Georgia O'Keeffe, on making the unknown known.

I feel that a real living form is the result of the individual’s effort to create the living thing out of the adventure of his spirit into the unknown—where it has experienced something—felt something—it has not understood—and from that experience comes the desire to make the unknown—known.

By unknown—I mean the thing that means so much to the person that wants to put it down—clarify something he feels but does not clearly understand—sometimes he partially knows why—sometimes he doesn’t—sometimes it is all working in the dark—but a working that must be done—

Making the unknown—known—in terms of one’s medium is all-absorbing—if you stop to think of the form—as form you are lost—The artist’s form must be inevitable—You mustn’t even think you won’t succeed—Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant—there is no such thing.

Making your unknown known is the important thing—and keeping the unknown always beyond you—catching crystallizing your simpler clearer version of life—only to see it turn stale compared to what you vaguely feel ahead—that you must always keep working to grasp—the form must take care of its self if you can keep your vision clear.

Georgia O’Keeffe (painter) writing to Sherwood Anderson (writer).  

Source: Brain Pickings.

There was something about this small article, by Maria Popova, that made me want to note these words and keep them to read again and again.  I loved the first paragraph most particularly.

I enjoy reading what artists write to each other, seeming to want to think on an important thing that so many wouldn't find important or interesting.  Sometimes these things seem like the real stuff of life, as opposed to the forms we fill out and the lives that we Must live in that 'real' world people talk of.

Soon I will be heading off on another adventure, in a small village somewhere between Naples and Rome.  There is a house and some dogs that I've been invited to visit, while breathing some good country air, with a view that I suspect I might want to photograph every day.

There is a book that wants to be written, or two.  There are the photography workshops to announce, the ones I've planned for 2015.  There is a bar where I'm hoping the espresso is perfect and where my beloved crema brioches are possible.  Where there's a delightful red wine waiting for me.

Another adventure in Italy, in that land where everything is possible and sometimes, just sometimes, you find giantic lightbulbs out in the carrugi.

Ran Ortner, Painter

... but then came to realise that art is not a cleverness contest. It is not one's capacity to be inventive.  It is really an honesty contest ... the capacity to truly be that thing that you are.

Ben Ortner.

Ran Ortner paints the most extraordinary paintings.

I would love to live in a room with his work there on the wall, reminding me of the sea that I love, the sea I'm so far from now.

Here's a documentary (in progress). 

Ran Ortner Trailer (documentary in process) from Todd Holland on Vimeo.

Freedom and Passion ... two remarkable females

Life is so short. The world is rich. There are so many adventures possible. Why do we not gather our strength together and live. It all comes to much the same thing. In youth, most of us are, for various reasons, slaves. And then, when we are able to throw off our chains, we prefer to keep them. Freedom is dangerous, is frightening.

Katherine Mansfield, New Zealand modernist writer.

I loved this story of 6-year-old Australian surfer, Quincy Symonds.  Her story is simply inspiring.  I found her via this useful website I follow on Facebook ... A Mighty Girl.

A small surfer makes big waves from ABC Open on Vimeo.

Early Morning, New Zealand

... with an Erica Jong twist.

I found this beautiful image out walking, early one morning, at Cooks Beach, in the Coromandel, New Zealand.

Listening to favourite song, favourite singer, as I load this. 

It opens with a torrential downpour in the recorded version.  I think I love the sound of that rain, more than anything.

Whole Worlds Watching ... written by Moana Maniapoto & Paddy Free

"In the landscape of New Zealand music, one genre stands out: music by Maori artists, which is a solid cornerstone, and within itself powerfully diverse. One of the most distinctive, articulate and significant Maori voices is Moana Maniapoto who - first with Moana and the Moahunters and latterly as Moana & the Tribe - has taken her often politically conscious music to festivals across the world." (Graham Reid)

She has consistently pushed the boundaries of Maori music in both her recordings and live performances, fusing taonga puoro, haka, chants with soul, reggae and classical "to produce her own blend of traditional and contemporary styles without compromising either." (NZ Herald, 2003).

A tribute to people power written by Moana Maniapoto & Paddy Free. 

You can read more over on the website

In Norway Today ...

I love the amusing things I'm finding here in Stavanger, Norway.  The big red supply ship, with the huge mouth and sharp teeth painted on the bow, parked in the harbour below.  The hairdresser's sign in the photograph at the end of this post.  And the graffiti ...the graffiti here needs a whole  its own post.  It's divine.

And Norwegians speak the most beautiful English.  Ylvis prepared me for the English but oh... it is everywhere in this country I've not known until now.  The interview I'm linking to, switches to English at about 1 minute but these guys were my very first introduction to Norway.

Today though, we were in the most exqusite teahouse I've ever had the privilege of visiting.  Thank you to Selman, for his hospitality and kindess, and his truly good tea.

Rebecca and Karoline were such a pleasure to spend time wandering with, and I'm loving the light and the photography too.

It's like that.

Water Polo, Boccadasse, Genova

In Genova, there is always something happening ... something extraordinary.

This time there was the International Music Festival, and there is a Robert Capa exhibition on too. One I wish I'd had time to visit.  But it's on until October, 2014.

Then last night, out at Boccadasse, I photographed this ...

That is how I experience Genova.  It's a city that is rarely 'ordinary'.

Hero, Family Of The Year

Miss 10 slipped a note into my pocket last night.  I'm famous for losing notes slipped into my pockets ...

This morning she appeared here, so excited, did I still have that piece of paper?  I wasn't sure.  She looked sad.  I wandered over and looked.  It was okay, I hadn't 'cleaned' my pockets, without thinking.

She had written 'Family of the Year', Hero.  I had to hand over my keyboard.  She's in love, with this song, and like me she plays favourites on repeat. 

She's delicious ... and needless to say, I have it here, playing, on repeat.

July 4, 2006

Today was Antwerpen, tomorrow the road ... that was the title I chose, 8 years ago today.  And I wrote:

Antwerpen was stunning today ... 30 degrees celsius and we were out in the city with our American friends.  (Old friend and a favourite traveling companion, Mary Lou, and her, then, new husband.  Oh the adventures we've had ... in New Zealand, Turkey and Europe.) 

We ate lunch at het Elfde Gebold and it was lovely, as usual. And later we sat a while in the Shoemakers Alley a while, a secret space here in the city.

We ended the day in Rivierenhof, a huge park here in the city, wandering home, at 10.30pm ... still 21 degrees celsius.  (not unlike tonight, here in 2014).

But no ... I almost forgot, we got stuck in the elevator I've so often teased friends about.   (Our first place was top floor, tiny elevator the shook and wobbled a lot.)

FOUR OF US, in this tiny airless nasty elevator.  It was 11pm by then and none of us were carrying a cellphone!!

We were lucky, Gert pushed various buttons and managed to get us level with a floor eventually ... we spilled out and nothing but nothing would convince me to get back in. He rode to the top alone while we 3 took the stairs.

The elevator is officially no longer amusing. 

I found this blog post while searching for poems by Kapka Kassabova.  Google-searching, and I was beamed back to an old blog, the one I began way back in 2005.  I thought it might be fun to post something here from that  day back in 2006

Back when Mary Lou was still criss-crossing the world to travel with me.  She had not long arrived  ...

Perhaps I should have titled tonight's post ... Missing you, Mary Lou. 

Jeff Daniels, and some of what he is ...

I first noticed him on The Newsroom when the first of this 'Best Scenes' clip flew round the internet.

Fiction ...

Flying home to New Zealand, after 8 years away, I found The Newsroom series on that Singapore Airlines flight BUT I didn't find it until just before landing.  I didn't ask them to circle.  I caught the series eventually.  And being home was good.

Tonight I found out Jeff Daniels sings too.

Barbizon, France

We have returned to the hotel so the Belgian bloke can watch Belgium play Algeria in the World Cup. 

Currently this is not going well, at 67 minutes we have 1-0 to Algier however it has been lovely for me to sit down and go through my photographs ...

We wandered all over the area today, visiting Barbizon too.  As in, The Barbizon school of painters were part of an art movement towards Realism in art, which arose in the context of the dominant Romantic Movement of the time. The Barbizon school was active roughly from 1830 through 1870. It takes its name from the village of Barbizon, France, near the Forest of Fontainebleau, where many of the artists gathered.

Source: wikipedia.

It is incredibly, stunningly beautiful there but very expensive.  It wasn't a love at first sight kind of response but it was a beautiful village to stop a while in.

Update: at 70 minutes, Belgium scored.

The New Baby ...

Or perhaps I should write, the new secondhand baby ...

The Belgian bloke and I were up early and out the door before 8am this morning.  It's Sunday and we had decided to head out to the huge outdoor Sunday market in Waterloo. 

The range of stuff you can find there is remarkable, perhaps even more so for a girl from smalltown New Zealand.  There is so much really ancient stuff.  200+ stalls, laid out in an orderly fashion, allowing you to explore the entire market and not get confused.  There's a delightful mix of genuine antiques, that stuff that looks like it's been pulled directly from someone's cellar or attic without stopping to clean it along the way, and more contemporary 'stuff'.

The new baby may have traveled that middle path, straight from the attic, undusted.  It was quite stiff from lack of use and Gert had the unenviable job of breathing new life into it. 

It's a little orange Standard Ugro and I can't find one online so far and now I'm wondering if it's older than we realised.

Anyway ... anyone who knew me back in those days that were filled with tortuous hours of learning to touch-type on old Olivetti typewriters would now collapse laughing over my delight at playing with this little orange machine ...

I love it.

Anne Lamott, writing from the last Saturday of her 50s.

This is the last Saturday of my fifties. The needle isn't moving to the left or to the right. I don't feel or look 60. I don't feel any age. I have a near-perfect life. However, I grew up on tennis courts and beaches in California during the sixties, where we put baby oil on our skin to deepen the tan, and we got hundreds of sunburns. So maybe that was not ideal. I drank a lot and took a lot of drugs and smoked two packs of Camels (unfiltered) a day until I was 32. I had a baby and then forgot to work out, so things did not get firmer, and higher. So again, not ideal.

My heart is not any age. It is a baby, an elder, a dog, a cat, divine.
My feet, however, frequently hurt.
My skin broke out last week. I filed a new brief with the Fairness Commission, and am waiting to hear back.
My great blessing is the capacity for radical silliness, and self-care.

I'm pretty spaced out.  . I don't love how often I bend in to pull out clean wet clothes from the washer, and stand up, having forgotten that I opened the dryer that's above, and smash my head on the door once again. I don't know what the solution to this is, as I refuse to start wearing a helmet indoors. I don't love that I left my engine running for an hour last week, because I came inside to get something, and then got distracted by the dogs, and didn't remember I'd left the engine on. It was a tiny bit scary when a neighbor came to the front door to mention this, and I had to feign nonchalance, and act like it was exactly what I had meant to do all along

Anne Lamott, an extract from her Facebook post.