When my print arts salon, Painters Under Pressure, suggested we do the Seattle Sampling December studio tour it was. . . . July. No sweat, plenty of time! Now we are all in that wonderful pre-show manic state of trying to make art round the clock while life in its inconvenient way interferes. Laundry? Bookkeeping? The Gym? Huh. I have never made so much work in such a compressed period of time. I think the happiest state, the state of mind I treasure most, may be just pure focus, and I’m there, even if I am wearing last week’s socks.
You can find the map to all 12 Seattle Sampling studios here. Jon Taylor, Ruth Hesse, Steve MacFarlane and I will be in studio 4 at 4000 Aurora Avenue North. The building is on the northeast corner of 40th and Aurora, on the east side of Aurora. It is easiest to come up Stone Way and turn west on 40th, and you will find parking available on the surrounding streets or in the building lot. Here is the specific street map for our studio.
On Friday evening between 4-9 we will have wine and cheese and first choice of artwork. Studios will be open Saturday and Sunday from 10AM-5PM. Come keep us company and celebrate the beginning of the holiday season! I will post details and reminders a few more times as the date grows closer. Follow our collective work for the show on the PUPS Facebook page or see my daily progress on Instagram.
Tuesday I went into the garden and was transfixed by the Japanese pear-apple tree. It had lost an exact number of random leaves. An offering of golden shards against the gray sky, one branch stood out. Transient beauty evokes equal measures of pleasure and longing. The camera can stop time, yet the capture is almost incidental, and does not really close the distance. It is only when I go back into time and consider it from ten directions and remake the instant slowly that longing is truly met with something I can touch and hold in my hand. Although there will be some prints on paper, most of the new work for the studio show is mixed media on plaster. The scale is intimate, between four and eight inches square.
Every day I reflect on the meaning of the title for this series: “The Gardener’s Almanac of Irreproducible Phenomena.” I think all of my work, whether it is about architecture, the street or the garden is at heart about impermanence. Printmaking is a way to mediate the tension between the irreproducible, the fleeting, and the desire to capture and hold, through the consciously editioned movements of the hand.
Predictions, November 12, 2015
In this year of fluctuating drought and deluge the Pear Apple, also known as Sand Pear or pyrus pyrifolia, will achieve a perfect asymmetry only rivaled by the six persimmons of Mu-qui. The presence of pale blue lichen will indicate that the tree is old but blessed and lucky to be still bearing fruit after three transplantings. The fruit! It will be plentiful and globed like many suns after a confetti of white blossoms. Harvest before the gray squirrel sinks his teeth into the flesh. Preferably before the moon gets too far beyond itself. Slice in a blackened pan, drizzle with brandy and clove. Wait until ripeness, serve to a stranger you would like to kiss.
Between January 12th and 16th of the following year a great snow will fall and this very branch that seems so beautiful now will crack under the weight. Consider emptiness. How the blue-sky lichen covers more and more of the tree until the branches look like currents in the lake. How hot it is! In June’s drought the tree feverishly blooms and blooms, but offers only one fruit in late August. People will say it is grieving. That it is shoring up. That it is tired and old. You will miss the bees, drunk and flirtatious on fallen fruit. But you can walk barefoot now without fear, and one day you will stand in front of the tree and reach up and eat the sun.
—The Gardener’s Almanac of Irreproducible Phenomena, Chapter 6