Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Lake, Tree, Glazing

How is the mood of a lake expressed? The ruffles of the waves are colors. The dark of the underside, purple and slate, the push of the top, gray-blue and near-white. Laced in the movement, white and bright peach, elusive. Sitting at the picnic table in the yard of the house in Maine this morning, colored pencils flicking in time to the breeze ruffling the water, broad strokes and small, I try to capture the mood of the lake. Trying, that is, because I won't capture the lake actually, as it moves and moves; and as it moves, changes too quickly to pin down with the naked eye.

As night fell last evening it would perhaps have been simpler to draw. The darks are broader and fill the canvas better as sunset dwindles. But the lake is never really simple to capture, not while experiencing the moment. It takes a photograph to lock it down:

And what of the circle, circle, turn and circle of the water bugs as they skate rapidly over the reflected afternoon sky in the water? How do I catch that complex circular movement? Can I?

Yesterday on a hike, I took a photo of a tree trunk. Why? In the same way that I look at the lake and see the colors and textures of the water, I see lines and colors in the bark of a tree. The green in the trunk was unusual, and the lines went up and down instead of across. What's a potter to do? I immediately thought of wax resist effects in glazes. (To Be Explained at some later date.) This may or may not be applicable in some way to my glazing ideas (which always need work), but who knows? Inspiration. As my kids have known for years about their mom, the word is "texture."

Whatever "beautiful" means (and it varies), if the surfaces of my pieces invite hand and eye, I will be glad. I have lots of work ahead of me with glazes and surface treatments. Twenty-seven years a potter, I still have so much to learn.

Motto for life: Never stop noticing!


  1. Texture! I think of you often when seeing rough-barked trees and such.