Monday, December 20, 2010

Sol Invictus

The darkness will not last forever; all hail the undefeated Sun!

I can imagine the reverence, the joyous emotion of the ancient pagan people on this day, the shortest day of the year- the day they greeted the returning sun.  Each day following this will be a bit longer, hearts will be a bit lighter; slowly, slowly... the darkness lifts and light comes again to the earth.  Can you feel it?  The vibration, the barely perceptible thrumming of sleeping seeds as they prepare to awaken... in time...

Come the dawn, come the call
Come, the beating air
Chill the night, soldier light
We'll be dancing there
And rise up, rise up
Day stretching weary wings

Come the day, come the dawn
Somewhere it lays
Know my heart, know my life
Forget everything
Come the day, thief of the night
Lifts its voice to sing

Now rise up, rise up
Ever victorious
Know the time, know the light
Comes the sun again
Now rise up, rise up
Ever victorious
Know the time, know the light
Comes the sun again
                            - Thea Gilmore

 Sadly, I won't get to see the lunar eclipse, since it's snowing here; so, I tried to make my own, using Photoshop!  Oh, well... only another 94 years until the next time the lunar eclipse coincides with winter solstice...

 Have a blessed Solstice, everyone...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Silly or Amusing? -You Decide

 I've been sick for the past few days.  I have just enough patience to be sick for one or two days, but then I'm ready to be done with it, already!  It's rare for me to get sick enough to miss three days of work; it's even more rare for me to actually wish I was at work rather than home.  How did this happen?  I'm thinking it has something to do with the fact that I failed to put the lime in the coconut...

Please forgive me- this just makes me laugh for some reason.  Too much cold medicine, perhaps?

Then, my son posted this on my wall, and I love it!

I find this highly entertaining, which probably goes to show that I'm not normal- not like that's a big shock to anyone.  Anyway, if you find this interesting, Vi Hart has more mathematical doodle games you might want to try.  Just follow the link.

Coincidentally, I'm a doodler.  There, I've admitted it.  For some reason, people seem to assume that "serious artists" don't doodle.  I'm not even going to address the "serious" part- but why wouldn't artists doodle?  I'm one of those people who, when thinking about something else, has to have something to do with their hands.  Who knows what they might do if not occupied?  I guess you could make an analogy to the basketball player who stands there absent-mindedly dribbling the ball while talking to someone.  So, sitting at a boring PD (Professional Development), I doodle.  Listening to a lecture in college, if not taking notes, I doodled.  If someone asked, I could just tell them I was exercising my drawing hand.  We have to stay in top condition, now, don't we?

Now, where was I going with this?  Oh. Yes; the video.  It was interesting, as I watched it, to notice that I've actually made doodles like some of the ones she demonstrates.  Who knew I was so mathematical?  Not me, that's for sure!

Here are a couple of my doodles, though not the kind she does on the video.  Those must be buried inside a box in the basement, in whatever I have left of my college notebooks; it would no doubt take years to dig them out!

In this one, I seem to be channeling the 60's...  (also, I didn't finish it)...

Sometimes, when I was substitute teaching, there wasn't really much for me to do except, well-  babysit.  I took to bringing my sketchbook and colored pencils, and my doodles might turn into something like this...

When I get a chance, I'm going to try some of Vi's doodle games- they look like fun!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

More Paper Obsessions

I won't go on about the wonderousness of paper; you all are probably tired of hearing about it.  But I do want to share some more paperish things you may enjoy.  What's that you say- 'wonderousness' and 'paperish' aren't words?  You and that spellchecker, eh?

I recently entered the National Collage Society's annual juried exhibit, and while my work was not chosen, there are a great variety of fantastic collages in the show.  You should definitely check out the National Collage Society's  2010 26th Annual Juried Exhibit .

 one of the pieces I entered: Dimensional Shift
I think you'll be inspired.  They also sell catalogs of past exhibits, which are great; I have a couple of these, and look at them all the time. The newest one is an e-catalog.
The 2007 catalog is probably my favorite, but I don't think you could go wrong with any of them. They're also selling a calendar, which may be my Christmas gift to myself this year.
(Does anyone else ever get frustrated with how blogger won't let you put things where you want to, or is it just me? grrrr...)

When I feel the need to to feast my eyes on some really innovative paper art, I go to Upon a Fold.

Untitled work by Yoshinobu Myamoto

This site showcases amazing art made from paper- of every size and description you can imagine, from full-size cardboard bicycles to 3-D Christmas-tree cards.  Often there are interviews with the artists, who are at least as fascinating as their work.

Book sculpture by Ryuta Iida

Cornfield by Ryuji Nakamura

These are just a few samples of what you'll find there; it's well worth checking out, for inspiration, or just for that, "HOW do they do that?" feeling.

Notpaper is also a site you won't want to miss.  Each post is an interview with a featured collage artist.  First of all, I had apparently grossly underestimated the number of collage artists in the world; secondly, I had no idea there were so many astoundingly good collage artists.  A quick preview:

Portrait of a Three Legged Rabbit by  Anne Marshall

And finally, what goes with paper like peanut butter goes with jelly?  Glue, of course!  To hold it all together (pun intended), I thought you might be interested to learn that there's a site dedicated to informing us of the proper glue to use for any circumstance.  It's called This to That (Glue Advice), and it's so simple even my dog could use it!  You just enter the two materials you want to glue together, click the button, and voila!   The name of the best glue for bonding those materials (and a link to where you can buy it) will magically appear before you.  (Don't worry, though; I don't let my dog use glue.  She'd just glue the other two to the floor so she could have all the food.)

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Continuing Story of Shabo-Mekaw

A few days ago, I got a pretty surprising and exciting email.  Surprising- because the person it came from is someone I had believed to be dead (sorry, Ken!); exciting- because so many questions I'd had for so long were finally answered.

Okay, let me back up a bit.  This all has to do with my little piece of heaven in the country, about which those who have followed me for a while have probably read plenty.  If you're not familiar, you can read my most recent post about it here, where I give a short tour of the "yard", and show off some recent construction.  Here's the Shabo-Mekaw post, where I go on about how beautiful it is, and make several statements which have now been proven false.  This post features some lovely shots of the area, coupled with a poem by Walt Whitman; this one showcases the beauty of Shabo-Mekaw as well.  I couldn't possibly list all the photos throughout this blog that were taken at this most sacred of places.

Yes, I am eventually getting to the point of all this.  (I used to work for a principal who would go on and on forever and then say, "...and I said all that to say this", and finally come out with it. But I digress...)   I was contacted by the man who had the cabin built in 1959, who I had mistakenly believed was deceased- Ken Lobitz!  We have exchanged several emails at this point, along with pictures, like this one of Ken in 1935, holding a muskie his father had caught:

How cute is that? I love this picture!

We found out that the cabin was not built of redwood from California, as we had been told, but is white cedar from Michigan.
Here's what it looked like in 1976...

...and here it is now.  It was in pretty bad shape when we bought it, and we have worked very hard trying to restore it as much as possible.  We had to replace the roof, which was partially rotted, with a new metal one.

The wood on the outside of the cabin had not been stained in many years, and was covered in mildew and caked with grime and goo.  We cleaned and stained it, and are now in the process of caulking all the gaps.  Our plan is to eventually insulate, and then cover it with cedar siding.  We've also replaced the two large windows- one in front, the other in back.

Here are the three acres of white pine trees Ken planted in 1961.  It's hard to tell from the photo, but they're gorgeous and HUGE.  I'll have to get someone to stand next to them, to provide a frame of reference for the size.

I'm sure the Kinniconick Creek looks much different than it did when Ken was last here.  The "swirl hole", a deep pool at the point where the creek temporarily forks to embrace the island, has changed considerably just in the six years we've owned the property.

With each Spring flood, the water is slowly breaching the tip of the island, changing the shape of the swirl.  The floods have scoured the island on the side facing us, leaving us a view of mostly rocks.

The pond Ken built didn't hold water, and when we bought the property, probably had about two feet in it.  We had it re-dug (re-cored, I think?), and it's better, but still leaks a bit.  I don't regret it though; it looks beautiful.

This is a copy of a map we found under the glass top of a little table in the cabin.  Years ago, Ken drew the map and documented on it everything he had done to the property.  I added what we have done so far (only on the copy; the original is carefully stored away); it's now framed and hangs on the wall in my hallway.  I treasure everything associated with Shabo-Mekaw, and am keeping it together as a kind of 'scrapbook' of the place.

The fireplace was so cool back in the '70's!  When we bought the place, this whole area was boxed off behind ugly white paneling.  We couldn't figure out why anyone would do such a thing- until we pulled off the paneling and found a wet, moldy mess.  The roof had been leaking right beside the chimney; water was running down the side of the stone, which was covered with moldy insulation and other things I'd rather not think about.  It took us a long time to make repairs and get the chimney working again.

It was wonderful to see how beautiful the inside of the cabin looked.  We're still working on it, and making slow progress.

No matter what has happened over the years, and despite many changes, Shabo-Mekaw remains a sacred refuge for me, a place where I feel a deep connection to nature, and where I find the peace so lacking in my daily grind.  So, Ken, I feel I owe you a huge debt of gratitude, for what you did then, and for being a kindred spirit and new found friend.