Thursday, December 31, 2009

Book of Beauty

Of the many and varied books that I own, The World of Tasha Tudor is the one I go back to time and time again. I have two of her books and I never tire of looking at the beautiful photographs and imagining how it was that she lived. Tasha Tudor lived in Vermont in a house built for her by her son. She lived an old-fashioned life style without electricity much in the same way that her ancestors lived on the same land.
Tasha Tudor's gardens were splendid and her animals were many. She raised goats and Corgi dogs, using them as models for the illustrations in the books she wrote and illustrated for children; she also had a parrot and a horse. In the dead of winter, she wore a long, hooded, red cape as she traveled back and forth to the barn. It was a stark contrast to the white snow piled up against the out-buildings.
I often think it would have been lovely to have spent the day with Tasha Tudor. But instead, I go there often in my books. Happy New Year everyone.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Waiting Patiently For Creativity To Strike

Sometimes, I have so many creative ideas running through my head that I cannot sleep. Lately, though, I have been going through a very dry spell. I have had the luxury during the past several days to spend as much time as I need on my art. But, as luck would have it, or whatever else one would call it, I have no ideas.

I have begun reading,
Living The Creative Life by Rice Freeman-Zachery, a gift from Janet at Christmas. I am trying to begin the transition from left-brain daily thought to the right-brain world of art. It will not be easy for me. Not only have I spent the past thirty five years in concrete sequential thought, fighting the abstract random person inside, but I have also attempted to tame the distractible, playful child that has lived inside of me for sixty six years. So now, I must coax her out to play, to paint, to glue, to make messes, and to not care.
I know I have begun this process through my collages and drawings. But I want to know what I'm doing and right now, I don't know what I'm doing. Does that matter? I have signed up for a creativity class called Mondo Beyondo that begins online in January. I have also registered for a class that will teach me how to solder so that I can begin making assemblage pieces. I think I will summon a muse for myself; maybe invent an imaginary alter ego.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Time Traveling

Today, I traveled back in time, not in a special machine from Back To The Future, and not in the transporter from Star Trek. I merely drove a few miles down the road to Silver Springs Park Attraction here in Ocala. As you can see by the photograph of the entrance to the park, this is not Disneyworld. Silver Springs is a nature park that has been in Ocala since before I was a little girl. Sixty years ago, my family and I would make the very long drive from Tampa to Ocala and visit Silver Springs. My family at the time consisted of myself, my mother, and my father; however, we never went anywhere this exciting without the nudging and accompaniment of my Aunt Margie, Uncle Lynwood, and cousins Paul and Judy.
The special and most amazing thing about Silver Springs back in the forties was that one could ride in a glass-bottom boat and witness all that was below the water line if the sun shone on the water just right. When I was young, it seemed like magic because there was nowhere else that could give us that kind of entry into the unknown underwater world of the Silver River, or any other river for that matter.
Today, when I stepped into that glass-bottomed boat after sixty years, the thrill was much the same. The boats are not as shiny as they were back then; the wooden interior is not as polished and new. However, the glass in the bottom of the boat was the same and the thrill of seeing fifty or more feet to the bottom of the river was as exciting as ever.
I think the biggest thrill I had today was in listening to the excitement of the children who were on board with their families. There was no expectation for anything mechanical or glittery. There was no expectation of a thrill ride or characters dressed in costumes. There was simply nature; tossing fish food out of the window, spotting an alligator on the shore or noticing a turtle on the river bank.
It was discovery at its best. And it was wonderful to see that not very much has changed on the Silver River since I was a girl. Kids are still kids; the water is still pure; the gators still love the sun; and mullet still jump straight up in the air no matter what time of day it is.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone

The Christmas table is set and our guests will arrive around 2pm. The roast pork has been in the oven since 6am and I am drinking a great cup of coffee while I wait until it's time to begin cooking the black beans, mashed potatoes, carrots, and plantains. We are having a rather traditional Cuban Christmas meal although I add the mashed potatoes and carrots as extras.
It is windy and drizzly outside but Cocoa hasn't noticed. She is waiting for Santa.