Tag Archives: massachusetts

Cape Ann and patios

At three I said, “Let’s go to the beach!”

An hour later we joined a few strangers at Cape Hedge Beach in Rockport just as a fine mist rolled in.

I pocketed a few striped rocks for my collection, but heart-shaped rocks are rare around here so I settled on heart-adjacent.

Dinner at the famous Woodman’s in Essex was its usual combination of delicious and mind-numbingly pricey. Do you know what fries clams cost these days? Though tables outside afforded good social distance, I insisted we eat in the car. Too much coming and going. Also — at least three dogs. And anyway, the view from the front seat satisfied!

We had a pounding rain last night. It looks as though my tender basil, amaranth, and sunflower seedlings survived.

After a three day break, the patio crew is back. Movement. Progress. So much waiting and delay lately! Will I / won’t I hear from the editor this week?

Widen the lens – how?

umbrella-dappled

side porch

Always, the unconscious is present, making this or that comment in our days, usually quite a bit ahead of our awareness. That’s part of the mystery, the fun, and the intrigue of making art.

But this picture made me wonder if there weren’t ways to build in a practice of less-conscious captures?

I mean something more than accepting that scrap of fabric that fell from somewhere and landed on a quilt, begging for inclusion. And I mean more than embracing a wicked mistake and owning it as part of a now-changed design.

I mean consciously building in a more random catalog. Anybody have any ideas about how to do this? Does anyone do this already (that they know of)? I’d love to hear.

The umbrella picture struck me because I shot it after composing a series of careful studies of the unfurling, magnificent hosta that line our sidewalk. I composed the way I usually do and had some thread of text forming in my head (something about the glory of spring and the changing tides of opinion — in this case regarding hosta — a pedestrian plant that I used to dislike, but now appreciate for its reliability and willingness to endure all kinds of stress — from rabbit-dining to cold shocks, mashing, and even clips by the lawn mower). As an afterthought, I snapped this dappled light and wet umbrella on my way in the door.

I liked this picture so much more than any of the careful shots, that I had to wonder what else I am missing by pointing my lens in predictable directions.  The rake with its signs of recent bed-clearing, the umbrella still wet with a spring rain, and most of all, the dappled  light… these elements collectively said “SPRING” better than my careful compositions. What ELSE am I missing by pointing my lens in ‘pretty’ directions? By deciding in advance what constitutes an image of something, in this case — spring?

And speaking of spring, here are some more shots of my neighborhood and front yard.

flamingoes

a snobby conflict about flamingos years ago led many in Newton to adorn their yards with them

recent-plantings

our front yard – these pansies have suffered in the recent cold

rock-in-shade-garden

one of my favorite nearby gardens

stone-pagoda

another beautiful garden on Oxford Road

On the route where these pictures were taken I found a lovely hole-ridden grey piece of something – I don’t want to gross anyone out, but it is probably a piece of Kleenex.

grey-fiber-on-grass

found object has become a ‘house’ quilt

More on that tomorrow! But here is a sneak peek:

found-house-up-close

light coming through

Beech Trees Journal Quilt

Beech-Quilt

Back when I was taking photos of urban scenes to adapt as decorations for a local after prom party, I also took a number of pictures of beech trees.  They live in Brookline, just a street over from Beacon Street, and they are truly magnificent.

This quilt is small, about 8 1/2 x 11″.  I used the bucket feature in Photoshop Elements 3.0 to change the background colors, which transformed the branch patterns into something resembling stained glass.  I changed threads at least three times quilting the piece, which is a departure from my generally lazy approach to thread.

Beech-arms

I’ve recently been back to visit these trees and have come to the conclusion that they are most beautiful when the branches are bare.  This time of year, leaves are plentiful, obscuring the muscular structure of the trunks which I so love to look at.

beeches-before