Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's Clouds illusions I recall, I really don't know clouds at all. - Joni Mitchell.
Last week I was looking at images of cloud formations online, when I came across a site called: The Cloud Appreciation Society. I was amazed!! I was delighted!! Cloud Appreciators had to be my kind of people, by whom I mean folks whose eyes wouldn't narrow or glaze over at a mention of fallstreaks or mackerel skies; people who wouldn't look at me sideways when I told them I was a cloud chaser; people who would actually get excited over the beauty of clouds.
As they say on the Society's website:
"At The Cloud Appreciation Society we love clouds, we’re not ashamed to say it and we’ve had enough of people moaning about them ... see how we are fighting the banality of ‘blue-sky thinking’."
Most people think of weather as a subject to break the ice or as small talk, but I love deep discussions of weather, storms, precipitation - and cloud chasing. Yeah, yeah, I know everyone's heard of storm chasers, those dare-devil types who froth spittle as they careen over the Great Midwestern Plains... But we cloud chasers are perhaps a little more sedate. We're just as happy seeking the rare crescent cloud or a chorus line of mare's tails as a funnel cloud (well, nearly). And though I may zip along the road as quickly as legally possible, I'm not likely to encounter anything more dangerous than the strange looks of motorists or homeowners as I repeatedly speed up and slow down, pull over, turn around or jump from my idling car to sprint for a clear line of sight.

Clouds don't last. They are but transitory phenomena, to be savored by the eye and captured by the lens - and to someday find their way onto my canvases.

I'm excited about joining up for the nominal fee of L4. or $5.68 (US Currency).

I'll be member #14, 401...

Cloud-walls of the morning's gray

Faced with amber column,
Crowned with crimson cupola
From a sunset solemn.
May-mists, for the casements, fetch,
Pale and glimmering,
With a sunbeam hid in each,
And a smell of spring.
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hearing Voices...
I've managed to keep her mostly silent these past several months. Her angst and fear can drive calm and confidence from the most secure and self-possessed, not to mention me. I'm the best of her - and yet I'm just another of her selves, her voices - the one somewhere in the middle that she returns to - tuning in after a swing to one precipitous edge or another... the even-toned, reassuring voice of optimism.

She heard me this past week, speaking over the others; not drowning them out - for they have their places - but holding them to whispers. She needs me now and she knows I hold her grounded. The others are still there and will return, but I am the way of the future. Even as I think this, she warms to my voice, rejoicing in the new year and the changes it brings.

I've rarely thought of myself as a Political person. I use the capital "p" intentionally, because we are all of us political in some sense; the root word: politic, meaning: skillful, ingenious; shrewd or artful... Political in any sense has come to have mostly negative connotations. Over the past several years, I've found myself increasingly willing, but unable, to ignore the Political world of our governance. Every time I heard someone say "president Bush", I would feel a twist of revulsion - and I would immediately tune out either literally or figuratively. I had to avoid hearing whatever it was to protect my inner core of self or I mightn't be able to function.

Try though I did to hide away from news of wars, terrorism, eco-system destruction, and domestic disputes, I was increasingly unsettled and sickened by the policies of the then administrations. It's not that I was apathetic - in fact, the opposite is true: I cared too much. I didn't realize quite how much all this weighed upon me - even in my carefully constructed art-world cocoon - until Inauguration Day. I felt a great joy and tears of happiness as I watched and listened, but somehow it was a bit unreal... like a long wished for event that, when it finally happens, is more surreal than real. It seemed as if I were in a dream.

Once the day, with its glitz and pageantry were over, I was close to slipping back into my now habitual benumbed state. I hadn't yet assimilated the fact that this country had lived up to its promise.

Then yesterday, as I was driving along, and thinking far-off thoughts, I heard the news announcer say: "President Obama..." Not president-elect or senator, but President. The manner in which it was stated was so casual - and yet, I felt an unfamiliar sensation, something not associated with "the news." I felt a little twist of happiness in my gut. No more instant avoidance, no more cringing at the president's name, no more fear of yet another swipe at the constitution. That voice on the radio? It's the voice of change.

It's going to take some getting used to, but what a profound pleasure. I finally feel as if it's "my turn."

She's aware again of the cadences of living. Movement and currents cease to toss her thinking from one extreme to the next. She can navigate by the sound of my voice alone as I hold her to me, soothing, persuading, encouraging...

...she emerges from the cocoon...

The more faithfully you listen to the voices within you,
the better you will hear what is sounding outside.
~ Dag Hammarskjold .

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Barack Obama and Michelle Obama on inauguration day. Photo by Charles Dharapak/Associated Press. Courtesy New York Times.

A proud day for America. I so look forward to the promise of a better world that this day symbolizes for all of us.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The "blue roan" photo... explained

I photographed that comely steed a few months back, but didn't download the photos until recently. I was quite taken with the blue-black sheen of the horses coat against the red, red, red of the freshly painted tin - and I immediately wanted to capture the image for a future painting.

At the time the photos were taken, I couldn't get very close to the fence or the horse because he was penned adjacent to a bridge reconstruction. Heavy equipment had rendered the road and berm impassable so I took the shots from my vehicle window using the maximum range of a telephoto lens. When I finally looked at the photos on my computer, I was distressed to see the very tight halter that I had failed to notice in my excitement over colors and compositional factors.

A halter should never fit tightly. In this case you can easily tell this horse would have great difficulty chewing his feed as the halter would make it nearly impossible for him to open his jaws! A halter should not be left on a horse in pasture in any case as it can snag on a tree, fence or another horse.

The location is thirty or thirty-five miles from my home - or I'd have driven right there to remove that thing. Instead I called the animal control for that town who referred me to the "livestock agent" for that county who referred me to "the equine guy" who referred me to an Atlanta office! Four phone calls later, I was assured someone would "look into it".

I think I'll take a drive tomorrow...