Sunday, June 20, 2021

Floral Silhouettes

 Every so often I walk by an odd spot that looks like a weedy patch. It's a couple feet lower than the street and in the winter all you see are rocks in the bottom. I think it is some sort of catch-basin for water run off. When the weather warms, a host of native plants spring up among the rocks then quickly grow taller than the street level. They were waist high today, vibrating with the hum of bumblebees. Then I looked down and saw the silhouettes on the pavement, perfect reflections of their green sisters: leaves rounded or sword--ike, grasses lacy. I was there when the sun was at the perfect angle. It was the unexpected gift of the day.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Cloud Tree

 We call it the Cloud Tree because it's far wider than it is tall. Right now, fully leafed out, those leaves are almost the size of dinner plates. With a horizontal branching structure, It’s a rolling cumulus of green from the sky right down to the grass. People stop their cars and ask "What IS that tree??" We know that it's some type of catalpa. We know that it was planted one hundred years ago. Some years it blooms, briefly. This time there are seven florets, a new record. It must have been such fun for past generations of children playing hide and seek. I indulge in a quieter pursuit: enjoying its overwhelming greenness

Sunday, June 6, 2021


 My sister started some foxglove plants last year and shared them with me. I had my doubts, thinking the front garden was a bit too sunny. This spring, stalks shot up from the spirals of leaves. Now the flowers are opening, fancy pink frocks with speckled linings. The unopened top buds curve and nod in the breeze. They are dramatic and glamorous. They are also poisonous, the source of the heart medicine, digitalis: floral femme fatales that can both kill and save lives.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Afer and Before

   No, this is not a "pretty" picture. In fact, if you are not a fan of bugs, it's pretty icky. This represents a big part of daily life right now for a lot of us in the eastern United States. Brood X cicadas are swarming in their seventeen-year festival, trying to find a mate and reproduce. First, we noticed holes in the ground under certain trees. Then one warm morning, dozens appeared in our front garden. Now there are millions just in our neighborhood. This guy emerged from the exoskeleton to his right. He was testing his legs, waiting for his body and wings to harden. The old shell had eyes and legs. It's a remarkable transformation. But mostly right now, it's just very, very noisy around here!

Sunday, May 23, 2021

The Table of Possibilities

 Marie Kondo would not approve. This table looks like a disorganized mess. Those who have ever experienced the throes of creative inspiration know that THIS is how we work, at least some of the time. There is no time to waste tidying up. We are busy selecting, rejecting, debuting, searching the small piles on the table, deciding whether those bits that look like useless scraps are the colors and shapes that we need to complete our vision for that particular collage. I photographed this table at the Quilt & Surface Design Symposium in a previous year. This year, we will be joining the classes online, from our homes. Families, do not freak out. This is what it sometimes takes to make art.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Saint Francis In the Weeds

For years, St Francis has been standing in a front yard, at the base of a pole holding a bird house. The house was being remodeled but there has been no activity for two years. The pretty little garden is now a St. Francis-sized jungle, full of vines and tall grass. St. Francis does not seem to mind. Sheltered by the daisy fleabane, he is serene. He keeps his thoughts to himself


Sunday, May 9, 2021

Tools Of The Trade

 No one enjoys a root canal. I tried to keep perfectly still and thought about the tools that my endodontist was using. The colorful array of drills and whatnot were organized in a specially made block of foam. What a good example of efficient industrial design, coded by both color and number, easy to select. I visualized the forest of shiny metal rods, and the rows of circles, then moved them around in my mind, laying out collages and a quilt. The colors and shapes distracted me from the sounds of drilling. She was puzzled when I asked to take a photo, but seemed pleased that I had noticed her special tools.