the Whitney

There’s something about the Whitney that makes it my favorite museum in New York City.  Maybe I should credit the curators.  Every time I go there I see something I can’t forget.  I have some wonderful Whitney memories.  Maybe it’s that the size is just right and the organization is so clear.  I always take the stairs at the Whitney because I’m in love with the stairwell.  It’s heavily textured concrete that looks like it’s a product of rough week during the Ice Age.  That texture is combined with areas of smooth worn slate .  There is bronze colored metalwork , and a …

Anslem Kiefer at Gagosian

On Saturday I met my dear friend, Cait, for a couple of hours, to catch up and share an art experience on my short trek to New York.  Fortunately, I asked her to choose the venue, so in the cold wind I walked unknowingly toward amazement.   Chilled by our early morning walk, we found a cozy Cuban restaurant to stop in for cocoa and coffee.  Tucked in among the several murals of tropical Cuba, and with a view from the bar of the yucca, plantains and yellow rice being prepared,  the  conversation flowed.  Once in a while, when hanging out with someone, I will …

Journal entry

10-10-10 It’s 8:15 a.m. and I’m facing east, sitting on the beach.  The beach is completely serene and satiny in this light.   The sound of waves as they dissipate has a long sheen to it as well.  The beach has few people, no clutter of human furnishings– just pelicans on their long horizontal flight path. That’s what I love about this beach– the depth and wideness of it, and the emptiness.  So, in words I save this moment, sewing it into a bag I will carry with me into winter, early darkness, repelling chill, small spaces.  I will take …

The Cinderella Experience

I’m just home from a true Cinderella week in Paris.  I love that metaphor because I’m literally cleaning the ashes out of the woodstove one day and sitting under 15 chandeliers in Paris having tea, the next.  My son Gordon had an exhibition which opened in Paris last week and I made the rash decision to take a week away from my students and be there.  Turns out it was a completely sound and life-expanding decision.  Everything conspired to make it magical and nourishing. There was time to joke around with my son, and share the discoveries that are around every …

Liminal nights

In the liminal space between summer and fall, in the margin between darkness and dawn, I like to get up and go to the open window.  The night crickets and frog sounds are combined with the early bird sounds.  The air has a bit of cool damp attached to it.  The traffic is still.  I imagine all the drivers asleep. Sometimes in that space I will go out to the hammock on the porch.  I think there must be something like womb memory that overtakes me in the hammock because once in it, I immediately fall into a thick and …

My Old Friend

Call me corny and predictable, but I’m a huge devotee of Monet.  I know, there are a thousand bathrooms in a five mile radius where a Monet poster hangs.  I know.  But I fell in love at 13, and I never recovered. My parents took me to NYC that summer.  We went to the Met.  The way I remember it, and the way I describe it to my 14, 15 and 16  year old students is:  coming around a corner in the museum, my eyes glazed over from Masterpieces,  I saw my first live Monet.  All my synapses fired.  I …

Vagabonding

Before I settle down to a summer’s work it’s good to do a little gypsy roaming.  I just had a great break from my routine, exploring Provence.  At first I enjoyed the companionship of wonderful friends at Le Beaucet in a  delightful country home. We saw the sights, enjoyed the regional foods and wines, and were expertly guided, tended and fed by Mary James and Xavier (www.maryjames.net) . In my journal I made a list of sounds and sights and smells that were especially vivid.  And of course, tastes.  There were many.  It was a sensual feast from morning until …

Dreamland

It’s Monday back in the real world.  I’m attempting to pretend I’m all here, but I still have one foot on an island.  Yesterday’s sunrise, which seems a continent away and a month behind me, was a battle between blackened hovering clouds and peach colored light thrown at the edges of billowing cloud formations.  It came and went, shifting back and forth.  I sat in the sand and tried to paint a seized moment here and an arrested cloud there.  Sand blew low and hard, needle-pricking me.  It completely filled my paintbox and scattered itself on my page.  My brush, …

Interlude

    I’m just back from the last summer vacation– a long weekend at the coast.  My friends, BJ and Rodney Cooper joined me there.  We started the weekend by staying up until 3 a.m. talking, but as time passed I unwound, and the weekend became more restful.  We bought shellfish and enjoyed cooking.  Rod made a tomato tart I can still taste if I think about it.  I took long early morning walks and spent as much time as I could outdoors.  The sunshine stupor set in, which disables thinking and forces relaxation. Rod and I visited a small …