Thursday, January 27, 2011

What's New

 Ice Haiku

One of my 2011 intentions is to try new things. So far this year in this space, I have strayed from my usual format of personal essay interspersed with relevant images and let a series of winter photographs speak for themselves. I’ve showed the results of my first attempt to use a Holga camera whose ways were mysterious to me and I hope will always remain so. I have even turned my camera on myself. This week I’ll be writing a different kind of post in which I give you some quick brief updates on what’s been going on in my life so far this already busy year, without exploring any grand themes or issues, at least not intentionally!


As it draws to a close, I will remember January as the month of deadlines.  No sooner had I recovered from the holidays and only partly wrapped up the old year and put it behind me, when all sorts of 2011 business needed to be attended to.  Applications for outdoor markets, photography contests and state grants all came due so quickly I even missed a few in the first two weeks. It’s hard to think in the dead of winter about events and announcements that won’t be happening until spring or summer - especially when one of my other 2011 intentions is to “live in the moment!” - but there I was, setting things in motion months ahead of time, projecting who and how I will be in May, when I’m not even sure what will happen tomorrow! For the grant and contest applications in particular, for me it meant creating artistic statements that were written from the point of view not of the photographer I now am, but the one I plan on becoming in 2011, with a body of work I can present on demand, and  projects to promote that are worthy of respect and funding. Thinking of myself this way is indeed a big change. A good eye, I have. A good resume full of impressive academic and professional credentials? Not so much.

While this cold season still makes such items marketable, I’ve been working on scarves and wrist warmers to sell over the next few months. The scarf pictured here is a new design in a chevron pattern using an old technique in which I gather all the leftover colors that have been collecting from other finished pieces and put them together in an order that the colors themselves suggest as the piece progresses. 

I’m always surprised how well these odds and ends blend, considering they were all acquired at different times for separate projects! Another case of something old creating something new! My next scarf will be a commissioned piece for my father. I was concerned that I would not finish it in time for him to make good use of it this winter, but considering our record snowfalls with no end in sight, I’ve got nothing to worry about!

leaf alone

In April I’ll be switching my focus exclusively to photography so I will be able to participate in Somerville Open Studios this spring with a wall full of professional mounts in a unified theme. In a recent bit of good luck, with our studio lease expiring this summer, Brian and I secured a new studio space in the same Vernon Street building we now occupy, to begin in March. This means we will have a transition period during which we will have two distinct spaces in which to work, and more importantly can each exhibit our work in our own spaces during the Open Studios weekend, perhaps the biggest event of the year for the Somerville arts community!

 Ice Sculpture

Meanwhile, back in the present, today we are once again digging out from more snow here in the Northeast, and my monochrome lover’s cry of delight at an abundance of snow scenes to capture is quickly turning into the winter hater’s cry of “enough already!”  It’s not easy to find interesting new shots or the enthusiasm to seek them out, but that’s part of the challenge, to render the familiar strange and exciting again. Sometimes it’s not about finding unprecedented new subjects, tools or techniques (as I feared might be the case with my competitors for the grants and awards I’ve been applying for) but simply seeing things with new eyes and bringing that way of seeing to other people.  As I began this post this morning, I was once again gazing at heaps of snow collected outside my window from the safety of my living room, but this time I took pictures of what happened on the window itself, instead of what lay beyond it. No two snowflakes are alike; so it is with snowstorms, their aftereffects, and the people who love to photograph them.

Little P is having a wonderful 2011!

This past week, just as I was making good on another 2011 intention, getting back into healthy diet and fitness routines, I came down with the bad stomach virus that has been making the rounds, and spent a few days too nauseated and weak to eat much or exercise at all. Fortunately, I remembered that my mother used to give me Ginger Ale whenever I was sick as a child and how it immediately settled my stomach, so I changed to a diet of bananas, rice crackers, applesauce and this apparently magic ginger beverage.  I’m still a little weak, achy and dizzy, but at least I no longer feel as if any food I take in will immediately be sent back. Throughout my illness, and not being the kind of patient who can stay in bed for too long without getting restless, I was still strong enough to sit at my computer – with the nearby attendance of the best nurse ever, the amusing and adorable Little P, whose new favorite place to be is sprawled next to my laptop on my writing table while I’m typing.  This is a change for her, so perhaps she has her own 2011 intentions to fulfill! Now that there is more snow outside, and with such excellent company, why would I want to be anywhere else?

Ice Dancing

I have one more new thing to report: I finally finished reading the Art as Business book that has been occupying my featured reading space at right for several weeks. It had a lot of useful information and I will need a few days to follow through on all the helpful websites and strategies suggested. Now I’m ready for a good novel – and I’ve chosen one of the two remaining novels by Jose Saramago I have yet to read – The Gospel According to Jesus Christ. After this, there will be only Baltasar and Blimunda left to enjoy. I’ve read everything else he has written, and no new works will issue from the silent pen of this departed literary master. Perhaps this is why I have been holding on to these last two novels, knowing when they are finished, I will never again have the experience of reading an unknown Saramago book for the first time. I will have to content myself with the experience of reading them all a second time, for the first time.

Special thanks to followers new to this space, and those who keep coming back for more.


  1. I like the series and choice of subjects in variety and the POVs...

  2. WONG CHING WAH, thank you so much! I am always happy to read your comments here!

  3. Love reading you Gabriella. I just came back from dinner and I know the feeling of how long is this winter going to last? More snow? What can I photograph now...? Great picture of Little P. Love that you have all these projects to work on. Saramago is one of the best!

  4. Again a very informative post.

    It is good to here that you have recovered from
    a stomach virus. Thanks to your mother's recipe.

    Very nice images of snow sculptures..
    I love your cat!
    Mine is always following me (every step).
    The scarf for your father is going soon warming

    The new idea sharing a studio with Brian is
    practical and in a way easier for the both of

    Wish you a warm weekend.

  5. LUIS - Can you believe they are predicting more snow next week? When does it end? Where does it all go? I'm glad you liked this post. I began Saramago last night - reading in bed, what a luxury! And it was so good, I had almost forgotten how good he is! Stay well, my friend!

    MONIKA - so happy to see you here as always, my dear! I love that your cat follows you everywhere too! Who said they are aloof creatures? They can be more faithful than dogs. I'm feeling better today, but it's been a bad week. I hope you stay well - I know you will stay warm where you are! Sending my love to you.

  6. Gabriella! Sorry you've been with a stomach virus...those are the worst, if you ask me! Lovely to hear what you've been up to....the balance act of living in the moment and projecting into the future is a challenge! Here's the a surprising and prosperous unfolding to the rest of the year. I'm sure at least some of the snow you all are having in the northeast was meant to be dropped off here on the way, but apparently the instructions never got through....we haven't had any to speak of in quite a while! Oh...don't mean to gloat! Cheers, dear!

  7. Hi Patti! Yes, stomach bugs are way worse than headcolds in my opinion too! I can leave the house with a cold, but not if I'm worried I'm going to pass out and/or hurl in public! Feeling a little better today - no choice but to sally forth when there's work to do!

    The winter is only half over, so be careful, the snow gods may realize their oversight and get you next! Be well, my dear.

  8. Great post! I have aspirations of entering a few photo contests after I get more experience and hopefully some formal teaching. I look forward to reading about and seeing your progress. The ice pictures are very good. They remind me of fountains. Little P is so cute. :)

  9. JAMES - Say what? Dude, you're so good already, no need to wait for formal teaching or more experience to put your stuff out there - the images speak for themselves. Go for it. But I will say, your modesty is refreshing! Many thanks for your comment - have a great weekend!

  10. I no longer envy the snowbound. Instead I am grateful that in my geography, the worst weather is a near-freezing fog that hugs the ground, with all the snow I might want an hour's drive into the mountains. I haven't bothered yet.

    I too want to live more in the moment, though I haven't even begun to learn how. Like you I am stymied by the immediate needs to prepare for tomorrow. Mine are much more abstract than your various applications. What an awful way to have to spend time! But they open doors you want to pass through, so that's good.

    For the first time EVER I just now had the awful thought that it might actually do me good to get a cat. I won't: It would have to live indoors all the time and that's just wrong. But to have a smart little mammal around would have its points. Do cats really help one write? I've seen enough pictures of them lounging helpfully around keyboards.

  11. Hi G/TT - I love the ice dancing shots - but understand you must be well and truly over it this year. We are a bit like that with the rain this summer. I enjoyed your description of contradiction between 'the moment' and 'the future' - I often ponder getting this balance right but I thought your projection of yourself as artist in the future was brilliant! Nice scarf, nice cat, nice news re the studio and good that the stomach is recovering!

  12. DON - When I find the secret to in-the-moment living, I'll let you know! But see, there I am again, projecting into a future time! At least I am no longer dwelling on or in the past, much worse I think, and mostly when I see the future me I am better than I am now, and believe the distance between old me and new improved me is not so very long or hard a road to travel.

    I have always had indoor cats - unless they begin their lives outdoors, they actually like being in well-defined cosy interior spaces; they also live longer that way. And yes, they do help one write! Having them nearby is so relaxing and reassuring, and yet you can always feel the mystery and wildness in the thoughts just flow.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  13. FIONA - Oh, well and truly over it is an understatement! When the news starts running stories about a sudden rise in seasonal mood disorders and it's not even February yet, we must be in trouble!

    Balance is such a necessary thing and so difficult sometimes, yes. I think the best I can do when the future must impinge on living fully in the present is to at least make it a healthy exercise, a positive projection or declaration or envisioning, rather than vague anxieties and unfounded fears! I try...

    I'm glad you liked the ice photos! But I'm running out of ideas for winter themed images!

  14. Love the abstractness of the ice photos and the high contrast of the leaf photo. Sounds like your're busy in a good way, with things that are fulfilling - a good way to live.

  15. I like the ice photos they all make lovely abstracts. Entering Photo competitions thats one of my resolutions as well this year.. Nice colorful scarf,hope you are recovering from your illness and the way you have described Saramago I have already added it to my list of to be read authors:) take good care of yourself and have a great day!

  16. Narayan - good luck with the photo competitions! If they aren't too expensive to enter, you really have nothing to lose, and it's a good way to get yourself thinking seriously about your work and how to present it with its best face forward! I am feeling much better this week, thank you! Saramago is an amazing author, and I have just discovered there is one more book he wrote in his last year of life that has not yet been translated into English, so he will still be able to give me something new despite his passing! Have a great week.

  17. The 'leaf alone' is so very beautiful, I love it!
    Nice to hear about all your projects and intentions, it's a good thing to have them and usually from one thing comes another and who knows where it will bring you.
    Take good care dear Gabriella, x Renilde

  18. Hey, G!!
    I'm sure you will do well with all that you have ahead of you!! Congrats on your new space!!!
    I'm glad that you're feeling a little better and I do know about the Ginger Ale Dry Ginger Ale is a cure all!! We drink it when we are sick also!!
    Music sharing is always fun with you guys. Btw...saw the bday pics...LOL...I hope that Brian read you my response!!

  19. LAURA - cara, in my world, you are always welcome! Thank you so much!

    RENILDE - I'm happy the 'leaf alone' appealed to you - the day I found it, I thought I was finished taking pictures and there it was begging to be captured on film! I know what you mean about plans and intentions - it's important to have them, but also to understand that they are only starting points of a process that may change - for the better - over time! All the best to you, my dear!

  20. MANON - grrrrlfriend! That is so funny you know about the Ginger Ale Cure! Yes, I'm fully recovered now - proof positive is that I write this comment with a big ol' glass of wine nearby! Glad you liked the bdy pics - which will not be receiving any wider distribution and I shouldn't even be writing about here! Just promise me if we ever all party together you won't wear any of them high boots! (yes, B showed me your response) Rave on...

  21. Love the ice haiku - Mother nature can be gentle and beautiful and also ferocious and all poweful [as I sit here waiting for the monster od all cyclones]

  22. Noela - greetings! It was pretty fortunate the melting and re-freezing ice happened to form in just that manner! I do appreciate your kind comment. So picturesque on a window...the reality outdoors is that we have heaps of ploughed snow everywhere not likely to melt for several weeks, and nowhere left to put it, and after 8 more inches today, tomorrow they say we will have some combination of freezing rain, sleet and snow all day, which could be a real mess, beyond inconvenience to dangerous conditions on roads and in homes. What is Mother Nature trying to tell us? Best of luck getting through your cyclone!

  23. Ice Haiku is a great name . But the leaf alone has a resolution that impress me a lot . I loved that .
    wow , for who wants to live the moment you have lots of projects . i am very confused as I am not a such fan of living the monement and i have nothing planed . .... hahahah!! let's trade places !!!
    GOOD luck with it all.... great pgotos and ... canvas things ... they are pretty .

  24. Boo, I hope you're feeling better after the stomach virus! I hate getting sick more than just about anything.

    Your photos are gorgeous - I love the icicle shots (and of course, your cat, as I'm a sucker for the warm and fuzzy things in life that have whiskers) and I'm so glad you found me through Elisabeth. I'm grateful to have found your blog as well and I'm looking forward to getting to know you :)

  25. TB - did I not respond to your comment, or just include the answer in somewhere else? Just looking back here I don't see an answer, so 'm sorry if I inadvertently left you hanging - and thanks again for stopping by, um - 5 days ago? Best to you!

  26. Hi Caio! The ice haiku was a very cool thing to see on the window - I wish I knew the language of ice, maybe it was an important message? Hah! I think I need to try your way of living - no plans and no dwelled-in moments, just LIVING!

    PHOENIX - First of all sorry for misspelling Phoenix when I last (first) visited your blog. Duh! I'm glad you are a lover of warm fuzzy whiskered things - we're going to get along just fine! Be warned though, I only allow myself a cute kitty photo once in a while or this blog would go to the bad place very quickly! Best to you.

  27. Hey, Gabriella!“Live in the moment!” is the best but the hardest thing to do!
    This winter is a neverending story here in Romania, too!Better to find a cave (like bears) to hide and to come out in spring! ha ha
    I enjoy very much your images, your work and your thoughts!
    Take care, my friend!
    Wish you all my best!

  28. WIND - I am so happy to see you here - I admire your work so much, you have a great eye and I can see the great heart behind your work too! You have no idea how much I would love to live in a cave like the bears! I guess that's the ultimate expression of living in the moment - except the moment is asleep and lasts three months! All the best to you, my friend!

  29. TT - you and B are really impressive in how you are making the full transition into your art-creation. Studio spaces sounds great as does the opportunity to do the open studios. May the force be with you in the move to full on photography. Go well and be well. B

  30. Hi Barry - thanks for your comment - I do a appreciate the words of encouragement! You and Fiona have been such an inspiration for me and B as we continue our journey as working artists! Be well.

  31. "projecting who and how I will be in May, when I’m not even sure what will happen tomorrow!" This is something that seems impossible for me to do, even to gather up a few poems to set them off for possible life. Yesterday slips through fingers, today can't stay beneath the touch, and tomorrow is unseen. That you can do the work necessary to be an artist is inspiring.

    Best of luck, for artists need that too, I think.

    (i've moved)

  32. Hi Erin - I totally agree with you about the difficulties of grasping any moment, past present or future. It is a big enough leap of faith and imagination to come to terms with a past self or event, and also to do justice to the here and now before it too slips away, and to believe in what tomorrow will bring, that tomorrow will come at all! I think being required to do work today for something that won't happen until months from now is a good exercise, it forces me to take control of the unseen future, and make my own version and vision of it, full well knowing the future can and will have other plans in mind, between now and then. So it's a sense of control I understand to be flawed and frail at best, but it's something, like a shopping list, when you know you will come home from your errands with some items not on the list, and some items still on it that could not be crossed off, and maybe even had a surprise encounter or two along the way. By the way, I've made note of your new space! Good luck with it. Will check it out. Best to you!