tonight we took down the christmas tree. in our circling around the stand to remove the garlands of twinkle lights, we knocked down most of the dry needles, and pushed them into these random patterns, which turned out to be one final present lying under the tree this season. merry belated christmas, still blog.
spruce needles dropped from our christmas tree
six years? really?
for six years i’ve been creating some kind of daily composition. sometimes it’s just a single object. (but should it be centered? on one of the 1/3 grid lines? bleeding off the page? pointing up? pointing sideways? pointing diagonally? right side up? upside down? crumpled? flat? casting a shadow?) sometimes, unbelievably, i even try to arrange multiple objects. but it never, ever gets easier. ever. six years. and i begin each composition as an infant, learning by trial and error how to pick up that single cheerio between my thumb and index finger, then slamming my palm down on my high-chair tray in frustration, and trying to pick up the cheerio again.
assemblage of found nature bits
i’m that member of the leafcutter ant colony who does not saw my leaves into transportable and edible portion sizes and then hurry back to the nest, but instead cuts interesting shapes out of one side of my leaves, and then stands there with my antennae waving, admiring my work. “hey guys! do you like this one better? or this?!”
rubber plant leaf with cut outs
reminders of summer
i’m drinking tea these days with dried red clover flowers in it. they are a pleasantly herbal way to get ready for bed, and in a jar full of crumbled leaves and tiny ragged chamomile flowers, spooning up a red clover head is as satisfying as finding a crunchberry on your spoon when you’re a kid eating cap’n crunch cereal.
guest post from steve hoffman
good morning STILL blog community. there has been a temporary coup, and, for one day only, i, steve hoffman, am your new overlord. mary jo has spent the day trying to prototype a number of new illustrations for one of my articles, and so, somewhat ironically, she has worked all day on a piece of my writing, while i have worked all day trying to create a mary jo hoffman conposition. you will see that i am much more drawn to the safety of grids and linear composition than she is, and that i am not one tenth the artist she is. but i hope you will at least look forgivingly on my attempt to wring a bit of order and balance out of the random chaos of bark, berries, stems, needles, and leaves that was delivered to me in a cardboard box this morning. if nothing else, this should remind you of just what a mountain six years of daily composition is to climb. and i hope, when mary jo returns tomorrow, you will appreciate even more than usual the dogged, daredevil climber you get to watch perform her death defying aesthetic feats each morning. until next time, thank you for being a part of this strange, improvisational, and rewarding experiment called STIL blog.
juniper berries, cedar tips and birch bark