focusing on dialog

Every day I wait for the sun to pass over my east facing studio window to cast light on my work. Cloudy days remind me to take stock and go inward.

My rocks-with-holes collection inspires me every day. If I sit still enough I can hear the conversations they may be having.

Today is a light gray day. I'd say its about 30% dark out there. Or, you could think of it as 70% light. Days like today give the studio a neutral background, devoid of hot spots and tremors. Days like today let me focus on sound, and smell. Inner thoughts and resting.

What bird collects little pieces of junk? Bowerbird? Magpie? Crow? I need to google it. We have a lot in common. This studio is replete with little alters to trash and treasure. I've been collecting rocks since I was old enough to have pockets.  Watching children animate legos, sticks, and, yes, rocks to tell their stories inspires me to take a look around and wonder who's talking to who. Do those trembling leaves need reassurance? Did that leaning tree really want to nuzzle up to her neighbor? Using raw canvas I have started a series of rock faces that animate my environment. They remind me of cartoon panels. The textural background adds an environment to the imagined communication.

I'm also learning about wire. How it bends, how it twirls and how little I can use to support ideas. The wire is stitch in 3D. More on this later.

i see faces

the thing about seeing rather than looking is that it can add a little jitter of recognition to life.

I see faces in inanimate objects. Somewhere I read that we are predisposed as a species to see the geometric configuration of eyes, nose and mouth. Something to do with avoiding predators I think. Face recognition software in our dna. How cool is that?

So as I am traveling through space I see faces. Some are friendly, some not so much. Once you see them they are everywhere. There are some on our driveway. They greet me every day.

There are some on the sidewalk

Some are friendly, they appear on rocks, walls, bushes and in clouds

Some are man made (who among us would dispute that a man designed this radiator panel..this car wants to OWN the road.)

I look at the faces and see messages, greetings, and witnessing. They entertain, build my visual library and keep me company while I work.

Do you see faces too?

It rained all weekend

It rained all weekend. And that's a wonderful thing. The sky is a consistent level 5 gray with no distractions. Sounds are deadened. Backyard chores ignored. Quiet, studied time is a gift. Add that to shorter days and longer darks and you have a brooding season where thought and time merge.

Cloud cover, 2015

I woke three times last night. Probably because I went to bed so early. Those restive moments while trying to calm my energy to go back to sleep will inform my day. Not sure where they will take me. I am feeling inner not outer. 

Cloud cover, detail. I am using a cotton canvas in these studies. The variegated black to white thread appears and disappears with the stitching. Forcing me to give up control unless I want to make myself crazy. The stiffness of the canvas really helps tame wrinkles.

The silent witnesses on the board ask for more companions. I think I'll take out those rocks I collected last summer and let them talk to each other for a while. I love the rain.

These guys really speak to me.

last day at the beach

Skies are sunny with a forecast of rain tomorrow. One more day to feel the sand between my toes, the rocks filtering through my hands and the lake wind rustling my hair. This solitary journey has brought new perspective, introspection and yes, I admit it, doubt. 

I read many books while here. Random choices, nothing like what I expected to read. Sacred Sands by J. Ronald Engel, Isaac’s StormA Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson, Native Tongue by Suzette Haden Elgin, parts of Pulphead Essays by John Jeremiah Sullivan, parts of The Forest Unseen - A Year’s Watch in Nature by David George Haskell, and An Invisible Flower by Yoko Ono. Funny how living without a tv focuses energy toward depth. 

Maybe it was because I was by myself 90% of the time but each of these books gave me insight into how we are so small on earth — each tied to the other by the slimmest of evidence.

A lot of my art focuses on connections. How we talk to each other, how we are surrounded by message, how we live in a limited reality. Stories of others pass through consciousness seeking a berth to understanding. Sometimes it works, most times we are oblivious.  

But back to that doubt thing. What is it about introspection that brings me this feeling of malaise? As if I am not quite there yet. Not quite ready for prime time, not quite authentic? I think it might be that my head races in so many directions and accumulates so many ideas that I feel a frantic instability when I try to settle on just one. Too much fun floating among the might have beens rather than focusing on the here it is.  Or maybe I just don’t trust myself to reach the real. Too many years spent doing designery things. Making the picture balance without angst.

Those rocks I collected are silent witnesses for me this week. They remind me to remember the silence and dialog within. To channel the sense of being small in the universe. To remember the way silent witnesses spur me onto truth. 

today's catch

So I just want to know. Do women really change their tampons at the beach or is it that these tampon applicator mini-missiles float to the top of the waste stream and are carried as if on a carpet of magic to the beaches of our lives? 

I went off a beaten path today and wandered down an area of the beach best remembered as the outer limits. You know...exploring, beachcombing in hopes that the outer limits might show me a different side of the edge between land and lake. OK, there were some signs saying I shouldn’t be there. Some fences with barbed wire, the usual territorial hoopla. never mind...

This guy brightened my mood. 

This guy brightened my mood. 

Wandering today brought me to the conclusion that either women are just plain inconsiderate or they need to lobby the tampon industry to make the applicator torpedoes biodegradable. Because after about a mile of wandering the strand of sand I counted at least 10 of them. There was some evidence of a celebration -- spent balloons on ribbons, cigarette butts and empty spirits bottles. But nothing that indicated that the celebration debris was anything but ordinary accumulation. 

Was the moon especially strong this week? Was there a convocation of menstrual maidens in the area? Or did Playtex, Kotex, and Tampax decide they want to be sure that their product has long life and happiness on the beach of their dreams (wait....what is it with the ex in these names anyway?). 

Ladies, please, if it’s you, dispose of these mini missiles appropriately. Or, maybe, just maybe, consider using something that will not live on into the next century. Natural is as natural does so to speak. And shame on the tampon industry, creating a product that does not disappear. Use it one time and discard right? And make sure it is plastic so it floats. Yeah...that's it!

On a more pleasant note.

I found these today. New folks to join my collection of rocks with faces. Man I love these guys! I want to do an installation of them in the future. They just speak to me. 

Check out that guy in the upper left corner. Sculpture! right?

And here is the piece I have been working on with their cousins. I took it to the beach for a little dunk in the lake and some sun today. 

Rock Collection, Paula Kovarik, 2015