Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Flag for My Dream Country

In a post almost three years ago, I wrote about the wall paintings in the main harbor of the Azores. Joe Taruga (see his Flickr page at the link above) wrote:

"Before sailing away, everyone must draw on the marina wall (Horta - Faial) a flag for a dream country, some sails filled up with the wind of love and doom, a geometrical or sophisticated figure, and write down the name of the yacht or sailing boat that went by, and leave messages and poetic phrases - for this will mitigate the wrath of the sea gods and grant the trip back home."

When I read this the first time, my heart immediately reached out to the idea. It filled all the playful and wistful parts of me. I was delighted that a real place on earth would practice such a poetic and lovely ritual.

I've tried once or twice since then to create my flag, but could never get what I wanted. A few weeks ago I finally got it. The words say:

"Outward hungry,
Homeward filled"

And the name of the boat is "Glee."

This image works well for me because I feel like I travel as I paint. I go without leaving home. And I tried to make this look like the rough, thick look of paint on other paint on stone.

This painting is also number three in a "House" series. The others are Mistletoe House and Caribonsai House.

Acrylic on Arches hot press - 19 x 19. Two completely different failed paintings lie underneath this surface...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


For as long as I can remember I've been fascinated with small groups of trees surrounded by open space. Even better if the trees are on a hilltop. It has always seemed to me that places like that have a presence, a sense of something being there out of the ordinary, and out of reach of the senses. As if someone dwelled there out of sight. I've sometimes felt it for single trees, but very seldom. Many civilizations have worshipped in groves.

We have a stray cat, declawed, fragile and careful with age, wearing a belled collar, who has adopted us. We're trying to find her owners, and we're caring for her outdoors (our indoor cats would cut her to ribbons - they're not declawed). The contrast between the plump, solid little calico outside, and the long agile ginger tabbies inside has put cats in my head.

The painting above emerged naturally from a nest of lines blind countoured from a series of unrelated art images. I wasn't surprised to see the trees or the cats coming through. Most of the art was of the human figure. Everything can morph into everything else.

Watercolor on Arches hot press - 19 x 19. This is the line drawing as it stood when I took up Abner and started to paint.

Click on either image for a larger view.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Pouch of Seeds

My shadow reminds my soul that as a young teen it lived in the woods and fields. The pouch I slung over my shoulder caught up seeds and stones, cones and dreams. I invented a rolling gate I called the mile-eater, which I used on old dirt roads at dusk, hungry and afraid of the dark. My hat and my stick had a pact to fence my heart and hold my head together when the light was too beautiful or the trees bid me disperse and fly up into them like a drunken swarm of bees. I was filled to bursting with linden leaves and emptied by the distant calls of crows, like respiration. Striding between the landlocked sycamores, the portal to my principality, a young mage caught in the tidal flow of my own longings.