Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Luck of the Seagull

The Culprit - Lynda Lehmann c 2010

Lunch Frenzy - Lynda Lehmann c 2010

Wharf Scene - Lynda Lehmann c 2010

A Gull's Position - Lynda Lehmann c 2010

Outside the Fish Market - Lynda Lehmann c 2010

Bike Dock - Lynda Lehmann c 2010

Back at the Dock - Lynda Lehmann c 2010

We visited Portland the other day, since I had to deliver some new photos to a gallery there. Afterwards, we had a lovely lunch at DiMillo's floating restaurant, housed on a
huge ship that was originally a car ferry running between New Castel, Delaware and Pennsville, New Jersey. We
gazed at the boats in the harbor while enjoying delicious lobster club-sandwiches.

Afterwards, we decided to explore the wharf area adjacent to Congress Street. We turned a corner just a few blocks past the restaurant and came into a narrow thoroughfare that bordered the fish market area. We were fascinated by the trappings of an industry that has lasted since America began and brave new towns sprang up all over the Northeast. Old docks and walkways, colorful old buildings that bear the markings of age and exposure to coastal Maine weather: crusty and salty with worn, rusted, scarred and tattered surfaces in a variety of old materials. It was an interesting scene, and I was excited to be surrounded by vintage architecture and time-etched surfaces.

It was mid-afternoon on the first steamy day of a May hot spell, and a couple of lobster boats were just coming in with their catch. All around, the seagulls were in an uproar. Their excited cries nearly drowned out the steady, deep hum of the diesel engines. I've never seen so many swarming, screeching, flapping, swooping, fluttering, and diving creatures anywhere. The mayhem was not without a dimension of aggressive behavior, as they competed for morsels of available fish.

I was raptly photographing those graceful white birds, whose wings by the hundreds, fanned the warm, salty air. I stood at what I thought was safe distance. After shooting about 30 images, I had cocked my head to look through my camera at a new angle. Suddenly a shadow passed over my head. I heard the approach of fluttering wings and felt a rush of wind, then the sensation of cool liquid oozing into my left ear. He had let one go! And by that I don't mean a clam shell or a morsel of lobster meat. He had POOPED on me! Not ON but directly IN to my left ear!

Had it hit the outside of my ear, the fleshy part called the "pinna," I could have dealt with it better. But the idea of that oozy detritus sliding towards my ear canal, did NOT make my day.

On the way back to the car, I joked with a couple of people we met along the dock about my surprise gift from a seagull. Apparently they were fishermen, because they showed no great surprise at the event and even chuckled at my consternation. Two of them went so far as to say "When a seagull _ _ _ _ s in your ear, it's means good luck!"

"Yeah, sure," I muttered under my breath. "Maybe with an albatross...."

I was immensely grateful for the hand wipes we had in the car, and I cleaned my ear the best I could. So far I've suffered no ill effects.
I'm sure I'll survive, but I could have done without that added sensory dimension to my harbor experience.

The regal bird you see in the top photo may have been the culprit. One moment I was fixated on his dignified stance on the wood piling, and the next thing I knew, he'd given me more than a photo op. I'm grateful that it happened after lunch!

NOTE: For my last couple of posts, it seems as if unwanted code has been insinuating itself into my text. Has anyone else been having that problem with Blogger this week or last?

All images and text c Lynda Lehmann. If you would like to view more of my art or make a purchase, please visit Lynda Lehmann Painting and Photography, where my other sites are listed, as well.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Disconnected: A Flash Fiction Eulogy

"You DON"T have to call me very day!" Walter slammed down the receiver. Holly was out of hand with her calls. He'd told her again and again that once a week was more than enough. Why was his eldest daughter so persistent?

All three of his kids hammered him about taking care of himself since Myrna had passed. What did they think he was trying to do, damn it?

He'd loved Myrna. Although he'd always been what she called "too gruff" for her, he knew she was just getting hung up on style. The substance of their marriage was what mattered, right? And he'd given her everything she'd wanted.

Now it was his time. Now he didn't have to deal with the rebuffs and the control, anymore. As much as he missed her, he enjoyed the freedom of not having to answer to his wife for everything he did. She had never gotten it through her head that being a stay-at-home, non-professional sort of woman, it was much more her job to defer to the needs of her very busy and accomplished husband. He hadn't become CEO of a nationwide chain like
Manley Hardware, by accident

Now, with his shares and discount still in place, he could buy anything he wanted, go where he wanted, bring anything into the house that he wanted. He'd finally bought himself some new tools, a set of pipes for his favorite tobacco, and a set of CDs with his favorite Swing music from the 40s. He'd hung a new cabinet in his downstairs shop and stocked it with new nails, screws, and bolts.

Why did his kids have to hound him and half ruin his nearly perfect, new life?


Ah, two o'clock and time to head out. Some new steins for the fireplace mantle were next on his list of the things he'd been wanting for a long time.

"Son of a bistro-chef!" Walter hissed. "Where's my damned wallet?" Myrna would have found it for him, but then he would have had to be beholden to her for the rest of the day. That's how she was. She always wanted acknowledgement. He wouldn't have minded giving it to her if the things she had done had actually been in some way, important!

He opened the kitchen drawer, the one where he threw his wallet and keys those days he didn't bother walking as far as his desk in the den. Not there. Shoes on but not yet tied, he hobbled to his desk, opening one drawer after the other. Not there.

"Where the hell did I put my freaking wallet?" he boomed, so that his old male border collie, Shelton, slithered under the desk.

Walter was getting agitated. To make matters worse, the phone rang. "Again!!" he yelled.

He turned toward the living room and lunged for the receiver with a leap worthy an outfielder honing in on a high-fly ball. As he grabbed it off the shelf and hurled it to the floor, he tripped on Myrna's 4 x 5 foot oriental carpet, the burgundy and blue one with the coffee stain from his mother-in-law on the left-hand corner, and fell. He felt his thigh hit the floor and his knee bend--if knees could do that--within it's socket. In a moment he was writhing in pain. He lay there, stunned. The pain was in his right arm, too. Could it radiate all the way from his kneecap?

He reached for the receiver dangling a foot from his arm, but couldn't grab it. The darn thing hung there like a mad miniature bungee-jumper vibrating between the cliff and a hard landing. Grabbing for the phone again and again, proved futile. He tried to raise himself on his left arm, but that hurt too. "Ow!" he yelled. Was his dammed arm broken, too? He became exhausted and h
is movements gave way to a steady moaning.

Hours must have passed. Walter still lay on the floor. He was shivering now, probably from the sensation of icy cold that crept out from his knee and thigh and up to his spine, radiating out into his body.

"Holly!" he called out, full knowing she was neither present nor waiting on the other end of the phone line. Damn. Where were his kids when he really needed them? And that good-for-nothing dog Shelton was snoring under the coffee table, not the slightest bit concerned about Walter's plight.

Night fell. Walter was shivering uncontrollably, in spite of summer temperatures without the AC turned on. With his last ounce of strength, he summoned all his anger to push himself towards that phone. The wrinkled cord still dangled in front of him like unattainable treasure. This time he managed to raise himself just a bit on his right side and move maybe an inch closer to the boomeranging receiver. "Wanda!" he called again. "Dennis!" No one answered. No one was there.

Hours passed. Maybe a day or two. He didn't know. All he knew was that sometimes when he opened his eyes, the glare of daylight bored through his eyes and deep into his skull. Other times and more often, he felt he was in a kind of twilight when he managed to open his heavy lids. He wanted a hot dog and a cold beer, but that was out of the question. How could he make himself a meal if he couldn't get off the floor?

Lying in the dark in pain, his eyes filled with sudden tears as it dawned on him that he might die right there, alone, in a crippled heap of agony. Would any of the three of them call again? Not likely, as he'd told them all off in no uncertain terms, just the other day at Dennis' house when his wife Lori served up one of her over-spiced pasta dishes. No, they wouldn't call again for at least a few days....

Walter squinted in the dark, trying to get his bearings for a last look. He comforted himself by the thought that at least he would die surrounded by his favorite collectibles. Too bad he hadn't had time to purchase those new steins before his number was up.

Note to my readers: This is my first attempt at flash fiction. I wanted to write a short, short story that would convey some sense of character and some meaning, as well. I hope it kept your interest! I appreciate your taking the time to read it.

All images and text c Lynda Lehmann. If you would like to view more of my art or make a purchase, please visit Lynda Lehmann Painting and Photography or my gallery at Imagekind, where you can choose from several sizes and paper types or buy my prints plain or matted and framed.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Circus Balls, Dream of Red, and Other Digital Paintings

Intrusion of Linear Elements

Dream of Red

Circus Balls

It's good to be back. My husband and I are always so busy with projects, being the do-it-yourself types. Doing construction and home renovation with your own hands, brings the freedom to pursue new options, but not without a cost. The cost is that the agenda is always intimidating, if not overwhelming. So be it...

I haven't been able to paint in months. My most recent art project was to size, print, mat, and bag about 200 prints for a local coffee shop.

I've finally had time to sit down at the computer. Smitten with the painting bug late in the evening, my only recourse was to turn to digital art instead of breaking out all the smelly, messy acrylics.

The nice thing about digital art is that you can do it almost anywhere that you can sit with a laptop or notebook computer, instead of requiring ample studio space and ventilation. And with iterative "saves,"one can easily squeeze multiple images from the same "mother" image. The possibilities are endless.

Here you see three images borne of the same original "source" image. I'm able to work with brilliant color which I so love, and texture, to create my visual experience.

I've heard some pigment painters object to digital painting because "you can't see the track" of the painter's hand and arm, the "touch" and physicality of it. But I don't think that's true. Surely it IS different, but not altogether. Using a touch-sensitive stylus with a graphics tablet can create many effects and communicate many nuances. Okay, so you won't have the richness and "presence" of impasto, but in my opinion, the effects done with the digital pen can be just as visually compelling.

I hope everyone had a happy and fulfilling Mother's Day, and I look forward to catching up with you!

All images and text c Lynda Lehmann. If you would like to view more of my art or make a purchase, please visit
Lynda Lehmann Painting and Photography or my gallery at Imagekind, where you can choose from several sizes and paper types or buy my prints plain or matted and framed.

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