Sunday, December 9, 2018

perhaps a king

A Chair in Snow
by Jane Hirshfield

A chair in snow
should be
like any other object whited
& rounded

and yet a chair in snow is always sad

more than a bed
more than a hat or house
a chair is shaped for just one thing

to hold
a soul its quick and few bendable

perhaps a king

not to hold snow
not to hold flowers

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Arceneaux/Menou/Borgeau Belgian waffles

Arceneaux/Menou Belgian Waffles

I'm anticipating Christmas...nothing new there.  This Belgian waffle recipe passed through my mom's family--complete with cinnamon and nutmeg--is one of the tastes of Christmas to me.  These waffles are not the light and fluffy kind you eat with syrup.  They are dense and dry, best with a glass of eggnog. A stand mixer is easiest for the batter; my mom has broken several spoons attempting mixing by hand.  

 My great-great grandmother, Julia Bourgeau Menou Arceneaux, made these waffles.  Their signature shape is irregular, so as not to waste any batter spilling out of the waffle iron.  Now my mom and several of her siblings make them, some with their own special flair.  

Sunday, November 25, 2018

o tidings

Thankful for family, friends, health and a job I like this Thanksgiving.  
God rest ye and all of yours.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

what language would love to be

Plein air painting, like gardening, I think I like the idea of a lot more than I do the thing itself.  It seems romantic and natural, kind of the way things should be done.  It also requires a lot of movement of supplies and inconveniences. 

I use my computer for most art projects, with guidance from Google images or other photographs in digital form.  However, I do enjoy a rare moment when I can bring a small piece of outside indoors, and study it in the comfort of my familiar environs.  :)

In the last few weeks, I listened to "The Inner Landscape of Beauty, an interview of poet and philosopher John O'Donoghue" by Krista Tippett.  (

Among the topics discussed is Celtic music.  Both acknowledge its particular capacity to summon up the great joys and sorrows, somehow at once.  Donoghue attributes this to he fact that it contains the lines of landscape, and the history of the people.  He reflects, "I always think that music is what language would love to be if it could."  

The other weekend I heard Jarlath Henderson, one of the artists at the Richmond Folk Fest, who happened to come from Northern Ireland.  Em, he's worth a listen.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

On Nana's 98th Birthday

I've been writing some poetry over the last year, keeping a new year's resolution to write 1 poem a month.  It's been a nice, quiet, non-messy divergence from my usual visual art.  In honor of Nana's 98th (!!) birthday today, here's one.  


are what the child knows.

That you can start to cross the street before the car has passed
is what the mother knows.

That you can again find a center of balance
is what the man on the bike knows.

At the intersection is a doctor’s office. 
My grandmother, ninety-seven, is inside
filling out a medical questionnaire.

When she comes to the part requesting 
the medical history of her parents and 
grandparents, she laughs, making even the clerk look up.

That it can demand stillness 
is what the intersection knows.

But that there is no other intersection for miles
is what the street cannot know, 

which is what the child knows,
is what the mother knows,

is what the man on the bike,
dropping hands from handlebars,


Saturday, July 14, 2018

"It's like somebody's plugged a light in"

oil, 11x14"

Enchroma glasses allow people who are color blind to see colors on the spectrum they have never seen before.  You can watch videos of adults seeing colors for the first time:   
With the glasses, many people take a few moments to adjust to their new environment.  Some react emotionally.  Some verbally process the experience in a way you wonder if a newborn would, if he or she could.  They are childlike in their exploration of the environment.  It seems purple is especially striking.  Several choose to have this "first" experience in a garden.

(Also worth watching are videos of people with cochlear implants hearing for the first time:

This painting marks my return to oil painting after more than ten years.  Oil is the preferred medium for many professional painters due to its vibrancy, texture, and endurance over time.  It also comes with additional particularities: it takes a long time to dry, it requires special solutions to wash the brushes...until now, with the development of water-soluble oil paints which require no toxic cleaning solutions and come with no associated smells!

I painted this for friends getting married today who enjoy contra dancing.  As usual, I don't like painting people, so I'm hoping the vibrancy of color can help make up for, say, the lack of faces...  Here's to many more dances to come!