Digging
by Seamus Haney

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.
Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner’s bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.

Photo credit: Giovanni Giovannetti

{Poem excerpted from Death of a Naturalist…]

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Wandering thru the gallery in Troy, looking at the quilting, sculptures, oil painting and photography. Seeing the list of classes on the wall from cooking to jewelry making. Passing the craft and supply stores that were open while a farmer’s market several blocks long was taking place…

I kept thinking about time.

How much time spent.

How much time was needed.

How much time was taken.

How much time had to be made.

Last night at a dinner, I complimented a woman, an accomplished oil painter, on her necklace. “Oh, it’s nothing, “she said, “the jewelry maker did in about ten minutes from a quick sketch I made there.”

I think that maybe she was just being coy. But why can’t something creative be done in ten minutes?  Why not? Why does it take hours, days, months to create something? Why is it so exhausting to think about how much time it takes?

We are a slave to time. We owe time. We need to give it time.

Last Sunday, there was a woman at the edge of the bay sitting on a bench overlooking the beach grass. She was pencil sketching in a book that she had in her lap. She never noticed me staring over her shoulder several feet away.

This week I thought about sketching in words. Short paragraph on chins, hair, colors, shapes. What I saw, what I see.

Just a small amount of time.

I’ve come to the realization that time is taking its toll, its payments. I don’t have the energy I once did, the ability to juggle that I did, the short time it takes to snap to it when getting something done. That I don’t have as many years as I once did. No way to get…to… it…later.

I need more time.

There is no secret. No books, lectures, seminars, groups, networking events, that provides some magical entry into sitting down to paint, to write, to photograph, to shape some clay in your hands. No special tools, no formulas, no algorithms, no brand names, or well knowns.

Just time.

The watchmaker of Switzerland, 1948
(aka What Makes It Tick)

Norman Rockwell, artist

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…school’s in…let’s get this thing started…

Bubble Gum Girl, ca 1985Joseph Szabo, photographer
[click on image for more…]

The back story:

Joseph Szabo was born in Toledo, Ohio in 1944. After receiving his MFA from the Pratt Institute, he taught photography at Malverne High School in Long Island, New York from 1972 to 1999. During his tenure at the school his students became his subjects, capturing the unique years of adolescence in all their bravado, awkwardness and excitement.

The recipient of a National Endowment for the Visual Arts Fellowship, his work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennial, the International Centre of Photography (where he also teaches), the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Brooklyn Museum among others. His work has been collected by many institutions, including the Bibliotheque National in Paris, France, The George Eastman House Museum in Rochester, New York, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

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..taking some time…

Bagnostian (Craig Bagno), photo
[click on image for more…]

The beauty of natural geometry from Cristóbal Vila – add some sound and size:

More about the artist at Etérea Studios

it’s Frida(y)!

All photos from our tour of The Arts Center in Troy NY. More about the artist, Betsy Gorman, can be found here at the Burnt Barn Studio..

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…is not going as planned…or maybe it is…

Kitten emerging from pot of milk after falling into it, 1940.
Nina Leen—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Ad Aged tells a story

[…read on…]

Pittsburgh great Honus Wagner selects a bat
in front of the Pirates dugout, c. 1915.

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…and it’s going to be that kind of week…

Tundra Comic, 8/27/17
by Chad Carpenter

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March, the 8th day
oil on canvas, 2012
Carmel Georgescu, artist
[click on image for more…]

The back story from his mentor (roughly translated from the original Romanian):

How can God tell us how beautiful His creation is? Through the painting! And the one who can “talk” with Him is filled with Love, puts on his easel and canvas and with sensibility…colors as his heart says. And if he had a name, the one who does this would say to him: Carmel Georgescu. We will see in the evolution of the painter everything that the Creator has to say to us, because only a soul connected to the primordial wave can do that. Success in reaching the final spheres!
– Painter Cristian Crihan, Iasi, Romania, 2009

© Bill Israel

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