Saturday, July 23, 2011

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York, on a Saturday night when the temperature has just drifted a bit below 100 degrees F. Let us rejoice. If the anticipated thunderstorm arrives before midnight, we might actually have some sort of easier atmosphere by dawn.

As I type out these complaints about temporary temperatures, my deeper reason for tonight's post is to give a tribute to a very fine artist, Lucian Freud, whose work encouraged me to try my hand at etching and to continue my attempts at painting.

I am showing you a few of my favorite LF images from a book I bought years ago...possibly from the original Tate's bookshop. Over the decades, I also made a point of making sure to visit Freud's exhibitions at his New York gallery. I really studied those shows, and also various museum exhibits.

Did he not draw well? Did he not know how to make etchings? Did he not influence many other artists?

I love the linear works, and also really, really loved his observations of nature, as shown in this painting. These seem so very different from the very well publicized and regarded portraits.

The following picture was done many years ago. As I grow older, I recognize that I will never be able to make the art that I dream of making. Maybe that is why I will always want to take another look at the works that I loved to see years ago when I thought my dreams might amount to something.

The following photo of a page from a book is not a good photo, but I love seeing its contrasts, what is shown, what is hidden, what is left to the viewer to unravel.

As many of the artists whom I grew up with leave this world, it is a challenge for me to remain interested in the current Scene. Some of that group of artists do interest me, but not too many.

Perhaps this is an invitation for me to try to actually find out what art I just might be able to make in whatever time is still left to my own personal calendar.

Mind you, dear readers, all this post might be a result of the extreme summer heat now cloaking New York.

Best wishes to you all.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York, where summer has got us in a hot and humid grip. So far, that other dreaded summer addition, the yellowish sky with ozone alerts is waiting in the wings.

I think that we have gotten off pretty easily so far, and the following photo gives some evidence. I would never have begun knitting this woolly sock on a day like this.

What I might have done would have been to keep reading this biography of Isabella Blow by her husband. I do wish that she might still be with us, but after finishing this book I do understand more about why she did eventually succeed in taking her life. The older I get, the more I do understand about what life brings to us all. No one's life is exactly like anyone else's.

Those of us who are somehow granted more years, or choose to grab those years, know that there are always surprises in store. Some are good surprises!

So. It is very hot here. I do not like air conditioning, although I am often glad of its presence at my workplace. In this little apartment of mine, I really am so grateful for thick walls, that hold on to the chill of evening, cross ventilation from open windows, that I can enhance with my trusty fan. And cold water.

I grew up in Virginia, well before air conditioning was ever invented. I know how to deal with heat. However, heat in green leafy suburbs is quite different from city heat.

Even so, I still value city life enough to try to wind my way through July and August in New York.

Below you will see a pillow cover I knitted way back when snow was still on the ground. It has taken me until now to actually buy the pillow insert, and to crochet the sides of the pillow cover, and get those buttons (bought maybe ten years ago at Liberty's) sewn on. I do like the look of this pillow, but cannot quite bring myself to touch it until the temperature drops by at least 10 degrees.

Let's see, what else is going on. Ahhhh. Yesterday marked my ninth anniversary of being employed by my current employer. Those years have sped past, but I definitely still remember certain days that seemed to linger way past what the clock defined.

I was presented with a beautiful bouquet of dahlias, and actually managed to get some of that bouquet home in a live state, after a late evening trip on our efficient subway train system. The subway trains are very, very air conditioned, but those waiting platform areas in the stations are ... well, beyond hot.

Aren't those flowers pretty? Some parts of the bouquet just did not survive the homeward bound trip, but I am so glad to have these survivors. I think that there might be some gerbera daisies in the mix as well.
Here's a lovely close up view. I do love this color.

Yesterday, I was on the very late shift at work, and so was at home long enough in the morning to watch just about all of the Murdoch father and son hearing on cable tv. It reminded me of how I was such a regular viewer of our own Watergate hearings so many decades ago. It is very unusual to actually see powerful people having to appear in places that they would clearly much rather avoid, in real time.

Today I was lucky to have the day off, and to have the opportunity to get many errands done, have an appointment with my eye doc to check my glaucoma, and to rejoice when he told me that all seems to be under control.

And so, I was also able to have a relaxed afternoon, during which I finished sock one from the earlier photo, and went on to get sock two underway.

Whatever you all are doing in these final July days, wherever you might be, I send you best wishes, and again want to let you all know how much I enjoy reading your posts.

Stay cool!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Good evening from New York.

It's now about midway through our big summer holiday weekend, centered around the Fourth of July, our nation's birthday, also known as Independence Day.

This year the Fourth falls on Monday, so many folks are getting a three-day weekend, somewhat like what happens in other parts of the world who have various bank holidays. Some folks have departed the city for various beaches, some folks will have to work to allow those with leisure more pleasure in enjoying their leisure.

Well, this time around, I am amongst the folks who are getting the three days off. This lets me celebrate a certain bit of independence along with my nation!

The past weeks have not contained any pre-holiday feeling, and have found me feeling a bit weary on some evenings. When certain times become demanding and might be potentially stressful, it is so heartening to connect with friends.

That is why I have chosen to include the above photo in this post. The little bouquet of pink hydrangeas, drinking in some water from a stack of vintage teacups, were spontaneously given to me by a neighbor. This lady has a garden in front of a brownstone house in which currently grow some roses, begonias and hydrangeas. At other times of the year, other blooms offer their beauty to all who pass by.

This gardening neighbor and I had a quick chat yesterday afternoon, comparing notes as we often do. And then, she quickly broke off some pretty pink flowers and gave them to me.

Some might think that a tiny bouquet is only a tiny bouquet. I would say that this gift of beauty represents the soft quality of interaction that exists between or amongst folks in this big city.

We often might seem to be rushing around with our own agendas, without a thought for anyone else. Numero uno to the max. I do not think this is always so.

May I wish those of you who live in the States, a very Happy July 4. May I wish others a beautiful week with many opportunities, as your Monday arrives.