Grandmother Catalpa

Fallen Catalpa Flower, micron pen and watercolor by Stephanie Thomas Berry
My Catalpa tree is in full bloom.

The tree herself is huge—everyone who knows trees and has seen her professes she is the biggest Catalpa they have ever seen, which of course this means that she’s pretty much the oldest, too.. Her branches are thick and curvaceous; her leaves are giant green hearts.  And right now she’s covered in buoyant clusters of white flowers.

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Cracks and Veins

Showy Evening Primrose Sketch

I am reminded of the story of the water carrier who carried a whole vessel and a cracked vessel. The cracked vessel, leaking along the path, watered flowers. It’s a parable to see the beauty in our brokenness, and it it does not necessarily comfort me.

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Coyote Walks the In-Between

Coyote Walks the In-Between, a pastel by Stephanie Thomas Berry
Friends, I wanted so much to finish and post this painting on this strange and somber day, and I have done it.  My little offering. It is coyote, you know, the great Trickster, in a world of edges—the edge of night and day, the edge of water and earth, river and land. Fireflies hang like miniature lanterns. His one paw touches the luminous water and it is lit with the fire of his eyes, the power of his vision.

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Slow gallery: Main Character, “Seven Crows on the Edge of Dusk”

Crow from "Seven Crows on the Edge of Dusk" a pastel painting by Stephanie Thomas Berry
This crow is the main character for the painting Seven Crows on the Edge of Dusk. Crows are highly social creatures; whenever you see a murder of crows they are almost always a family group. So this crow is a matriarch of sorts, warning her family about some danger that remains unknown to us but whose presence we sense from her body language.

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Slow Gallery: Introduction to “Seven Crows on the Edge of Dusk”

Baneberry, or Doll's Eyes from Stephanie Thomas Berry's gallery

Slow Gallery is my new method of revealing finished pieces. It’s a virtual way of slowing the eye so that we can study the components of an image, and perhaps more importantly, a means to tell the story that unfolds within the frame.

When you first look at the painting “Seven Crows on the Edge of Dusk,” what will no doubt catch your eye is this stalk of White Baneberry in fruit. It is placed prominently in the foreground and is a striking combination of black, white, and red. The little berries with their black dots are so indicative of eyes that the plant is also known as Doll’s Eyes.

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A Sonnet, a Map, and Lots of Tricksters

Three Tricksters: Fox, Coyote, Shadow, photo by Stephanie Thomas Berry
I guess it started in late October. I was standing in my driveway when a raven flew over me, so low I could hear the taffeta of its wings. Right after it came a crow, its feathers tighter and its flight more suited to this windless path. The raven perched in the forest behind my house, right by my old studio, and began its unique croaking vocalizations. The crow fussed a bit and flew on. It all felt very dreamlike, especially since I’d been reading In the Company of Crows and Ravens. 

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