Tag Archives: Collage

Focus and restriction

Focus and restriction can yield relief. After a few days on the BRAT diet, I am feeling better. Blood and stool lab work all came back negative. Phew. So a re-set. I can do that.

Focusing on the history of our young nation through the lens of John James Audubon also makes me feel better. I’m reading a second biography and taking notes. I’ve read two biographies about his wife, Lucy.

Okay, okay — so much for keeping secrets. But you probably would like to learn that at one point the Audubons owned close to a dozen slaves, yes? And that for some reason, historic mentions quantify nine as “a few.” Let me reality check. Would YOU refer to nine of anything as “a few”?

You cannot read about Audubon without getting fantastic descriptions of huge sycamore and chestnut trees, of paddling down the Ohio, of camping with the Osage, and of course birds. Birds, birds, and more birds.

Audubon loved them all which makes him even more appealing somehow — from the humble warblers and wrens to the spectacular eagles and rose-breasted grosbeak.*

Here’s what I’ve learned about JJA as a husband. He was hyper-focused on his drawings and investigations of nature, which meant he roamed the woods for weeks and even months at a time. He was an abject failure at business and also given to confabulation (DID he study with Jacques-Louis David, for instance?). In short, he was unreliable.

He presents the weird mix of fate and innate capacities that produces works of genius. But you also get poverty and extended periods of isolation for Lucy. For substantial stretches of their marriage, Lucy supported them by teaching.

It’s chilly this morning but supposed to reach 100 this weekend. Huh?

Had dinner with friends last night. Seven of us. We didn’t hug even though it’s been a while but if someone was sick, we’ve all been exposed, hugs or no.

K is on a conference call with China. They tend to be endless, which is part of why I’m outside. He goes into the office three days a week now, I think I’ve said. It seems a little pointless — the commute and diminished sleep the cost of collegiality?

All the annuals are in pots now.

* Under a Wild Sky, John James Audubon and the Making of The Birds of America, by William Souder, pages 90 – 93.

All 3 collages from Paris Collage Collective’s weekly prompt

Five Things March ‘22

I am in the process of renewing my daily writing practice. Without it I’m a little lost to be honest. My in-class writing suffers, my to-do list wilts, and I lose track of things. I am not overstating this.

So today I reset my intention. I will use up a small annoying notebook. Guess what? I have a preference! Kill me! I like college-ruled, five-subject, 8 1/2 x 11 inch pages.

I shall also reinstitute occasional practice of the Five Things entry. I learned this from my friend and fellow writer, Sarah. In case you forget, the Five Things are: 1) the weather; 2) some thing you commit to doing this day; 3) one thing you did well yesterday; 4) one thing you could’ve done better; 5) one thing that brings you joy.

The practice is simple and quick and yet manages to construct a meaningful record. It can trigger more writing.

So here goes.

1) Today is cold and clear. Not as cold as Monday, but still quite cold.

2) Today I commit to finishing that fucking orange notebook so that tomorrow I can start fresh in my preferred size.

3) One thing I did well yesterday was manage the time for my Tuesday writing group.

4) One thing I could’ve done better yesterday was to eat one ice cream sandwich instead of two.

5) Something that gives me joy is the thought of spending time with paper and scissors. I used the prompt judgment this morning.

I snipped a finger and bled on a bunch of the scraps. I left the traces and kept on working because I’m lazy that way and because it felt appropriate. Don’t we all bleed under the harsh judgment of others and ourselves?

The blood worked but the images aren’t there yet.

I’ll admit to identifying the most with the squirrel looking on from the sidelines.

Pics and a little sound

“white women’s tears”

We walked in the woods today. The frogs were LOUD.

Next door neighbor’s yard crew showed up for the first time this season today. After asking them to take their ladder off of my Rose of Sharon sapling near the curb, I retired to the basement. Two leaf blowers went on and on but I didn’t care. My new plan. My sanctuary!

Cleaned out three bins of fabric, worked on D’s quilt until I ran out of bobbin thread, and made this little collage, above.

The initial three-house black and white was a gelatin print made with a cardboard and onion bag resist.

We just had an early and simple dinner: grilled cheese sandwiches and leftover soup. For real sustenance, we listened to Biden’s speech from this morning.

Covid Silver Linings, Lasagne and ADD

I’ll start the list of Covid silver linings with two.

One, The first thing I hear every morning is, “I’ll go down and start the coffee.”

Do you now how nice this is?

Husband used to leave the house at 6:15, which meant he was up and out in full dark for portions of the year. I’d be so dead to the world I wouldn’t even hear his NPR-set alarm. I never minded making coffee but it is so nice to rise and shine with it ready to pour. His company is nice too.

Two, Covid has normalized my wardrobe choices. Ha! Most of what I wear has to meet a single criteria — is this outfit as comfortable as pajamas? The rest of the world has caught up to me I guess.

 

This is the time of year when my holiday timing clashes with my husband’s. That’s why I will begin to sneakily remove the smaller ornaments and put them away. Hope he doesn’t notice! Actually, this year he might go for full take-down before New Year’s because we got our tree the day after Thanksgiving. It is dry.

I got a rice cooker for Christmas and we might just have rice every evening from here on out. It comes out perfect every time. I used to have one. Here’s a fun fact you probably don’t know about me: I ate nearly exclusively with chopsticks for about five years.

But what am I saying about rice? I have all the ingredients for lasagne. I really hope it’s as good as the batch I made for my brother the trip before last. They purchased some specialty ricotta which was creamier than what I usually buy, and I think that made the difference. Wish me luck! It’s a lot of work for a meh-meal.

Lastly, I get to congratulate myself (again) for sticking with the Paris Collage Collective’s challenge for the entire year, even with four trips to Los Angeles and one to Boulder. I doubt I’ll do it again in 2022. I am eager to make some collages fueled by more personal images. This week’s image was a hand holding a balloon.

If you don’t have ADD or don’t know anyone with ADD, you probably can’t quite appreciate why this is such a big deal.

Found a notebook

My sister left behind quite a collection of mostly empty sketchbooks. Two springs ago, right after her death, I decided to use one for the collage project being run by Acey. I may have posted many of these pix before but I found this draft post and decided to share.

To make the paper weaving, I glued the tops of the vertical strips, then wove the horizontals. I tacked the horizontals with glue here and there.

This collection of strips hasn’t been glued yet. Actually it only has two horizontal strips. The top two thirds LOOKS woven just by virtue of jogging the tree trunks up and down.

You might wonder: why James Franco?

Well I liked his naked form against that charcoal background but also, young(ish) men often show up in my collages. Earlier in life, I’d have said they were explorations of my male side, but since having two sons they feel like attempts to understand what it means to come of age as a man in the 2000’s.

Below are a bunch more. The second one is one of two Tarot cards that I’ve made: The Fool. Number Zero of the Major Arcana.

For info on this collage project see Acey’s blog sparklinglotusink (if it’s still there)

For more SoulCollage cards of mine, go to Flickr on sidebar and open the SoulCollage album (if it’s still there). Or, track the SoulCollage and collage tags here.

I’ve noticed missing photos in older blog posts and am having trouble getting any sort of useful answers from WordPress. They suggest, knowing nothing, that it’s usually the user’s fault. And I’m certain it’s the platform’s fault. Just another goddamned thing to figure out, ya know?