i have spent several weeks now trying to get ready for a photo shoot. it sounds ridiculous but better homes and gardens is going to be featuring our home. once i learned that, i subsequently learned that they have a circulation of over 7 million, which freaked me out. so i turned to my good friend and irreplaceable style and design genius, liz gardner. what we have been trying to do is make some magic, and i think we’ve succeeded, but making magic takes a lot of work, and it is difficult to make magic and also make art. i don’t have any regrets. but i’m looking forward to making art again.
i learned a new word this week, as i picked out colors, and then picked out other colors to match the first colors, and then picked out accent colors to contrast appealingly with the combination of the first two colors. apparently greige is a word now. you add a little gray to beige and you have greige. these are the things you learn when you start focusing on color. i have also learned that color is entirely relative. i sort of already knew that, but it has been brought home viscerally as my painters have slowly covered my walls with true, museum-white paint, exposing the previous walls (which i always considered pretty white) to have been a putty colored kind of peach. it’s a testament to how much this has blown my mind that i first looked at this photo from my archives and assumed these were crow feathers, and that the true black background behind them had simply exposed their lack of total blackness for the grayish hue that crow feathers had always been, but i had just been too deluded–to much of a color absolutist–to notice. in fact, these are goose feathers, and are actually a shade of gray, at least that’s how they look to me. but who knows?
thee beach feathers (probably gull or goose)
three of the four pillars
as always we have reaccustomed ourselves to life in the north, life in minnesota. its charms are not small or easily dismissed, and they have crept back up on us since last january. our oak leaves have started turning orange on their way to russet. the fireplace season is approaching. apples are plentiful. the minneapolis skyline is beautiful in angled october light. but this picture can do a lot of damage to that point of view. we don’t grow grapes here, or not, anyway, french wine grapes. wild fennel does not grow in profusion on the side of rural highways. and fig trees do not grow along fencerows and up through the collapsed roofs of ancient stone buildings. those are three of the pillars of Languedocian food that this photo makes me hungry for. the fourth pillar is maybe the most fundamental, and that would be olive trees. we do trees very well in the north. we even do sacred trees pretty well. but nothing we have matches all of the associations of the mediterranean olive. i’m ready for this coming autumn, even anxious for it. but i’m ready, too, when the next time comes, to walk among olive trees in southern France, along vineyards, through wild fennel, perhaps on my way to pick a hatful of figs.
figs, fennel, and grapes
creativity requires play
i’ve been too distracted to be creative. let me rephrase that: i’ve been too distracted to be playful. usually i like to study my subjects, play with them. turn them upside down. maybe pull off some leaves or petals and see what i get. but, my house is completely torn up. i’m having the interior painted. everything that could be moved is in the garage, and the few large items that couldn’t be moved are wrapped in plastic. we’ve been eating grab-n-go foods for over a week. i have a photo shoot in the house next week, so this all has to come to an end eventually, but until then, you may be getting your daily dose of vitamin STILL. but it may be a little more watered down than i normally allow.
from my mom’s garden, shoreview, minnesota
a dark mood
sumac is so pretty and the red of its leaves is usually so cheerily candy red, that the urge becomes almost irresistible to photograph it in a smiling, innocent mood. which i have done, as many of you know, quite a bit over the six year life span of STILL blog. but this year my background is black, not white, and i have already fully explored the happy possibilities of sumac’s joyful scarlet. red, as it happens, is also the color of blood, and passion, and dying suns, and velvet church pews. so i give you some sumac to brood on.
arden hills, minnesota