Sunday, June 17, 2012


Dearest Readers,

Rutland, Vermont Studio 6.14.2012
After much dipping into and pulling back of my toes from the waters of my home-made Vermont studio, I’m now drawing, painting and writing. It’s a relief. I’m never sure what the big hump is initially that I need to get over, but once overcome, I’m a free bird in my creative element. I’ve finished a new drawing of leafy wings surrounding a golden heart.
Heart Cradled in the Nest of Loving Kindness

An abstracted version is in progress. This week’s portrait depicts the feeling of being “even” balance and calm. 
Portrait #11-"Even" (fearless portrait technique)

I learned this two-handed, two-color “fearless portrait” technique this week from friend and Atlanta artist Ginger Birdsey, who spends her summers in the lovely, dark, and deep mountain woods of Ripton, VT– home of poet Robert Frost. Here's how to do it: Stand or sit in front of your paper with one color drawing tool in the right hand and another color in the left. Begin drawing your face from memory, moving both hands and both colored tools at the same time-I repeat at the same time. This seems to free the mind from its worries about perfection. Make minor touch-ups when it is complete. Voila!  Dog Etta came with me to Ginger’s place and romped around a pond leash-less, sniffing bear and wild smells while we spread a blanket over the damp earth and ate our lunch of tomato soup, spicy chicken salad and crusty bread. Thank you, Ginger!

I wake most days at dawn to the raucous sounds of a family of crows with babies that flap and dive around my upstairs apartment. They have an aerie high in a pine tree across the street. They caw, croak, argue and chatter until late afternoon. In an occasional pensive mood, they almost sound like geese with a rhythmic raspy honk.  I tried to ignore their presence. I surrender and honor them instead.
"HeArts of Rutland" Community Artist Project for Flood Relief
One Heart in Situ at Fire Station

I’m walking a lot. Shops, restaurants, supermarket, post office, pharmacy and even a small Wal-Mart are easy to get to on foot here. Last Sunday at noon, Etta and I walked to a show of thirty fiberglass hearts painted by volunteer artists that will be auctioned in the Fall to benefit the victims of the 2011 floods from Hurricane Irene. They will be displayed outdoors throughout the city during the summer.
The community project is called HeArts of Rutland.
Fagan Family Home-90 East Street, Rutland VT

My studio/apartment is two and one half  blocks away from the James and Elizabeth Dunn Fagan family homestead at 90 East Street–my maternal grandparents house and stewpot of childhood memories. It was sold in the 70’s, but still exudes a gravitational tug that pulls me into its field of dreams. The poem Daredevils is set on the sweeping veranda. The rockers exist now only in my mind.


Mommy held me on her lap during summer storms.
We rocked on the porch after dark
Tossed by the wind, sprayed by the driving rain
Like seafarers on the bounding main
Cresting, rocking, diving,
Laughing at lightning as it ripped down the black wall of sky,
Shrieking on cue when the thunder cracked–
Riding that lifeboat up and down
Faster and faster
Wrapped in each others fear and joy.
We dipped and dived until the next blade of fire
Lit up the yard, the triple-decker swallow house,
And every leaf on a row of lilacs.
For a startling moment, the magic of the cosmos
Slashed through the safe life,
And turned my mother and I into daredevils.

I leave you readers with two poems written at dusk...the magic time in Vermont. The pre-night silence for me falls like a blanket wrapped around homes and machines. It is a thing in itself, soothing and surprising–descending invisibly. I often stand in the partial light marveling at where this essence has come from.

 Be still. Hear this walking breath
In-then-out astride my rhythmic steps.
Walk along the ridge of Grove Street
Where the brown shingled mansion
With the gambrel roof
Meets the stand of black pines
That muster there like sentinels
Strong and brave.

Oh Spirit of Quietude,
Allow this hallowed mountain town
To wrap its orange silence
Around my stone wall,
Up to dusky clouds,
And out beyond the distant peaks
of Pico and Killington
Spotlit in sunset
Forever and ever Amen.


Something is in suspension here.
Loud words are muffled.
Motors have been put to bed.
Crepuscular winds roll through the maples
Reciting the mystery of oxygen–
Whistling a tale of deep weightlessness–
While something unspoken is
Holding its breath.

1 comment:

  1. Dearest Fellow Spiritual Art Pilgrim, I am so delighted for you to have found balance in your summer studio and to see you making art that speaks from the SOUL. I am drawn in to your two-colored portrait and even more amazed to learn how it was created! Great friend Ginger is for sharing that mode of art making with you. I also love the image of the is beautiful! I love these loud noisy must too!

    So much to take in of the photos, artwork, and poetry! I love the image of your grandparents' house and the poem that follows! Love your writing and blogging!