Home Studio: October 17th
I am currently enrolled in an online class with 426 other people from at least 15 different countries. The class subject is the study of the spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi. Growing up as a non Catholic I didn’t know much about St. Francis other than he seemed to like birds and you could buy statues of him to put into your garden. Then I discovered his teachings of the spirituality found in nature so I wanted to learn more. Below is a poem by St. Francis that we discussed in class last week.
I once spoke to my friend, an old squirrel, about the Sacraments—
he got so excited
and ran into a hollow in his tree and came
back holding some acorns, an owl feather,
and a ribbon he had found.
And I just smiled and said, “Yes, dear,
This poem struck a chord with me. The squirrel had his sacred items – his treasure – his connection to what is sacred in the world. I have a similar collection in my studio, bird’s nests (intricately beautiful and mysterious), feathers, sea shells, stones, hazel nuts, pine cones . . . all are mysterious beautiful and a testament to creation.
I have spent the last two days away from the studio. I injured my right hand by not protecting it enough when I was engraving with my dry point needle. My index finger went numb, it still isn’t fully back yet but it should be fine by tomorrow. I have some finishing touches to do on my plate and then I should be able to start printing tomorrow afternoon.
The drawing is of an Olive Tree which is one of many I photographed and have drawn from my time working in Cyprus this last February. I drew this one in ink in preparation for a Lithograph print, I decided to do a dry point engraving of it, as well.
Ireland: Monday, July 22, 2013
I took my walk yesterday along the foot of Moneen and Aillwee mountains onto the ringfort of Cathair na hYamham. I found things much changed from what I experienced in my past visits. This visit is much later in the season so there are different wildflowers and vegetation (in the past I have visited the Burren in May and in early June). In the past there were stiles built into the stone walls in which one could easily climb over and wander and investigate the limestone pavement. These stiles either no longer exist or the full growth of the vegetation has them well hidden.
The landscape was very beautiful and peaceful and I started taking some close up photos with my little Nikon camera that has served me well over the years. In the past it has periodically given me some trouble with the little automatic lens cover getting stuck –well yesterday it decide that it is stuck for good and will not allow me to take any photographs because of an lens cover error message. All the photos that I will post from now on with be taken with my iPhone.
The field that contains the ringfort of Cathair na hYamham has changed a lot as well. Before where there was a large field for grazing cows has now been divided up into separate fields by stone walls made of very large pieces of limestone, so large that only some kind of mechanized earth mover would have been able achieve. The stone walls along the narrow roadway have been built up which no longer makes it possible to enter the field to walk to the ringfort.
This morning I received an email from Anne Korff of Tir Eolas Publishing in Kinvara to set up a meeting for tomorrow morning to review the concept for my book project. She will be meeting me at the bus stop at Kinvara at 10:00 so I will be taking the early bus from Ballyvaughan.
I was planning on traveling into Galway today but I will stay here at Meadowfield and do some manuscript writing to prepare for tomorrow’s meeting. The owner of Meadowfield B&B has been very gracious to allow me to turn her dining room into an office after her guests have had their breakfasts and are out for the day.
I was lucky enough to finish two new drawings just before I left for Ireland and put them into the mock-up layout of the book: The Holy Well of the Holy Cross and Poulnabrone Dolmen. I hope the writing muse is with me today as I labor . . .
Ireland: Sunday, July 21, 2013
I arrived in Ireland on Wednesday, July 17th and was driven from Shannon airport to Meadowfield B&B in Ballyvaughan by Thomas Connely. It’s wonderful to be back in the Burren. I have been spending most of my days here taking advantage of the very fine weather by going on little walking tours and talking with the B&B guests here at Meadowfield. The weather has been in the 80’s, sunny and with a nice breeze.
Yesterday I had a lunch with PJ Curtis to review a book project I’m currently working on. I got to know PJ because of a lecture he did for my students at the Burren College of Art (BCA) several years ago, maybe it was in 2008. After the lecture PJ and I had lunch at the BCA Cafe and found that we had many interests in common. He was a friend of the late John O’Donohue and much of our conversation that day was about O’Donohue’s writings and beliefs.
Yesterday I found that PJ is also a friend of another author that I much admire, Phil Cousineau, whose book “The Art of Pilgrimage” helped to inspire my direction and subject matter for the course content of Midwest Institute’s Ireland Study Trips and direct me to the focus of my 2009 sabbatical studies. After our lunch we looked through the drawings and layout of the book I’m working on, the preliminary title is “An Artist’s Notebook of the Burren”. The purpose of the book is twofold: 1) To serve as a portfolio of my drawings of the Burren; and 2) To help communicate to the visitor (tourist) that this landscape has an ancient history and a spirit of its own -while conveying that this landscape and its relics are not only beautiful but fragile and deserving of their honor and respect. I’m am happy to report that PJ was very enthusiastic and encouraging. We made plans to meet later this week where he will take me to to places in the eastern part of the Burren that should be included in my book.
As I mentioned earlier the weather has been very fine but I see that it is suppose to rain tomorrow. It is now 2:30 in the afternoon so I should take this opportunity to take another of my walking tours. I will walk the road the skirts the foot of Moneen Mountain and the foot of Aillwee Mountain, perhaps I’ll visit the ringfort of Cathair na hYamham.
Art Hop January 6, 2012
Photographs of the artwork exhibited at the Ninth Wave Studio on the January 6th Art Hop. Artists included:
Mary Hatch, Beth Purdy, Linda Rzoska, Doet Boersma, Michael Dunn, Karen French, Mindi Bagnall, Jeff Evergreen, Don VanAuken, Chad LaForce and Angela Olson.
Click on the photos below to enlarge.