Archive | August 2022

The Kick-About #61 ‘I Remember’

Memory can be a tricky thing…

Red's Kingdom

Our last Kick-About together was a celebration of the idea of tea-making, tea-drinking, and its various rituals. Without this activity, with its powers of comfort and displacement, I wonder sometimes how we would otherwise negotiate some of life’s disappointments, large and small. Disappointment is one of the themes of Molly Drake’s I Remember, and it is Drake’s delicate, if devastating song that has this week inspired us to produce new works in a short time.

Marion Raper

My story begins with our family holiday to Dorset. It was probably early 60s and I think we were staying in Swanage. We were usually quite lucky with the weather, but it was not to be this time. As we had no car then, my parents decided on taking a nice coach trip to Lulworth Cove which was a famous beauty spot not far along the coast. My sister and I…

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Weekend Work 8/29/22

I’ve been painting with the acrylics on board. Kerfe gave me quite a few, in white and black. I’ve used the white ones and these are on black.

These feel very different from the gouache on black paper paintings. Acrylic is a pliable medium and is fun to play with. It can be layered well which works for me and the way I paint.

Have a good week! Nina

The Lolita (Thursday Doors)

Maria de los
Mary, Full
of Sorrows—reclaim your name–
become who you are

The Lolita, 227 Central Park West, is another building I’ve walked by many times without paying much attention to it. I was sitting on a bench across the street drinking coffee and something on the facade caught my attention–was that a face? I picked up my phone and snapped a 10x photo–yes! it was.

The door, which is on the side street, is handsome, but unless you are looking closely, up, you could easily, as I had, miss all the beautiful ornamental details above.

Designed by architects Thom and Wilson in 1888, The Lolita is the second oldest co-op on Central park West (the Dakota is the first). I could find no history as to why it was named The Lolita–this was long before Nabokov–but even without that association it seems a strange choice. Lolita is a diminutive of Dolores which means “sorrows”. Not an auspicious name.

Thom and Wilson were considered pedestrian architects, but they designed hundreds of buildings known for their terracotta details and ornaments that “contribute to the special architectural and historic character of the Upper West Side.” I’m sure I’ve photographed many of them in my wanderings–I’ll have to look again now that I have a list from the Landmarks website.

Lolita reached its highest popularity as a girls name in the United States in the 1960s. Unfortunately, it’s difficult for the owners of the name to disentangle it from the shadow of Nabokov. And Lola, another diminutive of Dolores, will never be free of the Kinks.

One other note–there’s an apartment for sale in the building for just under 5 million(!) dollars. it’s true it has a view of the park, but still…even for someone used to NYC real estate that seems somewhat unbelievable.

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

Lamassu (Thursday Doors)

Plant your sacred trees in all the corners of this town–
Confront the evil that attempts to cross our threshold.
Send us the divine spirits of your starmother, your starfather–
O Lamassu, keep the hideous demons from this door.

Help us to remember our history–
Give us courage to continue despite our fearful hearts–
Hold us in the net of your living landscape–
Plant your sacred trees in all the corners of this town.

Lift the veils that seek only to deceive us-
Challenge those who wish to conquer us with lies–
Give strength to the voiceless, the threatened, the condemned—
Confront the evil that attempts to cross our threshold.

Lend us your wings and your presence–
Converge us with the cosmos—evanescent, light–
Make us whole again—
Send us the divine spirits of your starmother, your starfather.

Join us with the ever-turning wheel–
Four to mark the seasons, components of the soul–
Guard the elements of justice, our foundation–
O Lamassu, keep the hideous demons from this door.

Door guardians have been around for a long time. This re-creation of an Assyrian palace entrance in the Metropolitan Museum of Art dates from 860 BC. The guardians here are representations of Lamassu, a hybrid protective deity, combining four elements–lion, bull, eagle, and human. Later adapted by both Judaism (as Kerubim) and Christianity (as symbols of the four Evangelists)–these components also appear on the Wheel of Fortune Tarot card–pairs of Lamassu figures were often seen flanking both town gates and palace doors in Assyria. Representations were also buried under thresholds of house doors to keep evil spirits and demons out.

The sacred trees that are accompanied by magical beings on the walls of the palace are known to be important to Assyrian ritual, although the exact meaning of them is still a mystery. They were often placed in the corners of rooms as protections, since corners, like doorways, were considered vulnerable to penetrations by demons.

Lamassu are said to be the embodiment of the divine principles associated with human celestial origins, the children of stars. They are rendered with five legs so they appear to be both standing from the front and walking from the side.

The palace walls also contained scenes of the King performing rituals.

My poem is in answer to Punam’s W3 prompt for a cascade poem containing personification, with the theme of freedom. I also used Jane’s Oracle 2 generated wordlist as inspiration.

I forgot that Thursday Doors was on vacation this week, but you can always find doors from past weeks here with host Dan Antion.

The Kick-About #60 ‘A Chawan Is A Bowl’

Thoughts on what is involved in serving tea.

Red's Kingdom

I wonder if Augustus Osbourne Lamplough (our previous Kick-About prompt) ever sipped tea as he laboured at his paintings under some far-off afternoon sun? We’ll never know, but tea is clearly a tonic for the Kick-About collective, as these latest examples of new works made in a short time will illustrate.

Kerfe Roig

“I constructed my chawan of tea-dyed paper—the outside of watercolor paper, the inside a coffee filter. The tea leaves took to each in a different way.I found a paper plate bowl online, and copied the pattern, then sewed my vessel together in my own (imperfect) way. It resembles birchbark baskets made by Native Americans more than Japanese ceramics, and certainly would hold no liquid. But the spirit invoked is the same.”

Rituals evolve–
each step repeated, echoed,
but never mirrored
exactly, never complete.
We construct vessels
to replace our ungrown wings–
imperfect, always–
impossible, fragile, filled

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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:

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
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
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.”


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