Nuala’s Painting

In my essay, Angel Wing; An Illustrated Meditation on Nature Immersion, I mentioned Morris Mountain, with a picture of part of it.

If you’ve been following this blog, you’ve heard of Nuala, the non-resident Balsamean. She has been learning watercolor painting. She liked Morris Mountain enough to invest in it. Below is the photo, and her painted rendition, which is framed under glass in my bathroom with two old favorite photos. Thanks again, Nuala.

I’m glad to have another original piece in this little house.  I have a massive collection of photos of art in all media throughout the ages on my computer, but very little original art in the house.  There are a few nice prints that my parents gave me ages ago.  There are some framed photos, all mine except one forest scene from a friend.

The dominant piece is a painting by another watercolor student, Vivian Smithwick, that she framed and gave me as a gift 43 years ago in Portsmouth, Virginia.  Still in the same frame.  I doubt she’s still painting.  If she is, she would have to be well over a hundred years old.  She left me better than she found me.

Untitled Watercolor by Vivian Smithwick, 1976

Now I have a second original painting, from the early works of the only person who can ever be a non-resident Balsamean.  If she made the picture with crayons and the skill of a three year old, I’d cherish it as much or more.  (No offense to three year olds.)

You may think a bathroom is an odd home for a cherished watercolor, but think more.  It hangs in the most conspicuous place of all the walls in the house.  It is above the primary bath towel bar, across from the toilet, beside the shower.  It gets a lot of viewer “hits.”  No, bathroom moisture won’t hurt it.  It’s sealed under glass.

I’ll insert the picture below as intensive practice for learning not to care what people think of me, for Nuala’s sake:

Nuala’s picture is the one on the left. I’m patting myself on the back for getting a shot in such a small room that includes everything I included in my description of the picture’s location.

I am not jaded by all the years of looking at these two other pictures, old photos.  They are more than pictures.  They are moments, situations, experiences, people.

The new painting is all of that plus relationships with nature and with a person, the longest sustained, continually positive and productive human relationship of any kind I’ve had in my adult life.

It’s one world NOW, huh?

“Dance” by Henri Matisse, 1909

I never paid much attention to this Matisse painting until recently when I added it to my screen saver collection. I now see that Matisse’s dancers are all women. Good. That’s the stuff of a one-world mind, because men are feudal. Women are the more evolved half of humanity. I’m not kidding.

In a pandemic, everyone is responsible for everyone else in the world. Everyone fights for everyone to win. If they don’t do it together, it cannot be done. The virus will continue to flourish. We walk and stand together or fall down together. Frankly, that’s a scary thought.

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS IF WE DON’T ALL WASH OUR HANDS. Photo: Spencer Tunick Arrow To Washington, NYC, 1995

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Nature Writers I Follow #4: Mary Holland of Vermont

Books by Mary Holland:

I marvel at how little I accomplish in my life, relative to the amazing output of others. Nature writer Mary Holland seems to be a whole team of creative and scientific experts, not just one person. Her website, books, articles and professional photographs encompass a seemingly limitless encyclopedic exploration of nature, presented in short, easy-reading, wonderfully illustrated pieces. She creates educational tools for all ages, especially children.  When she’s not doing any of that, she’s spreading knowledge and wisdom in speaking engagements. You can feel her passion for natural history in her work.

(Better disclosure: I benefit nothing but pleasure by promoting the nature writers I follow. I have no investment or business interest except as their customer, I get no freebies or incentives, and I have no family connection with them — that I know of!)

Mary Holland’s qualifications root her as a naturalist with specialization in education, plus leadership in environmental and natural sciences in public and private sector organizations. Did I mention she’s a skilled, accomplished writer and photographer? ==> Please continue reading ==>

The Trouble With Fire

Revised July 3, 2019.

The trouble with fire is that it never stands still long enough to be seen. It’s like water falling, or snowflakes drifting down, or dry leaves blown by a gale.  But the camera loves to make them stand still.

These pictures were extracted from photos of a tiny fire I built at Kieferhaven (here at Balsamea) on November 4, 2018.  It was just a little pile of sticks and scraps of birch bark, something to enjoy for a little while.  That little fire has lasted a long, long while.

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You get 61 trees for life

 

Nalini M. Nadkarni (photo source Univ. of Washington article)


In her 2008 book, Between Earth and Sky; Our Intimate Connections to Trees, Nalini M. Nadkarni wrote on page 43,
 
I calculated that the world supports sixty-one trees for each person on Earth [in 2005]. … When I told my husband […] he reflected for a moment and then voiced wonder that the ratio was so small.  “Each person gets sixty-one trees in a lifetime?  That seems hardly enough to supply just the firewood we’ll use in our woodstove for the next few winter seasons, let alone the lumber that’s in our house and the paper I put through my printer.”  His reflections […] reinforced the sense that I need to think about ways to look after my sixty-one trees, wherever they might be growing in the world.
 
To see how she arrived at 61 trees for each of us, see the two scanned images of her text below.

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Put a Woman in Charge (revised)

WordPress clobbered the previous post when I tried to add this note to the  reblog of Put a Woman in Charge written, illustrated and originally posted by Lisa Brunetti at Zeebra Designs & Destinations~ An Artist’s Eyes Never Rest, online home of an artist, naturalist and writer in Ecuador with a global heart, whose blog I would keep following if I could keep only one, for its beautiful offerings in education (in art and more), entertainment, and inspiration.  I wrote more extensively about Lisa in my May 27, 2017 post Nature Writers I Follow #1:Zeebra.

I should know better than use the reblog button instead of just reporting on the piece myself.  So just go to  Put a Woman in Charge and take the time to read all of it and enjoy the heart and the art of it.

Reflections

Going through some old folders, I found the original set of 2005 Moose Pond Moon photos in a surprise location.  It included a scenery shot that I guess I had written off when the set was put where it belongs under photos/nature/moon.  Turns out it was worth keeping.

[This post has only 706 words, chunks of it in music quotes, and a few minutes for one song performance.]

I don’t think it’s exquisite.  It just has a way of holding my eye that doesn’t make sense.  Maybe there’s something wrong with my eye.

When I remembered the moon in Harry Chapin’s song, Circle, I was glad to have him join the moon song hit parade with this salty-sweet sing-a–long.

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Moonsuch Imagery

I knew someone in the business of making and selling “fine art nature photography.”  I never saw anything fine in this artist’s work, but didn’t have the heart to say so.

I mentioned that I use my computer to “tweak” my amateur nature photos to improve what I get out of the camera.

She said, “That’s cheating.”

When she saw some of my earliest moon pix, admiring them she said, “Boy, I thought I was the photographer here.”

I said, “I cheat.”

It’s not a photograph.  It’s a wordless expression of me in the way I experience a subject, with the help of a camera and a computer.

Somebody tell Ansel Adams he was cheating when he used an orange filter to shoot his classic, Moon and Half Dome …

Ansel Adams, Moon and Half Dome, 1960, Yosemite National Park.

I live in a world of turkeys

This morning while washing hiking water bottles, one of our many wild turkeys enjoyed browsing the abundant wild food near the edge of the yard viewed from my kitchen window.

This is not an unusual sight here.  Common, really.  But not for me, and not for the turkeys, since they never get accustomed to being stalked by me.  I am never common to them.

Turkey photos at Balsamea, June 20, 2018, ~7:30 AM. CLICK ANY PICTURE FOR FULL SCREEN VIEW.

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Nature Writers I Follow #1: Lisa Brunetti, a Multi-Disciplinary Artist in Ecuador

There are times when I enjoy an eye-to-eye inspection of those exotic plants, and by capturing their likeness with pencil or water media, I discover minute details that otherwise might be missed. I always walk away with deeper respect for the plant and its support cast of companions. – Lisa Brunetti, Zeebra Designs & Destinations

She says she does it with graphic media.  Others do it with cameras or words or other forms of contemplation or meditation.  It’s about attention and intention, and it yields a clearer sense, if only a glimpse at a time, of the true nature of things, their union with each other and ours with it all, and with each other.  Lisa Brunetti expresses that sense in “pencil or water” media, and in words, and in photography.

In this series of posts (Nature Writers I Follow), I will salute (and recommend) some of the blogs I follow that inspire, inform or entertain my biophilic sensibility with their nature writing and related art.  Truly, it is not the blogs I follow, but their writers.  I appreciate these people for their awakening and supporting rational regard for humanity’s role in the natural order; i.e., part of it, not separate from it; in it, not above it.

I am amazed at how these obviously busy people I admire make time to write for us, share their art with us, and do it so well, free.  Maybe it’s like the old saying goes: if you want to get something done, ask the busiest person.  My lifestyle is too slow to get much done.

Challenged to choose the order of blogs to present here (who goes first?),  I’m going with reverse alphabetical order.

That puts Zeebra Designs & Destinations at the top of the list, and today’s … um … “victim” of my attention: professional artist, author, naturalist and (in my view) philosopher Lisa Brunetti, resident adoptive sister to the soul of Ecuador.  I’m just one of about 2,400 followers of her blog, no doubt from every curve of the earth (whoever came up with the idea of “corners of the earth?”).