Passaic Falls, Paterson, NJ

This was fun to paint-so much so that I painted the same scene twice. I couldn’t decide which one I liked better.

The second one is a little more refined but the first one has more spontaneity and the falls look better. These are both acrylic painted on boards. It’s a nice change after painting on paper.

Another small board. The fish is cut out from something else.

It’s hard to believe summer is coming to an end. It’s been a good summer as I got to swim and to see my husband starting to heal and get back to himself.

Have a good week. Nina

Poseidon Laughs (Thursday Doors)

Restless, this sea–
rising, falling–
no boundaries.
It has always
been so—always.
Man builds, rebuilds,
makes his own map.
Poseidon laughs.
The wind surges,
the waves reclaim–
restless, this sea.

We stayed in the town of Rodanthe on Hatteras Island this year. It was in the news in May when two houses collapsed into the ocean after a storm.

The section where we were staying was primarily year-round residents, so the houses were mostly set back, away from the dunes. But walking up and down the beach we could see many houses practically in the water, or sometimes actually in the water at high tide. While we were there, the aqua house above was fenced off in preparation for its removal. The house next door had already been taken down.

Here’s one being held up by scaffolding.

When we first started going to the Outer Banks, 35 years ago, the houses were small, and built well off the beach. Now the new houses are all huge, with a premium fee for being right by the ocean. But the coast on a barrier island is always in flux, even without the hurricanes that are becoming more frequent.

Part of the island is a protected wildlife refuge, and the shoreline is managed by the National Park Service, but it’s difficult to control the strain caused by the continued private development. Tourism is the main source of tax revenue for the island, so the local government is not willing to put any brakes on it.

Shoring up the dunes with more sand is expensive and temporary. There will always be more storms.

This is low tide–you have to swim through at high tide.

You can see the houses falling into the ocean here:

https://thehill.com/changing-america/sustainability/environment/3484789-watch-houses-falling-into-the-ocean-in-north-carolina/

My poem is for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, where Yvette Calleiro selected a form that Gwen Plano created, called the 4-11, for us to try.

And, as always, find more doors here with host Dan Antion.

A Foray into Acrylics

It’s been a while since I’ve done any art or blogging. It’s the proverbial shoulder to the grindstone and when you get older the energy is harder to come by.

Tiny landscape on one of the multi size and multi purpose boards Kerfe sent to me. That’s what made me buy some acrylics. Acrylics are very different than gouache: more plastic, slower dry, can smoosh them.

I’ve probably done fifty of these gouaches on black paper. I have a couple in the works. I hope to be more consistent with sitting down at my art table and letting the chi flow. I appreciate WordPress and our friends here and will try to do better by you. Have a good week! Nina

Swallows (Draw a Bird Day)

one by one
you join the wire—sit
twittering,
gabbing—rest
until a sudden pull forms
a merging with air

ruly dance
of animation–
swooping up
to slip down
in unceasing waves, scattered
between rhythmic tides

you spend your
life aloft, brushing
the berm of
watery
landscapes–embodied spirits,
wandering and free

Our beach bird this year was the swallow–bank swallows, which nest in banks and sandy cliffs, and purple martins, which use cavities created by other animals or in buildings, or increasingly, nesting boxes provided by humans. Native Americans were the first to hang gourds to attract these birds.

They would gather in the mornings on the wires, chattering away, and then suddenly take to the air, feeding on insects and gathering moisture, until they returned to the wire to begin the process again. They also chirped on the wing, providing a constant background of bird noise.

Bank swallows, especially, are extremely social birds, and are seldom seen alone.

There are over 90 species of swallows, and they are found all over the world. In many places they are harbingers of spring.

They frequently reside near water, hunting insects on the wing, and migrating to follow insect populations. American swallows breed in North America and winter in the South American summer.

The feet of swallows are adapted for perching and they are seldom seen on the ground. Some species are endangered due to habitat loss.

My shadorma chain uses some of the Oracle 2 words generated by Jane this week.

The Kick-About #59 ‘Augustus Osbourne Lamplough’

Lots of summer light for this week’s Kick-About.

Red's Kingdom


Our last Kick-About together was fired off by the super-saturated decor of Henri Matisse’s 1908 painting, Harmony in Red, also known as The Dessert. As Vanessa Clegg observes, there is but a small difference between the word ‘dessert’ and ‘desert’, but a whole world of difference between Matisse’s spatial effects and use of colour and those distinguishing the paintings of Augustus Osbourne Lamplough. With Lamplough’s evocations of exotic landscapes as our muse this week, enjoy this latest collection of new works made in a short time.


Jordan Buckner

“The magic of Lamplough’s work is all in the soft, low contrast haze. He managed to capture those dusty, golden hour landscapes with a gentleness and calmness – a painting that feels barely there. My own contribution isn’t quite as calm – perhaps a little more sickly, but an exploration at least of the similar, low contrast magic landscape.”



“One…

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Rachmaninoff Slept Here (Thursday Doors)

keys–
hands play,
signify–
the piano
sings

keys
transpose–
rearrange
thresholds, open
doors

I’ve often passed the red plaque noting that 505 West End Avenue was once the home of Sergei Rachmaninoff, but it’s only recently that I really looked at the building and examined the door. The awning is a distraction, but above it there is a very large guardian keeping watch, which I noticed first and photographed from the side.

The building was designed in 1922 by architect Gaetano Ajello, who is responsible for many buildings on the Upper West Side. I think I may have even featured guardians from one of them–I’ll have to go back and check the exact address. An immigrant from Italy, he retired from architecture after 20 years to become an inventor, obtaining patents for airplanes, bicycles, and shoes.

A close up of the guardian makes me think he is yet another green man.

Rachmaninoff, in addition to being a well-known composer, was also a fine pianist and conductor. Also an immigrant, his family left Russia after the Revolution and settled in New York in 1918. He moved into 505 West End Avenue in 1926 and lived there until his death in 1943.

The building is also known for being the location of Barbra Streisand’s apartment in the film “The Mirror Has Two Faces.”

My poem is a lanturne, for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday form prompt, chosen by Lisa, the VerseSmith.

And, as always, find more doors here with host Dan Antion.

Venezuelan Troupial (draw a bird day)

loud and clear
whistles penetrate far–
inside a dry tropical forest,

a bird sings perched upon a cactus–
under a clear sky, sun relentless–

orange, black, wings flash white when aerial–
kin to the oriole–
troupial

The Venezuelan Troupial is the national bird of Venezuela. Besides that country, it is found in Columbia and on some Caribbean islands. A relative to the oriole, its feathers stick out unevenly, often making it look ruffled. The troupial like to perch on high visible places to sing. They eat insects, fruit, and small birds and eggs.

Native to coastal desert scrub and thorn forests, they prefer arid lands, although they have proven quite adaptable to other ecosystems. Who knew there were cactii in Venezuela? Above is a photo from Mochima National Park.

The Venezuelan Troupial is a nest pirate, often poaching nests and driving off the original residents when they can’t find a suitable abandoned one to adapt to their own needs. They are not considered endangered, though some of their habitats are, and they are also captured to be sold as cage birds.

I had a lot of trouble focusing to work this week, and was not wholly satisfied with any of my drawings, but I do think the cactus one captures the personality of this bird fairly well. I keep reminding myself of the drawings of Matisse, who was always rearranging his lines, and letting the errant ones remain to show where he had been.

My poem, for Colleen’s #tastetherainbow Tanka Tuesday challenge is in the Trois-par-Huit form, which you can read about here.

St Ignatius Loyola Church (Thursday Doors)

Doctrine

I summon the sun  I summon the moon
God the Father  Mother Mary
worship His light  circle the seasons
above all  intermingled
powerful  nurturing
sovereign  beneficent
the beginning and the end  always returning

St Ignatius Loyola Church, “designed in the Baroque manner by Ditmars and Schickel”, is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan on Park Avenue. It was dedicated in 1898 and landmarked in 1969. The front doors are large, angular, and imposing.

It houses several schools in the surrounding buildings.

The side doors are all different, but have half-moons above them to form arched entrances.

I really liked all the details of this one.

The parish, administered by the Jesuits, was founded in 1851 by Irish Catholics who fled the Potato Famine for a better life in America. This building was designed, according to the website, following the Jesuit philosophy of “honoring god through beauty and permanence.” The church has a well-known music program and contains a 30-ton pipe organ almost as large as a subway car. You can see interior photos here.

My poem is for the W3 challenge where Punam asked us to respond to her poem “Slavery” by writing about the moon from the sun’s perspective or vice versa. I’ve written a cleave poem, which doesn’t exactly answer the prompt, but gives both points of view. Many of the world’s major religions seem to take the patriarchal view of the sun, but they would do well, in my opinion, to pay more attention to the circular wisdom of the moon.

Find more doors here with host Dan Antion.

The Kick-About #57 ‘Mervyn Peake’

Responses this week to the work of Mervyn Peake.

Red's Kingdom


From the percussive, delineated sound-shapes of a Sandy Nelson drum solo, our muse for our previous Kick-About, we are this week riffing on the appreciably softer tones of the drawings by Mervyn Peake, and likewise the richness of his imaginary worlds and all their eccentric inhabitants.


Jordan Buckner

“It’s hard to resist that textural ink approach Peake was famous for. I recognised some of Peake’s work but didn’t have a great knowledge on who he was, or what his work amounted to. It’s wonderful to see that even in his more observational work, that gothic storytelling still feels present.”


www.jordanbuckner.co.uk


Judy Watson

“There’s much to explore in response to Peake’s work, and I don’t think I can do it on one hit, so let us see where it takes me. But to begin with, it has taken me back to two mediums I loved in earlier years but have neglected…

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July 2022

neither brave nor free–
our leaders bow down to Mammon,
cast life aside

Find the cost of freedom
buried in the ground
Mother Earth will swallow you
lay your body down