Sunday, September 15, 2013


Cynther's Electrolux

What, pray tell, is this metal and plastic creature
Stretched long and low upon my bedroom floor,
Ancient grey cylinder astride three plastic wheels?
Your tubular neck slithers down to a choice of probosci
Custom-made for the job at hand–drapery, rug, wood, baseboards.
How hungry you must be for dust bunnies to devour!
How slyly you anticipate my toe tap on your brawny back.
Ha! A hot spot poised for action
Teases me to give your starter a go.

Va-Va-Va-Voom. Whoa, baby, You’re eating my lunch,
And a world of detritus below the cushions.
Here’s to your voracious appetite and a bottomless gut.
“Feed me”, you roar, “Fill me. Dump me. Give me more!”
You are the queen of empty promises and temporary hopes.
Dirty-Clean-Dirty-Clean-Dirty yet again.

Dearest Readers,
Thanks to Cynther Greene and her excellent Electrolux beast of a vacuum cleaner. She owns the studio and apartment I’ve been in this summer. I will miss her, this place and beautiful Peacham Vermont.

Tomorrow I start my slow drive from Vermont back home to Decatur, Georgia. I can hardly wait to see my family and friends and am nearly ready to roll. The leaves are beginning to turn, and the morning weather was 37˚ one day last week and 39˚ another. Time to return. 

 I’ll leave you all with another unique Vermont museum. I squeezed in a trip to the Bread and Puppet Theater Museum not far from here. A two story barn is chock full of very big and some very small hand made puppets. A couple generations of this group have been making good, cheap art (their words), and politically charged puppet shows since the 60’s.Click on the pictures to enlarge.
Let Them Eat Cake

I attended a performance of Bread and Puppet's This and That Circus at the end of August. They have a fun loving spirit, slapstick humor, and a positive vision of social change. After the show we in the audience on the Bread and Puppet’s land, lined up for free crunchy home made sourdough bread drenched in garlic and olive oil.
Circus Finale:Slow fly-by of the Moon, planets and the Visionaries in an adjoining field

Side Stage: The Warrior and the Dragon

The Tiger Tamers

In my opinion B&P Theater is both visionary and a lot of fun! Here are links to two silly circus acts I taped. One I call the Tiger Tamers
Check out the puppet men who come in at the end to clean up the tiger puppet poop!
The second video is a random segment with stilt-legged puppets dancing to the band.(1:23)

Three cheers for art and summer fun!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Museum Entrance

Dearest Readers,
Hail to the singular town of Glover Vermont, and the ramshackle barn known as The Museum of Everyday Life, open 8am to 8pm daily! Turn the lights on when you enter, leave a donation in the box, and turn off the lights when you are done. A donkey in the fenced field is the first to greet you. The current exhibition is The Pencil and the 21st Century
Museum Map

A map leads the viewer from the Raymond Roussel Memorial Vestibule into the Great Hall featuring pieces from their permanent collection gleaned from past shows on the safety pin and the match. 
Safety pin sculptures & a shelf with a match box sculpture from the Permanent Collection

A gigantic bear costume impaled with rough-hewn pencils??? stands by the entrance to the Special Exhibition Gallery. 
Bear costume impaled with pencils perhaps?

I stand in front of the pencil-encrusted archway into the main space. That’s my friend Julie Puttgen in the gallery.

Pencil archway into the gallery's current exhibit

 Here are some examples of the pieces on view. 
C-Print of carved pencil point

Interactive Pencil "dart-board"Installation-pencils on shelf out of view
I forgot to photograph a closed door in the back of the gallery labeled Mysterious Door-Not Open to the Public. I guess I will never know what lies behind it. (Maybe a philosopher–see below.)

A lot goes on at this Museum. They feature a Performance Department–I liked the ToyTheater,
on their website. There's an Exhibition Department which organizes the shows, and a Philosophy Dept. offering philosophy residencies with housing for writing in rooms somewhere in the barn, uninterrupted project time, and arrangements made for artist space. Interested philosophers can apply by answering questions on the residency page:

One of the questions for the applicant is Do you have any farming/carpentry/plumbing/electrical or animal husbandry skills?

I love this place.

I’ll close with a copy of The First Manifesto of the Museum of Everyday Life. There are three more manifestos from the Philosophy Dept. at this link:
(The Roach Manifesto, Manifesto of Pre-Emptive Peace, and The Hurricane Manifesto No.1)

Here's Manifesto #1. Click on it to enlarge:

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


The Atheneum

Dearest Readers,

Step inside two unique Victorian museums near me in St. Johnsbury, VT (pop. 7,600), donated to the town by the local industrialist Fairbanks family in the late 1800’s.

The Atheneum library and museum is a celebration of art, learning, and the flamboyance of wood decoration and brick architecture. Go to the website for close-ups of the paintings and rooms.

The interior preserves a hallowed academic atmosphere alongside internet technologies. A docent is available for a tour of the Victorian landscape and children's storybook paintings and several Hudson River School pieces.
Library Museum with Bierstadt's Double Domes of Yosemite

Romantic Victorian painter Albert Bierstadt took liberties with this massive painting of the Domes of Yosemite, moving sights of interest to suit the composition.

Copy of a Rembrandt Self-Portrait

Copy of Raphael's Madonna and Child

I was at first amazed at the collection of paintings by Raphael and Rembrandt, but learned that they are all copies (in need of re-stretching). Perhaps creating great fakes was a learning tool for art appreciation in a time when few from such a small town could travel abroad.

Seymour Guy's Red Riding Hood -my favorite. "That way to Grandma's House"

The Fairbanks Museum

Let’s cross Main Street now to the Fairbanks Museum of Natural Science, a rusticated, red stone, Byzantine-style exterior enclosing a soaring, low-lit balconied hall jammed with curiosity cabinets.

Small section of the bird collection

 There’s a superabundance of 100+ year-old taxidermied birds and mammals from all over the world, including the now extinct passenger pigeon, ivory-billed woodpecker, and many endangered creatures.

Endangered and extinct animals from the collection

 I hate to think of all the hunting and killing involved in creating this museum, but I must admit two of my favorite pieces are a scary, dusty stuffed polar bear not protected by a glassed case, and a mosaic by John Hampson of President Lincoln delivering the Emancipation Proclamation made entirely out of bug bodies and wings, still well preserved since the 19th century.
Needs a hosing down

Hampson's assemblage of minute bug wings and bodies

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Golden Dawn-Step 1 The big bright uncertainty

 Dearest Readers,
This is the summer of painting through uncertainty–diving in instead of holding back; risking ruin in my Peacham, Vermont studio (with the help of a glass of wine and loud music for moral support at the final phase.) Ursula LeGuin’s new translation of the ancient verses of the Tao Te Ching has offered me some parallels on my artist’s Way. This week the notion of “Not Knowing” frames my work. I’m trying to say something in paint about a recent wellspring of essential being that is bubbling up from inside. The inner spark has both its dark and light incarnations. Unlike last summer’s hole digging, this force manifests by rising up, not delving down.
So, join me as I approach a painting entitled Golden Dawn, begun in April at home in Georgia, then worked and reworked in my mountainside studio until it seems to give voice to this tangled mystery inside. Click on any image to enlarge.
First, here's Lao Tzu's poem that served as inspiration for the process:

Look at it: nothing to see.
Call it colorless.
Listen to it: nothing to hear.
Call it soundless.
Reach for it: nothing to hold.
Call it intangible.

Triply undifferentiated,
It merges into oneness,
Not bright above,
Not dark below.

Never, oh! never
Can it be named.
It reverts, it returns
To unbeing.
Call it the form of the unformed,
The image of no image.

Call it unthinkable thought.
Face it: no face.
Follow it: no end.

Holding fast to the old Way,
We can live in the present.
Mindful of the ancient beginnings,
We hold the thread of the Tao.
-Lao Tzu

Golden Dawn-Step 2 Something rises like segmented wings
3. Stripped down and transparent
4. solid and blocked
5. Adding different voices

 6. Too Much Chatter

7. Moving backwards

8. Adding a limited language of pink
9. Now some yellow blending with the background + turquoise striped centers

10. Final addition of 2 rough, intertwined swaths of black, stirring up the mystery that I'm feeling.
It's finished.