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 …

Time out of time– discovering Lisbon

  The thing I remember about leaving the Algarve is the morning light striking the car hard and bright as I drove along a ridge line. It was a secondary road that roughly paralleled the autoroute. In my mind I was trying to make peace with leaving. It had been an intoxicating mix of coastal light, stone and sand, cactus and pine. Cultures crossing in pretty old villages. The occasional palm tree or Moorish ruin. Desert stars. It was bright blue and dusky beige, warm and relaxed. Along the drive there were a couple of fine old hill towns, scattered villas, …

Time out of time

It’s been a daydream of mine for a long time– to find a little house to rent in France and stay there long enough to become chummy with the butcher. This was the year I finally did it.  I rented a cottage on the grounds of the restored 15th century Chateau de Lerse in the southwestern region called the Charente.   Though I thought I knew what to expect I did not know how truly rural and agriculturally focused France could be. I believe the grounds of the chateau were the quietest place I have ever been.  The fine old …

Absorbing the Sea

For the weeks arching from summer into fall I have watched the sea all day long. And at night the doors were always open to the sound of it. By day the sea was the view from the studio, or from whatever restaurant I chose, or from the windows of the car.  I have looked so long, unable to look away, that it has been fully absorbed. Two nights ago, in the rain, through the murky window of a ferry close to land, I saw birds as they flew nearby, their wide breasts like the bodies of ducks. In my …

Negative space

Today my new eight year old existential friend paid me a studio visit.  She carried on a lively conversation, told  a few jokes, and then, very seriously asked   “so, how is your life?”  It gave me a moment’s pause.  I answered her with the seriousness the question deserved.  I told her “my life is joyous”.  End of discussion. The day before she had told me that being in her new third grade classroom felt like “being in another world”.  I guess, when you grow up with the Aegean as your background you think in those terms.  As an artist I’m …

What to pack?

The moon is coming up behind the mountains as we unpack the car.  I have just arrived on the island of Skopelos from Athens, Greece for an artist’s residency.  My boat has been met by the very hospitable people who are making this possible, including the owners of the pension where I have a little apartment.  I can hardly make polite conversation for staring at the  sight of the moon, caught in a little crease between two mountains, because it is tomato red.  Blood red.  A red glaze over an orange fire.  It’s the second day after the so-called Super …

North Carolina Summer

This has been my North Carolina summer.  Too busy to plan anything more complicated I have gone back and forth between the mountains and the coast soaking up my favorite part of the year. I could live in perpetual summer, and look askance at all those people who tell me they can’t wait for fall.  It’s the light, I think.  I like the bald bright warmth of it that illuminates all corners, but also makes for overwhelming experiences of  shadow.  I like the light when I’m floating on my back in the pool and looking up at the untroubled sky.  …

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, …