Welcome to MissouriBendStudio!

This is an online journal of my artistic investigations and a way to communicate about my work, ideas, quandries and queries! I welcome comments and conversation and do hope you enjoy these musings. My artwork is available in my shop MissouriBendStudio on Etsy.com or on my website.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Winter Rhythms and Fine Reading

Winter No.2 from the Season Cycles Series
Well, somehow this felt like a big week with a couple of nice blog features for Missouri Bend Studio!  Robyn Gordon's blog Art Propelled post on Nature Lovers featured one of my recent book pages, along with the work of some other really wonderful artists.  Many of the readers of this blog are surely familiar and probably followers of Robyn's blog as well!  If not, it's a gem and I encourage you to visit just once...you'll be hooked!  I was also fortunate to be the topic of the day on the Thursday sketchbook feature on the Artisans Collective blog, which you can link to here. Since I don't really keep a bona fide sketchbook, I sort of walked through the process of making one of the book page pieces using the most recent Page from The Book Of Loose Associations.  

Also as you can see, I've moved into a winter mindset and have started up on the winter pieces in the Season Cycles series.  I have a few more in the works in the studio, but the second one was posted today.  I've been reminded of the beautiful shimmering grays that winter brings and am finding out that perhaps this is my favorite season...at least in terms of inspiration for making art!  Not to worry, I'm not letting the book pages go....they are still in process as well!

Late this afternoon I managed to spend a little time on the couch reading and that was delightful...not only to be reading and watching the gorgeous sunset with a glass of wine, but reacquainting myself with the rhythm of winter days when darkness sets in early and I tend to hunker down and surround myself with books.  That got me thinking again about books and the recent  posts about books in many of the blogs I follow.  I have books and bookshelves in every room in the house and have hauled nearly all of these friends of mine across the country and across town in recent moves.  I tried to part with them, but found I couldn't.

Many of the books I've collected have not been read and truth be told, I doubt I'll ever get to some of them, but give them away....highly unlikely...they belong here on my shelves.  Of the books I've read, so many have sent me soaring or stopped me in my tracks while whole new worlds opened up or brought me to tears when I couldn't imagine that such words strung together across a page could be quite so beautifully written or so powerful.  But ask me to tell you about them, to describe them...I'm kind of at a loss.  Perhaps my memory is not so great, but I think the issue is really that when you read a book, it's like a fine meal (the expression "devouring a book" is probably quite appropriate) that you consume and that literally becomes a part of you....in a physical way, but also emotionally as a memory of a time and place.  Enjoy a delicious meal, but in a few days time, if asked, could you describe it to someone else in any meaningful way?  You could only say in the most cursory terms how wonderful it was, or perhaps how awful, but chances are you probably couldn't even call up in your own body the very tastes you experienced.  Any good book read, once savored, is likewise absorbed by the body, nourishing even as it becomes a part of the very structure of our being....it has become who we are.  

So here's what I'm getting to...I randomly pulled a few fine dining experiences to share with you.  I can tell you this about each of these books...every one has been a part of making me who I am. They lifted and transported me to unknown places and I returned from each journey just a little larger.  

The Book of Salt by Monique Truong, beautifully written novel about Paris in the 1930s through the eyes of the Vietnamese cook employed by Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. This was her first novel and I've been looking for something new every since...

The Shape of Content by Ben Shahn...the book must be a classic and if you ask me, it is essential reading for an artist. 

River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West by Rebecca Solnit.  I think Rebecca Solnit is pure magic...here's the blurb from the cover, which I wholeheartedly endorse: "Brilliant...never less than deeply intelligent, and often very close to inspired." -- New York Time  Book Review

Now I've gotten myself all excited to reread these little gems!

So....what books have so moved you....what books have provided your best meals????  I'm anxious to hear!

A hearty welcome to the recent followers of this blog!  Have a fine weekend everyone!


  1. I've been doing blog reading and writing for a short time, but I have met some delightful people in the process. robyn gordon is one of them. she led me to your work which is fascinating! I would love to see it in person!I too have hauled books around forever and cant part with them why is that!. thanks for sharing your wonderful work with us

  2. Patti, this is all very close to home, re: the devourings, past and future, that line my bookshelves, yes, in every room of the house! And now I have three new authors to investigate, or two, because I have already picked up some Solnit which waits for an opportunity to sample. I have not had one of those reading experiences that simply blows the top of your head off in a long long time. But I can tell you the first book that spoke to me personally, felt like more than just words on a page, and became part of who I am and how I think was The Phantom Tollbooth. After that, too many to list! By the way, Winter No. 2 is simply gorgeous. Have a great weekend, P.

  3. I love your description of your favorite books, how they are far more than a mere collection of words. And I agree that books should never be left behind. At least, not good books or books still unread.

    Enjoy your winter, your words and your work. I know the rest of us will enjoy these right along with you.

  4. yes, i too know and love robyns blog ;)
    and love hearing you have a winter collection ready to come out of you.
    as far as books....i used to have tons of them and coveted them. now i am a minimalist and get what i can at our dinky little library. alas, i cannot read fiction anymore either and for the hundreds and hundreds of books i have digested...i can't think of a single one to recommend. i guess i have changed drastically the last 10 years and books no longer do the same thing for me that they once did.
    having said that, ENJOY your gems :) i envy you in a way, i wish i could escape again into them. maybe it just isn't my time right now for that.

  5. Lyle...nice to see you here. Robyn is the source for many wonderful things, isn't she? She may have been the beginning of my infintely expanding blog spiralling life. So glad to hear the work I make is meaningful to you and of course, I love to hear from anyone who loves books! Best wishes!

  6. Gabriella...The Phantom Tollbooth....not familiar with it, but I'll be sure to look it up. There is nothing like the kind of reading experience that is magical...probably best that they're not all that way, as we might not appreciate them if they were more than plentiful! Glad you like the winter piece and hope you get your winter soon!

  7. Kim, great to hear from you too! Thanks for your comment and hope you enjoy the unfolding of your new work, as well! Happy winter to you also!

  8. Paula...hi! Interesting how we do go through phases in our lives...may be one day you'll be back to books...maybe not, but each thing we delve into becomes a part of us...there are so many possibilities! Look, you and Kim are here on the same page...SMALL world as you say!

  9. Hi Patti - I love that you 'devour' books, but then can't express the sense of wonder about them properly afterwards, because that describes me perfectly as well! I am often at a loss to explain or describe why the book was so perfect or wonderful. I think I can now happily accept that I simply digested it. Excellent.

    BTW I love the simplicity and sense of place/season in this winter piece. It is hauntingly beautiful - I so enjoy feasting upon your creativity!

  10. As a teenager I clung to a book of short stories by Dorothy West. But I think I had mainly been affected by books as a child, the Giving Tree springs to mind.

    (and yay for blog features!)

  11. Fiona....so glad to hear I'm not the only one left speechless when needing to describe a well loved book! I think the devouring explanation is as good as any! Thank you so much for your kind words about the work! Best to you!

  12. The Giving Tree is a great little book! Nice to hear from you Thea!

  13. I was in need of book suggestions and "The Book of Salt" sounds perfect. By the way, Winter No.2 is beautiful.

  14. Patti, I am one of the recent new followers. I love your blog and your beautiful ways with word, blood filled descriptions and magic art. Oh, and I loooove me a good book too though since I'm Swedish I won't try guessing any titles though a favorite author is Paul Auster.
    btw, I'm linking to you on my blog today! :-)

    Take care.

  15. Hi, I love your blog!. Thanks for dropping by and following mine,I love to see new people visiting. :)

  16. JFM...so hope you enjoy The Book of Salt as much as I did! Let me know!
    Happy to hear you like Winter no.2 also...thanks for your comment!

  17. iHanna...a big thank you for the link on your blog! And I LOVE PAUL AUSTER!!! He is definitely one of my favorite authors! If you haven't seen the film Smoke...it's a must, in my opinion...co-authored/directed by Paul Auster. He's a wonderful writer! Thanks so much for your comment!

  18. Carrie....my head is constantly spinning these days, as I discover new artists, new blogs, etc. Happy to have you here and look forward to reading your blog! Thanks so much.

  19. A lovely surprise to see my blog mentioned, thanks so much. Books have been so important to me all my life but suddenly I'm feeling as if I'm betraying my beloved books. I seem to be spending more and more time on the internet. Art books are still a great joy to me but I can't remember the last time I read a good novel. Perhaps its time! I've made a note of Salt and Shape of Content.
    Love Winter no.2!

  20. Robyn...it's amazing how you seem to be at the crossroads of almost every blog I come in contact with! I think all roads lead from Art Propelled! What a blessing you are! Yes, reading is getting harder and harder...I'm off to settle down with a book now and hope I don't fall asleep! Hope you enjoy Salt, which is wonderful novel and The Shape of Content, though not a novel, will be a great uplift for your artistic spirit!
    Do you know Ben Shahn's work? Enjoy!


I'm happy to hear from you...comments and questions are welcome!