Monday, May 31, 2010

Stump Art

After three days working in the garden, I quit.  Or, should I say, my back quit.Every cough, hiccough, sneeze, brings a wince.  Enough is enough. The plants are in, and all I have to do is mulch when I feel better.

I am now ready to start cleaning up the studio in preparation for a summer of art. The piles have to be gone through, and I am being really hard on myself in regards to getting rid of things I have not used in several years.  I will sell my surplus on Etsy, or give it away to people who will make better use of it.

As I was cleaning, I thought about the stump in the front of my house that has not yet been removed by some strong young man whose rippling muscles will vanquish it in one feel swoop.  So far I have not yet found one, but I know he exists and it is only a matter of time before he shows up.

In the meantime, I decided to make it a little piece of art out of the very thing that annoys me.  After nailing them to the stump I photographed my micro world and it took on a whole new meaning.

I played with these figures 45 years ago with my brothers.  They crawled on top of Lincoln Logs, along Lego walls, and forged trails in the sandbox.  I thought it fitting to march them up and down this stump, creating a playground for the visiting ants and spiders, and every time I walk by that stump, instead of growling about it still being there, I will smile at the touch of whimsy I have added.

Patti O Sculpture.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Flowers in my Bed

It is still the season where my art is my garden.

I am feeding my soul as well as my body, and this time of year I am getting the beds sown and mulched.  From June on I reap the joys from the beauty of the flowers and the fruits of the vine.  Like Monet, I do not have to go far to find my inspiration.

Tonight's photos are of some of the flowers.  A hybrid columbine.  An iris from Karen's house.  The end color of the blue hydrangea that I got on sale at Davenports.  The white tea rose bush that I bought Larry for our "soft anniversary". 

Each week the landscape changes and I fill my vase with a new bouquet of flowers. This week I have an abundance ( if you want any, let me know) of wild Japanese irises, the dark purple kind, of white and pink columbine (can get you seeds soon), lily of the valley (I have extra pips!!)  and ferns. Pansies are in pots and in boxes, scattered around the house.

For the first time in a year after my illness, my body is happy as it is full of red leaf, butter crunch, romaine, arugula and spinach from my raised bed.  They have no bugs, are full and healthy, and I use NO chemicals!  I don't think you can get any better than this.

In my garden I find peace.  I yearn for the studio, but that will be for rainy weekends, and for when school ends.  In the meantime I

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Digging in the Dirt

Today was a great day --- FIELD TRIP!!

25 students and 5 teachers armed with picks, chisels, hammers, goggles, and gloves headed into some rock walls that contained Herkimer diamonds and trilobite and other fossils.  The rain held out, and the temps stayed cool for a few hours of searching, exploring, and enjoying nature.

I find that the best learning comes from hands-on  outdoor exploration with kids.  It forces them to slow down and look, ask questions, discover, and enjoy the world they live in.  For the most part, they were focused and excited, and some became experts on looking for vugs in the dolostone.

A few of the girls and I headed to a huge area that contained many rocks with fossils. We climbed up and down huge boulders,  looking at the fossils from millions of years ago.  We also found the skeletal remains of things that I did not recognize but took back with me anyway.

At the end after lunch, we got a tour of the cement factory, complete with nerdy protective eye wear and hard hats. The rain held off until the end of the trip, and the ride home was eerily quiet.  Guess everyone was worn out from a full day of adventure!

Photo is the inside of the cement plant and one of the large fossil rocks.  Two sets of batteries crapped out on me but not before I got a few photos.

Back soon for the report on the Encaustic Painting trip on Thursday!

patti o fossil

PS photos taken in Cementon, NY, a bit north of Saugerties. We got special permission, thanks to  Cheryl, the plant manager at Lehigh Cement Company.   It takes a lot of work to pull this off...but it was so worth it!

PPS-the cement company is on the far shore to the left in the photo that is the trademark of my blog and many of my paintings.  

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Musings in the Rain

 My gardening work has come to a halt with the cold and the rain, so over the weekend I started a few peat pot trays indoors to satisfy my spring drive to plant and nuture. 

After a long day of work, I came home and checked on my babies.  The zinnias and beans were popping their sleepy heads out of the soft peat.  The others were still barely stirring in their seed coats.

Watching seedlings grow takes me back to the magic of childhood, when in third grade I did an experiment growing a beans in a variety of conditions.  I made a chart and wrote a paper on it, and won third prize in the school science fair.  I remember being shocked, but also sad, as my parents did not take me to the fair.  I wanted to be recognized for what I thought was ingenious work.  Instead, I got the project back with the prize tag hanging off it. 

Perhaps it was that early success that cultured my love for science. In high school I took AP science - Physiology and Microbiology.  I was in an after school group that tested the waters in the Woodstock area, checking on oxygen levels as well as bacteria.  I also surveyed trees in the area that was being prepared to be made into a state park.  I felt myself drawn to both disciplines, and decided that I wanted to be a medical illustrator.  But colleges that offered those degrees were far far away and more than I could afford as my father made it very plain that unless I was going to be a teacher or a nurse, he wasn't paying for my education. 

I ended up majoring in art at a college I could afford...the local community college and took Earth Science, Anatomy,  and Astronomy.  I got A's or in the classes, or at least a high B, and I remember one of my professors looking down at me over a beer at a party and slurring "you should major in are a natural" he studied the top button of my blouse.

Years later, after being divorced with two little children, I got my bachelors and masters in Art Education as I was tired of working three jobs to make ends meet.   In graduate school I took a few courses on integrating the sciences with art, and never thought much about it after that.

The irony of this musing is that today at our Superintendent Conference Day, my co-worker and I did a presentation on a new course called "Art and Science" where we teach botany, conservation, ecology, earth science,  chemistry, etc and match up our studies with an art project.  The study of flowers bought forth large O'Keefe influenced paintings, the water samples from bodies of water provided fascinating illustrations of monera and protista,  chemistry bought forth handmade and marlbed papers.  The trip to the cement quarry will hopefully provide fossils and Herkimer diamonds to wire wrap into jewelry. 

As I reflect about the day,  I go back to my plants and look at them once more.  The magic of life still humbles me, and I am grateful and deeply satisfied in the paths I have chosen in my teaching and art career.    I  nurture my babies, put them in the ground, and watch them grow....

Patti O Planter

and wrote a comparison

Thursday, May 06, 2010

I was...

I was a late bloomer. A very late bloomer. But oh what a flower.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

I've Been...

I've been working.
mushroom hunting
attending openings
submitting to art shows
visiting with friends A LOT (I am getting tired from too many busy nights and not enough sleep)

not writing. not art.

But I am percolating stories to tell and I suspect some more art will be springing forth soon.

Stay tuned.

Photos of morels found on Sunday's very hot and humid hike in the woods. I escaped from the poison ivy, stinging nettle, bugs this time around. And I bagged some shrooms, and really enjoyed the three plus hours of observing nature in detail in the woods. 

It was tough however, hiking in 90 degree weather in long sleeves and jeans/high socks and boots while having hot flashes.  Needless to say, I showered a few times that day.