Cody is an English Cream Golden Retriever who lives in England with my daughter and her family. For three weeks I stayed at their home and babysat this cute puppy. Wondering what I was going to do with myself while I took care of him, I gave myself an assignment: Learn how to draw a dog. Besides sketching, I wrote some prose and a few poems. Maybe there is an Artists’ book in the making. I have the images and the words. The next step is figuring out a structural form for a book. Then, do it!
A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine took me to the San Francisco Ballet. Our seats were the best – front and center. No photography was allowed during the performance, but I could draw. So I sketched in the dark. In a small moleskine sketchbook, using a pencil, I put down the gesture of the dance, the backdrop on stage – sometimes I draw the audience. This time I sketched the conductor. When I get home it’s always fun to see what happened in the dark. I can recognize figures moving in space, the conductor’s face and some of the backdrops referring to Russia.
Shostakovich Trilogy is a ballet about choreographer Alexei Shostakovich’s experience living in Russia under Stalin, as well as experiences he had later in life. References to these periods in Russian history are reflected in many of the production’s design elements. These references can be found in the use of the revolutionary red and the hammer and sickle in the backdrop.
Wynton at the Fairmont by Carla Saunders
Probably no one will notice that I’ve been put under house arrest. I’m not Lindsay Lohan or Aung San Suu Kyi. All I want to do is go to the studio and paint, hang out somewhere and draw or take some photographs, even try writing a poem. My studio is neater than my room at home. There are three paintings at the studio waiting for me to complete. But, here at home there are bills to be paid, forms to be filled, magazines to be read or to be thrown away and piles of papers, books and ‘stuff’ waiting to be put someplace. We’ve moved a bookcase into my room. It’s empty. Books are in bags, piled on the floor. Papers are stacked in the bathtub. There is a tower of art that is about to topple. A soft white rabbit ready to pop out of a soft black top hat, sits by my computer. Legacy by Linda Spence is open on my desk.
Michael Ondaatje’s book, Coming Through Slaughter is on top of a pile of books somewhere in this room. Ondaatje wrote about Buddy Bolden a New Orleans cornet player in the early 1900’s. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fezzxFjcf This book is my all time favorite. It’s as if you are reading a poem, or going in and out of jazz improvisation or wandering through an abstract painting. Today and until I finish this room, time on all technical devices shall be limited (after I finish this post.) Permission is granted to go out to buy food or get some exercise. Maybe I’ll listen to some jazz while I get this place organized.
Thank you, Emily. I really had fun with this collaboration.
I received Emily’s photograph September 28nd 2013. Having followed her blog, from the beginning, I had often thought what would I do if I were asked to put together a piece for this collaboration.
Emily invited me to participate and I was sent the photograph to interpret from my point of view. My first thought was, I’m looking at a full moon at night viewed from a moving train. The image reminded me of an overnight trip on a local train from Hanoi to Sapa in Northern Vietnam. I lay on a steel plank on the bottom bunk. I shared the compartment with five other people. It was dark. Flashes of light came in through the window. Metal against metal screeched. Strange smells, sights and sounds of humans asleep came at me for what turned out to be a long nightmarish night. I kept my mind occupied by writing a poem…
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