Monday, February 21, 2011

Speckled, or Spectacular?



Here I am in the basement, painting cardboards with
Light-turquoise house paint: latex.
Wanting to creating an aquarium artwork.
This paint the nearest shade I have
To suggest a watery scene.

I once did some art (watercolors) with batik dye
Pigment sprinkled into the wet color.
The powder bled into the damp; it spread tiny rings.
Lovely, sprinkly, speckly, dreamy effect.
So, having recently re-discovered my cache
Of almost forgotten art supplies,
I think of glorious flecks enhancing even house paint.

Old batik dye powder, in closed plastic bags.
I assume, naively, there will still be fine powder.
But the batik is no longer just dust. It’s lumps!
And I discover also that latex paint
Dries far faster than watercolors.
Sigh. Got to move quickly.
Why didn’t I explore the package
Before I was ready to anoint a page?
Nothing to do but drizzle clumps on,
Drifting them through my fingers.
The extra fluff kernels won’t dissolve enough
To stick to the fast drying paint.
The painted cardboard suggests no airy bubbling
Watery scene. It’s ugly speckles.

When paint fully dries, I shake off excess
Of batik-dye clumps.
I brush away more, and more, indigo-ing
My fingers, along with several paper towels.
The dye is soft enough to smear and smear.
The surface will be a different aquarium setting;
Not idyll or dreamy watery scene.
But it will do! Yes, now I can paint on the fish!
Different fish than I’d envisioned.
Maybe even have to speckle the fish----
Yes. A speck-tacular work of art!

Am I like the lumpy batik dye,
Not a grand fine powder for ethereal use,
But a speckled blotch, a lumpy mess?
God is greater. He may have to shake me.
Break me. Brush away the lumps.
I trust him to make of my dots and smears
His own spectacular, artsome being.
Different, maybe, than I expected,
But still inspired by HIM.

© 2011 by Marilee Miller (photos and text)

By all means, link to this; please, no copying without permission.

This post is also linked to L. L. Barkat's "Seedlings in Stone", On, In, or Around Mondays,

and Laura Boggess' "The Wellspring", Playdates with God.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Kool-Aid Moments

Note: the originals were all rendered in unsweetened Kool-aid powder sprinkled on soaked, or on damp, paper towels (or in one instance, on waxed paper). However, some of the images have been color-enhanced or re-combined digitally.

This post is also in honor of L. L. Barkat's "On, In, and Around Mondays"

and Laura Boggess' "Playdates with God"

Monday, February 7, 2011

Peanut Shells


There’s a tall utility pole in the parking strip near the entrance to my driveway. At certain times of year the crows offer special air flights to the walnuts that grow on a tree several blocks away. From this high perch in front of my place, these canny scavengers drop their plunder down onto the hard street below – where impact cracks open the nuts. In other seasons, they find other tidbits. When they mount the transformer near the top of the pole, not too many of their fellows can get close enough to steal the booty.

The last couple of weeks, I’ve been finding pieces of peanut shells lying in the street . Very empty shells! But unlike walnuts, peanuts don’t grow in our geographical zone! Besides, I can’t really think of a near neighbor who would buy peanuts and put them out for any critters, unless they think the small birds like them. But to feed the crows and squirrels? They are considered rather a nuisance in these parts.

However, now I’m finding peanut shells in the back yard under the myrtle tree. Many more than the small offering under the power pole out front. It’s true that crows might have dropped them in the yard. But a fall to the soft grass wouldn’t crack open the nuts. These have been pecked into fragments.

I know that a cheerful, fearless squirrel lives somewhere on our street. Occasionally I see him scampering right up the middle of the street. I’ve never seen him in my back yard. But he may be the seed-eater-in-residence.

Along with the peanut shells are other seed shells. Some, translucent and empty, look like squash seeds. No one around close has a garden. This is really late in the year for garden squash. Does the seed-pecker carry in the seeds from afar? Or maybe some flower seedpods look a bit like small, unsucculent squash seeds.

The cast off pods bring me a sense of discovery, and mystery. And looking at the husks lying on the ground, I perceive another sign of God’s provision. If he sees the fall of the sparrows, as the Bible says, surely he sees the scampering squirrel or the audacious crow. As I speculate on what creature might have left the shells, I am reminded that God also cares for ME.

A chance to seek out-of-doors treasures gives me an excuse to get out of the house and wander around in my own yard again and again. I explore the green growing things and dropped flowing things – and tenderness floods my soul. How I thank the Lord for little surprises.

“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest shall not pass away.” Nor will he cease to provide for the animals, and ME. I can certainly praise God for that!

This post is also in honor of L. L. Barkat's blog invitational, "On, In, and Around Mondays."