Sunday, June 27, 2010

Chases Daily and Weasel Artblog Two

I really mean to start work on the website updates today. However, down by the pond just now I got distracted by three dark shapes coming out of the rushes. At first I thought ducks, but these little shapes ran beside the pond edge, threading their way over and under each other, headed in my direction. After some discussion tschhk tschhk tschhk about my presence, they decided I was out of the ordinary for them and reversed direction. Back through the rushes, into and under and through the rocks, out on the other side of the pond. Now I thought I saw only two, but the third was there, swimming alongside his friends on the bank.

If weasels were charcoal and water and rushes were gesso, they would have been a drawing of line and erasures, describing the space of the pond and its surroundings. Some of my earliest drawings were done that way in description of bicycle wheels and frames. But if you want to see really impressive work in this mode, go straight to Chases Daily on Main Street in Belfast where Gideon Bok is making a drawing in charcoal, sumi ink and graphite. It both spans and describes Chase's interior, floor to ceiling. Gideon's blog has an image, and more information, but you really must see for yourself. There will be a closing reception on July 8, at which point Gideon will wash the drawing off the wall.

Pond rushes (Juncus effusus) image credit

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Days of Decadence

Tonight, the catbird's doing a great cover of the cardinal's song, the woods are alive with late evening light, and  this morning, as I was coming back up the rise from the my pond, I met a bull moose on his way down the creekbank. He was gone through Beeler's Woods before I could get to my iPhone. The combination of experiences reminds me that I haven't yet written about absinthe.

My decadent day in Portland - now a few weeks ago - started at the Salt Exchange with frogs legs ravioli on a bed of arugula and quinoa with candied garlic and balsamic vinegar. As if that were not enough, this was accompanied by the sounds of Gene Austin's 1928 hit My Blue Heaven and a Satchmo version of Mack the Knife. 

From there I went to an opening at The Bar of Chocolate Cafe where Holly Gooch has assembled an exhibition of absinthe spoons. It's an intimate grouping in a display case, of exquisite contemporary examples of the tool one uses to drizzle water over a sugar cube into the absinthe in the glass. "Absinthe has a wonderful colour, green.  A glass of Absinthe is a poetical as anything in the world.  What difference is there between a glass of Absinthe and a sunset?" So said Oscar Wilde. The absinthe spoon made art history in a cubist sculpture by Picasso, made in Paris in the spring of 1914, in painted bronze with a perforated silver absinthe spoon. I have to add that the flower pots by William Merritt Chase in a painting now on exhibit at Colby College are so individually painted that they too are as poetical as a sunset and made me long for the good old days of painting as an art, not a conceptual exercise.

There's a good long run for the absinthe spoons at The Bar of Chocolate. They are up through New Year's Eve. My pond has lily pads. So does one of the spoons. Go see - and don't wait until December 31. Order an espresso martini? What?

Holly Gooch and Absinthe Spoons
The Bar of Chocolate, Wharf Street
Image credit