my favorite palette
john keats says, “give me books, french wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know.” i say, “give me olive green, silver sage, lily pad, shoe leather, bronze, and the color of a stick of cinnamon.” john keats was a hack.
weeping willow leaves
who are you?
i had this smoke bush branch set aside as a sort of plan b backup in case i ever needed an emergency STILL blog stand-in. today i needed a plan b stand-in, and so i invited this shrinking violet model into the studio and asked him to take a seat, and then suddenly he took his shirt off, and he was the most beautiful specimen and all i wanted to do was take his portrait over and over and never let him leave. who are you, beautiful stranger? and why haven’t we met before?
smokebush branch with november leaves
i have felt at capacity lately and as if i am not always doing my best work. i sometimes think i should be doing more ambitious and complex work, and i sometimes think that i am doing too much ambitious and complex work, and that is betraying the simple and minimalist spirit of this entire project, and so sometimes what i really need is to look at a single pretty thing, and as a result, what i want to look at this morning is this dusty pink chrysanthemum with one flower in full bloom, and one flower seemingly limp and fading, and one tight little button of a bud straining to become a chrysanthemum. i will solve the rest of m problems at some later date. thank you for bearing with me.
chrysanthemum in november
a gift from linda
this blog is not just meant to be a performance, but also an interaction. it sometimes restores my faith in fundamental goodness to see how many people come visiting every day, just to participate in somebody else’s creative project. a comment from the right person at the right time can change the trajectory of a day or even a week. this week i got a package in the mail from linda. it was a nest that she said made her think of me, but it wasn’t just the gesture of sending the nest that i found moving. it was the fact that first she had spent a summer watching a cardinal family be born and raised in this house. and then she had gone online to confirm that cardinals only use nests one time and build new ones the next year. and only then, knowing that she would not be making the difficult life of a songbird even more difficult, did she take the nest down from her climbing vine and send it to me. in other words, by her actions and her words, she gave a gift that was completely and consciously in the spirit of STILL blog. it has gotten easier to be seduced by the temptation to think the worst of people lately. but still, and by gestures like this, i am finding that i am right more often when i think the best of them. thank you linda for the gift of a physical nest, and a moral lift.
invasive or native?
i think this is probably the invasive version of phragmites australis, although we do have native phragmites in the great lakes region. i don’t like celebrating invasives as a rule, but i took this photo and i so loved how the fibers looked like warm animal fur in the interior, and then looked frosted like coyote fur on a chilly morning out near the tips, that i decided to give a one day dispensation to phragmites. today, they are one of us. we’ll sort the rest out tomorrow.
(probably) phragmites australis