Monday, April 19, 2010

The Color Green

Spring is here and it is a lovely one, this year.  The days are getting longer and warmer and we are seeing the trees flowering in all their beauty and variety.  I don't know when, but green has become one of my dearest friends in the color palate.  I can't say when this happened, or why.  Maybe it's living in Wisconsin so long.  We seem to have six months of winter...

It's cold, you have to shovel, dig out your car, wear many layers of warm clothes that restrict your movement or risk frostbite and other unfortunate maladies.  And there's very little green to be seen anywhere.  Unless you go to the tropical paradise: Boltz conservatory at Olbrich Gardens...

A lovely spot to pretend it's not really winter for a while while you inhale the humid, fragrant aroma of the tropical blooms and listen to the birds as they call out and flit about, bright little jewels themselves.  I like to bring my camera along to remind myself that soon again, it will be green outdoors, with any luck...
The squills are out making a blue carpet in some places and just a small hello in others...
And soon the color green will be all over.  The trees, the shrubs, the flowers and the weeds!

Yay spring!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Just a weed!

Well, it's starting to feel like spring. The days are longer with the additional boost of Daylight savings making it light even later. Signs of spring are beginning to appear: tiny buds, puffy clouds, birdsong. And dandelions. Yes, the scourge of the tastefully manicured lawn is one of the first plants to show it's face in spring. Dandelions don't need any special place to grow.  In fact they are annoyingly hardy and will grow almost anywhere, defying belief with their rugged tenacity.
I spotted these bright smiling faces at the foundation of a house bursting forth from a crack in the cement.
So, is it a weed?   Webster defines a weed as "a plant that is not valued where it is growing and is ususally of vigorous growth, especially one that tends to overgrow or  choke our more desirable plants."  Weed!  Case closed!  Right?
Well... I can remember my grandmother talking about dandelion greens and how healthy they were.   Rebecca Wood notes: "Dandelion greens are one of season’s earliest foodstuffs and one of the finest of spring tonics. Indeed, they are the most nutritious leafy vegetable you can buy."  They are chic now!
They have been used since at least the tenth century Arabian doctors.  They are used for detox helping the gallbladder and the liver remove waste from the body.  Chinese herbalists use parts of the plant to treat ailments including tonsilitis, colds, ulcers and boils.
And Danedlion wine!  It's made from the petals of the flowers with sugar and some lemon juice or other acidic component.
So, nasty weed or useful, helpful plant with positive attributes?
Sounds like an issue of real estate.  Location, location, location!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Eternal Question...

Yesterday, I went to Milwaukee with my friend Dianne, who is a painter, to drop off some of her work at a gallery where she shows her work, and to gallery sit.  So, my mind was in art mode when I happened to look out the window from my third floor apartment.  From there I spotted Marilyn Monroe's dress swaying in the breeze.  Of course, that's not realy what it was.  It was just a large piece of plastic, probably a drop cloth wrapped around a fire escape and tied in place.  So, I had to wonder:  "Is it Art?"I was inclined to think, that yes, it was.  The ribbon at the "waist" and the flags calling attention to this impromptu assemblage all attested to the possibility an art student in the neighborhood with an active imagination.
On the other hand maybe it was just a "Todd's house" kind of marker.  "Go around the back and toss a pebble up to the window by the fire escape where there's a piece of plastic hanging on the fire escape.  I'll come around and let you in."
I mean, is it art when the person in the small South American town who makes chicha hangs out a little red plastic bag as a flag  so customers know where the find chicha?
Anyway, I got out my trusty camera and snapped a  couple of shots.

 Ethereal Plastic Gown

When we arrived, we pulled out our electronic gear, Dianne to share vacation photos off her phone and me to show the gallery artists the hunk of plastic/Ethereal Plastic Gown.  They agreed that this was art if there was intent behind the installation, leaving it open to intrepretation.  The eternal queston. Just how wide do we throw the net?   I'd like to think it's art.  It spoke to me.