Sunday, November 11, 2007

Vermont Again

One of the great things about Boston is its proximity to everything else. Mr. Right and I decided on a mostly spontaneous trip to Vermont this weekend and it was just what we both needed to escape from all the regular weekend chores after a regular hard week of work.
As is the tradition now here at dillard57, some photos to share of our idyllic escape to the north.

This is the Simon Pearce Glass Blowing facility, built right on the Queechee River. We had a great meal here, looking right out onto the falls.

And here is a view of Mount Pico near Killington, Mr. Right's old stomping grounds.

During our road trip, I brought along Barbara Kingsolver's new book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle which is about her family trying to eat for a year only on local foods. She talked about a visit to The Farmer's Diner in Massachusetts where they served as much local food from local farmers as possible. I was tickled to be able to find this place the next day on our trip. I guess those little hand held internet devices do have their uses. We had a fun meal of great burgers made from local beef, local cheese and a big glass of local chocolate milk. Mr. Right is pointing to the "Time to Eat" sign.
And here's me with the local chocolate milk. Yum! (I know, I know, the chocolate wasn't local).
The final photo is one of three covered bridges we saw during our trip. It's an old cliche but who isn't a sucker for these things? They are beautiful.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Human Absence

I get home today to find a large envelope in my mailbox from UUWorld with several copies of their latest issue, each of which contain one of my photos and a little blurb about me as an artist. Wow! Here's a link to the article, but of course I very egotistically think it is much better seeing it in print. UU World is the quarterly magazine published for members of the Unitarian-Universalist church.

I'm still a new artist by pretty much anyone's definition. So it's such an odd but lovely feeling to see that your work has travelled out there in the universe on its own. It must be just a tiny bit what it must feel like to have a child moving off into the universe without you. My work is this little bit of myself and it goes and does its thing in the world and other people take it and make it part of their lives in their own way. Then I unexpectedly re-meet it elsewhere and am always floored by it. Grateful and amazed that people other than my mother think it's cool (hi Mom!), and re-inspired to maybe make it happen again and to encourage others to do the same thing.

So there I am, published with the photo that started this whole crazy art thing. And for all you UU World readers who stop by because of the article, well, hello to you! It has been such a joyful thing in my life to discover the UU church. I feel very fortunate today.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Harvest time

I love this time of year. Summer has slipped away, but it is still warm and bright with the skies such an intense blue, especially in contrast to the leaves which are slowly reddening.

I love going to the farmer's markets where the tables can barely contain all of the produce, the tomatoes, the nectarines, the apples, the zucchinis and the brand new pumpkins.

And I love that my knight in shining armor arrived one year ago. Then one year later he asked me to marry him.

Ah. Happy sigh.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Very Vancouver Vacation

Hmm, not so many v words I came up with. But Vancouver and Victoria, the sites of my most recent vacation, deserve some warm and enthusiastic verbiage. But enough of the travel talk. Let's get in some photos.
Such a beautiful city. Ocean, mountain, forest and city all in one place. It really is as gorgeous as this. One night there, I had sushi on the beach with Dave and Claire. It felt very exotic and actually not very Canadian, but everyone was happy.

If you like salmon, Vancouver is the place for you! It's in everything and in every form, raw, cooked, dried, candied, smoked, on salads, in sandwiches, even in pepperoni. I kid you not. It's delicious but a bit much to handle.

Vancouver has one of the largest Asian populations in the world outside of well, Asia. This was a beautiful garden in the middle of the city.

Emily Carr became famous for painting totem poles as part of trying to record them in the tribal lands they were built before they all were destroyed or, um, jumbled all together into parks and museums like this. Sigh.

I thought this particular part of the totem pole was very cool from the whole universal Madonna and Child perspective. Art is cool that way.

A big reason for my visit was to see some old friends who have been up there for years. Another reason was the third leg of my "pilgrimage" to see the homeland of the third in my trinity of amazing North American women artists: Frida Kahlo (Mexico), Georgia O'Keeffe (USA) and Emily Carr (Canada). Emily Carr worked around the same time as Kahlo and O'Keeffe. All three women produced art that contains similar themes around nature, religion, spirituality and indigenous peoples. You can learn more about their similarities on this website. The website around an amazing art exhibit was the first place I accidentally stumbled upon the three women together and I've been fascinated ever since. So now I've been to all three of their homelands and seen where they painted and it has been a very satisfying and enriching journey, especially as a woman artist myself.

Anyhow, there is lots on the web about Emily Carr so I won't go into more detail here, but she did a lot of wonderful paintings of forests and of totem poles that are very worth seeing.

I had a great time getting to know this beautiful city.

New England Reminders

I've lived in Boston for, oh, 9 years now this summer. And I still feel like a brand new resident. That's a good thing in some ways -- I feel like there is still so much I have not seen or done here, being at most two-three hours away from anything from ocean to mountains to NYC to Canada to just an incredible amount of beauty and culture. But I'm also still considered a newbie by all these locals. There is even a name for us, barnies, which is short for barnacles, those who cling onto something but aren't really a part of that place. Well, nonetheless, I can't deny that somehow New England has become home, despite my own wanderlust and despite any New Englanders' aversion to outsiders.

One of the biggest reminders of where I am is the Boston accent. I actually kinda like it. A lot of people think it's horrific. But as a girl growing up in Pittsburgh (with its own accent), when I heard people from New England speak, it seemed so terribly sophisticated and exotic. Especially because most of the New Englanders I heard speak were very intruiguing, cute boys from Worcester on whom I had crushes. It's kinda funny now when I go to Worcester, but I still have a soft spot for the accent. Although I don't try to imitate it because then everyone from here makes fun of you for not getting it right.

The other thing that reminds you unfailingly of your new geography is this occasional whiff of the sea. I only actually encounter the ocean maybe once a week or even less frequently. But sometimes the sea air is unmistakeable, rolling in from the east and enveloping you in cool saltiness.

And then you see lighthouses, and you also know exactly where you are. This one above is near Duxbury Beach and is R's favorite place in the whole wide world.

Oh and don't get me started on canned brown bread. I have to explain it to people who are visiting my workplace all the time because it is frequently donated and how am I supposed to explain bread in a can? Half the people from this area can't explain it. I've tried it. It isn't terrible. That's not exactly high praise, but it really isn't too bad.

So, here I am. New England still. Looks like I'll be around for a while longer too. Who woulda thunk it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Those Western Mass Shakers

Slowly, slowly I'm catching up on my posting here. I wanted to share some photos I'm very fond of from a visit to Hancock Shaker Village, out in Western Massachusetts. R and I had a great time poking around the village, followed by what seems to now be a tradition -- lots of bbq.

Can you tell I have a weakness for a good barn? Comes from all those years of driving across Ohio on the way to Grandma's house. Lots and lots of corn fields.

This historical site is definitely one of those photographer's paradises, especially in the yellow light of a fall afternoon.
R even surprised me at Christmas with this amazing book about these visions of Shaker women which they captured so beautifully. I was admiring the book in the store and after much deliberation about the state of my wallet, very reluctantly put it back on the shelf the day we visited. Lo and behold, I opened up a present from the sweetest man in the world and there it was. The artwork is really fascinating.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Mass MOCA 8 months later

I have plenty of excuses for not posting, but there's no point in listing them here. So I think instead it is now time to just share some photos.

These posts will catch you up on some trips to Western MA. First batch is Mass MOCA which R and I thought was amazing in both a weird and a good way.

The difference between a museum in a big city and a museum like this outside of the city is the huge amount of space you get to play with. These are football fields worth of exhibition space.

Our favorites were the little jars that you had to categorize, the video footage of the miner's strike in England, and the mustering exhibit combining elements of civil war re-enactments with civil rights. We also liked the shopping cart in the canal. Our brains were pretty full by the end of wandering around this place. For me, a successful art trip makes the whole world look like art, and Mass MOCA definitely has that effect.

It's definitely worth a visit -- a beautiful drive and an amazing site. Pack a picnic! After looking at art all day, I highly recommend two things to follow all of that cultural stimulation. First, Natural Bridge State Park is just one of the most unexpectedly pretty things you could ever stumble across. If you follow that by dinner at a local BBQ joint with every table holding pig shaped salt and pepper shakers, well, I'd call that a perfect day.