WHAT TIME LOOKS LIKE

Interesting exercise.

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Bought the laurels above for almost nothing, played with them for a couple of years, and gave up.  It is too hot here for Mountain Laurels, and they all developed holes in their leaves.  So not a lot of money was lost.

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Neither was it with all these Agave.  They all come from one mother, which is in another place on the acreage.  These love the sun here.  Same pots on the columns; common Prickly Pear is in them now.  This pool environment has lots of spiky things, counterintuitively.

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The Holly bushes on either side of the entry gate must be about two years old here.  A plywood box covers the machinery for the pool.

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Above, the hollies make a tunnel over the gate.  Brick has been added to the entry, tile to the pool deck and a little silo to cover the pool equipment. Confederate Jasmine almost covers the back fence now.  It was completely covered about four years ago, so much so that its density absorbed garden space and we had to start over.

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This is Sidney’s Live Oak, planted in 1997, the year he died.  Look at the sandy soil.  It is only with a system and a well that we can have grass.

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Here is the adolescent live oak today.  Have more of these, it takes some work to photograph and crop to make a good comparison.

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Call to the Post: Equine Art at Gallery West

My husband, Glenn.

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Equine Art: Family Portraits

opens April 1 at 134 State Street as part of First Friday State Street Art Crawl, 6-8 p.m.

Gallery West is the starting gate for yet a third equine-centered event hosted in the area this spring. Aiken’s Spring Steeplechase was held last weekend, and the running of the Carolina Cup is April 2. At Gallery West, though, the horses are much more static, appear in multi art mediums, and even include some of their four legged relatives – a delightful donkey and an exotic zebra.

Gallerist extraordinaire Sara Cogswell entitled the visually exquisite jewel-of-a-show Equine Art: Family Portraits. This playful overview of the family of horses showcases works by seven revered artists with loyal followings

And, yes, while the work is static, there is great visual movement, as evidenced in “Rebel”, a metal equine sculpture by Glenn Saborosch. The Missouri native now imbues static objects…

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MY NEW LADY BANKS ROSE

Enjoying our current spring featuring no late freeze, my Facebook friends and I are posting amazing works of Nature, almost perfect.  I have not seen our acreage of bloomers ever producing this well.  There is a subconscious river of conversation about azaleas, roses and the like running through my dark spaces.  Is “one” of something ever enough? This morning, I thought not.

I have a huge Lady Banks.  It couldn’t be better.  Moved it from an old dead tree on the edge of our woods about ten years ago.  They can do well on an old tree armature; have seen it done.  My dead tree on the edge of the woods was not positioned for full sun, so moving it to the side of the back porch made it more available for admiration and for sun.   First year moved, I counted four blossoms.  You know, sleep, creep, leap!

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This climber is not near at its height of the season yet.

A white rose a friend gave me two years ago is almost in bloom for this year.

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During last year’s growing season, I was whacking it down every month.  Janet gave it to me because it was too big for her garden.  It is getting too big for mine too, but my mind went another way.  It occurred to me that this must be a mislabeled Lady Banks!  True, the flowers are bigger than my other Lady Banks, but with the speed it has grown during my ownership, what else could it be?

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For its size,  the simple little zig-zag of “invisible”gardener’s fencing was not enough.  We had this broken bed.  This is what we will modify to accommodate the climbing rose, after it blooms this season.  Agreed.  Something tugged at me though. This big white rose had almost two inch thorns. That, gentlemen, is no Lady!

Came home from my run yesterday down Todd Creek Road.  Told Glenn that there was a middle sized Lady Banks bush in the area where we foraged for some Wisteria years ago.  The purple blooms must go for 4-5 hundred feet along the road, smelling and looking like paradise.  Had to have the rose, although there is no sunny spot on any of our three buildings that could accommodate a bush as big as our current Lady.  I thought maybe my daughter could use it.

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Glenn took his newly licensed old Jeep down the road and here he is with the bush loaded into the back.  See the Wisteria in the background?

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It wasn’t difficult to dig up, Glenn always has the right tools.  Wish we had a picture of our zooming down the country road with the white-flowered limbs stretching out behind us.

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Above Glenn has emptied the bush in the back of the house.  I went inside.  Five minutes later he came in and looked at me as if I had mud all over my face, and didn’t know it.  Asking what was wrong,  he said that bush is not a Lady Banks! There are no roses, there are clusters of tiny white flowers!  Gobsmacked, I looked.  It was a big damn Bridal Veil bush, and I have three already.  My Bridal Veils are just starting to bloom, below.

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See the difference?

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Bridal Veil

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Lady Banks Rose

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New bush in its new spot.

PAT CONROY AND MY LITTLE FAMILY

You have heard that he has died.  He had been, in the last years, doing so well fighting his personal devils.  He had lost weight, stopped drinking I think, toned up.  They were blindsided by this cancer as everyone who experiences it is, and poof.  The truest lover and best promoter of our eccentric little state is no more.

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I always say this. South Carolina is so small that you can know everyone you need to. We have all had experiences with Pat Conroy.  Many people I know went to school with him at the Citadel.  His descriptions of Columbia in the sixties were my people’s lives.  My ex-husband knew that tiger in the cage on Gervais Street and fed him chicken bones.

Glenn and I last saw him when he was awarded a life achievement award at our annual O’Neil Verner Award ceremony several years ago.  He was looking frail indeed.  This may have been just before his late resurgence to a kind of health.  His wife, Cassandra King, was very protective over him  (I heard her once on a local NPR show.  Herself a writer of southern stories, she spoke at book shops and libraries.  She said that one woman in attendance heard that she was married to a writer and commented to her that she loved her husband’s stories of contemporary horror and fantasy!).

When my kids were young, there was always a tug of war over what they wanted to do and what it might be good if they DID do.  I was always alone on my side.  But Pat Conroy was on my side, twice, and I think now my family might admit that my ideas were worth doing.  Not sure about that however.

We were meeting my mother and stepfather in DC for a long weekend.  We drove.  It was the early nineties, so the kids were about 10 and 8.  I got the hairbrained idea that we would listen to one of Pat Conroy’s books on our nine hour drive because it involved places that the kids knew, Bob knew, and had compelling family stories (to say the least).  I presented the idea.  Everyone was aghast.  Below, we enter DC in our Ford Aerostar.

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But we listened to the book, and it became a part of family lore.  The best book Braxton had ever read (the only book Braxton had ever read and he listened to it)!  It is difficult to remember details now, but it seems it was a good experience.

I got more demanding.  The University of South Carolina used to  have a fine book festival every spring for a week.  Now it is only a shadow of its former self.  One year, Kurt Vonnegut was to be the keynote speaker.  It was the year his home in Manhattan burned down, he was indisposed, Pat Conroy stepped in.  I wanted the four of us to go for my birthday.  A LECTURE, WHAT?  But it was my birthday.  They wanted to refuse, but did not, so we went.

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Always wanting to teach the kids that the world is indeed small and you can see things and know people by simply participating in it, I wanted them to have read a book and then hear the author talk about it.  It demystifies books. And writers. Makes them more real. This parallel is especially poignant with Pat Conroy.  He was a totally honest speaker about his life in these books.

And really not a very good one.  His spoken sentences were kind of like dry bullets.  Maybe he was an average speaker, dunno.  But compared to the lyrical love story to South Carolina that blazes from every page of his books,  his speech simply could not compare to his calculated art.  But I remember this also as being a positive experience for the family, perhaps there was an admission that participating in this kind of thing was not as bad as they had imagined.

Pat Conroy looked at the eccentricities and strangeness of our state, which abound (Strom Thurmond had a black child?), and smooths its landscape with a kind of understanding love.  Knowing what we know about his life, his writing was an attempt to save his.  And it was a generous everlasting gift to the rest of us.

 

 

I LIVE WITH A LIAR

Undependable.  Exaggerates and embellishes.  Bossy.  Rather than using the ugly characteristic of “liar”as our reference, let’s just use the initial  “G”.

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A gift really, at first, I have become a bit callous to G’s reality.  Pushy on one side, and when I aim to fulfill direction, overcompensation is the result.  It is like having a relationship with a chameleon.  For me, anyway.  There is no anchor, no fact. How can one have a true relationship with an ever changing partner?

I can feel in my bones that I am being prodded.  And judged.  Am I sleeping too many hours?  Too lazy?  It is my overwhelming desire to keep G happy.  But can G really be so or is it just manipulation?  Where is the truth here?

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G’s bigger footprint, interacting with 21st century tools is just not that great either.  Creating our conversation was just such a chore.  Things are not changing in this venue, and I get false feedback.

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Above is an image of my new Garmin.  A minimal millennial.  Less is supposed to be more.  On average, on some measurements it is a pretty consistent 20 percent more. I know my run is four miles, and it measures the same five miles every day.  With stair climbing, who knows?  Sometimes when I am actively climbing to the second floor of the barn just to make Garmin happy, it refuses to record my work.  What does it use, barometric pressure?

I love that when in the proximity of my phone, I can read email on the watch.  And know the weather.  It could do more than I ask of it in this way, music, for one.

Is it worth having?  Yes.  Does it work well?   Kind of, if you know your own statistics.  It DOES tell the time.  I think devices like this are why some are saying that people are starting to wear watches again.

 

 

 

DEALING WITH THE COLD

Finally, it is cold in South Carolina.  It has not been for long, and the length of the good weather at the end of last year was remarkable and unsettling.  Now over, we have to face the normal chill for a little while.

Our big chill is all my fault, not Glenn’s.  When living here alone, building this house, I chose not to include central heating.  The system I could have bought, it was the monthly bills that scared me.  And it is so moderate here,  I wondered about getting by with a gas log in one of the two huge fireplaces we have.   So that is what I did.

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It really has not affected us much.  There have been really only about four cold days where we did not care to go outside.  But outside is where all the appealing stuff exists, including our art work.  Creating my work is a pathway to feeling OK, and I need to do it.  Running will do that too, but running is tough in the cold weather as well.

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What work I have accomplished is changing.  Getting simpler.  Keep thinking about poetry and editing writing.  An image should contain only what it needs.  Nothing else.

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This piece is called  “Impulse”.  It is pretty spare, but the relationships between the lines are interesting.  I am using three legs in this series, lifting the window off the ground, and importing colors only through objects used.

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Chair legs, spindles and a child’s wooden block are the only recognizable images in the piece.  Other shapes are just odd pieces of wood we have around here. Yes, the piece leans in.  It seems to move.

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Other side.  This window has been several colors in its life time, and that is where the patterning is coming from on the right and bottom of the window.  It is so easy for me to reveal color; to apply it, the worst.

The piece above is entitled “Gravity 2.11.16” for the obvious reasons.  It is woozy in its stanze as well.  Space and time.  Unpredictable?  Maybe not, thanks to Einstein.

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Not a very flattering angle, but this image shows the depth of the piece.  You can see it is a visual cousin to “Impulse” as spindles and legs from the same chairs are used. Work tends to flow in this way.  If work is truly expressive of a temperament at a given time, examples will have common denominators.  Unless you are doing commission work.

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Above is a detail from a current commission.  Only thing in common with my work is the “waste” part.

INSPIRED BY MATERIALS

 

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Ronald Reagan’s Egg, 1987        Lee Malerich, 2016

The making of a work of art involves searching in many ways:  searching your soul, your opinion, your surroundings.  And then organizing this information in the way it must be.  The best work takes advantage of an expressive shape, and sometimes moves it into a foreign context.  This is what I want to do.  Connect unlike things.  Connection is powerful; I watch my 22 month old grandson connect and sort and arrange often.  It is his work.

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Lots of materials are given to me.  Some I buy, but won’t pay too much.  It’s a game.  I always wanted to do this while still teaching, but never did.  Give each student the exact same group of materials, and have them put them together.  Set the compositions up in a gallery and view the relationships and connections between the finished works.  There, the artist exists.  In that indefinable space.

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My search for materials is always exciting.  It is with the odd inspirational shape that the pieces begin.  My windows are the canvas, only they have more than two dimensions.  See the blue legs above?  A great find from last Sunday.  Have to hold myself back from cutting in to them.  Must live with them for a while to make sure they end up in the correct piece.

Not many of the shapes in the works have I actually owned beyond as art materials.  The piece above, Ronald Reagan’s Egg 1987, contains an exception and a story.

 

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Ronald Reagan was in office at the time when he sent 249 other artists and me wooden eggs.  Five from each state.  We were to use the egg and work in our characteristic way to embellish it.  We were given two.  The exhibit was to accompany the annual egg roll which was celebrated each Monday after Easter on the White House lawn with children.

I was a stitcher at the time, and you can imagine my terror of having to do something with this surface.  Spray painting them both black first seemed to be a smart thing as a stitching frenzy began.

Ended up stitching on my typical surface, cutting the stitched part off the frame and gluing it in a certain area of the egg.  Then over and over again.  A satin-stitched egg.  Don’t even have a picture of the thing except in a flashy newspaper article done in “The State” on the five  artists in SC that contributed.  That was worth the trouble.

On a rampage through my studio for some elusive thing last week, I found the black egg that (laid) unused in a drawer.   A yellow sticker on the flat bottom read “1987”.  Raw material!

And an egg was currently a symbol/shape that I had been using, only the black egg was bigger.

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F. Scott, 2015

This piece featuring the wooden roadster sinking into a surface has two eggs in it: one representing East Egg from “The Great Gatsby” and one representing West Egg.  Just love it when the Universe provides the correct materials.

THE BEST OF THE LATE FALL

So warm here, the work in the barn has gone ahead way to the end of the year. For me, working all the time is the only way to stream innovations.  They jump aboard during creative play.  If play is not happening, they do not.  Innovations do not start in my mind.

For instance, the following.  Glenn had been complaining about the heaviness of my bases lately.  But my aesthetic has always formed around what we know about gravity.  My compositions are heavier or darker at the bottoms because that is what we expect in the world in which we live.

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Heaviness at the bottom of the piece anchors it as gravity plays on that mass.

So recently I tried this.

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Dancer, 2015.  Pulling the window off of the floor animates it.  Having the weight of the piece on three legs stabilizes it.

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True, this piece needs much more space to stand on, more than the former window-based sculptures.  And true, Dancer looks like it is going to flip.  It won’t.  I have been scrawling the names of the pieces in pencil, as at the bottom of the window above,  and then making aluminum name tags with the date and my signature, to the right of the word  “Dancer” above.  Signing the tag with a Dremel tool is not easy.  Sometimes spelling my name incorrectly, I just leave it.

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This is called “Escher Poem”  2015.  Not a surprising name with the bit of a staircase-like wooden construction that I found at the Goodwill Clearance Center.

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Of course, this is in no way as complex as Escher.  This is his work, loved and digested by me,  spoken in my visual language.  Bought 27 lonely legs for thirty bucks at one of those antique grocery stores with booths.  They are proving to be worth the big price.  Waste, you know.

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“Friends” 2015 is scrawled across the top here.  More of those fine legs are included.  This piece is made from a much bigger window, and uses larger legs.  Three of the largest.  It measures about 47″ x 31″.

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Animal friends, these are.  Colored wood is added to the supports for the panes.  I use the sander to take color away or lessen it on some shapes.  All is highly varnished.  Some gouging with the dremel is used on the little cat at the upper left.

 

WILLIAM FAULKNER AND GUNS

Yesterday was a fine day and ended in a thoughtful way.  Visited my son who now lives in a place much hillier than here.  Coming home using the shortcut through the abundant woods, the truck ambling in front of us hit a doe.

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The muscle truck pulled over; no traffic to speak of on this road.  We were just behind him and our lights caught the face of the deer, still alive.  We pulled over and rolled down the window and spoke to the young man.

“She is still alive”, Glenn said.  “Do you have a gun?  No, sir.”  I was gobsmacked.  Glenn thinking about a gun?  The third question was:  “Are you alright?”  It would have been the first question had the pickup not been so muscle bound.  “Don’t worry, I will take care of her.”  Then he probably went home to get his dad or his roommate.

We were home in three minutes and I hugged my little cat.  I really hate Nature sometimes.

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She and I sunk into my reading chair.  For a quarter I had bought a small book containing three of William Faulkner’s short stories.  Turning to “The Bear”, I thought about my fine education.  We read this story in high school.  Remembered some things about it.  Some sentences are three or four hundred words.  They are contrasted with one word sentences, like “Quick.”; the absolute quickest way to state the notion.

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Poured myself a glass of wine and started.  Had to read the first paragraph over four times.  And I read this in high school?  Early on Faulkner established his world, its inhabitants, and their history in that place that he always writes about, a certain county in Mississippi.  It was similar to the begat, and begat, and begat that you run into in Genesis.   Man versus Nature, as we learned was the overall topic in this story.  A kind of Ahab and the whale story, but the whale was a bear and the spaces between the two parties contained earthborne activities with guns.  Guns.

Perhaps it was the experience with the deer that made his narration so real to me, the ten year old boy who was finally allowed to go out hunting for two weeks with the men, this rite of passage, this yearning of his to learn what men know, how they know it, to see the legendary bear with his one bad paw, to track it and smell it and perhaps shoot it.  (OK this will be my only attempt at a Faulkneresque sentence, just had to do it).

These guns were a kind of a violent partner and to be respected.  They were old guns made of replacement part after replacement part, the original firearm an ancestor.  Rarely shot, as the way I read the narration, less is more.

Men have this characteristic to “take care”.  It is in their genes.  Guns have been developed.  It makes no sense to wish the opposite.  Throughout the history of this country they have been a tool.  Man against Nature.  Man helping that poor Doe.  Boys learning to be Men.  After last night,  I have started thinking differently about the idea of a gun.

And good thing.  We need to solve this problem.  I am willing to walk more towards the middle with the Doe and the Boy in my mind.  But I think it is wrong for the NRA to reframe the Constitution.  And I think automatic and semi-automatic weapons are not a tool that makes men.  Many times we learn and do better the hard way, the way that takes a longer time to achieve, and as the length of the chore adds to the wisdom of the person.

 

 

 

CONFUSED LOUISE?

Some works fall a bit out of the norm for any number of reasons.  They could fail.  They could examine a compositional point that the artist has nothing more to say about.  They could feature one of a kind materials.  They steadfastly refuse to be grouped.  Some of these satisfy those guidelines.

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This was the first piece in the series on which I am currently working; the first to use an upright rectangular window frame and chair legs.  I thought, when working, that it was beginning to look like a mantel.  It looked like a fake mantelpiece we had in our family room way back when. Associated with that mantelpiece is a great story.  We adopted our Siamese Polly from a house in Blackjack, Mo.  Brought her home.  Later, my mother bought our fake family room mantelpiece from the same home.  Polly and the mantelpiece were reunited, and she happily surveyed her domain from the top shelf of it.

Another personal thing about this work is the use of the croquet balls and goal piece and wickets. A guy tried to give me this stuff at a flea market.  I refused and paid him.  Why would you go to all that trouble and just give stuff away? Anyway, one of the only things I have which belonged to my dad, who died so long ago are croquet wickets made out of old wire hangers.  Fashioned by him.  This piece reminds me of that.  The name of it is “From Blackjack to Florissant: Polly and her Mantel”, 2015.

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The piece above, “F. Scott”, 2015.  This piece was created in response to the fine little wooden touring car the universe sent to me.  As in the people that Fitzgerald writes about, this car is poised to crash and burn.  A slice of the passenger side of the car has been whacked off.  I also had fun playing with white painted lines on some of the elements, which is unusual.

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This piece is more about formal composition.  It is all about circles.  And it tilts to one side.  Unnerving.

This piece is about 6-8 inches shorter than the norm.

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The following piece was reviewed for my current exhibition at USC Sumter.  It was created very early in the chair series and I wanted to see if the chair could be cut up and basically reconstruced  within three rectangular windows.

http://theitem.com/stories/evocative-creative-usc-exhibit-also-timely,257175

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