Saturday, December 31, 2016

PROTECTION ISLAND







Perhaps Protection Island doesn't completely live up to its name.

Top to bottom: animal remains, seafaring remains, once-rooted-to-terra-firma-but-no-longer flora remains.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

PROTECTION ISLAND


The Wife and TWT headed out in the midst of storm to hike around Protection Island at Ocean Shores. Initially, it was just to walk about in the wind and (sideways) rain, but then we decided to see if we could discover any snowy owls and/or their nests.


Occasionally, we had to stop because we were blinded by the rain. Or we had to move from the windward side of the island to the leeward side so that we could see and/or shelter from the weather.


But the beauty of the island in the storm, and the hypnotic pull of the wind and waves kept us going. We didn't see any snowy owls, but we saw snowy plovers, loons, cormorants, coots, crows, sandpipers, and plenty of gulls.


The Wife weathers the storm.


Troy's Work Table looks west, toward the future and whatever frontier remains.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

OCEAN TALES


The ocean is one of my favorite places of energy and renewal. The ebb and flow of the tides provides me with comfort. The waxing and waning of the waves provides me space and time to reflect upon the concepts of silence and repetition. It is where I am provided stories of the creatures and objects that find themselves (cast) upon its shores.


The ocean is a place of form and beauty. Decay and new life. A tangle of kelp quickly becomes a series of toys and weapons for the kids who accompany me on my walk. Likewise it is shelter for sand fleas and microorganisms, food for many creatures, something to be swept back out to sea with the next high tide.


I try to convince the kids that this mostly buried log is a beached whale, but they are too old for such stories. At one time, I would have been able to keep the ruse up for quite some time, but these kids are losing their innocence. They are becoming hardened by the world, and perhaps hardened to the world.


But one story they do like, even though still unconvinced of its verity, is that of the sea potato. I spun a tale about the "sea potatoes" that littered the beach—ovoid chunks of sod scattered across the sand after a storm had torn them away from some other beach and deposited them where we stood. So these sea potatoes are manifestations of erosion. Erosion of a beach and erosion of a truth. Once covered in sea foam, their true origin, their true form is a bit more hidden and more malleable.


This is the log that the kids will remember for quite some time. Initially, it was a perch for the kids to stand upon as the waves lightly lapped at its seaward edge. But the nipping soon became a large bite that pushed the log from beneath their feet and sent them into waist-water with an unexpectedly large wave. As they clung to the log after being thrown into the air, and scrambled from their cold and wet beach baptism, they looked back upon the log that tried to snake its way back to the sea from whence it came.


Then we departed. Wet. Laughing. The salted air filled with chatter, as though we were seabirds. Only the sea foam pushed up onto the shore by the waves to remain. Pushed up onto the shore by the waves—again and again and again.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

WESTERN LIGHT, WANING LIGHT


Western light.


Waning light. Ocean Shores, Washington.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

CHRISTMAS CHOWDER


"Clam or Cod?" 
—Mrs. Hussey to Ishmael and Queequeg in chapter 15, "Chowder," of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick

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The Wife made fish chowder "casserole" for Christmas Eve dinner. There was not only chowder but also 21st Amendment Toaster Pastry India-Style Red Ale. Additionally, there was the traditional household reading (whenever we eat chowder) of chapter 15 of Moby-Dick for those gathered.

We laughed with Ishmael and Queequeg as they ate chowder and "ordered" extra bowls when Mrs. Hussey was otherwise occupied. We laughed at the absurdity of a cow wearing fish-head slippers while walking along the beach eating the remains of fish, and therefore, providing salted milk. And we enjoyed our own chowder.

Friday, December 23, 2016

HEAD of a POET


For the past few weeks, I've been haunted by "Head of a Tramp," 1896, by László Mednyánszky. It's a painting I discovered while seeking out images for a work project. I knew that it needed to be translated into chalk, but wasn't sure what its final form would look like. Then I started seeing the painted head in my dreams and it began to transform.


I asked The Child to photograph me in a post mimicking Mednyánszky's painting. I laid out a concrete board with photocopies of the painting and the photograph as references and started placing down colors of chalk that I felt would contrast well against the tan and beige of the concrete panel.


My original plan was to make the coloring fairly realistic, so I laid down complimentary colors for skin tones, in order to build upon them and obtain shadows and shading. However, I was intrigued by the purplish-blue skin, green-and-black patches around the eyes, and bright green lips, so I left them alongside the more realistic colors of the the hair and clothing.

I'm rather happy with the Fauvist flavoring of this piece.

Perhaps now this tramp and his poet doppelgänger can stop haunting my dreams.

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"Head of a Poet (Self Portrait)" by Troy's Work Table. Indoor chalking for Friday 23 December 2016.

Sidewalk chalk, charcoal, and chalk pastels on concrete board.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

BLUE DAWN SKY


Blue dawn sky is the hope after the darkness of the Longest Night.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

LONGEST NIGHT (and SHORTEST DAY)

Longest Night is a personal holy day for me. I know, because I return to it again and again, in image and word and reflection.

It wrings poetry out of a "me" already exhausted by the physical dark of the season and the cultural busyness of the purported holy days.

This year, I'm caught up in reading the prophet Zechariah and the seer John of Patmos (scribe of the Revelation of Jesus Christ), as well as The Divine Invasion by Philip K. Dick.



we can hear the clatter of the hooves
     of the steeds of the Lord’s horsemen

red white sorrel sickly green pelts
     blood and flame dripping from their nostrils

their sordid breath salting the earth
     that they bend upon and trample

can you taste the stars?
     they sing of wormwood and gall



paint your face in lampblack and gray ash
    in ochre clay and in blood-stained clay

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Apparently, the darkness has influenced my muse to tend toward the apocalyptic again in my poetry. But I follow where she leads. Hopefully, I make it out without too many scars.

Friday, December 16, 2016

ODIN and FENRIS


One-eyed Odin and Fenris nap in the waning winter sunshine.

YGGDRASIL the HAND


Yggdrasil the Hand reaches for the fruit of the horizon-hugging sun as The Dog and TWT stroll along the deserted Riverwalk Trail.

CHRISTMAS at the CONSERVATORY


Today was both a day of wandering and a true Troy's Work Table day—filled with books, art, and beer. And plants.

I visited the W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory at Tacoma's Wright Park. With all of the glass and the temperature below freezing outside, even with portable heaters running full blast the temperature inside the greenhouse was only 60ºF. But it was beautiful with all of the ornaments and lights, the poinsettia, and the amaryllis, in addition to all of the tropical plants.

THE RED HOT


Today was both a day of wandering and a true Troy's Work Table day—filled with books, art, and beer.

The Tacoma Dog at The Red Hot is a local version of the classic Chicago Dog. In Pierce County, this is the best hot dog around. The skin of the hot dog has a bit of resistance on each bite and the various flavors—hot dog, yellow mustard, pickle spear, sports peppers, tomato wedges, celery salt, onion, poppy seed bun—blend together for a near-heavenly experience.

I had a pint of 21st Amendment Toaster Pastry India Red Ale to accompany the hot dog. The biscuity malts and strawberry jam hops of the beer were a great partner for the hot dog. I've had Toaster Pastry many times in cans, but never on tap. It was a nice treat on a cold day.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

WHITE HOLD


These hands don't clap in glory. But they'll hold the white disc of the sinking sun.

Monday, December 12, 2016

BLUE BAR


Bars of sky. Slate upon silver upon cerulean. White pressing in.

Threat of snow. Rain certain. Ice.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

CLOUD DREAMS


Twilight winter walk snow dreams of clouds.

SNOW DREAMS


Sunrise autumn clouds dream of snow.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

ROOT of JESSE


This "Root of Jesse" is the result of a welcome "collision" of different areas of my life.

It is a piece for my job, because I needed a representation of the "root of Jesse" mentioned in Isaiah 11:10, but the "artwork" of the same I found online was mostly of extremely poor quality. So I made my own.

It is a portrait of Advent waiting.

It is a representation of hope in the face of overwhelming odds against that same hope.

It is a play on The Metamorphosis of Plants by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, which I've now read four times in the past couple of weeks.

It is a culmination of another reading of Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer and the (environmental) weirdness that lies therein.

It is in the style of the underworld pieces collected in my Chthonic coloring book.

It is inspired in part by a study of tree trunks by artist Ivan Shishkin.

It brought me great joy this past week, which was a gift of its own.