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Father’s Day weekend

We had a nice quiet weekend. My husband is doing better and we took a walk yesterday. This is my last week of Family Leave. It was good to take some time off and it helped a lot.

I posted this one last week but here it is finished. I’ve had more time for art lately. I have a few others started.

Have a good week! Nina

My Sister’s Birthday Weekend

Jane would have turned 69 yesterday, June 12, 2022. I love this picture of her in Greece, 1964, with my mom in dad in the rear and her friend next to her. This photo captured my sister’s essence: sassy, tall, good looking. All that and a bag of chips.

Jane in a contemplative mood. My sister was a smart and troubled young lady. In retrospect I believe she struggled with mental illness all her life. She had a lot of bad luck due to illness. A dancer, she began having terrible leg cramps around age 17. Later diagnosed as Myasthenia Gravis, the damage had been done to her body and it kept progressing.

Jane towards the end of her life. She was incapacitated to a great degree but never lost her inner spirit and great love of people. She helped many of Paterson’s children in her work on the child study team and always called them “my kids”. My sister is greatly missed.

I did some art work this weekend but I’m not sure these are finished. My new larger table area has made it much more convenient for working.

Have a good week! Nina

Thursday Doors: Zen Garden

the entrance is an enso  a glowing blue light
a form that contains nothing  inside of the whole
spirit absorbed by essence  emptied of ego
in silent simplicity  opening, complete

My younger daughter took a few days off from work before Memorial Day, and one of her requests was that I take her as my guest to early morning member hours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which are on Thursdays from 9-10 am. I had told her and her sister about visiting the Winslow Homer exhibit that way.

One of her favorite places in the museum is the Zen Garden. It wasn’t open in the early hour, but even after the museum opened to the public at 10, we were able to visit without any crowding–it’s tucked away among the Asian art, and if you don’t know where to look, you probably only discover it by stumbling upon it. It’s a bright open empty room with a rocks and a koi pond with a waterfall on the edges.

I used to post about my museum visits a lot, and perhaps in the future I’ll do a post on the Homer exhibit and also the paintings of Louise Bourgeois which were inexplicably hard to find. We asked directions three times, and only found it by accident in the end. But that meant that only one other person was there so we could really look at the art.

The museum also has many wonderful doors and door-like structures, such as the tiled niche above.

My poem is in the Japanese imayo form, which consists of four 7/5 syllabic lines. There is a planned caesura (or pause) between the first 7 syllables and the final 5. Another feature of this form is that it makes three poems–the whole, and one each with the 7-syllable lines and the 5-syllable lines, similar to a cleave poem, except that somehow it seemed more natural to me and easier to construct. I’ve included the color blue for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday #tastetherainbow prompt.

You can read more about the enso here.

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

Tiger Shrike (Draw a Bird Day)

the spirits of the places
I move through
appear as birds–

residents of sidewalks,
street trees, roofs, parks–
the spirits of the places

stopping me, waiting for me
to acknowledge them as
I move through

thinking of someone I’ve lost–
as if they had suddenly
appeared as a bird

It would be very unusual to spot a tiger shrike in New York City, as they reside in wooded habitats in eastern Asia, and are quite shy. But if you did, that would be the male with the mask. The female has more more subtle coloring, which makes the eye appear larger.

Like all shrikes, they used their sharp hooked beaks to impale their prey–insects, small birds, lizards, rodents. They are not considered threatened, although populations are declining.

My cascade is a (belated) response to Brendan’s discussion at earthweal about spirits of place. I’ve felt spirits in certain of my residences, although I haven’t stayed in many places long enough to establish a relationship. But everywhere I go in the city I find birds.

Birds are considered in many cultures to be a bridge between the human and spirit worlds. I know I’m not the only person who has wondered if someone I’m missing sometimes visits me in the form of a bird.

Striped Owl (Draw a Bird Day)

sometimes in dreams I
remember a time when my spirit was
lifted by stars, silent
as a secret, and then
suddenly moonbound dark and
luminous–everything felt
ancient and reawakened—like the
hushed feathered womb of owl
wings singing in a windswept quaver

Another orange and black bird for the Year of the Tiger. The striped owl is found in Central and South America, inhabiting savannas and semi-open grasslands.

My poem is another Golden Shovel, with lines extracted from Arthur Sze’s wonderful poem “The Owl”. I’ve used it before as inspiration, and probably will again.

And I’m sure owls will show up, as they have before, on Draw A Bird Day as well.

Weekend Work 3/21/22

I did a little painting this weekend, catching up on a few already started. This one I’m probably going to cut up. The three images are too crowded, not enough space around them.

A good luck piece for my husband. Chai is Hebrew for life. Today is the first day he says he feels better.

Not finished but in a way I like it like this.

Best regards to all WordPress friends. Thanks for your kind words and support during my husband’s bout with Covid.

Weekend Work 2/14/2022

It’s been a long Covid haul at my house. I was down for two weeks. My husband is on day 22 of a very bad case (despite us all being triple vaxxed). My daughter also tested positive but was asymptomatic.

I got a chance to do some painting. I have a few going as usual but consider these two done.

I hope everyone is keeping safe and warm; another chilly day here on the east coast. Spring is coming!

Rufous Treepie (Draw a Bird Day)

In your native landscape
they call you taka chor
always wanting more, more–
objects, glitter

Filling trees with loud calls,
attention-seeking mein–
to be both heard and seen–
crow to the core

The rufous treepie, a long-tailed bird native to India and southeast Asia, is known locally as taka chor, or “coin stealer”. Like all corvids, it loves shiny objects, and has no misgivings about taking anything that catches its eye.

Also, like all crows, it will eat pretty much anything, and is intelligent, adaptable, and opportunistic.

Primarily arboreal, it feeds mostly among the forest cover, and will often hunt with other bird species to flush out more insects from the trees. As its woodland habitat decreases, however, it has learned to live in urban parks and yards, and has no problem eating discarded human food or road kill, if that’s what’s available.

I chose the rufous treepie while looking for orange and black birds in honor of the Year of the Tiger. That may be my bird theme for the year–there are many to choose from.

The poem is an abhanga for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday. Appropriately, an Indian poetic form.

The top bird was done with brush and ink, the middle one is neocolors, and the bottom one is colored pencil with ink outlines–I found a feather quill pen I bought years ago in a box. It’s a bit tricky to use, and I’m out of practice. But I enjoyed working with it again.

Weekend Work 1/10/2022

This one is possibly the craziest thing I’ve done in a while. It came out of this one that I posted last week:

It got flipped around. You can see some of the elements in the top painting. Stuff just started emerging and I went with it.

This one is going to an old friend from high school. She is going to have heart surgery and I wanted to do a piece for her. She’s an artist and will appreciate the effort, I think.

This was just a lot of fun to do. I may do more like this.

My daughter took me to see this archway someone in my town made. We think it’s a tree that was mostly cut down and then the existing vines were formed into an arch. Couldn’t get a better shot but this was a great outdoor piece.

Still cold in Northern NJ. Have a good week! Nina

Weekend Work 1/3/2022

This one should be called “Don’t Fence Me In”. The fence came out of nowhere and I liked it. This one reminded me of a very old painting I did early 90’s:

I like separate components that pull together on the picture plane. I finished this one that I’ve been playing around with for a while:

A couple of others that aren’t done.

Thank you to all WordPress friends. It is wonderful to have your support in my painting endeavors. Nina