Naked

My newest work is currently hanging in an installation titled “What Wild Life Left”.  It’s the brainchild of my son, Gordon Millsaps.  Gordon is a sculptor/fabricator/engineer/visionary who lives and works in Brooklyn. When Gordon first hit town, ten years ago, he found that a cabinet company nearby was discarding long thin strips of pine.  They were perhaps a little less than an inch square, and eight feet long, or more.  He gathered them up and brought them back to the rough-hewn loft where he lived, and started constructing everything he needed out of these narrow strips of wood.  He made …

India

I got a map of India so I could trace my travels, and picture the shape of it.  It turned out the trail I traveled was no more than a tiny stripe running along the edge of that map— a glimpse of the hem of the handwoven thing that is India.   I went to India to experience color.   I sat beside the Indian Ocean and watched the graceful fishing boats out on the water with their bows that rose up in an attenuated arch.  One was  lavender, sky blue and the yellow of an egg yolk.  The beach was strewn …

Reentry

I  just woke up in my own bed for the first time in a month . Yesterday morning, up at 3 a.m., I drove through the French countryside, village after village, on the slowest route I could find to the airport. The spectacular full moon hovered all the way.  I noticed a while back that if I drove in the country with my windows down I could hear cricket sounds the whole time. This morning in North Carolina, I drove to the grocery near dawn so I could have milk for my coffee.  Over and over I have forgotten I’m …

Good Food

Thursday nights in this little French village, the old hotel that clings to a precipice overlooking everything else plays host to a tiny organic market in the lobby. A couple of farmers sell their home grown carrots, cauliflowers, mushrooms and homemade breads. It’s on the honor system and you do the math. Meanwhile, on the terrace the hotel conducts  tapas night with local wines. We  picked a table on the end of the terrace, and turned our backs on the setting sun, after filling our bags with homegrown vegetables. We had the remarkable tapas and the lovely soft wines to …

Mining in France

    Staring at a stucco wall struck by sunlight, covered in vines, I find myself beside a river, beneath a hill, in the agricultural belly of France. It’s a rare opportunity to briefly live and work in this warm light, surrounded by a thousand kinds of patina. For a month I have a residency at Moulin à Nef in Auvillar. It is the French outpost of the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. VCCA is one of the midwives who delivered me into my current state as an artist. The opportunity to live and work in their community for the …

A Word Painting for Winter

Out on the very edge of North Carolina, where it touches the sea, I greeted the new year. Some wind must have blown there from the islands, it was so gentle and warm. The colors out at the edge of North Carolina in deep winter tend toward white. There is a huge expanse of sky constantly color shifting, and brilliant oblique sunlight. The ocean, so stirred, sends out foamy fringes, white and lacy, like the shells on the oysters at supper.

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 …

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 …