...or tries to...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Chlorine Summer Blues

When I moved to Florida, I brought with me many assumptions. Endless summer, I guess. That it smelled like coconut oil and chlorine. That every day might include a pool, late afternoons with David Hockney's arcs and squiggles dancing in rectangles of aquamarine and cerulean blue:

(though this was California)

But life fits itself back into more familiar shapes, and there's just as much sitting in rooms, inside, at desks, in front of screens, as there was before, up north. Maybe more.

But every so often, nudged by national holidays, I remember that I'm here, and there can be more late afternoons steeped deep in blue, that somehow particularly American swimming pool blue, that Hockney saw better than the rest of us did, (having coming from someplace else).

Friday, May 27, 2011

Wall Eyed

I've gotten a little inspiration wall shy. This traces back to the day I pinned a postcard way too enthusiastically and the pin board came loose and fell down the back of a very wide and heavy bookshelf, pushpins and papers and photos and feathers and ticket stubs rattling and rustling down the back of the monster bookshelf in a dramatic inspiration landslide. I just kind of stood there, on my footstool, with the little pointy pushpin still in my hand. It seemed like a message, I don't know. But I think I've gotten over it.

Boards and walls are like the inside of our heads, they're not sequential, or linear, they don't really stick to a theme, beyond the theme of ourselves, and our families, and the places we go. It all gets stuck up there, together, old and new things, new things that get older each day they're up there. Something we saw once and loved, and get to see everyday now. Things that wind up, in some way, in your art or your writing. Stuff you can't throw away, even if you don't know why yet, or ever will.

In my dollhouses, even better. Because in miniature, I can gather up every postcard I can think of, every artist I can remember, and not have to find it for real. An imaginary pin board, made real, if small.

Two excellent walls you have to see:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Collections: Tiny Furniture

Has anyone ever explained to your satisfaction the reason why we're fascinated by tiny furniture?
A lot of the time it's treated like some kind of complex, or control issue. But that's not it.

I haven't figured it out, exactly. But it has something to do with placing two worlds together, and jumping between them. The larger world vanishes, reappears. Logic gets tossed a little, like it does when we watch cartoons. We get forced out of logic, maybe, for a few minutes.

I don't mind leaving logic and proportion behind every once in a while.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Morikami Sunday

We came for the kimono exhibit inside the museum, but we stayed, and always stay, at the Morikami, for the gardens.

Because, within yards of each other, are a spectrum of petals,

And all kinds of green.

The bamboo stalks knock and squeak when the air moves them,

And shadows slide downhill.

There are steps that lead into dark places,

where leaves light up,

And you look down for tiny things hiding,

And up for bigger messages.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Collections: In my cups

I don't drink tea, but I love the cups. Especially the very tiny ones, better at holding the flowers I snipped too close than any reasonable amount of tea. They couldn't have held more than three or four sips. I can't guess who could have been satisfied by four sips, even in daintier times. (My coffee mugs are the size of oil barrels).

I like how they must have witnessed hours of gossip, or watched family dramas from their shelves in glass-front cabinets. And then there are all the mysterious reasons they wound up alone, lined up and toe-tagged on folding tables in flea markets. Did the others break, one by one, year by year, in wet sinks, on kitchen floors, as the exclamation point at the end of fights? Did the daughters deal out all of Mom's things like playing cards? Did they end up in a cardboard box somewhere, the cumulative effect of numerous flustered sons emptying out their parents' houses?

When all my stuff is relegated to cardboard boxes, there will be someone else wondering the very same thing.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Back to Nunley's, in a way

Any kid growing up in Nassau County, on Long Island, any time within 1939 - 1995, has some kind of memory of Nunley's. Nunley's was the kind of small-scale amusement park that lots of us think of while we're getting all misty about our childhoods. There were parks like it everywhere,  packed into spaces next to boardwalks, on the edges of cities, along the sides of suburban roads. My Nunley's had boats that went round and round a blue cement pool, race cars that zoomed by themselves on a wooden track, a roller coaster no taller than a school bus. There was skee ball, there was pinball, there was a Ferris Wheel, there was a mechanical fortune-teller in a case. It was wonderful.

Best of all, Nunley's had a carousel, and it was the jewel in its crown. It sat in the center of the park, in its own wooden house, made up of 41 hand carved horses, a lion, and two chariots. A machine in a cabinet with a drum stick on a spring seemed to contain a full size orchestra. It was the most exciting thing, all those spinning, rising, straining horses, the landscape paintings along the inside, the neon tubes swirling above my head.

In 1995, it was dismantled, and Nunley's turned into a Pep Boys.

The carousel disappeared for a while. There were rumours about where the pieces were, and it took on the aura and mystery of missing things. I heard that Billy Joel, who had written the carousel's music into his musical Moving Out, had tried to get it reassembled in a park in his hometown of Oyster Bay, but that never happened. For me, it remained an amorphous construction made up of a mixture of old, dark photographs and selective memory.

But on my last trip back to Long Island, in April, I found it again. It had been restored, repainted, decorated with paintings of Long Island history and set up in Uniondale. It looks only vaguely like my old merry-go-round, almost too beautifully made up, like a friend after an extreme makeover. But it's beautiful, and it's whole, and it rides again.

It truly does.

Friday, May 20, 2011

For The Party in Black and White

Three pieces from my "Collection 2" will be part of the art auction during the Rockland Center for the Arts "Party in Black and White", on May 22nd.

(Fingers crossed).