Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Honor Flight



You know, I do have good intentions of posting on a regular basis, and it shouldn't be so challenging. But I get caught up on making art, and when I only have works in progress and not much to show, I drop the ball. That may not be a very good excuse, but this is. This past weekend I participated as a guardian in Honor Flight. Here is the article that I wrote for the local paper:

As we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge we looked up and saw jets streaming across the sky, looping, flying in unison, doing incredible aerial acrobatics. The Blue Angels were in San Francisco. “Charles, look! How did they know that your Honor Flight weekend was just about to start?”

This was a fitting beginning to the trip of a lifetime. El Hilligoss and I had the privilege of accompanying Charles Moon, a WWII veteran to Washington DC to participate in Honor Flight.. We had driven down from Humboldt County that day and the following morning would meet up with 24 other WWII veterans, and 14 helpers, (guardians) at the SF Airport to catch our flight. Honor Flight is a program dedicated to taking these heroes to our nation’s capitol to see the WWII Memorial. This is a completely volunteer effort and there is no cost to the veterans. It was founded in 2005 by Earl Morse, a Retired Air Force Captain, who realized that time was running out. We are losing these veterans at the rate of more than 1200 each day--the youngest vets are now 85 years old, most are closer to 90. The vast majority have never seen the monument built in their honor, and more importantly, have never received the gratitude and honor which is their due.

Upon arrival at the airport, we were all given our uniforms for the trip. We guardians wore orange tee-shirts. On the back was the motto of Honor Flight Network, a quote from Will Rogers, “We can’t all be heroes. Some of us have to stand on the curb and clap as they go by”. Vets wore yellow. On the back was written: “If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read it in English, thank a veteran.”

That is what this program is all about, thanking these men and women, who never considered themselves to be heroes. In their own words, they were just kids just doing what needed to be done. And when the war was over, they came home, and got on with their lives. But what they did saved the world from tyranny and destruction of life as we know it.

Saturday morning we boarded our bus, and set out. The first stop was the WWII Memorial. Because of all of the walking this requires, most vets were in wheelchairs. Upon arrival we gathered for a group photo and then went to the California Pillar for the flag ceremony. Hattie, ninety-two years old (and weighing probably less than her years), placed the flag on the ledge, and we had a moment of silence and remembrance, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Never have those words had more meaning to me. We spent the next hour or so at the Memorial. I took a photo of Charles at the Oklahoma Pillar, his native state. We paused at the Wall of Stars, where 4000 golden stars represent the 400,000 lives that were lost in combat. It reads, Here We Mark the Price of Freedom. Honor Flight groups from Minnesota and Tennessee were there as well and we had a chance to visit with some of them. The accents may have been different, but the joy that was on their faces was the same.

During the course of the day, we also visited other Memorials---Viet Nam, Korea, Iwo Jima (the Marine’s Memorial), Air Force, Navy, and the Lincoln Memorial. At one o’clock we watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Solder. As we drove through the city, we were also able to see the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorials as well as other important sites in our nation’s capital. Not surprisingly, these guys were troopers, but I was still amazed at their energy and endurance. They are awesome. Night had fallen as we drove back to the hotel. Our leader Debby started to sing, and as she sang “God Bless America” forty voices joined in. This great country is indeed blessed in so many ways, and these fine people, these soldiers who fought to secure our freedom, are some of the greatest blessings of all. Being with them for this experience was one of the most memorable privileges of my life.

Honor Flight depends on contributions to make this possible. Time is running out and funds are needed. If you know of a WWII veteran who would like to participate, or to learn more about how you might help, please contact Honor Flight Northern California, 530-357-3380, or email them at info@honorflightnorcal.org. Or call Kathrin Burleson at 677-0490.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Back to Africa . . .


if only in these pages. I work in series, usually several, sometimes up to six paintings at a time, not counting the in progress and warm-up drawings that are usually going on. It works for me to have several projects so at any one time, so that I don't get too caught up in, or invested in, any one piece. What that means is that there are usually lots of paintings around the studio, in various stages of completion. It also means that quite a bit of time can pass before something is actually completed, so there are what seem like long, dry periods, when I am actually quite productive. It can be frustrating, but also kind of satisfying when some of them start coming together, and feeling complete. This is the first of the current batch to "hatch".

Friday, August 27, 2010

Raleigh's First Trials


When I started the not-in-real-time journal for Botswana (which is still not totally completed, I think that there is part of me that doesn't want for it to end), I never dreamed that I would be using that same approach for other topics as well. But somehow a cold virus that knocks you for a loop can let things pile up a bit. But the bright side is that I have had a few days to think about the experience before posting these photos and links to my new YouTube account. As you can probably surmise from this photo, Raleigh did pretty well his first time out. Most importantly, he loved the experience, and so did I. As you will see from this video (click HERE to access YouTube), Emma did as well, so much so that when she saw Raleigh out there, she could not control herself, pulled out of her collar, jumped off of Mike's lap, and onto the course. Fortunately the judges didn't disqualify me and Raleigh was able to take another go at it. Emma got a taste of the experience and is anxiously awaiting the time when she can really compete, rather than just messing up Raleigh's runs. He did go on to win a blue ribbon, (and her interference may have been a blessing in disguise since I had given him some inadequate signals and he was heading in the wrong direction anyway). But we both felt good about that second run (click HERE), and it was a great way to end the weekend. Many thanks to all of the good folks at CPE and Humdog who put in so much time and effort to make the weekend possible and give such joy to about 100 people and 150 dogs. We are looking forward to the next trials.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pilgrimages of all sorts


Since this is a blog, a work in progress, I don't hold myself to chronology (as you might have noticed), so I am back to the Benedictine Experience. This is a sketch that I did on Desert Day, the Thursday when we have the opportunity to go deeper into silence and solitude, our own personal deserts. We made up sack lunches, were given some ideas to ponder, and then were left to our own devices. I took my sketchbook and walked back into the hills where I found a bench under a live oak tree overlooking the valley. The day was really hot so the shade was welcome and necessary. My plan was to stay there until the sun moved so that it was no longer shaded and then move on. As it turned out, it was shady all day, so I sat on that bench for over three hours---painting the valley, drawing other pilgrims as they walked up the path, reading, eating my sandwich, and having a little nap. It was glorious.

Speaking of fellow pilgrims, Helena Chan was new to BenEx this year, and brought wonderful fresh energy and insights. I sat next to her during a few of the discussions and couldn't help but glance over and notice her notes. She uses the same kind of black bound sketchbook and Artpen that I often use, but the results are very different. She is an engineer, and a very neat person, which really showed in those clear, straight lines of beautiful script and perfectly organized thoughts. And she had no ink on her fingers from that pen! I was so impressed and amazed that I couldn't resist commenting, and pointing it out to others. Helena wrote a bit about the week which she posted on St. Paul Cathedral blog on August 2. She writes beautifully, in both senses of the word, and it really is worth a look.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mix Those Media!





I just returned from a three-day workshop in Mendocino. The course description looked very interesting, and just what I needed to push my edges a little bit. My approach to making art is pretty straightforward and simple, and I am probably happiest using just a pencil, or just a pen, and if I do use color I prefer a very limited palette. If there are too many colors I get overwhelmed, and even a little anxious (kind of how I feel when I look at a closet with too many choices of clothing--see conversation with Charmion below). In any case, I thought it might be good to get out of my comfort zone, which I definitely did.

The teacher Mira White is a master who creates beautiful visionary pieces using a wide range of materials. (We also discovered that we have a mutual connection to Meher Baba, but I'll save that for another time and post). My fellow students were a very compatible group of seven, with at least one thing in common---they didn't hold back. And everyone, except for me, seemed very comfortable starting with a totally abstract approach and came up with some very interesting work. I may not have created anything particularly notable, but I learned something really important about the way I work---I tend to start from something concrete and work toward the abstract. I do this in painting and in poetry. Kind of like a Lectio Divina approach to art.

Several of the projects started with spraying, pouring or smearing color on the surface and seeing what developed. So I would dutifully do that, and then just stand there and look at it, bewildered. Once I did start working, I would beat it to death until all of the interesting paint effects were covered up by a fairly mundane and lifeless drawing. Oh well. I have no doubt that some of those effects and techniques will inform my work to come, and I am interested to see how that develops. In any case, it was an enjoyable and worthwhile experience.

(The dog is Patch, John's helper)

Monday, July 19, 2010

I like to carry my sketchbook with me and now include some watercolor pencils which are very handy for quick sketches. Often I think that I should draw something besides the view out over the valley, but those Sonoma Mountains are so compelling for me that at the end of the week, I have pages and pages of sketches of them in different light. I was born and raised in Petaluma, and my earliest visual memory is the view over the Petaluma valley from the front porch of our little house, seeing those violet hills. So the view from Bishop's Ranch touches me at a very deep place. Someone once said (I think that it was Camus) that an artist usually spends his whole life trying to recapture his first visual memory, and I can relate to that. That vista is irresistible to me.



Simplicity in all things

I am home now, back into kind of a routine, admittedly a little disorganized and chaotic compared to last week, but I have hopes that now that I am settled back in, starting tomorrow, I will be able to incorporate some of what I learned and experienced. But before I get too involved in the quotidian, I want to share some of the highlights of this past week. I wish I could say that I had a spiritual shakedown, or meltdown, and have a much more profound relationship to God and creation, but that wouldn't be quite honest. However, I did get some tools, and had some wonderful experiences, and having the psalms and scripture swirling in my head today, has been such a gift. (What's that? Oh yes, the Song of Zechariah.) And I met some fascinating people.

The last day I had a very interesting conversation with Charmion, and in addition to having a lovely and unusual name,she had some very interesting things to share. We were talking about simplicity, and how to deal with clutter, which is a topic I love to explore, so I asked her how she dealt with having to many things, for example, clothes. She said that she owns eight of everything---pants, tops, skirts, etc,---in different colors, and each day she just wears what is on the next hanger. After she has had something for six years, she gives it away and replaces it. Now think about that for a minute. She NEVER wonders what to wear. Can you imagine how much time you would save if you never had to wonder, or worse, try things on and change your mind, and then try something else? Oh, and she never shops in stores, but buys everything online from Lands End. We did agree that both Land End and LL Bean have gone down in quality and reliability, but nevertheless, that's what she does. This was very intriguing to me, and I am inspired to come up with a similar strategy. Now, keep in mind, that this is a woman who was on Jeopardy in the early 1980's and won $5000, which she used to buy her first computer. Oh, and she sings beautifully as well. Like I said below, I am so glad that we don't have to keep silence all week.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

BenEx Dogs


A predictable but difficult challenge with silent retreats these days, is that hardly anyone leaves their phone at home, or even their laptop for that matter, so it tends to encroach on the sense of being away ( I mean, here I am, blogging, when the schedule says I should be resting in preparation for Lectio Divina later this afternoon). But a plus to this is that we are able to share images that people have on their IPhones, and for some reason, people feel compelled to show me their dogs. This is Henry.
There must be a greater meaning to this because the reading at lunch today had to do with, what else, a dog and how it came to be part of a Benedictine monastery. So, I'll just go with it, and post more images as I receive them.

Work


One of the things that we do here during the week, in keeping with the Benedictine ethos, is to choose work that we will do in the afternoon. None of it is very complicated, mainly things like stuffing envelopes, trimming pods from the wisteria (before this, I didn’t know that they were so inclined to propagate and spread), deadhead the rose bushes, rake leaves, simple things like that. Way on the bottom of the list of choices was washing windows. Not surprisingly, no one signed up for that. I say not surprisingly, but the truth is that I love to wash windows, and have never understood why so many people don’t. That little phrase supposedly uttered by many a housekeeper “I don’t do windows” always sort of baffled me. So, I signed up, and have spent the last couple of afternoons washing the windows in the refectory and Swing Pavilion. I like it because it is solitary work, and the results are so immediate and apparent. Stepping back to see that clear, sparkling glass is so satisfying.

What has surprised me, is since I started doing the windows, one of the first things I think about when I wake up in the morning (around 5:00) is how much I am looking forward to washing windows that day. It really is kind of strange, especially when I am currently listening to a set of CDs by the wonderful poet and thinker, David Whyte, called What to Remember When Waking Up. Needless to say no where does he mention anything as mundane as washing windows. It’s especially odd in a context like this week, where I am surrounded and immersed in scripture, prayer, and chanting the psalms.


Beyond Windex

There must be something primal about washing windows,
although it couldn’t be too primal because in the large scheme of things
windows haven’t been around that long.
But regardless of that,
the deep satisfaction that I derive from this chore
goes way beyond simple housework
and touches something deep inside.
Why else would I wake early looking forward to this particular task,
especially here while here on retreat,
where I have been given such beautiful and profound thoughts to ponder?

It must be something about vision,
or clarity, or boundaries--
the false divisions that I draw between what is inside and outside,
between me and the rest of the world,
between me and God.

Maybe it’s the satisfaction of knowing that with a little time, a bit of tending,
and a little elbow grease,
I can see through a glass less darkly,
even if just for a little while.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Silent variations

Whatever It Takes

I wonder if it was just a coincidence that my ears got plugged with wax last week
just before I was scheduled to start an eight day silent retreat.
The over-the-counter solution that I tried only seemed to make things worse,
and after a couple of treatments, I could hardly hear a thing.
This had never happened to me before.
The silence enclosed me like a bubble,
and it was like being on my own personal silent retreat,
surrounded by quiet wherever I went.
In a way, it was good preparation for this week,
a reminder that the chatter that normally fills my days doesn't really amount to much.
But my ears cleared up just before I left,
and I am glad to be able to hear those birds chirping in the trees,
as I settle into this mostly silent community.

A few words from the Ranch

This experience is winding down, but at the same time getting richer and richer, as the community forms and the participants are no longer an amorphous group of people, but have become specific and precious individuals with whom I feel so fortunate to share this time.

After the morning presentation on various aspects of the Benedictine life (today it was Lectio Divina and balance), given by Sr. Donald, we have a short time for group discussion. During the break, we usually fit in a few private conversations. One priest participant and I discovered that we had both visited Pune, India, and compared notes of our experiences. After the usual observations about the poverty, filth and such, he thought for a while and said that after having been in India, he lost his taste for green tea. Don't you love that? I never in a million years would have expected him to say that. Some people talk about having their spiritual life opened up, or shaken, or deepened, but for him, who seems so at ease and grounded in his faith, it was green tea and he is now back to coffee. There has to be some profound spiritual insight in that. This is also the guy who today was wearing a tee shirt that had written on it in big letters, "Does "anal retentive" have a hyphen?"

This evening, I had conversation with a librarian who told me about her recent conversion experience. A nominal Episcopalian for many years, she had a series of encounters with the Divine that have brought her to an incredibly close and intimate relationship with God--a direct, clear call to her vocation. Hearing stories of such personal, and totally compelling events, is such a blessing, so I am grateful that we are not held to complete silence this week.

If we were held to complete silence, and some serious person were enforcing it, I would probably be in trouble, as after dinner tonight I couldn't help myself when it came to helping Josh take a picture of three participants in the dining room. I am afraid that I got a little bossy (very unlike me) and just grabbed his camera and started giving directions. But the picture is going to be good, and Josh even got to be in it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Another hiatus

I am now in Sonoma County at the Benedictine Experience, a week long retreat. This is my third time here for this experience at Bishop’s Ranch in Healdsburg. There are about thirty of us in community, observing the Daily Offices, keeping silence (mostly) and following the Benedictine balance of prayer, work, study, and recreation. And while it isn’t as exciting as Africa, there is something very compelling about the rhythm of the Daily Office and structured days, and it’s refreshing to be away from so much of the world. Last time I was here, I did a lot of writing and posting (see archives), but this time is different---more silence, prayer, and reflection.

I may be posting a few items from the Ranch later this week, but in the meantime, I just wanted to explain my silence (tiny bit of a play on words there).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Artists for Conservation

My new site at Artists for Conservation is now up and running. Please check it out.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010



Cheetah




We came upon these two brothers just as they were finishing up their afternoon meal-a late lunch of some antelope that wasn't fast enough to escape his fate that day. They took turns working on the kill, so we could see one sitting up, looking around, perhaps taking that moment to digest a bit, while only the back of the other would be visible. We could hear the crunches as he ate and tore apart the prey (best not to think about that too much). After lunch they strolled off, later taking a few minutes to clean each other off, or maybe just making sure that none of that fresh blood that was smeared over their muzzles went to waste.

Monday, July 5, 2010


This beauty was sauntering across the road when we were on our way out to the bush. She stopped, turned around, and just looked at us. We turned off the engine and just looked back. I wish I could that I did this painting right there on the spot, but unfortunately I didn't have my watercolors with me. Considering how long she stood there, I probably would have had time, but I took a photo and did this in my studio.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

This is not Africa . . .


but it was really neat to have this kind of up close and personal experience with the giraffes at the Wild Animal Park in San Diego when we visited prior to our first trip to Africa. On the safari ride, you are given leaves to feed them and they come right up to the truck. They hate to be petted, so the guide warns visitors to not touch them because they will run away if you do. It takes lots of will power to resist stroking those beautiful, exotic animals---their muzzles look so soft. Just look at that exquisite face with those huge, soulful eyes. Aren't they miraculous creatures?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Giraffes







My experience with giraffes in Africa has generally been one of mutual gazing. We'd see one or a group of them browsing on trees across the way, stop and just watch. More often than not, they would stop and do the same, just watch. If we were close enough, we could seen them bat those incredibly long eyelashes. One of our guides said that he thought they were kind of boring, because they just stood there. In my opinion, that's all that they need to do, they are so exotic and surprising and beautiful--they really are the glamor girls of the bush. Yes, yes, I know that about half of them are males, but they just seem so glamorous and feminine (except for a few notable exceptions that I will feature in a future blog).

In the first photo, it looks as if she is bending over so that she will fit in the frame of the shot, which was quite considerate since they are so tall that it is hard to get a compact composition.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Big and Small




This is the same fellow that we watched several times, at the same place just outside of camp, munching away on grass, blocking the road, so that we really had no other choice but to wait and watch. One morning he sauntered off, with what seemed to be an air of self-importance, when he suddenly jumped straight up, about two feet off the ground, which is quite a sight, considering that he probably weighs over 10,000 pounds. He had been startled by an African wildcat, the wild form of our domestic tabby that he nearly stepped on. The cat jumped up in front of him and took off in the opposite direction, and it was hard to tell who was more startled, the elephant or the cat. The African Wildcat weighs probably ten pounds at the most so the contrast was priceless. Suddenly the self-important attitude of our elephant friend seemed to evaporate, and he seemed a little embarrassed. But he gathered his wits about him and went on his way, and after we quit laughing, so did we.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Quiet moments


In between being chased by elephants and watching predators stalk their prey, there were quiet, magical moments spent with creatures such as this Giant Eagle Owl. As I write this, it is almost hard to believe that we sat at the foot of the tree, gazing at this beautiful bird as he calmly gazed back at us, looking for all the world as if he had nothing better to do, and was a little amused that we didn't either. He is a big bird, over two feet tall. His most distinctive feature, in my opinion anyway, are his pink eyelids. He looks like he just came from the Mac or Lancome counter in some department store, where some young makeup artist got a little carried away. It gives him an exotic, fanciful look that is mesmerizing.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Artists for Conservation


Exciting news arrived in my email yesterday----I have been accepted as a Signature Member of Artists for Conservation, an international organization dedicated to the celebration and preservation of the natural world. I am looking forward to being involved with this group of artists and the work that they are doing around the world. I'll soon have a Web presence on their site, and will link to it as soon as it is ready.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Back to the Studio




The past two weeks flew by. After the very busy first weekend of Open Studios, I had a visit from my friend, Mary Siebe who lives in Colorado. We have been friends for over 48 (!) years, and it is always good to see her. We pick up right where we left off and it is such a gift to share that much of life and experience with someone. We both appreciate that only time and experience can create that kind of friendship. It was also a week of surgeries for the Burleson household---Mike had a molar implant, and Emma had a hysterectomy. Both patients did very well and once they were settled a bit, it was time for the second weekend of Open Studios. This time the sun was shining and people didn't have to brave the storms to get here. It was another whirlwind couple of days of meeting people and talking about art and whatever else came up. Needless to say not a lot of work in the studio, but I'll be posting drawings that were displayed these past two weekends.

This afternoon I helped a friend get a blog going. Now, it is really something when people think that I am good at computers. I definitely am not. But I must admit I enjoy the delusion. His name is Charles Moon and he is definitely one of the most remarkable people I know and love, and an Okie to boot. More about him in other posts, but for now, please check out his blog. And tomorrow, this blog returns to Africa.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Open Studios Day One


Open Studios started out on a great note! In spite of the rain, and the fact that I am the only studio open in Trinidad so far north of the rest of the action, lots of folks showed up and visited. Several groups arrived just when I opened at 11:00 and it was steady throughout the day. Many thanks for making the trek up here.

As those of you who were here, (and those who are following the blog) know, the theme these days is Africa--Botswana in particular. A percentage of all sales will be donated to conservation efforts in Africa. Wilderness Safaris is a great organization that is doing important work toward saving these animals, many of which are endangered. Their trust, Wilderness Wildlife Trust, is worth looking into, and of course supporting, which all of your purchases of my wildlife art are helping to do. Many thanks for your support, from me, the Trust, and the animals that they are helping to preserve.

Along with that, Eyes on Africa, the company that I have used for all of my Africa travels, has asked me to put together groups for trips beginning either the end of this year, (right around the corner, but doable) or in 2011. Many of you have expressed interest and signed up, but for the rest of you that may be interested in an African safari, please contact me for further information or to put your name on the list for updates.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Open Studios Preview






Most of the work I've been doing lately has been done with pen and ink. Here are a few examples. Several of these will be available as cards or prints during Open Studios. Also some watercolors, and if it stops raining here so that I can get some photos of recent paintings to post, I will do so.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Farewell, Bill




My brother Bill was found dead in his home this morning. He was 63 years old, had struggled with addiction for most of his life, and it was actually a miracle that he lived as long as he did. He was a smart, talented, guy who had a tough go of it. He is now at peace and the struggle is over.

Across the sea,
a pale moon rises.
The ships have come,
to carry you home.

And all will turn,
to silver glass.
A light on the water.
Grey ships pass
Into the West.


(That is from Into the West, the last song in The Lord of the Rings. Here is a link to a performance by Annie Lennox.

Godspeed, Bill. My love and prayers go with you.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Emerging Warthogs



We were very fortunate to see a family of warthogs greeting the morning as they came out of their underground den. It was kind of like an eruption of warthogs---as soon as one would come out, another would follow, as if the earth were spitting them up. There must have been seven or more and took only a few minutes, but it seemed like it went on for a very long time. When the whole family was out, they trotted off, probably to dig up a little breakfast. They are so odd looking but pretty cute in their own way. And their energy is great---very determined and focused little guys, going about their business with resolve and determination.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A study in contrasts



We saw this little Blacksmith plover several times during our rides. She had laid her eggs right in the middle of the road, and stood there protecting them, looking at us warily, as we drove by. Our guides, Bebe and Gordon, seen above, were very aware of her and careful to not disturb or damage her very vulnerable nest. We kept our fingers crossed that her little family would hatch and survive, and that she would find a more suitable spot next time.

Africa is indeed a study in contrasts. In the course of an hour we spent time with this tiny bird of a few ounces, and were chased by an elephant that weighed thousands of pounds.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New Friends






On the afternoon ride, we came across this herd of elephants crossing the stream. The matriarch who was leading them decided that there was something about us that she didn't like, or perhaps she was just in a bad mood. Whatever it was, she was intent on letting us know that it was time to leave. Her trumpets and splashing didn't seem that threatening, so we continued to watch and take photos. This seemed to annoy her even more, so she ran out of the water towards us. This definitely got our attention and our guide Bebe made a fast getaway. It must have been a sight to see the Land Rover zooming down the dirt road, dust flying, with a very angry elephant in hot pursuit. As you can see , I continued to take photographs, perhaps as a possible documentation of our last moments alive. Unfortunately I didn't get Kenneth and Michael who were behind us in the back seat in the photos as their expressions were priceless. When she finally gave up her pursuit of these annoying voyeurs, she trumpeted loudly, looked a little disgusted and sauntered off to rejoin the herd. It was a great experience.

Monday, May 17, 2010

More Chitabe



We had the great pleasure of meeting Michael and Kenneth on the short flight to this camp, and were really happy to share the next day and adventure with them. They live in Nova Scotia, which gets your attention right off the bat. Michael has an uncanny ability to spot animals, especially elephants, so he was a real asset. There's one! he would exclaim, and we would grab our binoculars and say, where? where? and sure enough, there would be an elephant or zebra beautifully camouflaged to all except him. The guides loved it, and so did we.

Kenneth is seen above wearing a very practical hat, something that I wish I'd had for my feet in the previous camp. Michael and I are are shown at sundowners, that very civilized bush tradition of cocktails and conversation as the sun sets. Here we are toasting 60th birthdays, which the three of us celebrate this year within a few months of one another. Looks to be a very good decade for all of us--it's off to a great start.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Hiatus


This is the reason that I had to take a week off from posting. As is evident from this photo, my studio was torn apart so that a new floor could be installed (this was taken a day before the work actually started). It prompted me to empty bookcases, clean out all of the storage and was a good excuse to get rid of books and art supplies that no longer are useful. I also cleaned about everything I ran across in the process so it feels really good in here now. If you look closely, you can see my cat Zoe sitting on her table (left of photo, pink table cloth) waiting for dinner. She has lived in the studio for a couple of years now, but has been upgraded to the recently vacated goat shed. Drawing and watercolors were on hold as well, and it is so good to get back to the real work at hand.