Monday, July 31, 2006

Trumpeter Swans

"The Wild Swans at Coole"

Under the October twilight the water
mirrors the still sky:
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and fifty swans.
Unwearied still, lover by lover,
they paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

William Butler Yeats

in paint

I am representing myself this evening. I am sitting in my studio with a canvas that is ready to go. I feel the familiar obsessive love for it that begins every painting. What will this one teach me? How will my brush slide over its skin to create a force that compells me to continue through all of the difficult aspects that will arise?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Painting as alchemy

"To a non-painter, oil paint is uninteresting and fairly unpleasant. To a painter, it is the life's blood: a substance so utterly entrancing, infuriating, and ravishingly beautiful that makes it worthwile to go back into the studio every morning, year after year, for an entire lifetime. As the decades go by, a painter's life becomes a life lived with oil paint, a story told in the thickness in oil."

What Painting Is - by James Elkins

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


If My Verses Had the Wings
from: Contemplations by Victor Hugo
Translated by: Henry Carrington

Songs as sweet as summer brings,
To your flowery lawn should fly
If my verses had the wings--
Wings of birds that haunt the sky.

Like the spark that upward springs,
They would seek your smiling hearth,
If my verses had the wings--
Wings such as a spirth hath.

Near you, close as ivy clings,
They would dwell by night and day
If my verses had the wings--
Wings like love to speed the way.
Paris, March 18__

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

winter wren

"I stopped, listening again to the wren's ceaseless song, and suddenly I understood why he sang as long and as well as he did. Beneath such beauty and such life, how could he possibly sing anything less exultant?"

Scott Weidensaul on the song of the winter wren and forest in the Pacific Northwest.

Monday, July 24, 2006


Long gone are the days described by explorer Louis Joliet and other pioneers, who after leaving the eastern deciduous forest behind, encountered prairies stretching from horizon to horizon. If you were to follow the same route as those early pioneers to the Midwest today, you would come to realize that the vast prairies have given way to a sea of agriculture and extensive urban centers sprawling across the landscape.

-Eric L. Kershner "The Decline of Grassland Birds in the Midwestern United States" Birding magazine by the American Birding Association July/August 2006.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Today I am the worst kind of imposter... I should paint it all out on the canvas.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Franklin's Gull


"You don't understand. My wing. I can't move my wing."

"Maynard Gull, you have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way. It is the Law of the Great Gull, the Law that Is."

"Are you saying I can fly?"

"I say you are free."

-An excerpt from Jonathan Livingston Seagull
by Richard Bach

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Lake

Day and night, the lake dreams of sky.
A privacy as old as the mountains
And her up there, stuck among peaks. Her whole eye

Fastened on hawk, gatherings of clouds or stars,
So little trespass. An airplane once
Crossed her brow; she searched but could not find

A face. Having lived with such strict beauty
She comes to know the sun is nothing
But itself and the path it throws; the moon

A riddled stone. If only a hand
Would tremble along her cheek, would disturb. Even the elk
Pass by, drawn to the spill of creeks below-

How she cannot help abundance, even as it leaves her,
As it sings all the way down the mountain.

-by Sophie Cabot Black

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

black swan


...She longed
To lure him with soft words, with girlish prayers.
But being what she was she could not make
Sounds come; she had to wait until she heard
Words said, then follow them in her own voice.

The Metamorphoses
-translated by Horace Gregory

Monday, July 17, 2006

About the hero

This magpie has been tangled in fishing line. An unresponsible person decided to not recover their extra line from the area. She has been wearing it for quite some time and her foot is probably mostly dead tissue. Her young baby is in the tree behind her. If you look even more closely, you will see she is slowly starving. Her keel (the breast bone) is very prominent, which means she has no body fat. When I tossed food to her to entice her closer (to hopefully catch her and remove the line) she grabbed it and immediately flew over to feed her baby. Despite her starvation, she had a single-minded purpose. It was not her own survival that mattered most. I was personally humbled by a show of such selflessness. I contacted a local wildlife rehabilitator who is going to capture her and her fledgling. Hopefully she will recover from her injury and be released. So tonight I honor her.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

summit flowers

at 14,270 feet above sea level on Mt. Evans, Colorado.

The Thread of Life: an excerpt

Thus am I mine own prison.
Everything around me free and sunny and at ease:
Or if in shadow, in a shade of trees
Which the sun kisses, where the gay birds sing
And where all winds make various murmuring;
Where bees are found, with honey for the bees;
Where sounds are music, and where silences
Are music of an unlike fashioning.
Then gaze I at the merrymaking crew,
And smile a moment and a moment sigh
Thinking: Why can I not rejoice with you ?
But soon I put the foolish fancy by:
I am not what I have nor what I do;
But what I was I am, I am even I.

by: Christina Rossetti

Saturday, July 15, 2006

medicine for all that ails you


I am weary of the human world tonight, in all of its ways including my own. Things are weighing heavy on me and I cannot wait to go home. No more silly games, I have no energy for such things. I want to rake my life over the coals of nature and see what remains of it.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Blue, blue window across the skies.
Yellow sun on the rise,
big birds flying across the sky
throwing shadows upon our eyes.

They leave us helpless, helpless, helpless...

-Cowboy Junkies


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Lost in the forest...

Lost in the forest, I broke off a dark twig
and lifted its whisper to my thirsty lips:
maybe it was the voice of the rain crying,
a cracked bell, or a torn heart.

Something from far off it seemed
deep and secret to me, hidden by the earth,
a shout muffled by huge autumns,
by the moist half-open darkness of the leaves.

Wakening from the dreaming forest there, the hazel-sprig
sang under my tongue, its drifting fragrance
climbed up through my conscious mind

as if suddenly the roots I had left behind
cried out to me, the land I had lost with my childhood---
and I stopped, wounded by the wandering scent.

by: Pablo Neruda

Sunday, July 09, 2006

"Our job is to record, each in his own way, this world of light and shadow and time that will never come again exactly as it is today." - Edward Abbey

American Wild Mustangs

What else can better represent the American West? The photo is not great as the camera lens was on its last legs and I could not get too close.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

"Prairie Housing"

I blacked out the number to "protect" the guilty. You can live in suburban sprawl land in what was once a vast prairie habitat. While you are at it, drive out native species by growing trees and plants that require vast amounts of water and are native to the northeast. The arrow is just so you don't get confused by the small plot of acutal prairie land for sale across the street.

The prairie once spread across 1.5 million square kilometers of the Great Plains (that's seven times the size of Minnesota!)—but less than 2% of native prairie remains today.- University of Minnesota website

Trumpeter Swan

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Mountain Bluebird

On the Rockies

"Here is calm so deep, grasses cease waving. . . . Wonderful how completely everything in wild nature fits into us, as if truly part and parent of us. The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us, thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing. The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls, and every bird song, wind song, and; tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song, our very own, and sings our love."

-John Muir

Monday, July 03, 2006

Saturday, July 01, 2006