Sunny Sheldrake

The wonderbus arrived this morning at 9 with two sleepy smiling boys to pick me, my dirty laundry and dented self-confidence up to bring me back to sunny Sheldrake, land of the fresh tomatoes and smiling dogs. We had a down and dirty breakfast at one of the umpteen greek delis on Marshall Street, steaming home on Rt 20 to admire a fascia in Elbridge that suggests what we may be doing with our carriage house. Now that we are back, the breeze is blowing. Shady Grove is tracking on a duck and ducklings. K has two teen girlfriends over--to lots of loud talking and carbo ingestion. A. is asleep again after eating and discovering that sugary Frappuchinos are his new favorite drink.

My plans are to think about my five minute talk, cook a little for everyone, and start some drawings for a series of postcards for the Corning Museum of Glass. One is "pumpkin patch", another is "flower power" (about the Blascka Harvard Flowers) and the last Winter Solstice (celebrating 10 years of the Hot Glass Show). I could be literal--or really think about them. To be honest, my head is go "fluffy and dumb"--as it has to be a snapshot and the audience is more into the party at 2300 degrees than the intellectual offering that a Museum offers as well. So, in the spirit of Gary Kelley, I plan to work up a bunch of sketches , enlarge one and finish it...and then "do" the illustration. Tedious, but the results WILL be better.

Had a nice dinner with the cutie pie Traci Van W. Her work has grown tremendously and we are all very, very proud of her effort, her energy and her drive to not take the crummy things that have been said to her to heart..but to move forward in a positive, and happy light. She is a lovely spirit and I will miss not having regular time with her as she has been my roommate for the last two years on the road, and I am very fond of her. So, back to Traci. She has become a certified sky diver and we pondered the details of selecting your own 'chute, how to pack it and the foibles around the different types of packing (like origami), the fashion aspects of being a girl parachutist (I was strongly urging her for a def pink point of view. T. has all pink luggage that really suits her along with many of her accessories being pink--When I see shocking pink these days...Traci is the first thing I think of). It was fun living in that world with her. She giggles and laughs and hugs and is adorablely genuine. She is a live flame...adding to any situation. We all wish we had an art teacher in elementary school as wonderful and cool as Miss V.

For her thesis,Traci did a collection of images around fantasy creatures (a witch, an ogre, a fairy, some fantasy ducklike creatures, a creature based on the sculptures from Assyria I forced her to see at the British Museum (which I adore). My favorite is a stand of birch trees that she has incorporated eyes into...and the color palette is a little eerie...--All of them are prismacolor and miles away from the baseball picture of two years ago. Her piece for Gary Kelley was blues (sadness). She shot reference of Jen Betton and with a suggestion from Gary, she reversed the image and drew that on a dark blue paper with cream prismas and a dark blue one. Very monochromatic and elegant. Put that right in the portfolio!

We talked about teaching art and how it teaches you. She also talked about how the art process surfaces issues in or with the kids she is working with and how these things happen and resolve themselves. Miss V. has taken CF Payne projects and simplified them and given them to her fifth graders to her delight and pleasure. She told us about a few that were very funny in the telling and I am sure in the real pieces.

I promise I will shoot Traci's work next week to give you a peek. Also, as a reminder ...I will need to copy down her artists statement...It is a scream...all about how she defined what her thesis would be about from watching one of those fashion runway, realism shows on t.v.

Off to the little man up the street's produce stand. Everything looked fabulous.

More later>>

Colossal statue of a winged lion from the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II (Room B)
Protection for the royal palace from the forces of chaos
Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), northern Iraq
Neo-Assyrian, about 883-859 BC
British Museum, London