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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Don't know why I did it,

but I painted this mangrove forest entrance. It could be for any of the following reasons:
1. I'm new in Miami
2. I have an undying need to create a visual documentation of each day
5. In doing so, I thought it might make sense of everything.
6. The mangroves and coconuts are beautiful and I like to try to capture beauty
4. because I CAN
7. It was a challenge to behave like a student and just do a painting with out excuses.
8. I felt challenged to make sense of the light. In particular, I wanted to imitate the middle range of shadows sandwiched between a sun blistered light fore and back grounds.

8 x 8 stretched canvas painting
$100 plus shipping

Saturday, September 24, 2011


In a habitat reclamation project spearheaded by Xavier Cortada, about two dozen students, teachers, and parents spent the morning gathering seedlings in the mangroves of Key Biscayne! We will transport them back to campus and nurture them to sprout so they can be replanted in another environment.
It was a beautiful day and I learned about the variety of Mangrove - the red, the black and the white, as well as the brilliance of metaphors associated with mangroves and our own role in society. It was nice to be outside of the classroom and yet with my students. I got to see another side of them, and to see what fires them up!
Afterwards, I stayed at Crandon Park and lay on the beach under a coconut tree. (I know more people are killed by coconuts than by sharks every year- so I was careful about picking a tree without hanging fruit). If it weren't for the airline jets coming in for landing at MIA I would have felt a hundred thousand miles away from everything.

Friday, September 23, 2011


I'm not crashing on the shores, or moving off into deeper waters. Just doing my job, eating, and getting rest. Like this manatee, I am floating in the currents of my world. The similarity between underwater, outer space, and my own body astound me. The differences consist of small miracles in time and space. Light, dust, cells, and faith.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Celestial Body of mine

I wake up after all night dreams teaching clay class, and feel the weight of my body as I rise. An exercise mat lays on the floor in the spare room. I stagger there and plunk into downward dog , swoop shakily through the cobra, back (buttocks) up and repeat 10 times before relishing the child's pose. Each move stretches the muscles and joints of my body. I get aware of my breath.
I used to envy my little sister's yoga room, and now I sort of have one too! It's just a bit more cluttered than hers... you just have to make your way past the stacks of papers and art, and clothes laid on the desk and spare bed and nearby.

I feel my heart flutter and expand. I have been eating too much. I have been painting watery celestial shapes together, expanding, contracting and flowing by. Out of my element, these could be portraits of the way I move. It's all so new and strange.

On an aside: the salt sprinkled orbs... don't they look like colored potato chips? Just the thought makes me need to do 12 more sit ups!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The art scene

Here, there and everywhere.

This weekend entailed seeing lots and lots of art. I enjoyed two nights of "art walks"- parties hosted at multiple open studios in two different warehouse districts. One, on Friday night with food trucks and outdoor band jams, in a relatively new area called the Falls and the other, on Saturday, lit with torches, established on Bird Road. There was some humor to both evenings, and some serious art, and lots of dark space to walk through. Surrealism and spray painted geometric abstractions seem the rage. People seemed happy and whole families were participating (whether the kids felt like it or not), but I felt a lack of sophistication to the system. Instantly, I saw opportunities missed in promotion and building of an event. Perhaps this is about the artists utilizing space for 2nd career work and having some camaraderie with like minded folk? Were any sales happening? Were we entertained or entertainment? Inspired? A reason to clean up and get out?
The pictures are from MANO's studio. (Lots of artists go by one name in all caps.) He had a good crowd maybe because he hosted a group show. It was on the Mona Lisa theme... get it? Mano's Monas! And elsewhere Judith Behrman's corner showed serious study.
We followed the evenings with an afternoon visit to the Biscayne National Park where there was a watercolor botanical show that was interesting, mostly, as the ranger described the works, for it's process. The parks, through the South Florida Collections Management Center, invite artists to respond to their unique environment and then they coordinate an acquisition and interpretive educational exhibition for the public! Looks like there may be money there for artists- or at least a team LOOKING for the money. I still miss Amenia, and have yet to find where the Miami hype proves true.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hammock Leanings

I think I've slept every weekend of this first month down here away. Yesterday, with a sense of re-newed energy, I forced myself to find a hammock and so headed over to the Matheson Hammock Park just for that. I must have taken a wrong turn after entering the park for I found myself among mangroves with not another person in site. Pulling delicately off the road and praying that the car wheels would not sink into the murky ground of soft rotting leaves, I found a sweet private breezy spot under the shade at the water’s edge. From there I could see the Miami skyline and enjoy a collection of musical sounds emanating from passing motorboats. Unfolding my chair, I set myself up for an afternoon of solitude among nature… so please to be only 15 minutes from my home. I took pictures, read a little, snoozed a bit, inhaled the scent of the sea, and only after three hours did I notice the yellow sign 6 feet to the left of me!

Florida both lulls and creeps me out!

If a hammock is to be fit in a relaxing, peaceful, breezy waterfront spot, read this:

Another definition of a Hammocks from Everglades site: Within the marsh are places where the limestone is just a couple of feet higher, high enough to permit hardwood trees like mahogany, gumbo limbo, cocoa palm, and other plants to grow. The hammock creates its own protective environment, often cooler than the surrounding glades. The leaves cast off by the hammocks trees mix with rainwater to form an acidic solution, dissolving limestone downstream from the hammock, surrounding the hammock with a moat which provides additional protection in the event of fire.

Because they are dry the hammocks served as places for the Indians of the glades to live. They also grew crops in the soil of the hammock; the word "hammock" may be derived from the Indian term for "garden place."

The interior of the hammock is dark and thick with vegetation, the floor spongy with rotting leaves.

When I told my mother about the sign, she stated she didn’t think Florida had crocodiles so I looked it up.

Apparently alligators can be found in any freshwater body throughout the state, but crocodiles are confined to South Florida. They need warmer temperatures, and live where salt and fresh water mix. Florida is the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles coexist.

Read more:,2933,512966,00.html#ixzz1XbL8zK00

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Seeking wilderness

You have to count on close observation skills to learn about where you might learn a new language, uncover an hidden talent, and translate the mysterious into the mainstream. Here are a FEW of my student's works in ink and paper. I wish I had their idealism.

My patio has been planted with transplanted treasures... I hear a frog every morning and see lizards in the afternoons. I hope to be able to grow a garden.

Still... I am searching for clues in the wilderness.