Thursday, June 13, 2019

Memorial Day

Memorial Day was hot so we went for a walk in a shady wetland. We walked along the narrow boardwalk and talked about school mostly. Stopping now and then to peer into the dark shallow water, I made these photos of the clouds reflected on the surface of the water. Looking down but looking up, seeing through and seeing nothing but the whole sky where the bottom of the marsh should be. I like how these pictures look like double exposures but aren't, with the clouds making a ghostly light effect on the water and trees.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Winter Contemplative

The studio below freezing.

Tracks and shadows.

Tracks and shadows.

Flowering currant prunings.

Moss and snow, flat light.

Snow erosion.

Ditch melt.

I am working hard. Sticking to routine and watching the mad parade of life as it passes around me. It's been snowy for what seems like forever and I have been fascinated by changes in the light conditions that accompany it. The thick cloud to no cloud and low sun getting higher. The snow is such a material change, sometime in February I wrote in my journal that I was distracted by the snow. The sparkle of it. It's a mercy in the winter around here because of the added reflected light, even on a dull day there are the most interesting light effects in the presence of snow. It's all melting now and getting worn away day after day as the temperatures rise and fall.

An artist I know began posting what she called snow drawings and that encouraged me to share the photos I had been taking of the changes in the snow and the "drawings" that are created.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Suicide season

Before you pull the plug consider
the faces of the people you saw
on your last day.
Maybe go back out and study a few more
just to be sure.
Give some consideration to the abstract after the angst is past
life really does go on, the wound heals over itself again and again.
A flesh knot of remembrance.
From where I sit thinking about death I am filled with so much sadness
that any of this has to end, the party, the hearts broken.
I see the faces of the already lost and wish them back
I would take them all back
and say we suspected this but could not stop it.
But please reconsider while you have the chance
perhaps change your mind, if the material allows.
But it's not that simple and we can never know
the horror of the mind gone rogue, depleted of life's persistent force.
Plan your memorial, pick a date and invite your friends and family over
present the plan to leave them and let the cards fall
make your case for leaving early,
share your plans for the afterlife, share what you believe in
play a song or two, let the music wash over everyone in the place
retire to your room and slip away under a blanket of knowing that people actually cared about you.
Maybe it won't end your pain but it might soften the landing knowing you went willingly
and bravely into that good night.

Sunday, December 23, 2018


Line made with Buttermilk, Nov 22, 2018 9:10am, Samsung Galaxy 4 
Rowan Moore Seifred, Not for reproduction.

It's that time year when I add it all up. All the actions, all the practice, all the ideas, questions, conclusions. What I learned, what I forgot. On this day 357 of 2018. I add it all up and look at where I have been and where I am. 

I would say I am in a good place. My health is reasonable, as is the health of those nearest to me. There is so much gratitude in that mere fact that I could stop here but I will continue.

I enjoyed my design work this year as I normally do but this year was just a bit more pleasurable mostly due to my own attitude. I am extremely fortunate to work the way I do and I kept that fact in clear focus to get through the tougher days. I am grateful to my clients who provide me an opportunity to ply my trade. 

I read a lot. One of the best practices I have managed to cultivate this year was morning reading. I finished 8 books which is a major accomplishment for me. This brings me to another practice, a more challenging one, social media use. I have been struggling to avoid that one. Really it's just the device that is the draw, wanting to pick it up and hold it. It's all totally insipid. I read more about our developing digital lives and that in turn has broadened my thinking about my art practice. I have worked very hard to filter the information that I consume online. 

I thought a lot about existing in a liminal space. I spoke less often. The more I read and avoid the tendency toward distraction, the deeper I can feel myself go into where I want to, to expand my thinking. I shared a first piece called "Permission to Contemplate" and continue on that line of exploration into making art. I am slowly creating a community around the work and that feels good. I pushed drama and excess aside in favor of reaching my true goals. 

While I still have not written a coherent artists statement I am not worried. It's coming to me slowly, and I see that it is a thing I may never know fully. My mottos for this year include "know thyself". I have worked doggedly here. It helps my work on both sides of the spectrum. I kept things simple. I have also come to understand that no one is coming to save me. No one is assigned to the task of making things right for me, this is my responsibility alone and this has been a most freeing realization. Empowering in fact.

So, to conclude. I am grateful for everything and I plan to stick to my daily routine and avoid wearing the devil's mittens. 

Monday, November 26, 2018


I made a painting for a friend's sons' birthday. It is of a boy in a hat he knit himself. My thoughts lately have been with friends who are facing life altering challenges. Illnesses, transitions, aging; no one escapes these things. Life is fraught and I am perpetually happy and sad together. Words fail me and sometimes I feel helpless, I keep my head down and work on controlling my own inner state. In the interim I listen to music, beautiful songs made by broken humans, and I sing along.  Sometimes I cry, sometimes I dance.

Handle with Care
Traveling Wilburys
Been beat up and battered 'round
Been sent up, and I've been shot down
You're the best thing that I've ever found
Handle me with care
Reputations changeable
Situations tolerable
Baby, you're adorable
Handle me with care
I'm so tired of being lonely
I still have some love to give
Won't you show me that you really care?
Everybody's got somebody to lean on
Put your body next to mine, and dream on
I've been fobbed off, and I've been fooled
I've been robbed and ridiculed
In daycare centers and night schools
Handle me with care
Been stuck in airports, terrorized
Sent to meetings, hypnotized
Overexposed, commercialized
Handle me with care
I'm so tired of being lonely
I still have some love to give
Won't you show me that you really care?
Everybody's got somebody to lean on
Put your body next to mine, and dream on
I've been uptight and made a mess 
But I'll clean it up myself, I guess
Oh, the sweet smell of success
Handle me with care
Songwriters: Bob Dylan / George Harrison / Jeff Lynne / Roy K Orbison / Tom Petty
Handle with Care lyrics © BMG Rights Management, The Bicycle Music Company

Friday, September 21, 2018

Permission to Contemplate

I looked at my desk this morning
and recognized it as the the state of my mind
a topography built of notes and books
all the things, all the lists
the geography of an enthusiastic brain.

Summer is almost over
I didn't do exactly what I imagined I might but I did ok
I must remember that. I did ok.
I gave myself permission to contemplate.

Today I moved 3 spider egg sacks
into a shallow divot on a birch trunk,
I hope they survive.
On my walk
I saw a turkey vulture eating a possum
I didn't blame it.
I wanted to move a dead squirrel to the side
of the road but the stick I found
to do the job was insufficient
So I left it alone.
Sometimes that's the best approach.

I read a lot about drawing this summer
And I looked at a lot of art, just
found or suggested by my brethren
and then I thought deeply about all of it.

Weekends spent cavorting
again I'm reminded that working
is my best thing.
Collect up the stack of papers and
move something along
sew on a button if it's all I can manage
look at the thread and think
how it is just a line.

Sketch 1, Cocoon RMS

I put pencil to paper
and things appear in the once blank space
it is magic to be sure.

I found these things online which have informed me
Garry Barker, Drawing Blog
Drawing Now, Bernice Rose 1975
and her 1992 essay "Allegories of Modernism"

I just finished reading "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind"
and now I am onto "Carr, O'Keefe, Kahlo: Places of their Own"

Friday, July 27, 2018

Summer Plans

Some friends bought a little castle on the Sunshine Coast so we went and paid them a visit earlier this month. We helped to hack and hew around the place to clean up the debris from last winter's storms, and the previous owner. It's incredible what volume of stuff humans can accumulate. The place is sweet and it was really special to share this time with good friends who are embarking on a new adventure. We hiked up to their local lake and I plunged myself in and paddled about. Luna joined me briefly. It was my first swim of the summer season.

Mark and the fire at twilight.

Writing my morning pages in the sun with the castle nearby. Without meeting him, I think I like the mind of the person who had this property last. He surely left his mark on it, not just in the building but in the many trees planted around the place.

Someone asked me what my summer plans were back in June and at the time I had nothing very concrete to say. Beyond the usual trailer meets and camping trips here and there. I like to stay close to home in the summer as it is the best time of year in the PNW, when the sun finally shines and you can live outside. We visit nearby Vancouver and sail the little boat we keep there. Some summers we meet up with family from the south but not this year. So there is a lot to do even without big plans.

Since that question was posed and in an effort to move my art practice along I have decided to reclaim my little barn to use as a drawing space until fall comes. I have been de-ratting it and generally clearing it up all the while thinking about mark-making. I have painted the inside so far and it feels better already. Often I have dreamt of a house where I suddenly discovered several unused rooms and I think this represents the innate knowledge of my own potential which I keep sort of closed up and away from public view, often forgetting that it exists at all. At the moment the whole 5 acres feels like a potential canvas for expression.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Open Adoption, A Long View

My daughter at one-day old with her maternal great-grandmother. Her Noni, in Eugene, Oregon 1998.

Pearl at 2 months. Lazy summer days watching her grow.

June 21, 1998 was the first time I met the young woman who had chosen me and my then husband to parent her unborn child. She was 19 yrs old and 9 months pregnant and she had chosen us from a pool of waiting couples, families, and people hoping to become parents through "Open Adoption", a fairly new concept 2 decades ago.

Growing up in a northern community in British Columbia, Canada, I knew many adopted people. I could see how families were made in a multitude of ways, there was no shame in raising a child who was not your own. I knew I wanted to be a parent and when after ten years of marriage at 34, I was not able to become pregnant, I quite happily turned my attention to adoption.

I learned that adoption is a complex process fraught with intense emotion and bad information. When I began looking into it I ran up against quite a lot of bias and horror stories about all the ways it might go wrong. I spoke to multiple agencies who championed the process from many different angles with many different approaches. There were female children in India and China who were available for adoption, there were kids with extra needs, there were religious organizations doing the hard work of finding stable homes for waiting kids. None of these appealed to me despite some very convincing, almost militant representatives. The problem I had with the international adoption model was just that, the distance. I worried about the impact being taken so far away from home might have on a child. I knew I probably couldn't maintain that important connection to home a child from far away would need. I wasn't suited to a special needs adoption either. The kindest part of my journey was speaking to women who had adopted children with special needs and hearing them vehemently say don't take this on if it's not for you, totally without judgement. The world is a better place because of those families who often take on several children with special needs at a time. They are generous beyond compare. Then there is the issue of race and the notion of time. If you wanted a baby quickly, bi-racial was the way to go. If you wanted an all white child it might take longer.

When I looked into my heart I knew I would only raise one child and I wanted the experience to be the best it could be. Through an acquaintance I found Open Adoption and Family Services based in Oregon and I began the process with them in November of 1997. OAFS were leaders at that time in promoting an open model that supports the birth parents in their choice of adoption, a framework is created between parents and birth parents where the whole child is celebrated.

That June day in Eugene when we met my daughters birthmother she glowed with the fullness of the life she was about to give birth to. We sat in a restaurant downtown and talked about her plans for her life and her child's life. She did have plans to have a family at some point but not at age 19 on her own. She was young but steadfast and we talked about what the openness might look like in our case. She wanted to be a special friend to her child and she wanted her extended family to know her as well. Sitting there together as strangers, we imagined a future full of unknown scenarios and bravely moved forward. On July 16th, a perfect healthy baby girl came into the world met by a waiting family with a plan to surround her with love.

Noni, and Pearl at 20.

My daughter turned 20 on Monday and she spent this birthday with her birthmother in California. A perfect full circle moment. I'm so proud of what I have been able create with this beautiful kid and grateful for the great group of people she has around her. I dreamed it and a clairvoyant 19 yr old made it all happen. I did my best to make her proud. Thanks B!

For other stories on this topic click here.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It