Saturday, June 11, 2016


I went up in a crew of 5 from the Society for the Advancement of Judaism (SAJ), to maintain our trail in the Wawayanda State Forest, NJ.  We went to thwack away the brambles leaning over the trail, that catch you with giant spikey thorns if you don’t watch out.  I go, too, because trees are for me the most perfect art form, sculpture and dance, even when perfectly still, and always musical in the wind.  The beavers have done their own carving, in their ever-growing pond, now a lake, now a watery village with a number of lodges and one high-domed civic center, of sorts.   And many many peeled, leafless, sculpted, chewed, isolated, dying, drowned remarkably shaped remnants of tree trunks.

It rained a lot, all the more beauty.  The beaver pond sat under a thick mist, and all the tree bark was wet, highlighting the shapes of the stumps.  The wet rocks on the trail were treacherous and slippery, but that also intensified their colors. These photos are by Ruth Messinger.


The civic center
A little more and over it goes
A mysterious group

I’ve gone a few times before: one blog Two Ladders is about a natural formation I found there and a companion piece made by an artist, Judy Hoffman.  Another is about painting the blazes An Artist's Art.  

Monday, May 30, 2016

Colors and Cataracts

Many artists (and others) around my age are discussing cataract surgery,  and they either marvel or rue the marked change in the perception of color. 
I have a preference for a soft yellow-leaning palette and all my drawings and oil pastels were done accordingly.  Orangy-red instead of alizarin crimson.  I reveled in that warm dreamy range of color. It made me very happy.  I saw the world itself in that palette. 
Cataract surgery on my left eye two years ago:  no, this isn’t possible.  Is that what everyone sees, a cool neutered white?  (Some artists reported a sudden new brilliant white).  My entire body of work, not to mention every environment I inhabit, was suddenly not what I thought it was.  Cooler.
My dominant right eye, as yet unfixed, still sees what I always saw.  To draw in color now I have to close that eye to create on the paper what I think most uncataracted people see, to get the warm color I want.  I can’t go back and change the color of my finished work.  I can only go forward, closing my right eye frequently to perceive what must be the common visual reality. 
Everywhere else, with both eyes open, I see a mix, not so warm, not so cool.  For this reason alone, I’ll hang onto that little cloud in my right eye until it really has to go, and I wink one way and then the other, to get the whole story. 
It's something like this, but of course I also have no control over what you see on your screen, we all see something different, and double that for alternating winks.  But to try to clarify:
Right eye                                            Left eye
Well, it's hard to explain.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Keeping a Journal

I had a brief flirtation with normalcy yesterday, home after a very hard month by the bedside of my ill sister in Israel, and yet I felt very alone.  Today I realize why that was.  I didn’t talk to myself all day, at least not in hearing distance.  Why was that?  Mad at myself for something, probably.
But I did finish another Journal Entry.  So very fitting, these works in which I write my thoughts and then write more on top of the first, until nothing is legible, no matter the language, which in this case is Yiddish.  Very few people have so far signed onto this blog, a handful, and that too is fitting, since I spend a lot of effort obscuring my messages in my work.  So I see this blog as one of my works.  (but please do sign on).
The text is the bottom object in the stack of three.  I also like stacks of things, a little edgy, not quite balanced.
Journal Entry 8, pencil on photo litho, image 16"x11", 2016