Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Settling in for Autumn

Last night on the way to class I noticed the autumn leaves blowing everywhere; swirling around the corners of the downtown buildings and golden yellow against the foggy, rainy grey streets. I had to put on my parka to cross the street for the parking meter - the wind was very cool and blowing hard. It feels like October. I'm catching up with myself after a wonderful, filled-to-the-brim summer.

I look a photo of our classroom to share with you. We meet in an old brick warehouse in the industrial area of NW Portland. I love the room with its high ceilings and smell of art supplies. I love old, old buildings with wood floors and outdated wiring. I feel at home here. I am a student and my classes have so often met in rooms like this.

Last night we learned techniques for mixing dry pigments with water and then incorporating that into the wax. After Jeff's demonstration we retired to our individual stations to ponder our slabs of plywood. Knitted brows. Holy cow, what is art? What am I doing? I don't know the answer to that. I only know that the materials fill my heart with joy and wonder. When the world is insane, art mends my heart, over and over. Music, stories, words and color.

The rains are here so we've left the remaining grapes on the vines for the birds. We have a city of birds that live with us and we feel a responsibility for them. They need to eat too. (Just leave the figs alone a while longer, please?)

Japanese Anemones, gaily bobbing in the wind. A little battered but still a welcome sight.

Our wonderful, warty squash supply. Lined up in a dry place where their stems will dry off for winter storage. Like a little army of turbaned gnomes.

Do you like roasted chilis on your eggs, your tostadas, your enchiladas and in your tamales? Mmmm, me too. John develops his own strains from seeds he's saved over the years. Muy, muy sabroso!

After we've enjoyed the radicchio, we enjoy the flowers of the radicchio. Did you know they were this pretty?

This is a variety of brown tomato that John tried this year. Tomatillos in the background. Both necessities at our house.

Do you think potatoes are pretty? I do. These are yellow finns and they taste like buttuh! I love buttuh.

Volunteer hearty cyclamen discovered among the artichokes. Notice how the new blossoms spiral up out of the undergrowth. When I'm out in the garden, smelling the soil, the rain, the vegetation, I know I am a good animal and that my home is the earth. I am home. My heart stills and I am content.


Kelly Kilmer said...

Oh yum! Everything looks yummy-even the art looks real, and colorful and yummy enough to eat!!

Shari Beaubien said...

Of course I love reading about your art, Judy. But I also love reading all about your gardens. Goodness! Are you two farmers!?!? I'm so curious... How did you get so proficient at gardening and what do you do with so much food? I'd love to be able to grow a good portion of my diet, but I only seem to have luck with a few measley tomatoes. And the worms feast on most of those! Hugs, Shari

kelly snelling said...

your encaustic piece is a JOY! that red and turquoise bumping up against one another makes me sing the hallelujah chorus. perfect! and i am envious of your garden bounty. it always makes me so happy when you post your garden pictures. it reminds me of my grandmothers' gardens when i was little. wonderful memories.

Karen Cole said...

Your painting is as delicious looking as the food. Beautiful color and texture.

I'm trying to figure out the water and pigment mixing with the wax. Whatever.....I bet it smells great in that studio!

bridgette said...

beautiful painting, Judy.

Lu said...

Buttah potatoes! Yum, yum, yum!

Ro Bruhn said...

What a bountiful harvest you have Judy, I see lots of still life paintings there. I just love, love, love what you did in class, the colour combination, subject, texture, it's all fabulous.

amyrehnae said...

What a beautiful, bountiful harvest! And I plan to put the quote from your journal page some place where I can see it..."Stress Arises From Unreasonable Expectations"...I need to remember that, as I place unreasonable expectations on myself all the time, and I am always stressed! Seems so simple, and yet...why can't I remember that?? Ha! You are so talented in so many the art of inspire me! Thanks for your honesty in that it is not always easy, and that you have doubts, questions, and fears just like the rest of us! That probably inspires me even more!

katie said...

oh judy! ahhh...... my soul feels so full and brimming with sweet satisfaction after taking in all the richness and beauty of your photographs and words, all steeped in your heart and essence. your life as an artist, your connection to the earth and elements, john, your love and your green thumb gardener...thank you, thank you for sharing, do you know how much richer my world is because of you?

Pilar said...

I am sure the personality of your classroom with its many stories adds incredibly to the energy of the class. I enjoy reading your weekly progress report and viewing your latest creations. The colors of red, white and turquiose dance off the page in dervish patterns. Fun! I can completely understand your connection to your avian friends. We have our own little feathered community in our backyard, who have become like family over the years. Our little guys do not get the goodies your birds do though. I am not going to tell them about the bounty of your garden because I know they will fly immediately to your digs and invite themselves to dinner. :D

Roben-Marie said...

Oh, Judy! What a lovely piece! I wish I could have been there! I am so ready to learn encaustic!! I wish we had someone on the east coast!

Have a great day!
Roben-Marie :)