I want to thank Chad Olcott and Alison Landon for urging me to do an Artist's Talk yesterday at Mulberry's Home, Chad's beautiful home furnishings store in Oakland, which is all decked out for Christmas. It felt good to be surrounded by beautiful objects and an appreciative audience who came to hear about my approach to making art, which is essentially, "just do it."
Fall makes me nostalgic. Loss is everywhere I look. But books are a comfort. I should be letting them go too, but no. Each one sparks a memory of where and when it was read. Solace is found in their stories.
I have seen this Friendship sail by hundreds of times and it still takes my breath away. To imagine that this very scene played out over 100 years ago, that people sat where I sit and saw it just as it is today is both reassuring and humbling. Our oldest island friends gathered on our deck this evening for another rollicking time. Grateful for all the years we've shared. Grateful for still being here in this magical place.
A squall blew through fast and furiously about an hour ago, just as I was finishing this painting of the Little's laundry left on the line. It's been so hot, all the doors and windows were wide open. Water was everywhere before I had a chance to close them all. Oh what a relief it is. Everything is drying out including the air. It was a welcome reminder that things change fast around here, and we are not in charge.
A magnolia from the garden fills Heath Ceramics gifts from friends and family. Spring comes to the table joining the conversations and laughter that have filled the room. An antidote to the rancor that swirls around the outside world. A reminder. Beauty still matters.
Just seeing this stack of books on my bedside table is comforting. Kelly Corrigan, Mary Norris, Lydia Davis, Lyanda Lynn Haupt, Susan Orlean. Their words fill me up, lift me up, and stay with me, enriching my life no end. I will remember what struck a chord and visit those pages again for a little pick-me-up when the time is right. In the meantime, they are reminders that goodness and the creative spark are alive and well in the world, and that, too, is reassuring.
Is it the time of year, or the time of life? Or is it reading Susan Orlean's beautiful, "The Library Book" that has me swimming in memories of the past?
Her thoughts on memory and the meaning of life on page 92 and 93 are a reason to read the book, not to mention the bright red cover with gold lettering that beckons from the night stand at bedtime.
"Our minds and souls contain volumes inscribed by our experiences and emotions; each individual's consciousness is a collection of memories we've cataloged and stored inside us, a private library of a life lived. It is something that no one else can entirely share, one that burns down and disappears when we die. But if you can take something from that internal collection and share it – with one person or with the larger world, on the page or in a story recited – it takes on a life of its own."
I am holding that thought as the days come and go like the ebb and flow of the tide that shifts the sands ever so slightly making what was, new again.
Monet and Mozart on a Sunday afternoon - a perfect combination. Memories of "Monet: The Late Years" at the de Young Museum and Mozart's music fill my studio, obliterating the woes of the world and my own petty grievances. The outside world melts away, leaving in its place a inner world of peace, beauty, and gratitude.
Back in time is a good place to be on a day like today. Or any day, come to think of it. I am still feeling buoyant after milling around rooms full of Monet's "Water Lilies" at the de Young Museum with people young and old soaking it all in. Seeing friends and neighbors, weekend with family, and a long talk with my sister this afternoon has filled me up with gratitude and made the dark days and endless rain less oppressive.
Light and airy, subtle and soft. Everyone gravitated to the exact middle of "Water Lilies 1914-1917" yearning to float away into Monet's world. "Monet: The Late Years," at the de Young feels like Spring. Soothing and sweet. Just what we need.
"Epic Abstraction" at The Met may not be epic but we found plenty of gems to warm our hearts on a chilly Saturday morning. Rothko's "No, 3 1953" glowed in a hushed room full of Rothkos, where people whispered in reverence, which in itself filled me with a sense of well being.
Storm after storm with clearing in between. Rainbows, double rainbows, and colors beyond the believable spectrum. What a show. A little reminder that there is more to this world than us. Thank goodness.