Posts Tagged ‘seasons’

04.16.17

Posted on: April 16th, 2017 by jmbroekman No Comments
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I am still trying to get it right, always.

In my more evolved brain, I realize this is an impossible task: getting it right. Whatever “it” is, and whatever “right” is. In April, when the days are longer and the moments of spring peek out from under the leftover snow, “it” is the darkness of memory. “Getting it right” is not letting it get me; an endeavor that appears to be a lost battle. No matter how I try to avoid it, or ignore it, or pretend it no longer exists, grief has a way of slamming me up against a wall every year at this time.

This year I tried giving in to it. I cleared my calendar/schedule, and allowed for some uninterrupted time in my studio, where I worked on writing my sister a letter, by way of a painting. Though I didn’t manage to finish the letter/painting, I did find a certain amount of calm and peace in the process. And I spent a lot of time with her favorite color: purple.

Fifty shades of purple

Purple, it seems, comes in an infinite number of shades and variations. I wonder, did Kukla prefer one that leaned toward blue, or one that was more rose colored? I spent the better part of this past week mixing at least fifty shades of puprle for my sister. It made me think of how hard it is to define what color any particular lilac bush is: is that the “true” color lilac? When I look at the image of the painting on the left – the result of all that purple mixing – it appears more blue than purple; and I suspect there are those, including Kukla, who might argue with me about whether or not you could call this a purple painting.

While I’m not sure I got any of “it right” – the purples, the paintings in general – throwing color and paint around did at least keep the grief, if not at bay, at least in some kind of manageable perspective. The fact that little purple flowers are popping up all of sudden, helped too. I still miss my sister with all my heart and soul, and am beginning to accept that longing as simply a part of what life has handed me. Now the key is to integrate that understanding into my being with some grace.

And special thanks to my friend Debbie Schmitt, for bringing me a box of pansies yesterday, which added to my purple arsenal, and inspired me to get out my watercolors and start a new batch of flower drawings. ‘Tis the season.

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12.31.16

Posted on: December 31st, 2016 by jmbroekman 2 Comments
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Drawing Table Portrait; 31 December 2016

Hopeful New Year

Today marks not only the end of 2016 – a year many I know are happy to see go, but also the 12th anniversary of my mother’s death. I’ve been thinking of her all week. Thinking that I’m glad in some ways she is not here to witness what I believe will be a disastrous new administration in our government. Which leads me to my next thought obsession: what does it mean to hope?

What is hope? Is it merely an emotion or simply the opposite of despair? Where does it live? I guess since mid-November, I’ve been having trouble finding this elusive thing called hope. None-the-less, I am going to keep looking. And here is where I think I’ll find it: in the freshly fallen snow laden branches in the woods; the expectant look of a silly dog who can’t wait for me to snap on my snowshoes and head into those woods; the shed full of wood to keep my studio warm all winter long; that cozy warm studio; and all the people in my life who bring me laughter and light. Here’s hoping you too will find hope, strength and joy in all kinds of unexpected places in the year ahead.

12.31.15

Posted on: December 31st, 2015 by jmbroekman 7 Comments
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The end of another year

Today marks not only the last day of 2015, but 11 years since my mother died. Last night, in her honor, and to celebrate the coming new year and finishing the 120 days (more on that in a minute), I made her famous chocolate mousse. Famous because, when I was growing up, legend has it, she could never make a batch big enough. If Dad was bringing home the crew (Joy, Gil, and Humphrey), and my mom made enough for 8 they finished it; if she made enough for 12 they finished it. Never a drop left. Famous too, because at her funeral, my sister lamented that she never got the recipe. Little did she know, I already had it. And now, it has also been safely passed into the hands of my friends Shirley and David, for whom I’ve been making it on Swan’s Island every summer for the last 4 to celebrate their wedding anniversary. I’m glad there are ways to pass traditions around.

So, the chocolate mousse is chilling, soon the lentils will be simmering (you have to eat lentils on New Years Eve for prosperity – in case you were wondering), and for the first time in 121 days I did not make a drawing (yet). Yesterday was the last day in my self-imposed 120 days/120 drawings challenge. And a challenge it was. I am still trying to figure out what I learned other than that even after 4 months of daily practice, I can still get tripped up by the same old objects and mental road blocks. I think the most interesting part may be to see what comes next. Some more good work, I hope.

Here’s hoping you and yours will experience a sense of well-being, good health, and plenty of laughter in 2016!

Notecards from a Maine Garden

Posted on: December 7th, 2015 by jmbroekman No Comments
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Hot off the press … new notecards

Just in case you managed to miss the various social media modes of communication, here’s a friendly reminder that I’ve got notecards for sale. And if you have caught me somewhere else, please forgive the redundancy. I’m told this is how it’s done in the 21st century.

Individual cards, which measure 4½” x 6¼” are printed in Maine on soft white matte card stock, and come with standard A6 envelopes. The Vase Series, Primrose & Peonies, and Early Summer series are available in packs of 8 for $20 (4 designs, 2 cards each), packaged in clear acid-free sleeves. The Complete Set comes as a pack of 12, with one card of each design for $27. They are packaged in 2 clear sleeves tied together with raffia.

This year I also have a couple of reproductions available. To see everything – cards and prints – just head next door to the cards page on my website where you can order via paypal. Or if you don’t need them shipped, send me an e-mail and let me know what you’d like, and we can arrange a time for them to be picked up.

If you do need your package shipped in time for Christmas, please make sure and place your order no later than Tuesday, December 15th.

Here’s to a season filled with light, warmth and color!

Drawing Pears

Posted on: October 31st, 2015 by jmbroekman 4 Comments
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Which turns out to be deceptively difficult to do.

Pears may not look like much, but capturing the twists and turns and bumps and crevices is definitely giving me a run for it. Today marks the halfway point in my 120 days/120 drawings project. Watching the trajectory of the work is starting to be interesting. So too, observing the season as it changes. In the beginning of this project (2 months ago), I picked up a bunch of sunflowers at the market, and spent a week or two drawing/painting them; then there was another batch of farmer’s market mystery flowers, which did not hold my attention in quite the same way as the sunflowers; and now there are the apples and pears falling from the trees on my once rural road.

Drawing on a daily basis has always been a form of meditation for me; I crave the quiet of paying attention to whatever is in front of me, whatever marks I happen to be making. And, I have often challenged myself to make a drawing a day. Usually, though I limit it as a requirement to one month at a time. I wondered, would longer than a month make it a habit to which I became addicted? It is definitely a habit, and I do feel the tug to get to it as if it is a necessity, though I also still feel a certain amount of pressure until I actually pick up the pencil. I had hoped it would get easier.

I have always secretly hoped that drawing in general would get easier. It’s never been something that comes naturally to me. I struggle to “get it right”. Still. I’m working hard on giving up on the idea of rightness.

I saw a quote someone posted on FB this morning that struck me: it was about making art in general, and how when he was young, Bruce Nauman, assumed that art was something he’d learn how to do and then do it. But then at some point he realized:

“Basically, I would have to start over every day and figure out what art was gonna be.”

Yup. Just like I have to figure out how to draw every time I pick up a tool.Some of the sunflower “drawings” are posted on my Instagram account. Yes, I finally broke down and signed up for yet another of those seemingly silly social network thing-a-ma-jigs. I resisted for a long time, but I must admit, it is kind of fun; and though it is easier to update than this blog, I think spending time thinking about what I do, and why, and sharing that with whomever is interested has it’s merits. So, I will continue to update in both places. If you have already signed up for Instagram, you can follow me: j.broekman. If you haven’t signed up, and you have a smart phone or a tablet, just download the app, and sign up. it’s a visual feast; or another time suck, depending on how you look at it.