Tag Archives: trees

January

This time last week I was in Austin, Texas, visiting artful friends, meeting new trees and dogs.  A good time was had by all and I was (and always am) deeply inspired by time spent with these women and their loved ones.

Austin has been described as a blueberry in a big bowl of tomato soup, culturally, politically and it was great fun skimming even the surface of this amazing capitol city.

One can read countless articles about the food in Austin, or the music in Austin.  But honestly, I really loved the trees.

There were two in particular which captivated my imagination.  The first being the famed Treaty Tree – an old, intrepid Council Oak utilized by Native Americans long before our misguided United States was even a glimmer on the horizon.  You can read the full story here about how this poor tree was poisoned back in the 80’s and nearly died.  But it survives to this day and is loved and protected and shored up and supported in its growth.

The day we visited it, there happened to be officials on hand, measuring and taking stock of the tree and I asked permission to come inside the fence and place my hand upon its trunk.  I was permitted and nearly cried when I touched it.  Trees are truly miraculous beings and I have a bit of a thing for them.

A second tree which I befriended just happened to be in the back yard of the very friends we were visiting.  This tree, now called Bonnie, was a primary reason my friends chose this of all houses and they brought in an arborist to make sure they could care for her properly in the coming years.  I think they are glad to know Bonnie.  And perhaps Bonnie is glad to know them.

I am guessing there will be more paintings of Bonnie.  I spent a bit of time just watching how the evening light played upon her stately form.  She’s lovely indeed.

But Austin is not all trees, there are the dogs.  One dog especially seemed to sum up all of Austin’s playfulness.  Mr. Pickles.

One cannot NOT sketch a spectacle such as Mr. Pickles.  Apparently his mom works in the mobile dog grooming world, hence the painted on color.  I think Mr. Pickles knows how cute he is as he greeted us with enthusiasm on our visit to the Contemporary Austin art museum.

There was much more to tell of Austin.  A beer garden in a grove of trees in the hill country, cocktails made of a desert plant….

Vintage finds in the second hand shops.  But mostly we merely enjoyed one another’s company.  And this was enough.  Even in a city as cool as Austin.

And now I am home.  Nursing a cold…..

And deeply worried over our own pup Iris.  Our Wild Iris Rose has been unwell of late.  Deer poo is nasty stuff and we can only guess that she may have sampled some in the yard leading to intestinal distress.  We got her sorted out last week and were in the clear, but this week, among everything else, she was overcome again.

Tonight she is hospitalized and getting fluids.  We are hopeful for the best, but it’s up to her.  And so tonight we wait.

I’m finding it difficult to concentrate on anything, tea is helpful, yes.

And good books to pass the time…

A bit of light reading…..

Scribbling a bit helps to pass the time sometimes. I learned this style of doodling from my friend artist Kim Rae Taylor

But it’s worrying, to put it mildly.  She has been greatly weakened by this latest illness and we are giving her the best care we know how.  And only time will tell.  Of all the dogs, Iris is really my girl and I miss her presence here in the studio tonight as I write this.  Hoping she’s back home resting comfortably tomorrow perhaps.  But we shall take it all as it comes.

As we must.

Useless Work

Grandfather Ash, outside the studio doorAn artist sister-friend of mine sent me this quote today from somewhere on the internet (not quite sure who wrote it… let me know if you know so I can give proper credit where it is due):

“What is the use of a tree? Well, it has many uses, but it isn’t TRYING to be useful. It’s just doing what it wants. And in that process, it does its job in the natural order of things. Despite all the rantings of moralists, you are in the same boat. The only way you are ever going to do an ounce of good in the world is to do what you want. Do what makes you happy, or at least what distracts you from your misery…. So revel in your perfect uselessness. It’s the useful thing to do…. You do not have to strive every minute to be better than it is possible to be…..”

In that spirit, I have spent today in a sort of wandering mood. I met an old friend I haven’t seen awhile for coffee, stopped into Salon Cherry Bomb for an impromtu hair trim (amazingly, she had a spare 5 minutes). I practiced some music, walked the dog and took a nap. There is a small part of me (getting smaller by the day) that feels a little guilty having a day like this. But the gentler part of me, the artist-self who gets stronger and wiser each day, knows better. In the midst of all of this “uselessness” I seemed to have found the key to slowing down the clock. Today seems to have lasted longer than most. Along with my wanderings, some drawing has gotten done, some of the boring studio house-keeping tasks managed to get done as well. I have some ideas brewing that weren’t there earlier in the day…. I feel productive. It’s been a good day in the studio. The action and practice so necessary to maintaining forward momentum as a self-employed artist must be tempered with balancing non-action and days of uselessness (or so it might appear to others) that allow for ideas to simmer.

So, that said, I think I’ll make like a tree…. and grow. Useless as that may be.