Saturday, July 31, 2010

There's no place like home... Part 4

Here we are, it's almost August and how my gardens have grown!  I'm in the flow of mid summer when the frantic pace of trying to plant, set up the gardens and keep ahead of the weeds has slowed to a steady and comfortable relationship.  I pick some weeds here and there, water when things are dry and now I get to harvest the fruits of my labor.  Most meals we eat at home are pretty heavy on fresh home grown ingredients.  Last week Josh and I made a killer quick pasta dish on the fly.  Brown rice pasta,  sauteed purple string beans, fresh garlic, yellow summer squash, butter, olive oil and fresh dill with grated raw dill farmers cheese and some Parmesan melted on top as well.  Yum.

Now that the gardens are mature and producing I find I have more time to daydream, make lists of creative goals, write in my studio and sketch again.  The visual arts and musical sides of myself are percolating with activity and dreaming.  It feels good to be giving myself attention in these areas again.

I want to share a few pictures with you of my gardens this time of year.  They look so different from the pictures I posted on the blog on June 4th.   Enjoy and hope you are also enjoying the fruits of your labor.
Terraced bed with stone path leading down to the fruit trees and chicken coop...
Sunflowers, Cosmos, Summer Squash, Beets, Beans, Tomatoes, Lettuce, Wild Flower Patch and Orchard...

New winter squash patch with nasturtiums and sunflowers, outback where the old chicken yard used to be...

Front entry garden, a work in progress...

Cabbages that will soon be sauerkraut...

Front yard herb, flower and vegetable garden with a little pond and stone bench...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Arts In My Community: Rosemary Wessel's Resonances

Rosemary with some of her paintings...

Last Sunday I had the pleasure of getting a private tour of my friend Rosemary's art show.  She is an artist who lives in my town and had a show for the month of June into July at the Cummington Community House Art Gallery.  Her work is really unique in many ways.  She's a painter (she uses oils) but her canvases are built up and out like 2 dimensional relief sculptures.  There is a lot of texture to her surfaces.  She mainly works BIG.  It's strong stuff... and so far I'm only talking about the superficial qualities of her work! 

Through her paintings, Rosemary shows the energy she perceives coming from people.  The paintings are not portraits in the traditional sense. She takes her subjects up a notch to the energetic level.  Her training and experience doing energy work feeds into her visual manifestations.  Rosemary uses models, including herself and makes molds of their face and/or body parts.  From these casts she creates interesting portraits of emotions, feelings and energy.  Sometimes I saw myself reflected in the emotion coming from her work, sometimes I saw other people I know reflected back to me.  I can relate to what Rosemary is saying through her images, colors and textures about the energy and emotional landscape we as human beings are all a part of and all experience.  I've never seen work like hers.

Feel free to check out more of her work on her website:

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I fell in love with an octopus this week.  Her name is Octavia.   She lives in the aquarium at the Wetland's Institute, a not-for-profit organization promoting appreciation of wetlands and the coastal environment.  I've been thinking about her ever since I met her yesterday. 

We learned from her caretaker that she has the intelligence of a domesticated house cat.  I have to say,  there was a playfulness, curiousness, flirtatiousness and shyness about her and her intelligence and personality showed through her eyes and came through in the way she interacted with Josh and me.  We had some quiet moments with her all to ourselves when we went back to see her again after kids and families moved on from the aquarium to outdoor activities.  She really liked Josh and appeared to flirt with him, blush and change color, as he talked with her through the glass.  She came right up to the glass and after a moment or two of reaching her tentacles to us she would coyly retreat to her little den behind some rocks.  She peeked at us with her lively eyes from behind the rocks and a moment later would come right back out and start the dance all over.

My feelings for Octavia are mixed with sadness.  Sadness that such and intelligent and lively creature has to spend her short life in a glass aquarium.  We were told that octopuses only live to be about 2 years old.  Maybe she enjoys her time interacting with the public?  She seemed to know and like her caretaker.  Maybe it's ok that she can safely live in a space where she is fed and protected?  It's always hard for me to visit animals in captivity.  Especially when the animal seems so aware of itself, the space and things around it.  I hope she, as a force to be reckoned with,  provides an opportunity for awareness to build around the connection we have to the oceans and wetlands.  Perhaps she instigates thoughts and discussions about how we as humans can better care for and respect her environment?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hereford Inlet Lighthouse, Anglesea NJ

On Thursday while we were waiting for the clouds to clear (it turned out to be a perfect beach day in the afternoon) we took a short trip to North Wildwood and checked out the historic Hereford Inlet Lighthouse.  The lighthouse is well known for the beautiful gardens which apparently have been lovingly and generously designed and maintained by a man who donates 20 - 40 hours of his time / week.  The lighthouse has American Gothic architectural elements including the tower.  It's not your typical long, white, cylindrical coastal tower.  Below is the house with connected lighthouse.  The following photos show parts of the extensive gardens.  Out back the garden transitions to a coastal path that leads to the last photo which shows the Hereford Inlet.

Friday, July 16, 2010


I'm reading "Letters To A Young Poet" by Rainer Maria Rilke every morning while I'm here at the shore.  I will continue reading it when I return home because unfortunately I see our vacation week near the ocean coming to a close very soon and I have not finished the book.  I may have to buy myself a copy to have on my shelf when I need a supportive voice, a voice who can encourage at any hour and one who truly understands the creative process.  The book is filled with gems of insight and advice related to the creative process and on being an artist.  Rilke (as a young,  established artist) is writing to a young poet who is just starting on his artistic path and looking for encouragement and words of wisdom from someone who has gone before.  The excerpt I have taken from The Third Letter reminds me that I can not only pay attention or rely my own agenda.  For as much as I know things do not happen with out effort, pursuits especially of the creative vein have their own time.  Expectations and agendas must be thrown out the window. 

Here is some inspiration that I read this morning. 

"All things consist of carrying to term and then giving birth.  To allow the completion of every impression, every germ of feeling deep within, in darkness, beyond words, in the realm of instinct unattainable by logic, to await humbly and patiently the hour of descent of a new clarity: that alone is to live one's art, in the realm of understanding as in that of creativity.

In this there is no measuring with time.  A year doesn't matter; ten years are nothing.  To be an artist means not to compute or count; it means to ripen as the tree, which does not force its sap, but stands unshaken in the storms of spring with no fear that summer might not follow.   It will come regardless.  But, it comes only to those who live as though eternity stretches before them, carefree, silent and endless.  I learn it daily, learn it with many pains for which I am grateful:  Patience is all!"
-Rainer Maria Rilke 
Letters to a Young Poet
taken from The Third Letter

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Down the Shore

We arrived at the Jersey shore late Sunday night and woke up to humid breezes and the smell of salt and ocean in the air.  Ah, vacation.....

In the past 24 hours some essential shore "bases" have been covered. 
I've been to the beach twice and swam in the ocean both times.   I love floating on the surface of the waves and diving under a wave as it crashes over me.

We went to Mike's Seafood in Sea Isle City and I ordered a beautiful and tasty stuffed Maine lobster.  It was stuffed with fresh crab claw meat.  What a treat!   Oh, and I can't forget that I started the meal with raw oysters on the half shell.  Yum.

My sister in law and I treated ourselves to some fashion and celebrity magazines... a fun vacation indulgence. 

I brought my sketch book and watercolors and began sketching at the beach earlier today.  Wow!  I have time to sketch, doodle, paint and practice making art!  It looks like it may be a productive vacation too!  I'll keep you posted.  For now, here are a few photographs of the beach before all the people arrived later in the morning.