Discover more from wide open
the winding of the falling light, the faltering staff of wheat, the uneven clatters of summer rains and long pauses between mattering,
1. we come only suddenly, to realize we’re now and for some time passed, fine-tuned machines calibrated for only destruction. Only eulogy. And while waiting in holy states of patience for love or some other disaster we pass days filling our heads and hands full on full on full till we’ve room no more for the quiet. And skeins of meaning then spill, winding over wide-open prairies, twisting through our emptied bedsheets, as an invisible billow of the tall grass or the syncopated beating of our tiny robot hearts.
past waiting. we inch towards making.
come on father, make it stop…
variously my fingers and hands carry, filter and soil. come a scented map of summer delivered through veins winding stubborn as roots or prairie streams snaking this way, that, against the tall grass and weed. Holding memory of Fresh strawberry; sticky, pungent tomato, thyme tickling. Cut grasses, some fresh and some gone anaerobic-fetid and harsh, pastel dust of every color, burnt motor-oil and grit, battery acid and sunscreen. compost so deep and rich and primal as to smell of death, and new life together. nicotine and tar. honey and garlic. the fats of modern abundance. sharp spider-bite-behind-the-ear puss. sickly sticky petunia and dahlia. the salty sweat of sitting doing nothing worth doing. shit and piss, cum, iron and blood. spoiled fruit and tobacco. onion, always onion. vinegar and soap.
they will say nothing about you. anyhow.
the rest of the world becomes… a gift shop
I paint mother’s peonies. Which were my grandfather’s peonies. which are now my responsibility to keep alive. I have little faith in that so I memorialize. I do both quite poorly. Keeping them alive and memorializing. I find being entirely lost at soft pastels both torture and liberation. I miss feeling any sense of mastery, the comfort of years of work like visual muscle memory, but I also like not knowing who i will turn out to be till i make the work.
(if you want to make layouts like below for substack, try series)
I’m reading, alternately, To Photograph is to learn how to dieand The Creative Act. Two books which, while both interested in creativity and how we come to make things, literally could not lay out more distinct ways to get there, and why we go there. my deep hope is by end of both they will have arrived together at some middle ground. If you want something intellectual read the former, if you want something more spirital (??) read the latter.
I turned to paints after two years of trying to resolve my photographic malaise. The gods have senses of humour as I’ve painted nearly nothing but in trying to collect images for painting, for reference, for just looking at to understand how two colors might work together, what layers might be needed, for doing value studies it infected my brain and pulled my there-can-be-only-one-edit-preset in a slightly more realistic direction, less concentrated on looking like a photo from any period, or even a photo and much more focused on tonal transitions out of need for understanding them myself, which then turned my eye on, unlocking and untangling all my angst and indifference and making me truly love my GFX 100s for its rich even tones in a way I think i only gave lip service to up till now. I’ve often questioned the logic of a $10,000+ camera in the mobile age and I’m slowly coming around to just not caring about the mobile experience. if you’re that devoid of any desire for beauty, well, then suffer you animal
again and again and again and again I stop. I take out different cameras. different lenses. i fly a camera attached to a winged techno-monster (drone). I try dusk, and dawn and mid-day. Storm light. Smoke light. Rains. Yet i simply cannot bring this tractor track through the field to what i know it will be. It’s become a kind of bizarre self torture to solve this riddle of angles and lines. Just know if you ever see these tracks in a finished picture patience can pay off.
I somehow have been oblivious to hollyhocks and their utter pure magic. The pale colors. the shapes. how? I’ve been driving around making reference photos of plants and flowers and discovered them in an alley just being the stars of the place. I wanted to share them. time to figure out where I can plant some here in the yard.