changing landscapes

I am pleased to be one of nine artists selected for Changing Landscapes: A Shift from Rural to Urban. The show opens Thursday, October 11 at Silverwood Gallery. Artists were asked to consider: where does nature exist in urban spaces?

My photographs focus on traces of nature against the backdrop of the built environment. Nature is always present. No place is without wind, weather, sky, sunlight.

Nature in an urban setting may be more subtle – not grand scenic vistas or true Wilderness but any phenomena that exists outside of human creation, however small or quotidian it may be. For instance…

A potpourri of leaves and flower petals in rich autumn colors appears painterly, blurred beneath the fountain’s moving water.

Four red leaves follow the mortar lines along an old brick wall.

A scattering of brilliant yellow leaves shine against a green manhole cover, bedecking the city sidewalk with its own autumn foliage.

These photographs express the idea that runs throughout my work – that nature, like beauty, can be found nearly anywhere; it only needs to be seen.

Changing Landscapes will be on view at Silverwood Gallery through November 30.

talking about the weather

Here in the north country, we like to talk about the weather. It’s a topic that’s always available when small talk is needed. Far less dangerous than religion or politics – something we can more or less agree on.

Perhaps, too, the vast swings of the weather pendulum here in the north provide especially interesting and varied story lines. One day, a heat wave with tropical humidity. The next, a threat of frost. I’m not actually exaggerating all that much.

As a self-confessed weather geek, I enjoy these conversations more than most. Colliding fronts make me giddy. Weather alerts traversing the TV screen garner my rapt attention (and, truth be told, a bit of disappointment when my county is left out of the action).

So, why am I talking about the weather today? Today, it seems, we are standing at the edge of temperate. Today, I will wear sandals. Today I will dig up the rosemary and the basil and make my usual futile attempts to nurse them through winter indoors (this year: armed with grow lights! fingers crossed…) Today we breath in the warmth of the passing season, admire the fragile flower petals that still remain and the green that’s left in the garden. But tomorrow? Tomorrow, we will stare autumn full in the face as the frigid north winds blow. I love it.

For today, then, let’s enjoy the flowers. Wild hollyhocks from the gardens near Lake Harriet. Also a flower that reminds me of my grandparents’ garden.

wild hollyhocks

because you can…

I have that feeling of panic right about now. The tomatoes that were so abundant just weeks ago are tapering off; there is only one left in the bowl that used to overflow with a dozen or more at a time. Last night, I went out to the garden to pick another bowl of ever-bearing beans only to find the vines shriveling in the autumn sun. Can it really be too late? Again?One minute I couldn’t chop or chew fast enough to keep up. The next, I can’t scrounge up a cucumber for the dinner salad.

Or maybe not. Maybe there is still time. Time to gather up the green tomatoes and the tender herbs. Time to dust off the dehydrator and line up the Ball jars. Time to bring home bushels of this and that from the farmers market and make good on the season’s bounty. Time to make hay while the sun shines and, perhaps, to make pickles. For that, I favor dill.

dill at the market

franconia fall 2012

Franconia Sculpture Park is one of my happiest places on earth. It’s located in the middle of farms and fields about an hour’s drive from the city (Minneapolis). Coming upon the park always feels like crossing into another dimension – a bizzarro world full of creativity, monumental sculpture, big ideas, and a spirit of Anything Goes.

This fall, I get to make a couple visits to the park. Here are a few photos from last Saturday. It was the end-of-the-season celebration with live music, stilt walkers, food trucks, and all kinds of fun. We celebrated B’s birthday with a great Minneapolis band called the 4onthefloor and scored two seats by the campfire for the show. Once the sun went down and the music started, I put the camera away and just took it all in. It was a chilly and magical autumn night spent in very good company.

I promise to take better notes and add titles and artist names when I return in a couple weeks. Franconia Sculpture Park is open 365 days a year by donation.

crex meadow sunrise

“They’re coming!” Sawyer exclaimed. And they were. Thousands of sandhill cranes rising up from the marsh, soaring over our tent cloaked with the golden light of morning. We nearly blew away during the night. But at some point in our dreamtime, the fierce winds gave way to a sky full of diamonds and the kind of calm that can only be known after a storm.

first light

crex meadow sunrise

autumn, interrupted

It’s fall. And, while the markets spill over with squash, the weather is clearly calling for tomatoes. I love 87 degrees as much as anyone. In July. But come October, I’m ready to bake and build a fire and dust off my treasured collection of black turtlenecks. When you live in a northern clime, however, it is taboo to complain about unseasonable warmth. So, until the north wind doth blow, I’m cheerfully wiping the sweat from my brow, frolicking in the balmy leaf-strewn breeze. And eyeing the squash from a distance.