lost shelter

Driving by my house on the way from school to an appointment I was shocked to see that the oldest tree in my yard had come down in Wednesday’s hard winds.  The trunk still stands, but the yard is filled with the top,  limbs larger than most mature trees. This oak had been struck by lightning 40 years ago, and hit squarely by a truck in the late 70’s, in a brutal accident that killed the driver.   It had survived Hurricane Hugo eighteen years ago, losing a giant limb, but it stood otherwise intact.  Its six ancient  companion oaks had all toppled …

Conversations against a brilliant background

    Today was what I always refer to as “the best day of the school year”–the day I take a group of students to galleries and museums.  These students are members of the Art Club at my school, the purpose of which is to explore the work of artists out in the bigger world. Sometimes we get lucky and we  meet artists, walk into their studios or listen to their stories and explanations.  Many times this is the student’s first trip to an art museum.  I hope that when these young people graduate they will have a high level …

Beth

Beth is one of my friends from college days.  She’s been there with me through a lot of interesting experiences.  She was a bridesmaid in my wedding.  She is godmother to my middle son.  She and I have stood before thousands of paintings and talked about what we saw.  We have looked at the ocean together for hours with or without conversation.  Not since Chapel Hill days have we lived near one another, but that hasn’t kept us from staying connected.  Some of my favorite Beth memories are from the times she lived in Maryland near DC.  We would sometimes …

Alice Ballard speaks

Last night I had an opportunity to listen to Alice Ballard  (www.aliceballard.com)speak about her life and work at Hodges Taylor Gallery.  She has long been a favorite  artist of mine.  Over and over I have come around a corner in a gallery to see a piece of hers and been stopped in my tracks.  The desire to touch her work is always overwhelming for me.  The pieces are always based on natural objects that happen to appear in her life– perhaps stumbled upon on a walk outdoors, or sometimes arriving in the mail– gifts from a sympathetic friend. It seems …

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 …

Cristina Toro and Rebekah Tolley at Davidson College

Every year I look forward to the fall opening of the Visual Arts Center at Davidson College. It’s the occasion of the faculty show, and a lot of fun, seeing old friends and new art.  It’s a last vivid summer art memory before the chill of fall sets in.  Tonight was appropriately sultry and rich.  http://www3.davidson.edu/cms/x25463.xml RebekahTolley is new to the faculty and was exhibiting tonight.  She is a printmaker who is concerned with exploration.  I was privileged to hear her very brief but evocative talk.  In just a few minutes she managed to spark my imagination in a dozen ways. …

performance piece?

One week from today my last son will leave home for college.  For the first time in 29 years there will be no children in this house.  Naturally inside me there is confusion about whether I’m bereft or ecstatic.  I’m ecstatic, literally, in the sense that I consider and anticipate what spiritual truths will come to fill me.  When the presence of all the boys I’ve loved with all my heart is removed what will take their places?   Instead of them I will invite “the universe” as people call it these days, to fill that empty space with something powerful. …

An Evening with Bob Trotman

  Trotman’s maquettes” I’ve been an admirer of the work of Bob Trotman since I first saw his furniture in the 80’s at an exhibition at Davidson College.  In my way of thinking the ideas behind that work were sufficiently rich and quirky to be mined for a lifetime.  Bob, as a woodworker, had  flawless craftsmanship  and combined it with a lot of unusual ideas to come up with  truly imaginative results.  But Bob morphed, as artists always do, pressing forward in his exploration of the world, moving toward a more focused vision, and finally leaving furniture behind.  There was …