#augustbreak: vincent

I can’t show you much from today aside from the ticket stub from the exhibition. Everything that mattered took place in the real world, without a trace remaining except the ones that will stay in my memory. The show specifically focused on works in which Van Gogh played extensively with depth of field and perspective; they made me smile and think and grieve a little. It was a good last date, or at least the last date for now, while we go back to this bizarre purgatory of work and waiting and separation. At least now we do it with the shimmering, scintillating brush strokes in our mind’s eyes.

like wild horses over the hills

There’s a book of poetry by Charles Bukowski called The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses over the Hills. In college I did a presentation on him—picked his name at random from a list of writers and took a long, strange trip during the research. And when I have a packed day—or week, the way I do right now—that title slips through corners and angles in my mind, and I hear hoofbeats and see flocks of birds taking to the skies from the trembling ground. I pull my time where I can.

Today, I’m sending you away from here to the sites of two photographers who showed work at the craft show last weekend. I’ve mentioned before that I struggle with photography and over the past months as Heather and I have grown this site from a seedling to a true project, I’ve paid more and more attention to what works for me, and why. I don’t always have words for it. Sometimes I’ll read an analysis of why a person made a certain set of changes in Photoshop and I’ll be stymied because I liked it better before. (Thank the skies for commenters who agree with me and help me see that I’m not crazy.) When I stepped into the booths of these two photographers, it was like the horde melted away around me and I could be alone with the images.

First, Shirley Brigden’s work. You can find a gallery here and just to be me, I’m going to send you straight to my favorite section of it here: photos of the US southwest. Looking at this page of Shirley’s gallery not only takes me back swiftly to my years in the desert, but it also brings to mind how often photographers will incorporate a clear blue sky or turquoise paint against the ruddy rock and earth in photographs of the southwest. Nothing looks quite as gorgeous as blue against adobe houses. Shirley is incredibly well-traveled and she has photos from North America, Africa, and Europe in her gallery. Time will get away from you as you enlarge image after image, but I have one more photographer for you to visit.

Carol Ann Norris tells you straight out: She uses no digital manipulation in her photography. And it is beautiful and compelling, every color as true as can be. I could lose myself for a long time in her European Collection and her Landscapes, but I’ll tell you right now my favorite is this one, called “The Silent Treatment”. Oh, yes. When we were in Carol Ann’s booth, a man asked her questions at length, the sort of questions designed to show how much he knew about photography himself, and no matter how forcefully I sent out brain-waves designed to send him on his merry way so that I could disappear into the racks of prints, his feet stayed planted and his mouth droned on and on.

If the days run away like wild horses over the hills, the minutes are like lightning bugs, here and then gone. And I’ve already spent too long writing this, dreaming about filling my walls with the work of these talented women, simmering in their vision and color. I like to think that when you come by here you want to simmer a bit in something beautiful, too, for a few minutes that might be more profitably spent doing something practical. To hell with practicality, at least for a little while. As I hit save on this post, I do it with those blue shutters and those antique Italian plasters in my mind. It might just change the whole rest of the day as it thunders across the hills.