Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ho-hum, yet another sun-


How to frame such things?

Yep, you don’t


—Hi. Yes, I have a question about one of the job listings.


—Cognitive Facilitator. Is that just another term for teacher?

—What is the reference number for the position?


At which point she reads the entire job description, the same information I have in front of me.

—Yes, I read that. What sort of classroom environment are they referring to?

—Would you like me to refer you to the employer?

—I don’t know. Is it a teaching position or a counseling position? It kind of reads like both, and I’m not so sure I qualify as a counselor.

—Do you have a high school diploma or G.E.D.?


— Do you have good communication skills?

—Yes, I believe so.

—Can you work independently?


—Then let me refer you to the employer.

—But there’s one more question I have. Below the educational requirements it lists preferred Majors of Social Science or Social Work. How can one have such majors if one only has a high school diploma?

—Would you like to refer you to the employer or not?

—I may not be qualified.

—Sir, if you turn down the referral, I have to mark that in your file. I’m not saying that will hurt you in future inquiries, but I will have to mark it down.
—How can you mark it down in my file when I haven’t told you who I am?

—You’re not Joseph?

—No. Poor Joseph must still be on hold waiting for you to get back to him.

—Well, let me get your name so I can refer you to the employer. You never know.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Still looking

with renewed vigor and a wider scope.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sit a spell

The lights have been flickering, and that likely means some wind’s comin’. Yes, we now have wind. Most of the time we lose power a short time before we get a blast, especially when the winds are from the west. This means that there is a good chance that when a really mighty wind comes a-howlin’, we will already be in the dark, unless, of course, it’s during the day.

Our big firs are over 90 feet tall and less than that distance to our west. It could be bad, confusingly bad.

I think about these things. Yet, aside from having a tassel of flashlights and the generator gassed up, ready to go, I have very little else in the way of a ‘plan’ in the case of a direct hit. So, it might be more accurate to say that instead of a strategy, I have a worry.

Readily recognizable harbingers will do that. Otherwise, most other concerns get relegated to Worry’s closest relative, Hope.

There’s a poem in the somewhere. And that poem is kin to songs about losing jobs, payin’ bills, getting’ divorced and hard drinkin’.

I can’t recall a poem or song about getting one’s teeth cleaned. Let’s just say the discomfort this morning was commensurate with the time since the last. There was, however, a story come from it, although not my own, about three hens and two vying roosters. How to explain the circumstances of the telling, for there was no transition, no ‘that reminds me of’, no lead-in except ‘hello’. More like a staged presentation, a storyteller trying out new material on the mouth-a-gape captive.

There are songs about the goings-on in a chicken coop.

We’re still having to heat the house at night, and if I had to guess, I’d say we have about a half-cord left to last well past Mother’s Day (lots of poems, songs and such). I fetched tonight’s load between thunder clouds. What did I know, down here in the dungeon? Might as well have been some big truck rollin’ through (more songs) except DW give me the heads up. Now we’re getting some hail, and after that we’ll just be waitin’ on a pretty sunset. ‘Cause you know there’ll be one.


What'd I tell ya?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What we did Friday night

and then we went dancing.


the photograph of the single piece
of white toast on white porcelain
with a title of a mere two letters
maybe not even a vowel
faded with my waking

Saturday, April 24, 2010



Friday, April 23, 2010

Just when you thought it was safe


Someone asked me a couple days ago if I was contemplating putting in a garden this spring. Thinking about it, I must admit, yet I’m in no rush, and if and when I do sow and plant, it’s not going to be much.

In fact, there are ‘plantings’ in the ground already, and I may not do any tilling at all. I might just rely on my existing mature compost piles and do some very intensive growing mounds. I cannot imagine better soil.

I already have buried a bunch of those potatoes that I photographed a couple weeks ago. Some onions and squash are in the same pile. And just so we have a point of reference, this is the pile under which one would find the remains of a female nutria, nine ducks and a guinea fowl.

I make this distinction for an adjacent pile contains the dead coyote. Regular readers will no doubt remember this pile that is in fact a piece of art. Yet, even this earthwork has squash sprouts emerging. Seeds from cross-bred hybrids of Delicata and Spaghetti winter squashes grown last year on this same mound were planted a month or so ago, and a number of sprouts are bursting forth, the eventual fruit from which we will call the “Beuys” winter squash.

In that I planted one decomposed Spaghetti squash and one over-ripe Delicata, I am not certain of how the hybridization will manifest itself in each of the fruit’s seeds. Presently, seeds from both types of squash have sprouted. I look forward to the seeing how the fruits mature, what their shape, color and markings will be, and if the seeds from the Delicata produce a different hybrid than the Spaghetti (one would think so). Once the plants grow into flowering, fruit-bearing plants, I will not attempt to halt any further hybridization to occur between the plants growing on the mound. Beuys is, after all, only a concept at this point, and as the fruit is as much a piece of art as it is a vegetable, it should be allowed to morph, influences being what they are in the history of art. Provenance over patent.

There will be much documentation in the coming months.

Note: For the initial building of the Beuys compost pile, see

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Parochial Conceit

I did a search for Moe and our town on google and came up with a Daily Photo site to which someone with that first name contributed. I perused the site, and although the local Oregon native whose site it is handles the camera work most of the time, she takes submissions, so I did. The ladybug before it got all of its spots from the pear blossom anthers. The site has been around for four years and has a decent readership. Who knew?

I’ve missed a day this week, one from the future, thinking Monday was Tuesday and so on. But I’m all caught up now, one weekday to go. I did it again, for even though this post will most likely have a time stamp for Thursday, it is still Wednesday. I am not sure what is going on. A new, persistent take on a day late, maybe a dollar short.

Driving around today I heard an interview from 1980 with Miles Davis. It was a phone interview and the interviewer was a young student DJ from Southern Illinois University. I was at that school back then; I had DJed for a short stint at that station in 1978; but I was off of jazz back then so would have not made the occasion to hear the interview nor listen to the radio program the DJ had chosen to call, “Miles Beyond.”

I mention this because in my free time fantasies, I have imagined a radio program with that title, a program that used Miles Davis as a step-off to explore jazz movements of the last sixty-plus years. My record library is too paltry for such an endeavor, so I shelved the idea. Now I wonder how many such radio programs exist with that name.

Miles sounded like he had been awakened by the call and he was cranky. The DJ deferred, which was still unacceptable. Davis denied that the music he played was jazz. If I were to start from that premise, my record collection just might be large enough.

When I submitted the photo, I did so with a little introduction. Very little. First name only little. Yet I did write that I have many, many photos of town, our area in general, and our humble little place in the country, and offered to provide more. Buildings and flowers prevailed on the site, historical facts and varieties offered by commenters. I commented myself on a photo that had a special meaning to those of us who spend much of our time in town on the south side: a drug house gutted for rehab. See, I have community spirit!

As I ran errands, I looked for something more to share. My eye and mind were in a tizzy, for I would like to think I am drawn to quarters, a curious beauty found in the untoward yet also hope to see the quaint and civic that captures the local pride (outsider and insider to these excursions makes four).


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Get the Net

I get yappy. Talk too much, or at least make noises, riff and scat, offer opinions, observations and insights best left alone, or rather, to when I am alone. Otherwise, I fear, folks might get to talking some as well, about that guy. You know the one.

But sometimes I just have to float it out there to see what bites. At least that’s the kind of fishing dream I’m having. Big, odd-looking fish in relatively confined areas that should make for easy prey if I could just figure out what they’re biting on…

I give you this car:

I’ve seen it around town and have taken pictures of it before. I don’t believe I have posted the photos before, namely because I remember that they were not very good, lacking cover for a close shot. But today the grocery parking lot was fairly empty, which not only enabled me to see the car from a distance, but also park a couple lines away from it and away from the store door. I snuck the shots.

My grocery list was short, and lo and behold, found myself in line directly behind the owner of the car. I knew it was him; after all, it is a small town. He stopped to talk to someone in the lot, which allowed me to get somewhat close to him again, but not close enough to say something to him before he got into his car. Yet, as I was loading my bag into the passenger seat of my rig, he rolled down his window.

I said, “You have the coolest car in town.”

“Thank you. It’s a labor of love.”

He smoked cigars, evidenced by the one in his hand and a pile of stubs in a shallow pan on the passenger side floor. He had a rather substantial tremor.  On the passenger seat sat a newsletter with the word ‘poker” printed in big, bold caps as a headline.

“You play poker?” I asked, thinking this might be a backdoor to find out a bit more.

“No,” he said as he picked up the paper. “This is the newsletter for the United Postal Workers of Portland. A guy at the gas station likes to read it.” Even though there are three gas stations in town and a number of employees at each, I knew which guy and it made sense beyond knowing his career history. “I’m not a union guy myself.”

“No,” I offered (and here is where the foot begins to tread closer to the mouth), “from the looks of it I’d say you’re and old hippie turned Libertarian who likes to smoke pot.”

“Might be some of that.”

“What’s your name?”

“Name’s Moe.” At which point I told him mine. “Here,” as he dug into his back pocket for his wallet, “let me give you my business card.” At which point I fished mine out as well. I palmed his while he took a good look at mine. “Clever.”

“I’m an artist.” Not that all artists are clever or all clever folks artists…maybe. Yet, I made the statement to clarify the image on the card.

I thought about asking him for a photo of him in his car, but unsure of a tipping point, thought better of it. Moe put the car in gear. “Well, onward and upward!”

I echoed, “Onward, ever onward!” I looked at his card. In the upper left corner it read “Fearless Leader” and in the middle had what might best be described as a modified “Kilroy was here” illustration. And, at the bottom was an email address. Darn, no website.

I felt a little cheated, and a bit exposed. My card had my website, an entry into my world and therefore meat to a matter. His was more a bare hook, but somehow just as, if not more, intriguing.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Back to it

As planned, the lawn was mowed, bags of clippings lifted and spread; unplanned was the lawn tractor pushed off a large brick under the mower deck. Residually a strapping lad, little effort was required, yet still hoped DW wasn’t watching from the kitchen window. 

It is hard to put into words, this extension of my lease. Not new, just a deal struck with the landlord: no one would rent the place as-is, so how ‘bout if I remain on the premises while repairs are made? The toilet works again, gutters repaired… you get the idea. It’s a damn sight better than it was. The trick is going to be keeping the momentum to finish the work. DW warns not to push myself.

A neighbor friend dropped by to check on the progress. We caught up on several local items of interest: a burglary ring had been dismantled due to a diligent Neighborhood Watcher; the murder/suicide was initiated by the revelation of a tryst and desire to separate (when it’s broke, shoot it?); and the changes in menus at several local eateries. She also inquired about boarding their llamas in our fallow paddocks for a period while they upgrade their pasture. I could not have been more pleased with this request as I have soaker hose hidden out there and grazed grass would make its removal infinitely easier.

The conversation took place adjacent to one of our filbert trees (hazelnuts for non-Oregonians), from which arose a small cacophony. Two chickadees were chitting away at us. I had noticed them in the same tree on a number of occasions the last couple weeks and now drew a conclusion: there must be a nest.

Last year a large dead branch came down from this same tree, splitting at its weakest point, which was a hollow doubling as a nest. I cut back the rest of the limb to a juncture where one aspect of the bifurcation was still green. Some rot remained, and has not doubt extended, as this is where the birds are constructing a new hollow. It is nice to see their persistence, rather like an investment in the neighborhood.

If nothing else, we provide good habitat.

The salamander larvae are proving to be a difficult subject matter. The pond’s surface is too reflective and focal points are elusive. I have thought to get a small net at the pet store, but I worry that much interference might cause more harm than a photo is worth. This is the first time I have seen salamander larvae in the pond, and I want to encourage them as we have the frogs over the years. They were, after all, here first, and I am fairly convinced that the reduced number of cucumber beetles last year was related to the propagation of the croakers.

And did I mention the barn owls are back?

I’ve had about as much coffee as I want this morning, the caffeine being the last of my vices that verges on excess. Sleep may have replaced any others, a binary system much more manageable than alchemy. There is a pair of pants upstairs that I will put on one leg at a time; I have errands to run; I must assess my next outdoor projects; and I will make a phone call regarding employment.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

One Day in PDX

The Chinese Garden


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Keep on

While I’m not happy that Grump is having a bad run at the tables, variance taking one of those hard turns it does from time to time for an undetermined period, I am glad that he’s decided to take a break from the game. I’m not thrilled with his threat to stop posting for a period, but that too I can appreciate. I haven’t played any poker since Las Vegas (social time on Poker Academy excluded), and while a couple weeks may not seem like a long time for some, when the game has been an almost daily practice for four and a half years, three weeks off is a big deal.

Somehow, Las Vegas was pivotal, so much so that while holed up in my hotel room, and stewing in my juices, I wrote what may be my first blog post that didn’t see the cathodes of day. It was a farewell to bastin as an online persona.

Well, it didn’t happen, as it became clear upon writing that bastin has become more than poker content these days, and has indeed become synonymous with my given first name, and all of this is just too trivial, too self-indulgent to consider, so I decided to just keep writing whatever I felt like, posting photos, thinking and reading and sharing, and then ascribe it to The Man in the Moon for all that it mattered in the virtual world. It is given in the same spirit that it is received and viceyversa (although upon closer inspection that makes no sense). For better or worse, it perpetuates itself.

I received an email last night from a friend, older in years, not in spirit, and much wiser than I. He had been away for a couple weeks and had missed the chatter in the social sphere about “the procedure” that was couched in rather oblique allusions to my “Peaches!” video from over a year ago. He was writing to inquire if my entries were just more art or if I had indeed been hospitalized. He figured the latter but could not be certain. I wrote back in more explicit terms and apologized, more or less, for the ambiguity by explaining that the internet was a little too permeable for my tastes, hence the dance.

I am certain others are just as confused, but as there is a thin line between friends and acquaintances online to necessitate further inquiry these days, they may have written it off as more b(l)a(n)d performance art. As another friend, much closer to the end than I, writes (and I paraphrase), erring and erring is unerring.

Not that it matters. Both friends have seen much more pain and tragedy than I, and have found ways to endure. Enduring matters.

Friday, April 16, 2010

How the Ladybug Got Its Spots

It seemed like a funny idea, the anthers on the stamens somehow transferring to the unadorned orange backs of the bugs. Before and after photos. So cheesy.

I find myself wishing I had a better camera... something with an actual manual focus. Of course, it could just be me that makes for all of the out of focus close-up shots.

There are 4-week old salamander larvae swimming in the pond. Another photo challenge begins tomorrow.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A week Thursday

I'm home. We're home. DW and I, the dog and the cats.

We picked up the dog first, brought it home. DW went to fetch the cats. She called from the road. One cat had certainly puked, maybe pissed in its cage. Another, judging from the howls, has shit and puked. Oh, and the smells. Could I meet her at the basement door for triage. Yes, a plan.

Wrestled and washed two cats in the deep sink, dried each with nary a scratch. Nor a palpitation.

And that's when I knew for sure the procedure was a success.

Prepare to be inundated.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


She and I both know it: the time grows nearer when we have to move on. I mean, hell, we've known it for so long that the fact we are still there says something about the difficulty: pulled to find a way to stay and overwhelmed by that prospect.We had a fantasy, the fulfillment for which we were unprepared. It wasn't the hard work, no, it was the old saw coming to fruition, similar to the warning surrounding a description of  village as 'quaint'.

And now there are minstrels six stories below our open hotel window: an accordian, a mandolin, various subtle percussion and vocals more sandy than sweet. I have never heard such a rendition of "I'll Fly Away," oh glory. Last night we witnessed an 'anti-prom' parade of costumed folks, largely a sci-fi feel, and a ten-foot tall bicycle cruising the streets at midnight. Today I had the penultimate long john doughnut topped with maple frosting and two strips of bacon.

I saw a non-Carharrt shirt that I must have. It would be perfect for later. Wherever.

Whether in the country or the city, clothes don't necessarily last a lifetime, although the reasons might be somewhat different.

Sunday Brunch

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Yep, it's Saturday

Drift Creek, tree just above where we step in and make our way upstream. Looking forward to hitting this run again. Word is the Steelie and Chinook numbers are up this year.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Going with the flow

Reds, Russets and Blues gone to the compost pile.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Today is Thursday

And 'T' stands for 'Trillium'.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

More time

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

You never know

We have a cat that has become persistent in his attempts to sit on my lap. "Not now, Mitts," I say, "I have too much to do." He's an older cat, and three weeks ago I couldn't have gotten him to sit on my lap for anything.

And so it will be for the next two weeks. I submitted my grant proposal tonight after several rewrites. It's never as straightforward as I'd prefer, but so what else is new? I can say I did my best, so now we wait.

"Not now, Mitts." and I gently put him on the floor.

My brother's oldest daughter is coming tomorrow to stay for six days. She's been Hawaii for six out of the seven last months. Events and meals are all planned. There will be late night discussions, for much is left unresolved.

Then we are in Portland for four days, all of which will find me keeping a very low profile. I may get some time to write some then. We are taking a variety of recording devices with us in case there comes an opportunity to document the time away. At any rate, I'm trusting you'll hear from me thereafter, so I hope I have pictures and whatnot to share.

Our rural network is a-buzz with a murder/suicide. Nice house not too far from the old stump. The newspaper said nice people, retired, loved camping.  Some say only one was gentile, with several anecdotes to support that opinion; others say both were hospitable.  The oddest part of it must be that the precursor was observed through binoculars while scanning for coyotes amongst the new lambs. She walks from the rig to the house, slams the door. He moves off into some trees, picks up a large stick and begins flailing, eventually calms down, walks up to house, and gently closes the door behind him.

Until whenever, I leave you with this quote from Mari Ruti's A World of Fragile Things: "It is impossible to love life without loving transience."

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Final of the final

Received word from George that he has made his selection of photos for the exhibition of student work from "Picturing the Body." He asked that I post the photos just to make sure we were on the same page and that I understood which photos he had described and listed. So, here we are:
George feels the above body of work is the strongest in relation to the project assigned. I must say that it was the one in which I felt most out of my element, turning the camera toward myself, and therefore the most challenging.

These three also made the cut:
"Picturing the Body" was an Honors Photography course. I were an actual student at Coventry asking to take the class, I might not have made the cut. Nevertheless, I am honored to have participated and that I was welcomed by others in the class. From their feedback and my desire to rise to the challenge, I now have a new set of mates and it has made me an incrementally better photographer.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Virtually sedentary (but not dead yet): toward an explication

(Warning: one long spew of a post ahead!)

I’ve been home, what, five days? I’m almost settled back into a routine, nearly caught up with all that I do in a day that went neglected while in Vegas: emails, blogroll, twit links, facebook soundbites, Craig’s List and State of Oregon job listings, and a review of hits on my website and this here blog. I started a flickr account and prepared for a book discussion tomorrow. I picked up mail, hauled firewood, walked the dog and kissed DW a zillion times.

Something feels unfinished. Let’s see where this notion takes us.

Before I left for Vegas, a friend, another artist who is a lot more involved with social media than I (he refers to it as “trafficking”) gave me the heads-up on a regional foundation art fellowship grant that I should apply for. It’s a big chunk of change that could make life a little easier in the near term, so I’ve been working on it since I came home.

By and large, I like what I’ve written. The artist’s statement portion of the application is almost rote at this point, having used basically the same text for nearly every teaching job app and grant request in the last year. I’m presenting the “Field Burning” series as a body of work and I’ve had a lot of time to think about what it is that I want to convey in the work.

Farming in our area is going through a major transformation, specifically for grass seed farmers. Recent legislation severely limits the amount of field burning that farmers can do after 2009. The farmers maintain that field burning is the most efficient way to insure a healthy crop; others see the burning as a significant source of pollution and a health risk. While I see both points of view, I see another effect: the burned landscape is actually quite spectacular. “Field Burnings” is part photo-documentary, part reference to painters like Clyfford Still, Anselm Kiefer, and Richard Diebenkorn, and records the end of an era for some farmers while highlighting the beauty that can be found in a controversial farming practice.

I have to tread lightly and strategically in how I describe the body of work. The foundation that is offering the grant comes from old lumber money, so there is the possibility of a particular politic that I may have to dance around; yet there is something else that may present a higher hurdle. The application information obliquely indicates that there will be a preference given to painting and crafts. Those pursuits, it seems, were the favorites of the foundation’s founder. Abstract painting is within her esthetic taste, so I may stand a chance.

While in Vegas, I spent a fair amount of the first couple days visiting with an old friend from Chicago. Mike used to be a big wig in the City of Chicago art program. He is also a fairly successful artist and has taken his show, as it were, to NYC, where, within a short period of time, he has established a presence. We hadn’t seen each other in eight years or so, yet, as is often the case with old friends, we picked up right where we left off and had a great time.

We were on our way over to the Imperial Palace’s notorious Geisha Bar to look at hookers when Mike remarked that he really liked the “Field Burning” series. “They’re beautiful, “ he said, “and remind me of Kiefer, but what are they beyond that?” Now, to some that might seem to be an odd statement, but I knew what he meant. We both come from a conceptual art background, one where my recent text-based photos have more resonance than my landscapes.

“It’s a regional thing,” I responded, and proceeded to outline the recent legislative battle. He understood. I then began to explain the struggle that I have with the landscape as subject matter, the seduction it has, a siren song, for it entrances one to be content with mere re-presentation.

“What’s wrong with that?” one might ask. Nothing. Absolutely nothing, except it’s not all what I see, or more specifically, think about when I look at the terrain before me.

Now, after farming for over six years, I have a new understanding of what is meant by “landscape,” namely that the geography has been shaped, and is as much about human impact on the land as it is about the contour and flora.

It is what makes me takes photos like this:
Hoover (Damn) Trash

Yet such a photo does nothing except make the blatant statement, “Litter bad!” and therefore has no esthetic value. It is extreme, closed, and has no elegance to it. There is no art.

The key word is ‘closed’. Likewise, a photo like the next one is closed: “Waterfall pretty!”

Still, such realizations do not prevent me from clicking the shutter, nor publishing the photo on my flickr page or website. It has a certain appeal, and may be marketable, yet has no more appeal than thousands of other photos of waterfalls. That is what I am up against in the world of contemporary fine art.

Again, another key word is ‘contemporary’, for ultimately, my preferred venue is not flickr, nor a stock photography site, but galleries and museums.

Allow me to illustrate another example. My daily readers might remember a local exhibit I was part of in February. My work  was unlike any of the other participants’ and received acclaim and notice by viewers and the local media. (If you don't know my real name, guess which piece.) Yesterday I found out it did not get sold.

“Don’t feel bad,” the gallerist told me, “a lot of other pieces didn’t sell either.” Yeah, we’re in difficult financial times right now, and art is understandably not a high purchase priority. Yet, if she had let it go at that, I might not have had given it another thought. “You know, everyone raves about something that is avant-garde (a very, very relative, out-dated and ambiguous term), but when it comes to paying to own that art, it’s a different story.” Tell me something I don’t already know.

I have been making art for nearly thirty years. In that time I have sold perhaps two or three pieces, despite having a fairly extensive exhibition list. (I believe I have mentioned this fact before on this blog.) There was a time in the not too distant past that I saw this as unjust, and in fact, developed a rather intricate self-myth around it. I won’t go into it except to say that it was very unproductive.

As I sat with the information I received from the gallerist, I recognized the bad tendency rising again, and avoided it. Instead, I began to think of ways that I might get the piece sold. Mind you, I made it as a contribution to a fundraiser, so I would not see any of the proceeds; yet that was not the point. The point was that if the piece was so well-received, then it must be of value to someone, and a little extra effort on my part might get it sold.

I thought about putting the piece on facebook, and linking the gallery. I even thought one of my twenty readers might be interested. But neither place would be appropriate as it would almost be like asking a favor. Then I remembered an email I received when the show first opened.

I was lucky enough to get an early look at 100 artists show at the Marylou Zeeks Gallery in Salem.

I was completely blown away by your piece!!  I think it is the best one by far.

This got me doing some looking around and came across your website.  Very cool!!!  The lawnmowers driving across America is Brilliant.  The field burns are also fantastic!
I REALLY like your work!

So I wrote the guy to inform him that the piece was still available. We’ll see if he acts on it.

I wouldn’t have done that a year ago. Nor would I have had a facebook or twitter account; and I wouldn’t have reconnected with my buddy, Mike. Two years ago I wouldn’t have walked into Zeek Gallery and introduced myself or bothered to update my website. Three years ago I wouldn’t have had this blog*. And I wouldn’t have started a flickr account yesterday. Three years ago I wouldn’t have had the time or inclination.

When my spouse and I moved to Oregon seven years ago, we intended to start an organic farm and artist’s residency program. We soon discovered that the farming itself involved an eighty-hour week and therefore dropped the residency from our plans. I continued making art, yet still had little time to seek exhibition opportunities. The last two years have found us farming less, which has given me time to pursue my art on a more full-time basis and get more involved with the art community in Salem and Portland. After a relatively successful career as a Chicago artist seven years ago, I am, in essence, a re-emerging artist in Oregon.

I look back over my work from back in Chicago, and I see connections to the work I do now with the photography and video of landscapes and about farming. The connections are tenuous, yet they are there, particularly in the work that incorporated crafts like wood carving/burning with photography. It is not so much the art that has changed as the artist. The feelings of disillusionment that partially precipitated a move from Chicago to rural Oregon were not alleviated with the move. If anything, they were aggravated, and culminated into a nearly complete retreat from the art world, partly because I was too busy with the farm, and also because I was certain my art was destined to be ignored and had no hope of being resurrected.

Yet, when it became clear that the farm was not going to be the answer we had hoped it would be, I was forced to reconsider what it was I was doing with my life, if only by default, for there was a pressing need to make a living. With no idea of ‘what next’, I had to rely on what I already knew and see if there might be a way to rebuild with a revisit to what had been my one passion of making art. I spend my days in a sort of re-education program of reading and more reading (online and off), looking at and making art (online and off), and writing (online and off).

So, to return to the beginning of this tome, if my day is so full, what is unfinished? The answer may very well be that I have just begun anew so there is much left to do. It is not what is unfinished but what else I can and should add to my day, and what must be put aside. The initial question is the wrong question. The answer and question are one in the same.

* I want thank those readers who have come along for this ride and offered encouragement along the way. I am eternally grateful.