Archive for September 1st, 2017

It’s the first of September and I let out a sigh of relief that August is behind me. I have confessed my dislike of August here in the past. For me, it’s usually a month of heat and anxiety, a month in which every bad thing seems to find me.

But this August was kinder and gentler and I am truly thankful. I know that this has not been the case for others across the country. Most notably, a storm of biblical proportions named Harvey that swept across the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana. You know the story too well.

If you can, reach into your pocketbooks and send what you can to help them out in some way. It’s the right thing to do.

September always gets me a little melancholy but in a good way. More wistful and nostalgic than sad. It’s a feeling that seems more pronounced as I find myself actually in what could be the September of my life. When this time comes I feel like looking at black and white photos and listening to September Song, which, if you think about it, is a very black and white song.

I acme across this photo of my old studio which stands up the hill from my home and current studio. It is slowly being reclaimed by the forest around it and will someday no longer exist. I like that idea of impermanence for this studio. It was almost meant to be that way as an indicator of how small we are in the face of nature, as Harvey is currently showing us.

I have included an early blog entry from 2008 that describes it along with this year’s version of September Song, which is from Johnny Hartman, jazz vocalist that is probably unknown to most of you. I know that he was off my radar. But his voice is beautifully strong and smooth and this is a lovely, faithful version of the iconic song.

  This is a photo from a book, In Their Studios: Artists & Their Environment  from the photographer, Barbara Hall Blumer.  It was a project that she carried out in 2007 documenting the studios of visual artists in the general area of the southern Finger Lakes, centering on Corning, NY, which has a vibrant artistic community.  The result was a beautiful book that gives insight into the work spaces and habits of many artists.  For me it was interesting to be able to peek into a bit of other artists’ lives.  I highly recommend the book for anyone interested in the process of art.

This is my first studio, one that I built in 1997 and worked in until January of this year [2008], when I moved into a much larger and slightly better appointed studio.  This first studio was located in the woods that above my home and gave me what I called the best commute around, a short walk each morning up the hill through dense and fairly young forest of mixed hardwoods and white pines.  Sometimes I would stop and wonder at my good fortune to have the luxury and pleasure of this walk each day.

It was a very rustic space without running water (and the facilities associated with running water!) or a lot of heat for that matter but it served me well for ten years and its setting had a presence in much of my work.  It was very tranquil and from its windows I had great views of the woods and wildlife–  deer, gray and red fox, coyotes, raccoons (who at one point made their way into my roof) and even a weasel chasing after a rabbit. In the winter it would be spectacular as the snow would cling to the white pine branches almost to the ground.

Again, I wondered how I was so lucky…

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