Mt Hood Daffodils – and Mt Hood

I planted a White Garden over thirty years ago, inspired by the famous one at Sissinghurst castle in England. Over the years, the “White” has become less disciplined, but the Mt Hood daffodils have survived, multiplied and continue to bloom.

In August 2011, we spent a few days in Portland, Oregon, enjoying the views of the actual Mount Hood. When we got home again in early September, my ghostly white daffodils had excelled themselves, and were the first thing I saw as we pulled in to our driveway.

They have flowered well again this year. The trumpet is a soft lemon when they first open, but over a week or two, they fade to snowy white – just like their namesake.

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Weekly Photography Challenge:Path +Poem

The week between Christmas and New Year is always rather strange – days seem to stretch and contract in the wake of the rush leading up to the holiday for some reason. We’ve also had some days of tropical heat and humidity, which are difficult to deal with in a normally Mediterranean climate…So it’s Friday already, and my path has at last reached WordPress for the Weekly Photography Challenge.july-aug-2011-584-large

This path is in the Japanese Garden in Portland Oregon, which we visited in 2011, and hope to see again some day. That’s a physical path. This poem travels a path too, and I took another path through my photos, looking for some to illuminate the poem.

I walked out the gate
And saw a rainbow
(Symbol of peace and hope)
My heart
(Symbol of love and passion)
Leapt up
sending the blood
(Symbol of empathy and life)
Coursing through my veins.

I couldn’t find an image of an actual rainbow, but I love prisms in the windows and the rainbows they cast around the room on sunny days. Tran(s)cendence (oops) is an image taken when I had a film camera and had to wait to have my pictures developed to find out how they turned out. It became part of a series of “Sukie’s Original Covers” – handmade CD covers using my work that I thought looked like “Cover Art”, inspired in no small way by Pixies “Dolittle”with Simon Larbalestier’s amazing photography in the inlay booklet.

Sukie’s Original became the name I use for all my artwork, and the Trancendence image is now printed on beautiful scarves by Vida. That’s a path I never expected to travel, but I’m happy that I did.scarf

Friday Poem:Descent

I’ve gone down into the back-catalogue again this week – almost precisely 17 years in fact. The subject, however, is an evergreen one, and timely, for me at least. Sometimes we have to descend into dark and uninviting places to find what we need…a-descent-1

The way down
Is rough and steep,
Precipitous in places
Where you fall, and
Crawl on, bruised.
It’s a narrow path
Hemmed in with brambles
And thickets of thorn,
That catch your clothes
And tear your skin.
Sharp stones cut your shoes
And cut your feet.
Somewhere else is mud
That clogs your feet
And makes them heavy.
It is gloomy down there;
The sun cannot reach you
Amongst the rocks and thorns.
But when,at last, you reach
The lowest, darkest place,
Torn, bloody, bruised and worn,
You will find there,
Pure and sweet,
A healing spring that rises
From the bitter earth.
This is the goal you struggled
Long and hard to reach;
This is the spring of Life
That rises out of Death.a-descent-3

Part of the fun of these poetry posts is choosing images from my photography that will, I hope, illuminate or otherwise complement the poem. I don’t often clamber down into dark ravines – not sure why not!- so I’ve picked 3 images from The Trip of a Lifetime that I think fit fairly well. The first is in Forest Park, near Portland Oregon, along a walking track to the Japanese Gardens there (below). The middle image is in Olympia Wa, near the old brewery at Tumwater. It seems like the middle of nowhere, yet there is a busy road up behind those trees.a-descent-2

Creativity:Progress at Last!

I started on this project with my son Alex quite a while ago, and haven’t found the time to do any more work on it in months. I’ve scored a few days Home Alone with no commitments, so I’m trying to catch up with and finish as much as possible while I have the chance. Today I made some progress on our trope l’oeil window.IMG_8731edit

Alex composed the composite image (taped up on the left) from my photos and stock pictures “off the internet”, and I’m adding a few refinements as we go. The idea was that, for a moment as we open the door, we can pretend to be in the Pacific North West – that’s Mt Hood, but some of the trees were “uprooted” from Discovery Park in Seattle. That’s where we saw that eagle, but the wolf cub was in the Portland zoo, as was the hummingbird that I haven’t painted yet…

Some of the acrylic paints I’m using are almost as old as Alex (he just turned 25…), so I think I’m going to have to go paint shopping before I get this finished, and before I start on the painting of Juniper and Matilda as mermaids.

Creativity: Stamping Around the PNW II

I made these stamps, and the tiny book of the images on our big trip around the Pacific North West in August 2011. This week’s stamps are those I made in Portland, Oregon.

We caught glimpses of Mt Hood as the train from Seattle wended its way through goods yards. Our nearest mountain – Mt William in the Grampians National Park, is 1,167m, and sometimes has snow on it in winter – in some years. Mt Hood, on the other hand, is 3,429m, and gleams with pure whiteness even in summer. Big snowy mountains were novel to us!

 

On one of our too-few days, we took the light rail out to the Arboretum, and walked from there to the Rose test garden, via forest and the beautiful Japanese Gardens. All of these places were probably worthy of a day each, but we couldn’t spend that long. I took photos of roses that appealed to me, plus their tags for the name, but I doubt whether any are actually available in Australia. I drew the images on the stamps from photos I’d taken – remembering to reverse the image in the process, if necessary.

I didn’t do any images of food on our trip (although I have at other times), but I can’t write about Portland without remembering the taste-bud wonderland of TartBerry, and the Violetta cafe, where we ate twice, but I wish it could have been more often. Organic Blackberry Soda – with actual blackberries in it…divine! Nearby was the art supply shop where I bought a stamp pad to go with the stamps I was making. I would have bought much more if I could have carried it – so many lovely papers, pencils, brushes, inks, dyes….IMG_5568 (Large)

Friday Poem: Ubiquitous

I wrote this late at night in a hotel room in Melbourne, after seeing P.J. Harvey perform at Hamer Hall.  I don’t remember the year, but I do know it was February 20, Kurt Cobain’s birthday. I couldn’t get to sleep, and lay awake in the small hours, composing in my head. I guess I must have slept eventually, but I was awake early, and went into the other room to record the words in a notebook.DSCF8009

They said he was ubiquitous –
but I knew he was just everywhere.
His face
on a million magazine covers,
five million bedroom walls.
His face,
his smile,
his fingers,
bulldozed into landfill everyday,
pulped
for toilet paper and cereal boxes.
And still it wasn’t
enough.

Never has one person
been wanted by so many.

Never has one person
felt so utterly alone.sept 2011 180 (Large)

In 2011, I traveled to Seattle, Portland, Olympia, Aberdeen,  Port Angeles, Victoria BC and back to Seattle. Before we left, I printed copies of “Ubiquitous”, in simple sentence form, on business cards which I tucked inside small seed envelopes. I added no ID, or clue to where they came from, since I thought it would be more interesting to just release them and not know what happened next…I left one in every hotel room we stayed in, plus other places we visited, such as the Nirvana exhibition at EMP in Seattle, and under the Young St bridge in Aberdeeen (sadly, next to syringes left by someone else). sept 2011 1054 (Large)

Sometimes I wonder what became of them all – did hotel cleaners find them, and toss them in the bin unopened, or did they stir someone’s curiosity – and if they did, who did they think I was writing about? At EMP or Aberdeen, it would be fairly obvious, I guess, but otherwise…?

If I was doing it again, I think I’d make feedback possible, like with a message in a bottle.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Scale

Scale is the word of the week for the Photography Challenge, with an invitation to have some fun with the juxtaposition of tiny things in regular sized environments. I immediately thought of this photo , which I took in Portland, Oregon in August 2011 – a toy horse tied up on the sidewalk.scale 3

I wanted something new as well, so I took a pic of some of the little plastic figures that seem to come home with me from my volunteer job at the Salvos op shop/thrift store, alongside an owl my daughter gave me – all wildly out of scale.

scale

 

And lastly, I couldn’t help using my fab orange plastic retro kitchen scale, adding one cherry tomato alongside the fat vine tomatoes.scale 2