Previous month:
June 2016
Next month:
April 2018

March 2018

New Digs

 

Image

There is a corner of my little lot that has an unsurpassed view of Mt. Juneau. From inside my home, you can't see the mountain at all, but from that corner, the view is spectacular. I've been planning a little studio/view room for that corner for years. I have files and drawers overflowing with careful drawings of floor plans and elevations, photos from magazines, and books about cabins and tiny houses; I've talked to builders, looked at portables, DIY kits, and searched the Internet for ideal little structure. Then, one day on Craigslist, I found a little building for sale that would suit me perfectly. The roof line matched that of my home. It was well built and in my budget. Most amazingly, the seller would help me move it to my home.

Image

This simple 8'x12' structure came to me like a life ring. Cast out of my studio downtown because of remodeling, I was without a decent place to work. Having infinite possibilities and a minimal budget had left me petrified; there were too many choices and there was not enough moolah to make any of them from scratch. Before my new studio came to me, I was trapped in the Paradox of Choice.

Image

In the process of preparing the foundation pad, my energy reached new heights. In the cold rain of October, I built a frame, dug out the soil, and filled it in with three tons of gravel and four tons of sand, wielding my my little shovel and pushing my wheelbarrow with real joy. We pulled the building off the trailer with a truck and pushed it across the yard on scavenged PVC pipes.

Image

After years, literally, of planning so many structures, it was a huge relief to be presented with a simple, ready made, solution! I'm so grateful to the young man who sold me this building and helped me move it with infinite care and a hearty can-do attitude. I've added insulation, and got myself back in the habit of showing up for work! Come spring, I'll add a few more windows, and pull in some more of that spectacular view.



The Long Dark Days of Winter

 

Image

Juneau isn't Barrow; even in the middle of winter, we get relief from the darkness. We see the sun from time to time, but, mostly, we live in a light diffused through the mist of light rain or fog. It can feel like winter lasts forever, but there is something comforting about it too...that cocoony kind of feeling that says, "It's okay to stay home today and read your books, sip your coffee, and just watch the world from inside." Never mind that you're wearing your long underwear and at least two layers of down...and that's with the heat on!

I really don't mind the winter. If it gets bad, I can go visit my sister for a week. One week in the dense population and high-speed heavy traffic of Seattle is enough to cure me. It won't be long til Spring!


The Shape of Things

 

Image
Letting go of stuff isn't easy; it takes practice. The goal is simplification...getting down to the essence of life, the bare necessities. I've been trying to unclutter my brain, my home, and the paintings I've been working on.

Nature is an animated clutter of animal, vegetable, and mineral...a weaving of life that can be hypnotic and overwhelming. For decades, I've looked at the vast complexity of nature and tried to capture that in my work, so, for me, it's a new challenge to work on simplification of forms in nature; to let go of the big noisy picture and focus instead on the quiet curl of a spent fireweed flower or the color of sunshine passing through a dark cherry leaf. It's like trying to reduce a great classic into a haiku. I'm loving the challenge.

Image

 


Back on Track

Image
There are times in life when it's easy to fall off the tracks; when wandering is the default; the main path is obscured. Detours on tangential journeys may or may not lead toward joy and fulfillment; at every fork in the road, all choices seem to have the same potential. You can't know until you've gone as far as you can or dare, whether or not you've chosen wisely.

My residency at the lighthouse in Norway...rewarding, but isolating...led to a time of wandering. After my residency ended, I spent time traveling with friends and family. I enjoyed visiting new places but after being away from home for so long, I felt untethered. Returning to Juneau, happy to be back in Alaska, I found that my lovely studio was about to become a stairwell; it took some time to find a new place to work, but, at last, I've stumbled back onto the right path. I have a studio again. I'm painting. Life is good. The world is beautiful. I'm back on track.