Roussillon, France

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We spent many happy times in Roussillon, a little village in France known for its multicolored ochre cliffs. When we first started going it was a pretty obscure place; after the publication of “My Year in Provence” by Peter Mayles lots of tourists started showing up. Well, we were tourists also, but since my parents rented a place for a month, we felt as if we lived there. “Another day in paradise”, we used to say. On the first day there my Dad and I would go to the vineyard and buy three cases of wine: red, white and rose. We would grill whole fish over a bunch of herbs that grew right on the property.
I painted this plate for my mother at one of those paint-your-own-plate places (they are actually pretty fun). On the back it says “Pour Maman”. The border is olives, of which we ate plenty with our many glasses of wine. The scene depicts the hilly nature and rustic beauty of the town. I miss France but I miss my family even more.

Matisse Again: Color and Form

matisse spiral s

red letter day: red
alert, red hot, red carpet.
paint the town red red
red

I bought a postcard at the MOMA Matisse show that I liked because of its colors and exuberance.  I wanted to use it as inspiration for something, but a collage from a collage is always problematic for me.

matisse postcard s

out of the blue, wild
blue yonder:  once in a blue
moon, talk a blue streak

One of the videos in the show showed Matisse at work:  he just picked up a piece of paper and started cutting.  I loved that spontaneity.  But I didn’t want to cut the same shapes.  I collected some bright colors from my collage stash, and decided to fold them and cut, as in the snowflakes we all made as children.  But I didn’t really fold or cut them to be snowflakes; just fold, cut and see what happens.  I tried different layouts, first in a similar way to Matisse, but I ended up liking the spiral best.

paper cutting 2s

And I realized it really reminded me more of Mexican Paper Cut Banners, Papel Picado.  My own hybrid:  Mexico/Matisse.

little green apples.
little green men.  the grass is
always greener.

And I had fun with the color idiom haikus.

Red-eared slider

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I had a couple of these lovely creatures once. When I got them they were the size of a nickel. Their lifestyle consisted of eating (a lot), basking on their rock under a sunlamp and eliminating waste (also a lot). I had to clean the tank every other day, but I didn’t mind because I had this bit of nature in my house. They grew pretty rapidly and I made the decision to release them. I drove out to the Great Swamp here in New Jersey and sadly let them go. I found a pretty area and let them go. They seemed very happy as they swam off and I’ve always hoped that they had a good life.

Northern White Rhino

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With the death of Suni, one of two breeding males, last week, the Northern White Rhino population is down to 6.

All species of rhinos are endangered because of poaching.  Rhino horn is in high demand in Asian countries, especially Vietnam, as a symbol of status and wealth.  It is also used in traditional Chinese medicine, and as ornamental handles for daggers.

And, of course, there is the problem of habitat loss:  clearing land for human settlement, and excessive logging.

http://www.savetherhino.org/

My dog and a thunderstorm outside

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Beauregard (my lab mix) was terrified during the thunderstorm yesterday. His brother Birdman had hastily retreated to his corner upstairs. Beau was hanging out with me but his eyes were pretty scared looking. This is the iPad drawing app over a photo, cheating I suppose, but a lot of fun.

Invisible Eve 12: Two Views

akeia 1s

Akeia

Wishing and hoping
won’t erase the results of
drinking and driving

akeia 2s

I wasn’t thinking,
I was doing, doing, not
now:  always thinking

Akeia’s face has many mirrors.  I think each drawing captures some of her; I’m sure I will return to it to find out more.

See more about “Invisible Eve” at http://www.yousefkhanfar.com/

 

Knitted Dolls

 

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I’ve been making dolls from my knitted swatches for awhile.  I finished my sixth one last week.  The one pictured above was completed several years ago, but I like the multiple view photo layout my daughter did for me.

eye idol 1s

The original inspiration for these dolls came from eye idols.  Hundreds were found in the Eye Temple in Tell Brak, located in northeastern Syria.  Dated at 3000 BC, they were thought to be offerings to the gods.  The eye is a magical and religious symbol in many cultures:  a window to the soul, a gateway to awakening, offering both protection and enlightenment.

eye doll 1s

The first knitted doll I did was simple, like the eye idols.

peruvian doll s

Another inspiration comes from Peruvian fiber dolls.  The ancient ones were found in graves, and seem to have been created specifically for each burial.  Modern textile artists in the Andes have used ancient textile fragments to recreate dolls in the old style for sale.  I was lucky enough to purchase one in a thrift shop, although at the time I had no idea of its connection to history.

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I’ve called the doll I finished last week Magician.  It took me a lot longer than I anticipated because I decided the hair and head covering needed beads and sequins.  Lots of beads and sequins.  I like the effect, although it makes the doll a little top-heavy.

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Homeless in The District

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I was in Washington DC this weekend and was sad to see quite a number of homeless people who carried everything around with them. Unlike carrying these possessions in shopping carts, they had wooden platforms loaded up with stuff. I saw this gentleman while leaving this chilly morning. He and all his stuff was wrapped in a blanket and he was asleep on a street corner in Georgetown. The drawing is done from my memory but the pathos of the scene remains in my head. No comment about the ridiculous salaries of the politicos down in DC while people are living on the street like this. Let’s just say it is shameful.

Journal Reflections: 1989/2014 Grief

grief 2014 s

anguish, despair:  how
you say it doesn’t ease the
heartbreak sorrow grief

grief 1989 s

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