Tuesday, April 15, 2014

as we go

The kids are back in school after their year-end break: Isla in a new class at kindergarten, and Auden, suddenly, impossibly, a First Grader. He barely made the cut-off date, starting just days after his 6th birthday. 

Now he walks to and from school with a group of other kids in the neighborhood. Even though we've been inching toward this kind of independence -- by sending him to the corner store for tea and snacks, and by not having heart attacks when he walks to the park by himself -- I am still finding it almost preposterous that we have reached this stage. I'm guessing the stomach roiling subsides after a while?

Isla likes to run around outside too, and hide in the narrow spaces between houses, in doorways, in the maze of narrow streets around our house. When I find her, she squeals with laughter, looking mischievous and triumphant. 

This is probably the safest place we could possible live, but I still have to fight a rising panic when I'm not entirely sure where they are. 

The other day they packed their carry-on suitcases full of toys and wheeled them out to the street, stopping at one friend's house, and then another, which I didn't discover until after I had gone full bore, riding my bicycle through the neighborhood, calling their names.

What kind of double-edged sword is this, anyway? The minute they stop needing me at their side every minute, I become freakishly masterful at conjuring catastrophic What-Ifs. 

Here they are, discussing their plans to travel to Bulgaria.

I want them to have this freedom, I want them to discover things on their own... Especially here, where they own what they find in a different way: words, connections, patterned pottery shards embedded in the concrete on the road to the park.

I suspect there's no other way to offer this except to practice as we go. So if you want me, kids, I'll be in the kitchen not having heart attacks.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

the essence of which

We all try to capture, in a picture. In hundreds of pictures. Humans out in droves, smitten with trees.

I laugh but I do it, too: aim my camera at one frothy pink cluster after another, delirious at the beauty of it.

I know the pictures will render them flat, stripping away the enchantment of the whole scene, which is in their dimension, their presence. But I can't help it, I am compelled, swooning. Clicking.

It's like being under a lacy waterfall, a lilting, living veil.

I walk through it, aware and existing and enthralled, and still I can't get enough. Is this why the pictures? To take it home and keep a part of it, no matter how small and approximate?

Even on our bike ride home, I am reluctant to quit the chase, drawn in by the honeyed light through the branches, caught in a blizzard of falling petals when the wind gusts over the river. How can we not feel beneficently blessed? 

The moment is already passing, cameras be damned. The trees are leafing out, the streets look like they've been littered with the most elegant confetti, such a party as it has been. 


Sunday, April 6, 2014

lest all my post titles become gerunds

There hasn't been much activity in my studio this month, with parents visiting (yay!) and the kids out of school (yaaaaaaay), not to mention balmy temperatures and cherry trees blooming left and right. 

But here's a piece I started last month... About 3 x 4', larger scale than what I've been working on for the past six months, and therefore both compelling and daunting. What am I doing? 

I ask myself every day.

I want patterns so badly, and yet I don't know where to start. I have made several attempts, and they all looked clumsy and contrived.

That's ok, though, because covering up the mistakes is leading to some more depth in the layers, and more simplification overall. 

I like it when you can see evidence of previous choices. When things look a little haphazard.

Looking at finished work, it's easy to take all those strokes as a foregone conclusion... That's why I like to put up pictures of the process, when I am wondering what comes next, too.