The Unholy Grail of the Unconscious

Mandela, credited C. G. Jung

The Red Book, Jung's unpublished journal of journals is to be published this Fall, and is examined here, not minutely, but with a degree of flourish and a strong dash of thoroughness.

Having read nearly all that Jung wrote, cherished his Memories, Dreams and Reflections, a gift from a colleague, analyzed a dream for one year and paid my dues to two Jungian Institutes, I acknowledge that I felt a smile break out on my face as I read the article. The knowing that Carl Gustav Jung's self-analysis has left its Zurich vault, been translated into English and will be presented to the Dreamers is what I would call a most special gift.

The Rubin Museum of Art will host the unveiling of the original book on October 7 in New York, and be on view until January 25, 2010--sufficient time to make a pilgrimage.

Kirk to fill Kennedy's Seat

Breaking news, or a rumour, that Paul Kirk will sit in Kennedy's chair as the interim second Senator for Massachusetts with Senator John Kerry.


Autumnal Equinox Today

Pentamento ©

Some facts here at National Geographic.


Annika and a cup

Annika Elizabeth

She's growing up so fast; just a little more than six months old and she's drinking from a cup.

Media Matters Agrees: Violence in our Midst

The Crowning, Caravaggio, 1602-03
Oil on canvas, 178 x 125 cm, Cassa di Risparmi, Prato

I feel particular vulnerable these days with a family member just moved today to hospice, and the rapidly changing colours of summer to autumn.

But added to my personal feelings of vulnerabilities, I feel the chill in the air too reminiscent of those 60s winds talked of here.

Books: The Lost Symbols

Beast Books at The Daily Beast brings together some good reads on Dan Brown's already blockbuster new novel, "The Lost Symbols." The Washington Post's review is particularly amusing.

Laura Miller's review in Salon is nearly blistering.

Maureen Dowd's overview is among the best of those I've read thus far, here.

Have I pre-ordered? Nay!

But like his two earlier novels, I'll read it with the same fascination I read most thrillers.

Art is Primary

Temperance, 2002 ©

Cecil Touchon, collage and abstract artist, has started a new art program for primary school students.

If you are a collage artist, Cecil's name may be familiar to you, but if not, do check out his work, the projects he organises and this new program for children.

The new program could use some supplies, and if you have any extras, a goodie bag would be welcomed at:

Collage Museum Supplies
C/O Sycamore Elementary School
1601 Country Manor Rd
Fort Worth, TX 76134-3629
(817) 568-5700


The tools artists use

Photo:Ackerman Pens

A new site to me, and filled with some interesting discoveries.

The site popped up when I was looking for more information about the Ackerman Pump Pen.

The pens are sold here.

Nancy Pelosi and me

We have good strong memories, and those memories frighten us.

Violet rhetoric breeds violence!

Fearless Lamy Nib

It took me nearly a year to get up the courage to get out a tape dispenser, pull a length off the roll, lay the tape down on my Lamy Safari Red fountain pen and whip off the 1.5 nib that I just think is too wide for daily writer.

It was so simple and painless!


Amy's Bags

Pentamento Bags NFS ©

I discovered that Mr. Bill, in an effort to raise funds, is offering some amazing hand-bags for sale.

Some of these bags are true collectibles.

Check them out here.

More Uni-ball Watercolour Pencils

I liked the wee Mitsubishi Uni-ball watercolour pencils enough to buy another set, this time the #3 series. Unfortunately, all three series are now sold out at Jet Pens.

These watercolour pencils don't appear to be well distributed or widely used.

Lung Sketching Scrolls has reviewed both series, #2 here and #3 here with some great photographs of the color palette. He also has a chart comparing the Mitsubishi's to the Albert Durer pencils.

I also found a short reference in Russ Stutler's site where he compared the Mitsubishi pencils to Winsor & Newton tube paints here. If you aren't familiar with Russ' work you might want to check out his website. Russ also has a sketching forum.

Mitsubishi Uni-ball Watercolour, Series #3, Interior

My series #3 in its tiny 5-1/4" x 4-1/2" (13.3 x 11.4 cm) plastic case comes with: 12 coloured pencils, a pencil extender, sharpener and water brush. The colours are: indian red, ochre, brown ochre, raw umber, olive green, viridian, burnt ochre, cold grey 1 and 2, vermilion, light carmine and orange yellow.

Left: Uniball Series #2, Right: Uniball Series #3
in Exaclair 9920 Sketchbook

I tested these and the original #2 set on an Exacompta Sketchbook (laid paper) to see how they would perform.

Stylized garden flower, Uniball Series #3
Small type: Uni-ball Colours; Carmine, Sepia, Olive;
drawn with Hi-Tec-C black fine ink pen

in a
Exacompta Esquisse Sketchbook (Medium tooth, 55lb)

Mitsubishi #3 olive and carmine; Italian Alfabet coloured pen,
Safari pen and J. Herbin Perle Noire ink
in Exaclair Sketchbook, Laid Paper 9920

And then did some quick, stylised drawings of flowers from my garden in an Exaclair 9920 Laid paper sketchbook.

The colour pencils appear more vivid on the 55lb medium tooth paper than the laid paper. But work well in both.

I haven't tried these pencils on watercolour paper...yet!

I am pleased I bought these.

Art in Concrete

Wall in Callicoon Back Alley ©

Sidewalk in Callicoon, NY ©


Remembering 9-11-2001

Remembering September 11, 2001 ©

The above collage was done as part of a larger project organised by Gail Ellspermann and later published in a magazine (perhaps Somerset Studios) but definitely in Artella.

It was done on a standard letter sized envelop and mailed and hand-stamped at the 34th Street Post Office, to a post box number set up by the organiser.

Gail Ellspermann continued this project at least through 2005.

I remember September 11 today.


Wild Turkey


It may be the mating season for the wild turkey. Two days this week I've seen families near the road. The first time I saw them the infant birds were nearly pure white, while today they were beginning to turn pale grey.

I didn't have my camera, and even if I had, they showed signs of fear when my car approached. When I slowed to a stop to observe them, they quickly walked and ran into the bushes.

Perhaps I'll catch them again.

Books: Islam and Europe

Troubadours singing the Glories of The Crusades
Gustave Dore, 1832-1883

I believe this book, "Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, Immigration, Islam and the West," by Christopher Caldwell may hit the top of my wish list as the subject of massive immigration into Western Europe has been part of a larger rhetoric, and international debate, one in which I was a part in a large political forum.

A great case in point is this debate in the Netherlands.

When I lived in the Netherlands (1970s), immigration was discussed in negative terms, and about other immigrants. In the 50s a large number of Dutch-Indonesians flocked to the Netherlands; in the 60s and 70s, a similar phenomenon was seen with immigrants from the Dutch Antilles. The immigrants, however, were legitimate citizens of the country--an extension of their unique relationship as former and present colonies.

The immigrants from Indonesia were criticized for the smell of their food until Indonesian food became the norm. When the immigrants came from the Antilles, the criticism was sterner, and louder. Many of the immigrants were black, and most often they did not come as families but as single men who shared crowded accommodations. Crime increased and loud noises were heard about limiting their numbers.

But the total number of immigrants from both Indonesia or the Antilles was insignificant in terms of the overall population--perhaps less than 5%.

In recent years immigration from other European countries, Turkey, Christian West Africa and many Islamic countries has brought the total number of non-Dutch closer to 20%.

The racist cries, anti-Islamic rhetoric and restrictions on immigration are loud in Europe these days. And the loud noises from the conservative right is winning.

Interestingly, with few jobs, many immigrants are returning to their home lands, but that number is small.

Is it better to stay at home and feel hunger? Is it better to relocate and be starved of acceptance?

NB. The NRC Handelsblad (the Netherlands) did a write up of the book on 8 September here.

NB2. This piece in Salon brings to light how "Latino" immigration plays a role in today's politics, and featured one reason why Rep. Wilson made a fool of himself at the President's address.

Crafty, Craft Bits

When I entered the world of motherhood, worked at home and lived in a city that encouraged thrift, I made all sorts of things: croqueted blankets, fashioned soft flannel bedding, stitched up a man bag for the husband, boiled fruit for jam, whipped up my own mayonnaise, mended & sewed up new clothing, baked bread, prepared pate and designed doll clothes using tiny stitches with 100% cotton thread.

But I don't think I was crafty just practical. It is rare that I have a crafty idea, but for those that do, Craftbits might be a wonderful resource.

Now of course if refinishing furniture or doing easy electrical repairs is also crafty, I'll add my name to the craft(wo)men's guild.

Some are born leaders, others become leaders

The text of Senator Edward Kennedy's closing letter to President Barack Obama published here.

After 1969 many were quick to judge Ted Kennedy; others wrote him off. Some stood by him.

None was a harsher critic than Ted Kennedy on himself.

Just one more step, and we'll do it, appears to have been one of the Senator's approaches to success both politically and personally. He shared that sentiment with his children and his colleagues.

Forty-seven (47) years have past since President John Kennedy talked of health care reform. Sixteen (16) years have past since President Bill Clinton talked of health care reform.

And, I for one wish fervently, deeply, truly, that his last wish is granted and that 2009 will win the country a meaningful reform.


Obama to Congress: Health Care

The full text of the President's address to Congress, and also televised at 8pml on 9 September 2009.

Congress, in general, appeared by their applause to be pleased...with the exception of some unheard call (later identified by AP as Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) out on the omission of health care for immigrants.

Addressing both the left and the right, the President said,

"To my progressive friends, I would remind you that for decades, the driving idea behind reform has been to end insurance company abuses and make coverage affordable for those without it. The public option is only a means to that end - and we should remain open to other ideas that accomplish our ultimate goal. And to my Republican friends, I say that rather than making wild claims about a government takeover of health care, we should work together to address any legitimate concerns you may have."

Republican Congressman Charles Boustany response seemed to differ greatly from the President, and appeared to stress "cost of care" not "care for those in need."

...on the Delaware River

Reid, Marijke and Ruby Slippers, 18 August,
on the Delaware River ©

More on Digital Cameras

Last week I posted about my experience taking Creative Tech's 10-week free workshop on digital cameras.

Today was week 2.

Although I don't presently own a high-end SLR digital camera, John Greengo's second class contained invaluable information for all digital camera users.


Some of the in depth explorations in week 2 were histograms; shutter speeds; shooting in RAW, jpeg or TIFF and why; and how to control and adjust white balance.

What makes this workshop excel is John's expertise, and his use of extraordinary visuals. His section on shutter speeds was amazing and provided extensive insight into why even with a long shutter speed image clarity can be a photographer's best option--perhaps for those familiar with early SLRs and film, a comparative value for the use of Pan-X film.

Some useful information that will require some reading on my part for my own camera: does it have AWB (auto white balance) and can it be adjusted? Can I do a manual clear of my memory card, something John suggests after each shoot is complete and photographs downloaded and erased.

The on line class only holds 1000 viewers, so Creative Tech is offering a one week open viewing at no cost to those who were unable to connect.

Are You Prepared for 9-9-9?


Winter, not a Wonderland

Dan's Barn, Galilee, PA, 2008 ©

The Farmers Almanac is forecasting frigid temperatures this winter.

Ted Kupferman sent me to DC

I suppose I was naive in 1966 when I walked up the stairs to the local Republican Club on the East Side of New York City, the 17th congressional district, and volunteered to canvas for Ted Kupferman for Congress.

It had been John V. Lindsay's seat.

What I knew about politics could be fit into a thimble. But my father was a Republican, and he always seemed to know what was happening in the world--as most fathers do.

I was teamed up with Beth. We canvassed with such zeal, we succeeded in getting out the most votes in our appointed AD within the district. One of the doors we knocked on was Chet Huntley's. He smiled and assured us he would vote. Another door-opener was an 80-odd year old woman who hadn't voted in years. We offered to take her to the polls; she accepted and voted.

As a reward for achieving a record turn-out, we were offered a first class railroad ticket and an all expenses paid 2-day trip to Washington, D.C.

I accepted.

It was my first visit to the Capitol. I was astonished by what I saw and what I learned. We visited the White House, traveled underground between buildings, visited the Congress and were greeted by the new Congressman.

The White House, and Congressional Office Buildings paled in comparison to that underground train.

But what has remained with me all these years later is our last stop at FBI headquarters. The corridor walls were adorned with huge anti-communist posters. Tables on one floor were littered with anti-communist literature. Then FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover, hated communists more than terrorists and probably more than criminals.

All of the posters and literature reminded me then of those school bells that had us hiding under our desks, or forming long lines preparing for imminent danger and the nearest bomb shelter. The Cold War was more than a nuisance.

As I read the headlines, op-ed pieces, listen to television commentators, ingest political blogs and occasionally read a political book, I think about that visit to Mr. Hoover's house of hate and how it influenced our country and perpetuated McCarthyism.

Today as I read this piece at the Huffington Post, I sensed my growing fear that we are headed for perdition.

Back to School: Penmanship

With a new school year, folks are talking about curricula, and one subject that keeps popping up, although sporadically, is penmanship.

The New York Times had this piece in today's paper strongly suggesting we give up curlicues, and go italic.


End of Life Planning, Reform

The notion of a death panel taking hold in the general population makes me sick, sick to my stomach, and pained.

Right now my family is facing the imminent death of a beloved brother, son, brother-in-law, friend and uncle.

He is not old. 56 years old last June.

But death is at his throat. And his wishes are unknown and we are choking on our words as we alternate between wanting him to make a decision or taking the lead and making the decision for him.

The medical team at ICU said on Tuesday he was hallucinating, and probably unable to make a coherent decision. His elder sister is not his legal health care proxy, but by default is in charge.

If we saw into the future, and how devastating it is for family members not to know, we might prepare for it.

If end of life issues were normalised, and not used to fire up the wrong bases, perhaps we'd know what he would have wished.

We don't and won't.

Ecology, Oil Drilling and Art

The Damascus Citizens organisation, a non-profit, is holding an intriguing raffle of 25 original pieces of art, each donated by the artist, to raise funds to combat invasive gas drilling in the Delaware Valley region.

The potential drilling will affect 4 states, multiple waterways, more than 2 watersheds and hundreds of thousands residents.

If you love art, have some cash, each piece will be raffled at $250.00 each in a blind draw next week-end. Check out the site's weblog of the 25 original art pieces here.

The Life of a Marker

When I lived in NYC, nearly four years ago now, I had more access to art supplies and suppliers than most of my artist friends. But then when we discovered regional differences in supply trends, we set up a small group to trade up and out. I had little access to box stores like Hobby Lobby, Joann's and Michael's, and they had no access to New York Central, the garment district and 18th Street splendor.

Set of Galaxy Markers

One of the items occasionally traded was markers. From Texas, Sue sent me my first Galaxy markers. Later Paper Access started to carry them and for a couple of bucks I could replace them. And replace them was a must. It was the Creamy White I liked best, but it seemed to dry up more quickly than the other colours. After sitting in their tin case for eons, only my Venus Violet and Roswell Red are still writing like new.

Penstix, 3 marker set

Penstix, an Alvin product, comes in either regular or waterproof ink, and are available in .3mm, 5mm and .7mm. Most of these are drying out after prolonged storage. But when I first happened upon them in a Blick, I believe, they were a natural to buy--india ink in a comfortable to hold, disposable body, and at a very affordable price. A set of 3 waterproof pens cost about $6.99.
Dual sided Tombow Brush Marker

Tombow markers, like Chartpak markers, are generally a universally available marker at art stores. I think the few Tombows I have in my present stash are 'alf and 'alf--some quite aged and others picked up at Artisan in Taos two years ago. These markers come in 96-colours.

I'd say these markers are a good investment as they seem to have a good to excellent shelf-life, that is, if you store them in a cool, dry space, and horizontally except when in use. They come in sets, and individually. The average price appears to be just under $3.00.
Chartpak markers were once my staple. It appears I have none in my stash. I did use them regularly when I prepared for workshops or zillions of years ago when I studied design. They are solvent-based and have a strong smell. The blender toneless pens are often used for image transfers, but recommended for use only in a well ventilated space. The colours are terrific and that alone draws designers to the brand. At Utrecht they average about $2.50 per marker.

Sai Pigment Brush Marker

I also seem to have six (6) Akashiya Sai pigment ink brush markers. These have a rather floppy brush--like a very soft watercolour brush--and needs some practice to use. Jet Pens carries them for under $5.00 each. I have not seen them on line elsewhere. Until these tests, I don' t recall using them and half seem very usable and the other half appear to be nearly dried out.

Copic Sketch Pen

And then there are Copic markers, various sizes, shapes and applications. I have a good stash of these but like the Chartpak they are solvent based and have a strong smell. They come in more than 300 colours and are refillable. I've never done this, but might if it becomes necessary. At present, I'd rank these highly for long-lasting shelf-life. All the markers I bought 4-5 years ago write as new. Prices vary and sets seem to be the trend. Of the various types I'd say I prefer the narrower sketch than the original boxy version. Neither is uncomfortable but the sketch pens suit my hand.

Copic Multiliner (Photo Jet Pens)

I've not gotten as much mileage with the Copic multiliner and it like its almost twin Penstix seems to have a shorter shelf life.
Pentel Pocket Brush Pen (Photo Jet Pens)

In their place I bought a Pentel pocket pen and hope to find it more satisfying. It differs from the Penstix and Multiliner in several ways: it has a calligraphic nib, allows for various line widths and is refillable. The pen sells for about $12.00 and cartridge refills sell for around $5.00. Both are available at Jet Pens and Wetpaint, among others.

Many other markers, whether they are called brush markers, felt markers, calligraphy markers or technical pens, are on the market.

These, however, are the brands and types I recently tested.

They can be purchased at some of our favourite retailers, mentioned throughout this post: Jet Pens, Wetpaint, Blick, Utrecht, Frantic Stamper, and others. Because I no longer have the luxury of walking into a bricks and mortar shop I tend to wait for my "buy" list to grow large enough to offset shipping costs or take advantage of free shipping.

Books: Where Did You Sleep Last Night?

Reading the NYT review of Danzy Senna’s latest book, "“Where Did You Sleep Last Night?" brought me back to an earlier novel reviewed here, and some pensive moments.

Caucasia will probably be the book I read but the search for identity in the non-fiction book will definitely get some serious consideration on my whatz up next list.

Race in America in some ways is not different than it is elsewhere, but it is here that I live and so my inquiry into its lasting effect is predicated on a lifetime of memories, dissimilar but at the same time, recognisable in Senna's exploration into the inter-racial life.

I'm going to get both personal and political in looking at the book's value, whether that is literary or sociological, because race has played such a major role, albeit quietly, in my life.

I was fortunate to be raised by a Black woman. Her name was Lucille. She was my grand Nanny. White folk adopt their Nannies in strange ways, and Black folk often find that affection an abomination.

But I can't relate to either, I can only say what I feel, and even after five decades, I can still feel the strength of Lucille's hands giving me a bath, or hear her laughter when I tried to follow her instructions in making an apple pie with dirty hands.

It was love we had, and it was hate that separated us, and it is undoubtedly that separation that coloured my life--no pun intended--as I unconsciously or perhaps even consciously crossed the colour lines in my private and public life--sometimes at great peril in a racist society, but more often gifted with rich rewards.

Although racial barriers have outwardly been lifted, in many geographic and societal locations, the penetrating separations are as active today as they were when I was a little girl living among the racist bourgeoisie in New York City with a Black nanny and White parents.

Just check out folks reaction to our first inter-racial President.


Books: I'm So Happy for You

After reading Laurie Winer's review of "I'm so happy for you," by Lucina Rosenfield, I put it on my wish list. Then I went to the reader reviews.

In recent months, I find myself reading the one and two star reviews before those glistening fives.

And occasionally, as is the case of Ms. Rosenfield's book, the ones and twos shoved the newly included book off my reading list shelf.

I put it on because it was about woman's friendships.

I took it off because I am not interested in disingenuous friendship of any kind.

But I am immensely interested in relationships between and among women.

In my written or oral language, I use the word "friendship" rarely and restrict it to what I consider a friend, not an acquaintance, neighbour, shop keeper, or sister in law. Some of this distinguishing between friendship and other relationships comes from speaking Dutch. In that language, a slight twist in tone, accent at the end of a word, diminutive use or an alternate word will announce to the listener a more precise relationship.

And relationships between women are often misconstrued.

Was Eleanor Roosevelt really bisexual as suggested in Blanche Wiesen Cook's biography or did she just like to write poetic letters to her friend, Lorena Hickok? Why did the reviewers misunderstand and hence label May Sarton's breathtaking book on female friendship, A Reckoning, a lesbian novel?

Some of the most intimate relationships I've had have been with women, but those relationships had nothing to do with sex, pettiness or the cattiness that seems to erupt, spontaneously, in voice and pen as apparently it does in "I'm so happy for you."

If you feel differently you might enjoy the book, but I'll pass.

Books: True Compass

This is the first review I've read of Edward M. Kennedy's now posthumous memoir, True Compass.

It is a gentle review.

It evinces little judgement and evokes some of the introspection Mr. Michiko Kakutani suggests the Senator failed to reveal in the memoir.

Faced with challenges the likes of which the Senator experienced, his religious beliefs and his humanity, it is not hard to imagine how important it was to him to "keep moving." As not moving forward might have created the Darkness Visible described in William Styron's biographical memoir of plunging into depression.

Regardless of his frailties, and there appear to be several, I admire how Edward M. Kennedy positively lived after 1969, and then again in the 1990s.

Phoenix Rising is not easy to master, but if one wishes to live, a small or large life, rising is an imperative.

Inquiring Minds: Politics, Government II

"Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party"

Shared via AddThis

Inquiring Minds: Politics, Government I


Mercury Retrograde

Mercury, the Earth's closest planet, goes retrograde about 4 times each year. The next retrograde cycle begins 7 September, and ends on 18 October, when the planet returns to its station.

I always try to finish up projects, and sell things during this cycle.

I am planning to photograph and list: art supplies (oil bars, water soluble oils, more watercolour paint, pastel pencil set, and probably more) and several fountain pens (Jean Pierre Lepine, Waterman Gentleman and perhaps a vintage AA Waterman).

Creative Workshops: Calligra-FUN

It was last month that I learned about Creative Workshops, and last week that I decided to try my hand and take Martha Levers's Calligra-FUN workshop.

I tried to resist buying new markers, calligraphy or otherwise, but Martha strongly recommended Zig Scroll and Brush and Zig Brushables so I ordered a few each at Markers Supply.

And as soon as the markers arrive, I hope to have some Calligra-FUN.


Learn more about Digital SLRs

Canon Rebel XS

I attended the 1st of a 10-week digital photography course offered for free today and was very impressed.

This online class was easy to view, the streaming on my Mac with hi-speed internet was perfect and the video excellent.

Nikon D3000

John Greengo, the instructor, is a pleasure to listen to and appears to more than know his stuff.

I learned enough today to go out and buy a middle range (those pictured above) to a high-end Digital camera armed with good questions and a sense of what to expect from most digital cameras on the market.

The focus of the class is definitely middle to high end digital SLRs, so if you aren't using one of these cameras, you might want to wait for a class that covers other digital cameras.

John mentioned he might do a 4-week workshop for point & shots.

But if you are using SLRs, jump on board at Creative Techs.


Buying and Reading a Magazine

Certainly others have different reasons but I don't buy many (and often any) magazines these days because of my lifestyle.

I live in a rural community. The closest bookstore with a magazine rack is more than one hour away; the supermarket generally sells magazines I don't read except for Cooks, and I don't do much shopping at box stores.

The last time I had a Time, Newsweek, Life, New Yorker in my hand was in New Mexico. The last time I had an Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic or The Economist in my paws was last May in Pittsburgh at my daughter's house.

I alternate subscriptions and presently I am receiving three art magazines and the New York Review of Books. Last year I subscribed to Orion. I also subscribe to Poets & Writers.

When I lived in New York, I probably bought but didn't subscribe to as many as 12-20 magazines routinely. I'd walk into the neighbourhood B&N, underground kiosk or Amtrak station, browse the magazine shelves and come away with a much heavier bag.

I miss the magazines but not enough to subscribe to them. And I am already reading more news content than I care to admit (on line).

Will they vanish?

Books: Another Magician

I have always been enthralled by magic, mystery and the impossible made possible, so Lev Grossman's new book, The Magicians" might make up for the loss of Lyra Silvertongue of His Dark Materials and the Harry Potter trio.

Of the two, The Dark Materials and the Harry Potters, I fancied Pullman over Rowling and read the series three times over a period of three years. They are, in my opinion, that good.

I have high hopes that I'll enjoy The Magicians nearly as much.