Wednesday, March 31, 2010

ok, hi!
i've got twenty three things to do today and am getting a late start, so i've decided to sit down here and write a quick blog post. makes sense, right?

here's what's up::
we spent the day doing a major clear out of closets, and as a reward, we drove our bad-selves to ikea last night at 7pm and bought a bunch of new little things that will spruce the place up in the tiniest, but most satisfying of ways. paper lamps, tea towels, pretty wooden trays, pillow covers, throw rugs, glass storage jars for the kitchen, and birch magazine holders for the office.
i love this ritual as much as anything. it completely motivates me to get things organized and to look at the house in a whole new way.
and it got the girls to clean out their closets.

today tim finally broke, and walked into the office to work. he'd been staying at home since the COLOR show ended, and technically we don't have to have the gallery open. i think out of solidarity with me, as there is no school this week, which is sweet. but the singing and the yelling and the temptation of the kitchen finally got to him, i guess. i support his decision and his will power fully.

the kitten keeps walking across the keyboard as i type, and twice now she has successfully shut windows down with one paw. i called tim to laugh about it and he wanted to know what key that is.

and, on a perhaps related note: what do you feed cats when you've run out of cat food, and just given them the last of the tuna?

anna's birthday is friday. 'nuf said.

i've finally moved the little white sparkly lights from christmas out of the house and onto the porch. it's supposed to be in the seventies later this week.

i'm thinking of putting the knitting basket(s) away in a closet for a while. they just sit there and mock me, and it's getting me down.

i love that my girls think that the "romantic depot" that we pass on the way to whole foods sells wedding dresses. they, um, don't. right?

tomorrow i get to spend the day with a friend and i just can not wait. can not wait to see her!

alright. i'm done now. time to get to work. thanks for sitting through that. and thanks for reading.

Monday, March 29, 2010

four questions for heather smith jones.

[small works by heather smith jones available in the gallery and the online store.]

earlier this month heather smith jones agreed to do a little interview with me about her work, and i asked her exactly four questions. her answers are thoughtful and interesting, and you can read them here, and also (soon) on the interviews page on the gallery site.

tt::was there a time in your life where you consciously decided to pursue being an artist, or did you always feel there wasn't any other path for you?

hsj::You know the notion of being made to do a particular thing? I think I always knew I would be an artist and doubt I ever considered anything else. Making art is what I love to do; it's where my instincts and passions, talents and skills convene. My parents, both artists, nurtured creativity and encouraged my own artistic interests from a young age. I consider it a valuable experience as well to have grown up in a home surrounded by handmade things.

tt:: i'm interested in your process. where, when, and how do you like to work? would tell us about your studio, and what time of day, how often you work, etc...

hsj::I'm in the studio daily and love the freshness of working in the morning when my thoughts are new. My studio itself is designed and built by my husband from reclaimed materials as well as local lumber. It was a labor of love to construct as well as a lot of sweat and tears, probably some blood too. Every day when I walk in the studio door I take a deep breath and am grateful for it and for all that went into its making. It truly is my favorite place to be.

tt:: there are a few recurring images in your work, but is there a theme or themes that you would say ties various series of paintings together? or a question that you are trying to pose or answer through your work?

hsj::I'm continually interested in the dichotomy of things. Overall my work relays the notion of finding hope in the midst of struggle, an idea I communicate in concept and composition. Oftentimes I compare dissimilar ideas and visual elements within a painting. For instance an open space may be next to a cluster of overlapping objects, alluding to ideas of finding quiet during chaotic times. While there is a narrative or a chain of ideas within a piece I don't want it all to be easily explained. I like for a viewer to have as many questions as answers when looking at my work, or at any art for that matter, and find something to connect with and think about.

tt::your photography is equally skilled and lovely. do you view your photographs as completely separate or different from your other work, or do they interplay in some way? does your photography inspire you to paint, or vice versa?

hsj::Photography is something I really enjoy doing and try not to take the end product too seriously. Composing a shot and seeing what actually happens helps me practice patience and work to solve artistic problems. The process gives my brain something else to consider, like a kind of creative exercise. It is another medium I do alongside my drawings and paintings, yet the subjects of my photographs don't necessarily manifest in that work.

i thank heather so much for her taking the time to answer these questions. you can read my interview with jennifer judd-mcgee here, and tim's interview with eunju kang here, and all of the eyebuzz artists interviews here.

thanks so much for reading.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

perfect doesn't come around every day.
even a perfect day has it's rough spots.
grey skies and wind means the picnic happens in the car.
but there's a bookstore in town.
giggling girls mean you spend more time in the education center than the exhibit spaces.
but there's a sculpture garden and a big old tree outside, where you spend more time than anywhere.
and at the end of the day,
all you will remember,
is each other.

more tomorrow. thanks for reading.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

[artwork from top by::jennifer judd-mcgee, eunju kang, heather smith jones]

just a few little business notes. although, as tim pointed out, perhaps no one looks to this space for news about the gallery. ahem.

the COLOR show is officially closed now, although it will remain up in the gallery for a little while longer, until the second week of april or so. we are, however, sending out all of the sold work today, and would like to say thank you to all of you who bought the beautiful pieces from the show. we know you will truly enjoy living with them. it's been a pleasure for us to have them hanging in the gallery during the last several weeks.

there are a few pieces left, and they will be available in the gallery and online. we are offering a discount of 20% on work from the show through the end of the month. if you order online, just enter the code "COLOR" at checkout.

we'd like to thank heather, jen, and eunju again for being a part of this show, and all of you for your support and interest in our gallery.

and, work for our next show, PAPER, is starting to come in. we are so excited about what we are seeing, and look forward to telling you more about that, soon.

best wishes to you all. and thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

spring is really happening out there. and as in love as i was with stick season, it is truly heartwarming to see some of those sticks start to bud and blossom.

just a few things that have gotten me thinking and feeling, lately:
this post from rachel.
and this one from molly.
and this photo + poem from lisa.
and, i know i've linked to it before, but this video still knocks me flat everytime:
blue skies are coming, but i know that it's hard.

ok. that's all. enjoy today. thanks for reading.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

when callie was born i had a neighbor who had just had a baby girl, as well. chloe was born on march 21, the first day of spring. her mother had a sense of humor and a sense of style unparalleled by anyone i'd bet before, and rarely matched since.

every year she would throw a good old party on chloe's birthday. certainly much more suited to the grownups than the birthday girl. and, i always thought, appropriately so, as we were celebrating becoming and being parents as much as anything.

she always made me feel good. as though i had something she liked, and i was valuable to the cause. to that end, i was a part of the prep work for the party. whether i was reading something validating into it or not-perhaps i was just a good worker?-i certainly loved being a part of the in crowd, and a part of the behind the scenes crew.

mostly, what i did, was move furniture and hang paper lanterns.
and eat sandwiches.

one year-maybe when the girls were three?-my friend's sister was here from california. rather, not here...but there. i was living in connecticut at the time. it was an unusually balmy march 20th, we were "hooshing" up the place in preparation for the next day's festivities, and we took a break for lunch.

the "place" was a tiny antique cape, painted sunny yellow with blue shutters, and filled with the loveliest of vintage furnishings and nostalgic collections. it's true that my friend bought these things for a living...but her home was for real. most of her things came from her and her husbands' families. pictures of her sisters and long-gone parents. quilts made by her mother-in-law. gifts from her husband, truly a good guy.

i loved that house, i loved her style, and i loved her.
our relationship, however, was not uncomplicated, and she is a friend i have long since lost touch with.

but every year at about this time, i get a hankering for a certain kind of sandwich. and to sit outside, on break from the grueling work of hanging paper lanterns, take long sips of cold beer, and listen to sisters reminisce about their own long-ago birthdays.

this is the sandwich that my friend's sister made us. it's best eaten out back in the lukewarm spring sun, with a cold bottle of beer, and strings of colorful tissue paper hung across the porch behind you.

multi-grain bread. the fresher the better.
apples...sliced thin.
sprouts...if you can get sunflower sprouts, grab them.
just a little bit of good mustard.

pile on. use a pretty napkin. listen closely and laugh a lot.
you will never have this moment again.

enjoy. and thanks for reading.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

grey days after sunshine don't bother me.

since college i have loved the reprieve that rain brings;
less pressure to don shorts and throw frisbees and drink beer out of paper cups.
to don a smile and get lost in the crowd.

small quiet spaces music playing,
sitting next to someone
who knows what i need with a glance
and can hear what i say,
and i, they,
suits me much better.


there are daffodils up on the creek bed across the street.

i've successfully convinced the girls that agave is "special syrup."

i found blond on blond, which had gone missing for months;
when i put it on, i am suddenly in the car with tim driving along the delaware river.
now i know when we must have last listened to it.

i like how in spring, everyone seems undone by things like flowers and birds and warm air on their faces.

even on a grey day, you can hear things waking up out there.

more tomorrow. thanks for reading.

Monday, March 22, 2010

our favorite place is just not the same with out you, mom.  see you in one month!

my mom and i and anna meet for lunch about once a week, most often at the same place. we've been going to this place for just about ever, i suppose. but it seems like it really has become our place. the three of us.

my mom and i have always had little outings with the girls; first just callie, and we'd take her to get her haircut in nyc. she would cry and cry (callie, not my mom!), and i would have to walk around the block and my mom would somehow manage to get it done, callie coming out with little dutch-boy bangs, a balloon, and a smile.

later on it would be me walking around the block with lindsey in a stroller. or my mom and i bringing the two of them to a playground or a toystore or somewhere. i never felt when i was first having babies that i could do any of this without my mom.

maybe that was true, then. it's not true now, certainly. and she'd be the first to admit that now sometimes i'm helping her as much as she me.

but what was true then is still true now, and was when i myself was her baby girl, even at sixteen, and twenty-five, and now at forty-three: i just like being with her. she's good company.

she and my dad escape new york for warmer weather every year for a few months. they'll be back soon. and although anna and i still go to our place, it's just not the same without nana.

missing you, mom and dad.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

instant sunday

are you sick of me yet?
before you answer,
understand that i have it hard,
in so many ways.
so many different ways,
just like you do.
but today,
the sun was out,
and my girls are so lovable,
even when they don't want to be.
and my friends are constant,
even when the troubles are,
as well.

and it is spring,
and so we all feel that things
can only get better.

the camera didn't work so well.
every image ripped itself out of
a fifteen year old polaroid.

but it was loaned to me by my friend,
and i was so happy to have it.

and look.
you can still see
how beautiful
today was.

or at least,
i can still see
how beautiful
my today was.

best wishes for a beautiful week.
thanks for reading.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

a good porch sit goes a long way.

i know not everyone everywhere has sunshine right now,
but we are lucky enough to have such a thing,
and it is truly lovely.

i so hope sunshine comes to your neck of the woods, soon.
best wishes, and thanks for reading.

Friday, March 19, 2010

friday again...
and i am so glad for it.
just as on monday i am so glad for it.
glad for the routine to start,
for the structure to emerge,
not infallible but
necessarily a priority.
saturday brings up options,
that are not always
easy to negotiate.
but also,
a long, deep breath
that we need
in order to
dive back in

happy weekend, all. thanks for reading.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

i was thinking today
that fierce
seems a hard word.
frightening, almost.
until i think of it
in terms of love.
and then it seems
to describe a thing
more tender
and raw.
both constant
and intangible.
frightening, almost.
perhaps fierce
seems just right
after all.


i don't think i could be good at anything i wasn't passionate about.
is it that way for you?

i am so trying to keep my sense of humor, but this parenting gig is rough stuff, sometimes.

sunshine, today. i hope where you are, too. thanks for reading.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


and then just like that, it's spring.
no matter what the calendar says,
or what next week may bring.
i have seedlings,
and a cup of tea left outside from morning,
a little girl on a scooter,
warmer sun flooding clean floors,
muddy boots on the porch,
short sleeves pulled down from top shelves,
a hankering for salad and roasted asparagus,
soft, airy scarves,
blooms on branches,
a lifting of weight,
and a lightening of thoughts,
that tell me it's so.

and i'm ready. thanks for reading.

Monday, March 15, 2010


looking out across the park from where i sit i see downed trees and sawdust covered stumps and piles of what once were forsythia and tops of butterfly bushes and small but growing bigger crabapple trees broken in two by the wind at night, and then dragged to the curb the next morning.

one of these-a four foot branch of the crabapple that used to stand at the corner of our porch-is now in a milk bottle in the front hall. we're hoping to get a pretty bloom out of what is left.

it has been a hard few weeks for our landscape.

sunday morning we woke to find no phone or internet in the house, although we did somehow keep our lights and heat on, this time.

it was the simplest, gentlest day. tim and anna cleaned up the yard and planted seeds inside for the bed that will hopefully produce enough flowers for cutting come summer. i read and read and read, stopping now and then to put on more water for tea, fold another basket of laundry, fix another something to eat.

much later, almost bedtime, i discovered that we had gotten our line back. i turned off the switch and walked away. it could all wait until morning.

and it has. here we are, back into it all, and happily so. but it was a welcome relief to lose the connection to everything but home for just one day.

best wishes for a simple, gentle week. thanks for reading.

Friday, March 12, 2010

well, hello there.
i sort of steered off the map this week. lots going on; most of it good.

these are the lilac branches tim cut from our downed tree. they are progressing into something beautiful. i'm not sure we'll get flowers, but i think these buds are just beautiful, anyway.

i'll be back soon. best wishes to you, and happy friday!

Monday, March 8, 2010


a few signs of spring are here, though there is still so much snow left that the sidewalks are blocked in many places around town.
i worry that when all the snow has melted, we may find much of the first little sprouts and blooms didn't make it. but maybe they will. sometimes the things that seem so frail and delicate turn out to be quite hardy.

tim and anna worked in the garden on sunday, and i walked around and took pictures. my dad calls this "supervising". as in, he wasn't just sitting there watching us all decorate the tree every christmas, he was supervising. it makes me smile inside to remember him saying this.

in the summer, our yard and our garden and our porch become the most often used spaces we have. it's hard to picture that now, with the garbage and recycling bins pulled up closer to the house, and the collection of bikes standing frozen in time until spring comes, and the porch chairs all huddled together to keep from getting in the way of the weather. frankly, it looks more like a forlorn yard sale than anything else.

soon, though. soon.


i stumbled across this the other day, and was entranced by the photos. i can't wait for some spare time to come my way so i can read through what they have to say.

also, i've been compiling a list of places in brooklyn to visit with tim's mom, once the weather warms up. i might share that here soon, and ask for some of your suggestions.


ok. that's all for now. i hope there's a little bit of spring where you are.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

just because.

enjoy sunday.

Friday, March 5, 2010

this is a good morning.
there's a little bit of sun...not much, and not warming, but even so. it lifts the mood.
all of the big girls went off to school. we've been having some trouble with one of them in that department, but she finally went, too.
there was some leftover broccoli rabe to put in my omelet. fantastic.
tim clipped some branches from the downed lilac and put them on the table for me. there are a few buds, so maybe we'll force a bloom or two.
there's a group of youngish parents walking by our house. i don't know them, but they have several little babies and toddlers and they are all laughing. it's such a happy scene, all of a sudden, playing out in front of my window.
anna keeps drawing and drawing, picture after picture: houses and trees and smiling girls and cats with long tails and sunshiney blue skies. i'm so comforted by her view of the world.
i'm daydreaming of wearing spring clothes and my new shoes. i know it's too soon for that, but it's a nice thing to look forward to.
and this weekend might warm up a bit around here. maybe enough for some clean-up in the yard. tim and i are talking about what we might plant this year. he said something about broccoli rabe.

best wishes for a warm happy weekend in your part of the world.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

my twelve year old self
was in my dream last night.
my grown up self could see her
and hear her
and watch her.
i saw myself exactly as i had been,
much clearer than i actually remember
myself at that age
when i am awake
and i try to remember these things.

this morning i wondered
about why i had this dream.
they usually make sense
if you think about it.
something during the day
reminded you of something else
but you didn't let your thoughts
go all the way there.
so it comes back later
when you're dreaming.

but this time
i don't think it's quite
so linear.

i think maybe
my twelve year old self
was trying to remind me
of what i felt
and who i was.

because i have these girls,
and they look at me
and see mommy.
and i look at them and feel
like mommy.

but maybe at this point
i need to look at them
and remember
what it felt like
to be a girl.

last night in my dream
my grown up self
looked very closely
at my twelve year old self,
and i remember thinking
that i missed her.

more tomorrow. thanks for reading.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

by the looks of these pictures, it's spring in my house.
that's extra funny because i took these over the last several days with a snow storm ripping limbs down outside and a pile of wet snow gear the size of a vw bug in my front hall. i didn't take a picture of that, though.

i know i said i was moving on. but as i travel through town, and walk around my neighborhood, it's really disheartening to see all of the tree damage that was done by the storm. it wasn't that it was a big wind; the snow was just so heavy, it took down all sorts of beautiful old trees and hedges. we've lost much of the japanese maple that stands in our front yard, quite a few boxwood hedges, and a large part of one of the lilac trees. also, the big stand of forsythia that serves as a complete privacy screen on one side of our porch is all broken. tim thinks it will grow back quickly, but perhaps not in time for this spring or summer.

i know i said i was moving on. but as i look at these pictures-that last one is from the first night of the storm, when what was essentially a three day block party commenced-i realize that the things i was stressed about were so very minor. and that the wealth of friends and community and resources that we have is truly remarkable. or, perhaps not.

and that is what i keep thinking about. how lucky we are - all of us - to live where we live and to have what we have. and to have each other. i'm sure what happened in our neighborhood-the support and camaraderie that cradled us when we needed help-happened again and again in neighborhoods all over town. and in your town, too, during times of trouble.

i keep thinking about people who have lost so much more than a cherished lilac tree, or a refrigerator full of food. who have worries more acute than whether their pipes will freeze.

and on a day where i feel overwhelmed by laundry and mama-worry, i wonder how i could possibly help anyone else ouside of these six girls. i feel that i couldn't do anything that would really matter. but that's not true, is it? i'm not sure what i'm getting at. i don't know what i could do. i certainly don't want to sound preachy. it's just what i've been thinking about.

i feel lucky. don't you?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

some good stuff today::

six quarts of homemade broth put by.
macaroons in the cookie jar.
sister to sister piano lessons.
wearing a skirt for the first time in over a week.
film to be picked up.
johnny cash on npr. listening to his voice is kind of heartbreaking.
a new stack of the new yorker from tim's mom.
catnip mice.
rivulets of melting snow.
the promise that march brings.

more tomorrow. thanks for reading.

Monday, March 1, 2010

i've written and re-written a post about our snowstorm five times over.
i'm over it.
we got snowed in. a tree fell on our wires, wires fell across our driveway, and we love our friends.
we had some stress, but we had a lot of fun. we had a sleepover.

i will forever remember these last few, sort of difficult days, as being some of the best we've had.

moving on now. see you tomorrow.