Friday, May 29, 2015

The Names of the Painters


Dear Not-That-You-Asked,

Many years ago, when I was first learning the Names of the Painters of Europe, and sorting them into two categories:  The Ones That Spoke To Me, and All The Other Ones, I put Odilon Redon into the latter group, in a twinkling, because I thought classical and mythological imagery was cliché, and also because the Cyclops seemed clumsily painted, and also, well, ugly, like those big-eyed, campy Keane kids.  Not at all what one wants from paintings that are going to be influencing you for the rest of your brush-wielding life.

A few seasons ago, I visited the Musee D'Orsay, and I looked at all the Names, and then, because it is a little harder for me to love them, I tried to give the belle époque furniture and household goods a deeper reading and more of my attention.  I was only mildly successful in Appreciating étagères, and dressing tables.  However, while I wandered, trying hard to Appreciate, I came upon a series of large, decorative panels by Odilon Redon- and they flabbergasted me utterly.  They were exquisite.  The space was completely un-illusionistic and tilted up, like the spaces in modern artwork, of the Abstract Expressionists (whom I never have to struggle to Appreciate), and it was so subtly gestural, and yet so accurate in capturing the essence of flower petal surface. 

The 'arrangement' of the elements in Redon's panels employ the patterns, the spacings, that I try to make live again in my own painting- the patterns of growth, of things that are moved by wind, or waves- the locations of bird and not-bird in flocks flashing overhead.  I had completely missed, in my desire to avoid the Cyclops' stare, the scumbling, velvety qualities of his paint, and his thoughtful attention to composition. 

Apologies, and I am adding your name, Redon, I am adding your name.

"I have often, as an exercise and as a sustenance, painted before an object down to the smallest accidents of its visual appearance; but the day left me sad and with an unsatiated thirst. The next day I let the other source run, that of imagination, through the recollection of the forms and I was then reassured and appeased."
-Odilon Redon, via Wikipedia.

One more lovely Redon, a watercolor.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015

Strawberries in May

Dear Dahlinks,

Have I told you before about Loco Lindo?  They make mighty fine things, sewn in California.  I have bought several of their pieces over the years from my local dress shop, and I have purchased one or two things directly from them, here. 

What makes them special, besides the nice prints and classic cut of the clothes, is that the rayon crepe they use can be wadded up into a ball in your suitcase, and after ten or fifteen minutes of wearing it, it has nary a wrinkle.  It cannot be beat for its draping qualities, either.

Examine this strawberries on pink dress:

Did you ever?!

Right now, they have a cherries on navy print, too.  And a tumble of red hearts on black.  I hope you have a garden party that requires one of these dresses, or a gig that your all-girl band is playing soon, where you'll want one of these skirts, or the opening of an art exhibit where you'll wear a kimono, or even a book signing you will want a new blouse to wear to.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Super Blogger- Able to leap tall problems with a single sentence.

Dear Confidantes,

I was having a conversation, one of these casual things, with a lot of colloquial language.  You. Know. What. I. Mean?  The kind of a conversation which makes you roll your eyes slightly, and you wonder just when you stepped into a David Mamet play.  I was starting to feel a bit demeaned by it all, and so I thought to try to rescue myself by including more voices.  I asked two people nearby "what super powers would you two have?"  They wanted good things; to fly, to transport instantly, to stop evil corporations.  I wanted just one power:  to know how people were really feeling, so I could say the right thing.  To comfort with words is the superpower I desire.  SuperSympathy Man.  Or perhaps, KindWoman.  I could carry daffodils in my utility belt, along with a useful Swiss Army knife, a bit of string, and a handkerchief.

To set the record perfectly straight, my superpower is not now, nor will it ever be, to Clean Up.  Even if I were gifted in that way, I would not stoop to admit it, or risk being cornered by a capacity to serve.

Here are some superwomen, who are not cleaning up either, but doing really rather super things.  SOTF, and States on Skates. 

PS  Another little thing, my Super Sisters; Kind Woman is a very fine song to play on your guitar, (the guitar might also be on your utility belt, or in the back of your pick-up or your bicycle) with only one tricky chord, which keeps your fingers nimble, so you can more quickly knit scarves for a league of SuperSnow Persons. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Into the Frying Pan.

Dear Liza,

Is there a hole in your bucket?  How is your frying pan?  Is your refrigerator running?  Drop me a line when you catch up to it.


We checked, and our pans look every bit as planetary, and I am sure yours do, too!

Friday, May 8, 2015


Dear Recent Readers,

I almost forgot.  Not all of you (how can this be?) will want custom roller skates, but all of you will want to play around customizing something for your feet, so I offer you the fabulous Caboots website, and its customizing feature.

I wish you many years of happy contemplation of custom boots, and when the long-awaited day of your ship coming in arrives, I wish you many years of happy custom boot wearing!

PS  I do hope you'll consider Lilac Ostrich for your dream boots!

Tie My Laces.

Dear Well-Wheeled,

I wonder if you know about this little internet device?  You use it to fantasize about your 'dream roller skates.'  Then, if you get a tax refund, or you sell an old toy (can you believe what people collect?!) on Ebay, or some other pleasant windfall comes your way, you can order some custom skates from a place  like Riedell Skate Buys, or Connie's Skate Place or Sin City Skates.

But that is only step one, next you fantasize about how you will skate on them, and how it will empower you to roll around in utmost confidence.  Here is a little romp to inspire this phase of the roller day-dream.

Yes, it has been a fun day, all this role playing, so what is next?  Well, you must step out on the pavement in earnest, of course.  We stepped out recently, and added a new skating rink to our collection, too.  The Holiday Skate Center in Orange, California.  This makes 31 rinks skated at in our collection. 

Which brings me to what might be my point- what to collect?  Dishes are too fragile, and dolls get dusty.  Gemstones too expensive; cars all need insurance; shoes fill up your closet (actually, this is totally irrelevant- the only thing better than a collection of shoes is a collection of roller skates).  Even stamps can become cumbersome.  Bottle caps are good, but even they can be a nuisance should you decide to move to a new town. 

Today is a good day to begin your collection of National Parks you visit, treasures you view, alleys you bowl on, submarines you board, carrousels you ride, steam engines you see in museums, floating hotels you sleep in, ice creams you eat.  I can tell you from experience, you don't even need to take photos to document your collection.  Wear sensible shoes, and bring a pencil and paper, to jot down the time and place of your latest addition.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

You Already Know.

            Over the top

            It's not the nearly comical 
            dashing forward of the mind,

            but the genuine, debilitating
            frustration at the lurching,
            incremental movement toward
            logic which renders us so

            inarticulate in the face
            of our own fretful past. No

            is always the time. The
            future is not to be reckoned.

            -Todd Young.


Dear Knowing,

Why look at the moon?  Because it confirms something in us, or because it asks us a question, or because we like to feel the way the moon feels.  Reading a poem is like looking at the moon, and you don't need me to tell you this, but let us sum it up together anyway.  What do we know about poetry?

Poetry is sometimes of three species: 

One; the type that affirms, that expresses a thought you had, but lacked the words to say it with.

Two; the kind which requires close examination of meaning in one’s own mind.  Does this idea change my thinking?  Is this so?  Is it true?  Is it possible?
Three; the type in which you feel, cathartically, the pathos of the situation, scene, or voices in the poem.
Obviously, these are free to hybridize at will, and often there is a mixture of these species within the same poem.  Also, poems often have none of this whatever, but you knew that already, too.
PS  I particularly like the poems of the second type, the ones which ask the tough questions, but I do so love to be agreed with, like the first kind.  On the other hand, living vicariously can't be beat.