show me the photos they had. After our meeting I stopped into the Lexington Art Gallery and had a long and helpful conversation with the owner about photography, the art market and my work. I came away with a better sense of how to get my work out there and the courage to not worry so much about the inevitable rejections that come with risk (in theory at least). All in all I had a good day, Lexington treated me well. I am finishing my packing for the wedding weekend now and tomorrow we are off to Charlottesville. Here are a few recent watercolors, click to see the whole set to date...

WC 10.6.07

WC 10.9.07

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Road trip

Ian and I went on a road trip up to my parent's house this weekend with our friends James and Linda. James had a Saab to pick up and we decided it would be fun to tag along and visit my family. We had a nice trip, ate tasty food and got to walk around Philadelphia Sunday evening. There was a gay pride type festival, Outfest, going on which took up block upon block of the city and had all sorts of crazy folks out and about. It was nice to walk through a lively city taking in all the sights and smells. Though it is sometimes overwhelming, I love the energy of a big city...it never slows down and never fully sleeps. On a different note, we stopped at a gas station on the way up that had these interesting floodlights, here is my Gas Station Triptych...

Thursday, October 4, 2007


I have come to the conclusion after several house projects, model building and more recently with the construction of my table that I am not a big fan of rigid materials. I love wood but I hate working with it. I think anything that is machined and easier to cut and form into straight lines just isn't really my kind of material. I love clay for example, as it can be formed into straight lines and right angles, but it certainly doesn't call out for it. I think that is why I was attracted to landscape architecture where the earth and growing plants are my main materials. I like malleable materials that can be reshaped or restarted when things don't go as I planned. Sometimes I wonder if this is a sign of my indecision; it is somehow easier to make a decision if I know I can take it back and start again. And where does photography fit into all of this? I mean the materials, light sensitive film and paper, chemicals, cameras, are certainly not malleable. But I guess the process is, it can allow for endless improvisations with experimental shooting, processing and printing. And at any stage, I can always come back and give it another try in an entirely different manner. Maybe it is more a perceived freedom that comes with understanding a material or medium that makes it seem malleable instead of rigid. Or maybe I just don't like endless measurements and loud power tools. Luckily Ian doesn't mind them so much, so I will soon have a table.

Ian was in the paper yesterday in an article about the biodiesel cooperative he worked on starting. A nice photo of him graced the front page of the local section of the Roanoke Times. Here is the picture and a link to the article...