Contained

A random group of images from a trip to New York comes together under the rubric “Contained,” then inspires a poem.

 

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Containing, contained:

  1. What’s left of a perfect espresso macchiato and eggplant pastry at La Colombe, 601 W. 27th St., NY, NY.
  2. A freestanding window frame contains the view at Queens Botanical Gardens, 43-50 Main Street in Flushing, NY.
  3. Packing crates for sculpture on the second floor of the Noguchi Museum, 9-01 33rd Rd., Queens, NY.
  4. Basket made by Pomo Indians (?) in what is now California, photographed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, NY.
  5. Looking up into a sculpture by Ruth Asawa at the David Zwirner Gallery, 525 W. 19th St., NY, NY.  Asawa (1926 – 2013) learned to draw while interred in camps in California & Arkansas during WW II.  Later, she studied with Josef Albers at Black Mountain College.
  6. Stacked trash cans at Fort Totten Park, Totten Ave. & 15 Rd., Bayside, NY.
  7. Moving sculpture (probably the work of Deborah Butterfield)  on West 22th St. in Chelsea, NY, NY.
  8. An old wooden toolbox, washed up at Little Bay, East River, near the Throgs Neck Bridge, Whitestone, NY.
  9. A portion of “Lorrkon (Hollow Log)” by John Mawurndjul, a leading Australian contemporary indigenous artist. This sculpture relates to the ceremonial use of painted hollow logs to inter people’s bones after death. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, NY.
  10. A sculpture by Ruth Asawa at David Zwirner Gallery,  525 W. 19th St., NY, NY.
  11. A locked door to a now empty ammunition magazine at Fort Totten Park, Totten Ave. & 15 Rd., Bayside, NY.
  12. A broom and trash cans by the ammunition magazine, Fort Totten Park, Totten Ave. & 15 Rd., Bayside, NY.

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Containment

 

Feet ache. An afternoon treat of espresso and pastry revives me, and

I relax and look out at the city streets, as fresh now

after coffee, as a green garden framed

by a floating

window, the window’s square geometry signaling the reassuring

order of framed and enclosed spaces, spaces

that hold us as safely as a crated sculpture, the crate’s stamped symbols

advising “This side up” and so

the contents are safe, unbroken, captivating and precious,

like the basket with feathers on its rim, the basket

that could fly, and it did, it flew

like Ruth’s hands when she wove her round forms

(“We always saw her making art, it was part of her everyday existence”),

the empty/full shapes weightless, almost insubstantial, yet

anchored in craft and material,

the looped metal wires and round contours as familiar as a trash container – but

uncommonly beautiful. And even a trash can might

transcend its surroundings, by way of

aquamarine paint –

as the horse transcends the city street even when

wrapped and tied. Waiting patiently, blue-clad movers watch the street for

signs of trouble, and daydream about fishing a strip of

derelict shore where a toolbox sits,

also patient, also transcending its setting by wearing

ragged, green seaweed vestments,

its wooden surface bearing the creamy, painted evidence of usefulness,

which the hollow ceremonial log

sitting quietly in the museum vitrine,

is denied. Covered with tiny cross-hatchings in outback earth colors

(“I put the experience in my head and went to paint the same thing”),

the somber container

sits empty,

longing for the bones it should but will not contain.

Sixty blocks south, another receptacle hangs tenuously

from the ceiling of an art gallery

throwing cross-hatched shadows, whose

curves dance until

the door is shut

and nothing remains

but a sign indicating “No” and

a worn broom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DESERT SERENDIPITY

The sign may not look promising, but it leads to desert magic.

A man named Noah Purifoy lived the last fifteen years of his life here and transformed a few acres of parched desert into a carnival of sculpture.

Two months ago I flew to Los Angeles, picked up a rental car and drove four hours away from L.A. and into the Mohave desert. My goal was a long weekend exploring Joshua Tree National Park.  While browsing tourist brochures in town one day, I came across information about an open air sculpture “museum” devoted to the work of Noah Purifoy. I had never heard of him.  Purifoy is well known on the west coast but I had spent my formative adult years in famously self-absorbed New York City. Few west coast artists were on my radar.  I stumbled upon these inspiring acreage as naive as I could be, knowing nothing but the man’s name.

Innocence can be a good thing.

 

After I got home I did some research.

I learned that the man whose work enchanted me that afternoon in the desert had a fascinating life.  Purifoy (1917 – 2004) worked in social work, child welfare, and education. He was, at one time or another, a window dresser, a program administration and an artist.

Born in rural Alabama to poor African American sharecroppers, he managed to get a good education, ultimately holding three degrees. Art was not part of his life until well into adulthood, after he had moved to L.A.  Seemingly on a whim, he decided to attend Chouinard Art Institute in 1951, becoming by dint of his own insistence, Chouinard’s first full time black student. After art school he did high end furniture and store design for Hollywood types.  Then, wanting to directly benefit people in need, he co-founded an art center in the poor neighborhood of Watts, adjacent to the Watts Towers.

A year later the neighborhood went up in smoke in the infamous Watts Riots.  Always a tinkerer with found objects, and intrigued by the appearance of the ruins left after the fires and looting, Purifoy and some friends gathered pieces of debris from the ruined neighborhood, and a year later they put on a well received exhibit, 66 Signs of Neon.

That experience was the beginning of a different artistic impulse for Purifoy, an impulse that fully flowered years later in the hot Mohave desert, far from the city.

It’s hard for me, brought up middle class white, to imagine Purifoy’s layered understanding of race, culture and politics. He was just a generation or two away from slavery, he spent his earliest years in a segregated Alabama, he fought in WW II, was well educated…a heady mix of influences!  I have my own deeply layered history with racial hatred – a very different one – and my own artistic influences. And I have no trouble relating to Purifoy’s work.

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In the late 1980’s Purifoy moved to the desert from Los Angeles at the suggestion of a friend who owned land near the small town of Joshua Tree.  Slowly, he transformed the property with his art.  Now kept purposely low key by a foundation, the little publicized site is hard to locate.  But once you find it, there’s no question that you’ve stepped into magic.

The amusing piece below was the first one I saw. It seems ready to accommodate a crowd that might squirm uncomfortably in their seats as they are pulled around the site while a docent spouts nonsense about the virtues of each installation.

But thankfully, there are no docents.  You’re free to wander at your heart’s content, in the stillness, and likely alone, as I was most of the afternoon.

 

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Purifoy did not believe in making art to convince people to think or feel something in particular.  He thought that was an insult and would detract from the the essence of the creative process.

The sculpture below is maybe 25 feet long by 8 feet tall and is fashioned out of a multitude of discarded objects, arranged in the most ingenious ways. That’s a mirror on the right. The column on the left is covered with oyster shells. All of Purifoy’s work rewards close inspection.

 

I love this sculpture – there is such delight and freedom in it, but it maintains a strong formal presence. It’s made from dozens of heavy duty baking trays.

Evidence of Purifoy’s life here is doled out in tantalizing bits and scraps, like the art.  The trailer where Purifoy lived is locked and the windows boarded up, allowing no curious peeks inside.  But an open-air room near the trailer, featuring an old refrigerator and crooked metal shelves stacked haphazardly with books, reveals some of the practical and eccentric sides of the man.

Desert breezes weave through the room, rifling book pages, conjuring ghosts.

Purifoy stated that being human itself is not the essence of being, but rather the human in relationship to the world is the real essence of being.

 

Late afternoon sun reflects a Joshua tree on the door to the locked trailer.  Inside and outside mingle, boundaries blur.

Piles of materials lie waiting in the open air for the next piece that will never be made. The entire property – sculpture, living spaces, trees, materials, desert sand – becomes a ready made sculpture for the opened eye.

 

Purifoy said that art and the creative process are different from one another; his impulse was to interrelate the the creative process with art, as he did with his own mind and body to make a whole person. He spoke of having oceanic experiences – levitating for hours in his room back in LA.  He studied Jung and Freud, Husserl and Heidegger, developing his own philosophy by analyzing which parts of other people’s thinking made sense with his own experience in the world.

I would love to have had the opportunity to sit at his side out here and listen. But hours spent immersed in his work was ample food for my mind.

Below, three crosses dialog across the still desert air with three fetishes.  Lively, loose, playful and profound, for me this piece expresses the essence of Purifoy’s work. Questioning religion, spirituality, art making traditions, and probably more I haven’t thought of, the piece rises above ideas of propriety or art history, charging the air with good-hearted  wisdom.

 

 

Purifoy’s work out here in the desert seemed mostly unmolested as it weathers into eternity.  Maybe I’ll return one day to find the colors a little paler, the angles even farther from 90 degrees, but I trust the human creative impulse will still ring loud and clear.

***

A complete oral history of Purifoy’s life can be found here. It was completed as part of a UCLA Oral History Program.

Purifoy’s sculpture doesn’t come on the market often. I was surprised to read that next month one of his sculptures will be up for bidding at the Swann Gallery in New York, part of a special auction of  African-American art from the 60’s and 70’s.

An excerpt from a 2003 exhibition catalog from the Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University:

Noah Purifoy
From his days as an art student at Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles (1951-54), Noah Purifoy resisted the traditional
approach to art based on drawing and painting. Instead he chose to “find his own way,” inspired in part by the Dada
artist Marcel Duchamp, who challenged the boundaries of art and explored the connections between every day objects and
art. The Brockman Gallery director Dale Davis remembers Purifoy as an artist who challenged the community with his
art. “He was controversial, not well understood but interesting to those who gathered around the Brockman Gallery.”32
Purifoy’s background as a social worker made him conscious of the needs of at risk members of society, and he determined
to use his art to advance social change.

Both the Duchampian influence and his commitment to art as a means of social change influenced his choice of materials
and the form of his art. The debris from the riots provided a natural starting point for the materials, and the wasted urban
shapes already reduced to abstractions called for abstract forms in the art. “Purifoy was struck by a thought: What if
these people could look at junk in another way—as a symbol of their being in the world,….What effect could art have upon
the people who are living right inside of it? ‘Junk’ means wasted unusable material. Transferred to human beings it
means a life of despair, uselessness, and hopelessness. The resurrection of the discarded material could represent the resurrection
of the people who have been discarded by circumstance.”

The Purifoy desert site  as featured in Atlas Obscura.

A bird’s eye view of the surrounding land.  The site (not visible) would be in the middle.  This gives you a good idea of the spare beauty of the desert here.

The catalog from the 66 Signs of Neon exhibit, with quotes by Purifoy and photos of the work.

Obituary from the LA Times.

 

MOVED TO MAKE ART

ON A FEW ACRES OF DESOLATE CALIFORNIA DESERT, a man named Noah Purifoy settled in and went about making art for the final fifteen years of his life.  His outpouring of sculptures, many of which are big enough to walk through, are now an outdoor museum. After I managed to locate the museum at the end of a narrow track off an obscure dirt road in the Mohave desert, I was so taken by the creative energy pulsing through the site that I could barely hold still to take proper photographs.

Below is part of a large sculpture made from discarded objects, Purifoy’s material of choice. In this piece, fabric has been cut, torn, glued and stapled to a wood surface, then subjected to at least ten years of desert sun and wind.

Walking around and into the installations moved me to look carefully and think differently about materials and their relationships. Purifoy’s spirit is catching. I wanted to jump in and join him, even though he’s been gone for ten years.  Just to see what would emerge, I cropped the photo and converted it to black and white, revealing expressive folds and torn edges in the cloth that might evoke a landscape of thwarted desire. Or something else entirely – this is art that invites participation.  At the top of the page is my reflection in part of another sculpture which involves a broken mirror and glass on the ground, enclosed in a complex, room-like structure. Soon I’ll post more photos of Purifoy’s sculpture.

“I do not wish to be an artist. I only wish that art enables me to be.”

Noah Purifoy  (1917-2004)

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge for this week is to share a photo of something that is art in your eyes. Purifoy’s work is art to me, and it moved me to tweak my photograph of his art, making more art…

More WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge “Art” experiences can be found here.

The Noah Purifoy Foundation:

http://noahpurifoy.com/foundation/foundation.html

 

STACKING SHAPES

On Top” is this week’s theme for the WordPress Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge.

Stacked on top of one another, toilet bowls are reminiscent of Greek columns, creating an amusing  “formal” entryway for a site specific sculpture.

 

A few miles outside the tiny town of Joshua Tree, in southern California, acres of eccentric sculptures sit unattended* off a dusty dirt road. The artist Noah Purifoy lived out his last years here. His trailer and supplies, worn and bleached from the relentless sunlight, are evidence of a life dedicated to art.  Scores of sculptures he fashioned using found objects and most anything else that came his way compete for your attention as you walk through the property. It’s essentially a huge art installation that feels a little like a carnival, a little like museum, and a lot like stepping into a very creative mind.

The photos show sections of one large piece. Climb the stairs, and you’re on a fanciful deck overlooking the Mojave desert. Ahead, a cut out view of a nearby Joshua tree is framed by scraps of wood, sheet metal, an old shoe and assorted sundries, arranged on top of one another in an assemblage that begs close inspection.

Purifoy was a fascinating man – take a look!

 

I’ll post more photos of his work one day soon.

And many more photo challenge entries are here.

*Though no one is at the site to monitor visitors, The Noah Purifoy Foundation does oversee and care for the work.  It’s not an easy place to find; the day I visited, only one other visitor was there.  The remoteness and lack of promotion have probably saved Purifoy’s work from vandalism.

COLOR!

A color challenge/photo challenge…so many colors…so many approaches…let’s just see what happens…

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Color is

a Sol Lewitt piece at the 59th St. Columbus Circle subway station in New York, and

it’s an urban industrial sunset on Staten Island.

Color marches up a sculpture by John Fleming and soars

against bluest heaven.

Color is graffiti in Seattle, too – and the intricate thread-work

on an ancient Silk Road Ikat coat, tacked to a museum wall.

Color grows organically on a rusty old truck

behind a nursery in the Skagit Valley (where soon miles of tulips and daffodils

will set the evening aglow).

It plays games

in a midtown New York City store window.

Color is isolated

by a rubber glove dropped in a Seattle alley;

and color

dances

when sunbeams illuminate a torn leaf

in my red cabinet.

Color sweetens the deal in pink and

purple stripes: red osier dogwood twigs blended, in camera.

It reflects late day sunlight  – 

silver and gold: a banner night. It 

swirls

in choppy waves across Chihuly glass

in Tacoma. 

Mid-day summer-sun sets color down

flat

on tabletops set out on Seattle sidewalks.

Color ricochets through glasses in an old ship’s galley,

mushes together as it lays exposed

to the elements,

stuck

on a car door,

abandoned in a field,

somewhere.

***

Photographs taken with a Samsung camera phone & a Sony NEX digital camera, in NYC, Seattle, and other locations in the Pacific northwest.

Find more colorful Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenges here.

My 2012 in Images

I’m ambivalent about reviewing a whole year. I can’t possibly pare it down to a few images.

But I’ll do my best with the latest Weekly Photo Challenge. You can see what others are doing here:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/12/28/weekly-photo-challenge-my-2012-in-pictures/

(I can’t help thinking about what’s left out: how would a summary of the year look just from the vantage point of sound, or touch, or taste or smell? What about a summary of my feelings? They are all entirely relevant).

This is the first picture I took in 2011. It’s simplicity belies my state of mind at the time – absolute anxiety, frantic activity. In a month we would move across the country to a place we had been to only once, where we had no friends and just a handful of acquaintances. We would have no jobs waiting for us, and no family within thousands of miles. So many unknowns! No matter the worries and preoccupations – these shadows and shapes drew me in.

A quick overnight to Philadelphia in early January allowed me to say goodbye to some wonderful friends who had maintained my sanity while my son was deployed in Afghanistan the previous year. Was this statue telling me something about my future?

It was tough to say goodbye to these good people.

Soon after getting back home, I was on a plane to Seattle to find a place to live.  A generous acquaintance offered to put me up – I had a week to figure out where to live, but I had done the research and had good leads.  I secured an apartment within days, so I began exploring the area before the flight back home. One evening there was a spectacular sunset – maybe it was a portent, because the next day Seattle was hit with a big snowstorm – and in this part of the world, which doesn’t see a whole lot of snow, that meant everything stopped.

It sure was gorgeous though…

But planes were grounded and I waited nervously as flights were cancelled, and cancelled again. Finally I was good to go so I navigated the icy roads to the airport, turned my car in, and learned that once again, my flight was cancelled. I secured what appeared to be the last hotel room within miles, and the next morning the de-icers were out in force.

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I did manage to get home. There wasn’t much time left for goodbyes to favorite places – and people. A close friend from upstate came down and we had a great day hanging out in coffee shops and scouring a tag sale for finds (yes, a tag sale in Manhattan!) I walked the High Line in January cold and photographed my favorite Gehry building through a scrim of morning glory vines.

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And I was glad for sunny days. Oh, that skyline from the ferry. I didn’t know how I would live without it.

Two days before our lease was up, we muddled through a long day of watching and negotiating as movers packed our belongings and hit us with huge extra charges. We slept one last night on a couch we left for the landlord, and then turned our keys in and painstakingly wound our way through city traffic and out to JFK with our sedated sixteen-year-old cat and all the luggage we could carry. We climbed on board the plane and before long we were crossing the Rockies!

After one night in a hotel we took possession of our new apartment. I hung my beads at the window and we waited for our furniture, our clothes, our – everything – to arrive. For about ten days we slept on an air mattress and dined on an upturned box. Our netbooks became our lifelines at the local cafe. We slowly stocked the fridge and explored our neighborhood in a rental car while waiting for our own cars to make their way across the country. Yes! – we found a Trader Joe’s and plenty of good espresso joints nearby.

Eventually our furniture arrived – hardly anything broke!  Then one car, and eventually the other. The planning really paid off. One thing we could not control though, was our aging cat’s health. We found a good vet and they tried their best, but it was all too much, and we had to say goodbye to Pablo towards the end of the month.  It was a terrible blow, and we were dealing with it alone, in a strange place. The vet said his ashes would be spread at an apple orchard on the road into the mountains.  We were heartened by the thought of his body nourishing apples that might someday nourish us.  RIP Pabs.

We set about exploring the Pacific Northwest with a vengeance – rarely going more than two hours away – there were islands and mountains, a new city, interesting small towns, miles of shoreline and acres of farms.

Whether a distant view or a close-up, it was all looking good to me. And so different!

What are those weird things on the beach?

Bull whip kelp!  That’s like seaweed!  They grow everything so damn big out here!

When we weren’t exploring the countryside we poked around Seattle. Yes, there’s culture and yes, there’s art.

And MOSS. Moss everywhere! Even in the cold winter months it was brilliant green, coating branches like fur.

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And what a refreshing change the open space was. I discovered Duvall, a nearby town founded in 1913 (like that was a long time ago?) with a great sense of style.

 I found a conservatory that I could escape to on the endless gray days, as I waited for spring.

Eventually spring did start to peek around the corner, but it took forever to warm up.

I volunteered at a botanical garden to get closer to the plants I love.

In the woods there were wildflowers I hadn’t seen in years – trilliums seemed almost commonplace. Back east they’re picked clean, at least around metropolitan New York.

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I went up to see the fields of tulips and daffodils that are grown north of here. It was, of course, another gray day, but everyone promised that summer would be endlessly sunny.

I was getting tired of waiting for the sun.

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So I amused myself by joining a photography group and working harder on my photography.

Overcast days can make for lovely, even light, so I tried to understand how to take better advantage of the weather.

When we had time we drove into the mountains and hiked among the old growth – the giants – and I was humbled and full of love for them.

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Back in Seattle we discovered Georgetown, a photogenic neighborhood with an appealing funk quotient.

I volunteered for a court program that advocates for children. It was hard work but rewarding.

I read about a project that involves local people in making prints for the families of people killed on 9/11, and so I volunteered for that, too, and carved a block for a print.

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Summer finally came, and it was simply gorgeous – dry every day for months, never hot.

Up on the mountain passes there was beautiful fog to wander through, and plentiful berries in the fields.

Wherever I live I make it a point to find scraps of land with wildflowers that become my florists. Ten minutes from home I found an abandoned railroad track with butterfly bush, California poppies, fireweed, tansy, St. Johnswort…heaven!

We explored the working docks and shipyards of Seattle. Back in New York we used to watch tugs and container ships from our window, but here we can get close up to small crew fishing boats.

In August I began this blog with a brief post about a mid-summer day when I felt glum and uninspired, but after walking through fields and recording the amazing light on seed, flower, leaf and fruit, I was renewed. It was a good beginning to the blog that has become a rewarding way to express myself and be inspired by others all over the world who are doing the same thing.

In the fall we took a day trip back to Mount Rainier. When we visited the Pacific Northwest for the first time in 2011, our day at Mount Rainier was one of the most powerful experiences we had.  This time I felt sick all say but I didn’t let it stop me – there were plentiful wildflowers, and we saw bears!

A few weeks later we took an overnight trip to the Olympic Peninsula and caught a drizzly late afternoon chill on Hurricane Ridge. The infamous, quickly changing Pacific Northwest weather was demanding that we pay attention.

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In November we returned to New York for a wedding, a week after Sandy had devastated the region. We stayed with family on Long Island who had been out of power for a week already.  We tried to help untangle wires from the broken trees and huddled in front of a gas fire.

But oh, the food! And the pizza! The Pacific Northwest has great fresh food, but nowhere else, as far as we know, can you get anything like this slice, from an ordinary pizza place in Manhattan.

The wedding went off without a hitch. We had a day or so to see more family and revisit old haunts like the Rubin Museum, Battery Park and Financier Patisserie, and then suddenly the trip was over.

Back home, I talked myself into appreciating the drizzly gray days.

On  Thanksgiving Day those overcast skies cast a gorgeous silvery light on the sound.

I still scream “SUN!” when it peaks out from behind the clouds, but I’m more reconciled to the weather than I was the first few months. There is so much to enjoy here, and somehow, spending a week back in New York helped me feel more like this is my home.  We’re sure that the spirit of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest will engage our curiosity for a long time.

Whether expressed in something fashioned by human hands or embodied in a roadside field, I find a great respect for the land and nature here.

The other day we saw this:

a stretch of hundred-year-old brick road and

a lovely, eccentric woman

taking a walk with her miniature horse, named

“Surprise”.

We expect to enjoy many years of pleasant surprises in this corner of the country. We wish our families were closer, but we’ll try to rack up frequent flier miles for visits – New York and the east coast are great places to visit, aren’t they?

The Weekly Photo Challenge is a Foreign One…

Such an evocative word, foreign. Lately I’ve been taking it personally – feeling foreign myself. Scratching my head and wondering how a non-native fits in around here.

I’ll never be one, even if I try to insert myself into that picture:

I must come to terms with – no, I must get over feeling like a foreigner.

After all, if I were in this situation, I bet my feelings of being foreign would be more troubling, more complex:

(Photo taken by a Marine in Afghanistan last year – that’s my son on the right)

It’s tricky though – the nomads below would seem like foreigners to most people I know, but the Buddhist prayer wheel and the text resonate with me strongly enough to think that these people would not feel foreign to me:

                                                       (Screen capture from a TV program, 2004)

Some people have trouble connecting to anyone and are lifelong foreigners in their own land. I suspect that’s the case with the maker of some sculptures J. and I stumbled on two years ago, in a remote corner of New York City –

off a busy industrial road, through a gate,

beyond an abandoned trailer,

along the edge of a polluted marsh:

We went back several times. The place appeared to have been deserted for a long time. We wondered what foreign ideas and feelings gripped this person’s mind, and we hoped that making sculpture eased the strangeness. We delighted in the inventiveness, we respected the artistic choices, and wondered at the wonder of it all.  But undeniably, a feeling of foreignness hovered over this place.

More posts on the theme of foreign can be found here:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/weekly-photo-challenge-foreign/

Weekly Challenge: Happy

A weekly Challenge set by The Daily Post  (http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/10/05/weekly-photo-challenge-happy/) asks us to share our images of “Happy” using a gallery – collage format that’s new on Word Press. Too bad the gallery format didn’t work for me, but it doesn’t matter – here, some images of happiness:

This glass sculpture spins atop a pole in the grass next to a lake, where its’ bright colors catch the light: pure joy!

More happy:  a bouquet of wildflowers that I just picked along deserted railway tracks.

Family and pets…

And art in unexpected places…

Inside a huge old tree someone has put together a mandala of found objects.

Sometimes the art isn’t a surprise, but the view from underneath it is…

Seen from underneath an Alexander Lieberman sculpture, Seattle’s Space Needle echoes the bold curves – a happy surprise .

Another unexpected scene that made me happy: taking a walk and happening on a mock battle on the lake. (These are the Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain, trading cannon fire on Lake Washington, WA.)

Friends make me happy, but they probably don’t want their pictures in public view.  This guy, however, clearly doesn’t care who takes his picture or where it might end up – he’s too busy for those worries:

I cannot see a Great Blue Heron without feeling happy, and thankful. They are my totem birds, and whether standing at the edge of a small pond in New York farm country, stalking crabs in a marsh on an island in New York City, or flying overhead on deep, wide wing strokes, they always give me a thrill.