You can catch me at the monthly Moyaone Markets, where I often have art for sale and in progress. In good weather I love to set up outside and invite anyone to make art with me, and that’s what I did at the August 1 Market, a blissful summer’s day.
I had a variety of guest artists of all ages, and we had fun in the dappled shade, splashing our watercolors, sprinkling with salt for cool effects, and watching the colors run and bloom, just like the flowers we were painting.
Haven’t you wanted to pick up the brush or pen and make images? What’s holding you back?
Next Moyaone Market Saturday September 5
9am-1pm • 2311 Bryan Point Rd, Accokeek MD
Astrology Rob Brezhny is a weekly source of inspiration for me, and sometimes he knocks my socks off with a profound connection, a pithy quote, a soulful connection. But today it’s just one simple sentence.
The Holy land is everywhere.
I spent my Memorial Day Weekend basking in my new home, enjoying the neighborhood and the house. This was somewhat a wise decision to keep things low key, and somewhat forced house arrest due to budget constraints. It worked out beautifully. With no dollars to spare my food was humble and home-made, my engagement was with neighbors, friends and pets, and my entertainment came from the cycle of the day.
One splendid evening I took a walk with dog Lily and cat Charlee, and we watched herons wading in the sunset waters of Piscataway Bay.
Did you ever go through a dark night of the soul, and reach deep into yourself and find hope or strength from something a friend shared, or a beautiful memory? Well, that feeling of relief that you get at a moment like that, THAT is a Bone Sigh.
A long time ago (at Artomatic 2003) I wandered into a little room filled with tiny watercolors that exploded with color and were inscribed with expressions of deep feeling. They were unlike anything I had ever seen before. They were the work of Terry St. Cloud, an amazing woman who generates a great deal of love and light in this world, whom I am honored to know as a neighbor and friend.
These days, Terry runs Bone Sigh Arts, her successful company that provides gifts, greeting cards, books, and hosts an amazing community. Terry manifested this beautiful business from her own love and determination to honor herself and her creativity as she raised her three boys, now grown and in business for themselves.
When you need a beautiful card or gift, want to lift someone’s spirits, read inspiring ideas and stories, or share your own, please head to Bone Sigh Arts to a unique and magical world that is only possible because of this talented and determined woman.
Last weekend I took photos of the magnolia seed pods and sent them to a friend, who exclaimed: “what an awesome praying mantis!”
I hadn’t even noticed the creature when I clicked the shutter. So, I thought, how many photos do I have with accidental critters in them? A few. But if I expand the concept, I have a great many images of life among the flowers.
Most, but not all, of these images have animals among the blossoms. Human animals included. In a few, like the first, the wildlife is invisible. It’s been a colorful year!
Fairy house on Capitol Hill
Poodles Lily & Laika in Congressional Cemetery
Compulsive Gardener Glee
Jose visits from the Left Coast
Lynn and her lovely daughters, plus Hunter
Laurels blooming on NoName Road
Pollinators at work
Blogger in Bliss
Silver-bordered Fritellary on Echinacia
Boats & Day Lilies
Zebra Swallowtail on Buttonbush
Lotus in the Mattawoman, flood tide. Who swims below?
Painters have been busy in the beautiful open-air studio here in the Swamp Forest, my pet name for Piscataway NP’s hidden Moyaone neighborhood, just south of DC. The mild summer temperatures have made outdoor art a pleasure, and my students and I have been taking advantage of this.
Meet Neil, Accomplished Oil Painter
At the ripe old age of 15, Neil is quite handy with a brush. He and I have worked together for about 2 years now, and I’ve had the joy of watching him gain mastery over this ancient technique.
Neil loves the landscape; he’s a hiker and a camper, active in Boy Scouting and soccer, so for him, plein-aire painting is just another outdoor activity – one he really enjoys.
We’ve worked on-site and in the studio, in fast-drying oils on paper, canvas and panel in a variety of sizes. Neil has a great sense of composition —the fundamental arrangement of shapes within a painting — a tough skill to lear, or teach. He’s learned a great deal about the nature and science of color, pigments, and how to mix colors that create the illusion of space and shape.
Neil will be exhibiting in his first show, the Charles County (Maryland) Arts Alliance Fall Art Show, a multi-media public exhibit, to be held at the Waldorf West Library, 10405 O’Donnell Place, Waldorf, MD, from October 2 to December 30, 2014.
A “Meet the Artists” Public Reception will be held on Saturday, October 4, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm, at the Gallery to honor all the artists participating in the fall show.
Next Sunday, July 20 there’s a tribute and benefit concert for my friend and neighbor Grace Griffith, the award-winning folk singer from Accokeek Maryland. It’s also an album release party for Passing Through, a new CD.
Due to the effects from Griffith’s 17-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease, the album took more than two years to painstakingly record; the record’s producer Chris Biondo, who also produced and performed with the late Eva Cassidy, opened his studio to Griffith and encouraged her to work at her own pace. The result is a haunting collection of folk and Celtic material revealing the artist’s soul. Griffith’s soaring vocals are made all the more poignant by her deteriorating physical condition. from Blix Street Records
Play a song from the CD:
Her producer Chris Biondi spoke to WAMU’s Metro Connection on Friday, talking about what it took for Grace to create this final album. “It took a lot of courage to do what she did,” Biondo said. PLAY THE INTERVIEW
My paddle felt familiar in my hands, even after 18 months without setting sail in my lovely battered plastic kayak. A twice-postponed trip came about, at last, on a perfect day.
This is an easy to have a boat, really. It’s plastic, it floats even when full of water. No ports or holes in the hull to leak, nothing to rot. Very little gear required.Just get it on and off the car, drag it to the water, shove off and…. ahhh.
There is nothing like that glide, the feel sound and smell of the water all around you. Such a smooth flowing sensation, and the sound of the dip, pull, swirl, lift, dripping, and repeat again, finding your rhythm, it’s exquisite, it’s ancient, it’s instinctive.
We all know it’s lovely to look at:
My local kayaking river is the lovely The Mattawoman Creek, a short tributary of the very long Potomac River. Hailed as one of the most pristine river ecosystems in the state, Mattawoman is prized as a trophy bass nursery. The river also hosts increasingly scarce anadromous fish like shad, alewife and herring. Mattawoman’s sweet, wild, water is much appreciated by birds and fish, fisherman and paddlers. I love it because it’s still pure enough to swim in.
Those Magnificent Flying Things
The bird count wasn’t spectacular, but the bird behavior was great. I watched a gang of male red-wing blackbirds harassing a large white Egret, buzzing the tall bird, who ducked and squualked and lunged at them comically. Later we saw the white bird flying, still trailed by hostile red-wings. Real-life Angry Birds!!
Osprey were on the hunt all up and down the stream. More than once I saw them flying with a nice fish in their claws, back to the brood, or for lunch on a favorite branch. They look like a loaded bomber, carrying their cargo below, but there is no way they’ll let that fish go until they’re ready.
Later, a half dozen swallow fledglings begged fitfully on a low hanging branch as mum and dad ably demonstrated hunting on the wing. I paddled right up to them, and they just eyed me, until I spoke. That always breaks the spell. They flew away with perfect grace.
Flora in Abundance
The rivers edge is lined with waterplants,: wild rice, cattail, pickeral weed with its lavender spike, spatterdock, the round yellow waterlily and her cousin the American Lotus, which is just beginning its glorious blooming season. These unfurl huge platter-sized leaves that repel water, rolling it into rounded pools like mercury. And the grand blossoms sway on tall stems, each cream petal large enough to drink from. Apparently a thoroughly edible plant, this lotus is found throughout north America
We only saw a few in full bloom, but plenty more ready to burst into bloom in weeks to come. The showy redwings perched on them for lovely effect.
Changes in the Water
Over the 11 years I’ve paddled and swum this river I’ve seen it grow cloudier, more weed choked. That’s the imprint of increased sediment and nutrient load resulting from upstream development. Although a short river (30 miles) it runs through some active DC exurb communities where sand and gravel pits are evolving into subdivisions. Runoff and erosion are inevitable result of this activity, unless mindful steps are taken to prevent it.
It’s still clean enough to swim in, but its not as clear as it was 10 years ago. The water is murky from silt, and Hydrilla weed chokes the shallows, fed by human and farm waste, plus suburban lawn chemicals. The Mattawoman’s productivity as a fish nursery is measurably declining, particularly in the last decade.
You Can Help
There are steps you can take to help local improve your local watershed health, but it does require some adjustment of behavior.
STOP using chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides on your lawn. Let there be many grasses, clover, even dandelions in your yard! Consider replacing some or all of your lawn with a better habitat for birds, wildlife, butterflies.
CAPTURE and reuse rainwater for gardening, or at least divert it to disperse into the soil.
REPLACE impermeable surfaces with permeable pavers to allow rain water to filter through the earth instead of running into sewers, which washes waste and toxic residues into the local waterways.
GO OUT & ENJOY the beauty and diversity of the waterways, and share your experiences, especially with children.
Dip. Splash. Rustle of cattails. Flop! a fish jumps. Cry of the osprey. Swish, drip, dip, repeat. Breathe. The kayak can take you into intimate shallow glades, where fish drowse amid the water weeds, where birds don’t notice you watching them as they catch bugs, pick berries, gather nest material. The rusted remains of a gravel dredge now creates a sculpture garden where turtles sunbathe.