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Posts by Ayden

Accumulations of Blue

Posted by Ayden LeRoux on June 3, 2015 (Comments Closed) as , , , ,

I’m back in New York City now, musing on my final map and all the blues I saw in Alaska. The most beautiful blues of course were not manufactured. They were the startling ones, the glimmer of the magpie wing, a gift of berries, my fingers stained with stamp ink as I press the rubber onto white, white paper. The sky is spectacular ink. Now, in the city, the blues don’t seem as luminous as they did in Anchorage. They don’t shimmer and pulse the same way they did in Alaska. Here my vision of the sky is cluttered by skyscrapers rather than treetops. I like to imagine the buildings are gathering bits of sky on their upper floors, as their name might suggest.

 

I look at the grid of blue sky I gathered from Alaska and think maybe, in spite of my small stature, I was playing the part of a skyscraper while I was in Anchorage. My neck arched upward, peering at the bed of blue. I cut the sky into small cubes, pieces of time portioned out. The clouds peek in, curtains that obstruct the blue, filter and transform it. Blue is the color of accumulating time, time passing, time fading and stacking.

 

 

Every Blue I Saw

blue eyes

blue shadows

blue eye shadow

blue postal uniform

blue balloon

blueberries

my blue-stained fingers

blue magpie wing

blue knit hat

blue duct tape

blue thread

blue pencil sharpener

blue inkpad

blue cracker package

blue retractable dog leash

blue sleeping bag

blue shed

blue cars

blue sandal straps

blue boxtop

blue bottle caps

blue pencil case

blue shorts

blue warning sign

blue bandana

blue railings

blue Snapple lid

blue quilt

blue canoe straps

blue fence

blue inflatable kayak

blue cardboard box

blue portapotty water

blue glass earrings

blue gazebo frame

blue hat buttons

blue barrette

blue trash dumpster

blue bathroom door

blue sweater

blue jeans

blue checked plaid

blue fleece

blue water bottle

blue pencil

blue vest

blue paint container

blue pompom

blue sweatshirt

blue coat

blue hat lettering

blue vehicles

blue bike

blue hat

blue thread on patch

blue t-shirt

blue dress

blue swing set

blue jungle gym

blue zip lock bag

blue signs

blue bike helmet

blue purse

blue baseball cap

blue socks

blue label on charcoal bag

blue label on water bottle

blue wrap

blue tattoo ink

blue sneakers

blue chalk

blue Budweiser label

blue playing card scrap

blue bike

blue chambray shirt

blue sunscreen can

sky

water

Feeling Blue

Posted by Ayden LeRoux on May 22, 2015 (Comments Closed) as , , , , , ,

I’ve been writing about blue as if it is only a color, and yet there is another way we talk about blue. Perhaps more than any other color, blue is associated with feeling. I’m not sure where along the lines blue started being an emotion but it’s ingrained in our understanding of this color of light. Red is a symbol of anger of course, and green is associated with envy, but we don’t use those words directly to discuss how we are. “I am blue,” we say, embodying the color.

 

As the week wears on, one afternoon I feel a twinge of blue in my heart, distracting me from the winding path where my feet are walking. It is the feeling of distance from my love, who is back East, wandering the grid of New York City. I am fortunate that this blue I’m feeling is not the deep, penetrating sort that led Pablo Picasso into his Blue Period of painting for three years. I will finish our expedition on the trail and will stop writing daily essays and maps of blue. This feeling of mine can’t even really be classified as sadness, just an awareness of his absence in my day. Blue is the measurement of our being apart, the shape of the air between us. I rarely say the words “I miss you” because I am happy to be where I am, but for an hour or two in the afternoon I notice this soft tide of melancholy.

 

In the evening, after veering off the trail, we bike towards the mountains and after a beer at the Midnight Sun Brewery, we decide to climb Flat Top Mountain, the classic hike outside of Anchorage. We begin ascending at 8:30 p.m. with plenty of daylight left. I have been entranced by the light in Alaska, though it discombobulates my sense of time. It doesn’t get completely dark until after midnight and twilight leaks into the sky around 4 a.m. I’ve never been this far north and though my flight out of Seattle left after dark and landed here in Anchorage after sunset, in the air en route I could see the glowing orb of the sun casting perpetual daylight for those farther north. Now as we move up the mountain, scaling rocks, we gain altitude quickly.

 

It’s only an hour and a half to the top, an invigorating charge to panoramic views. It’s 10 p.m. and every direction I look, I see blue. The saturated navy shadows of the mountains, their peaks and valleys carved by glaciers, the satiny haze of the horizon, sky and clouds falling into ocean, fog and mountains persisting even farther in the distance. I feel lifted by the view and wind at the summit, shedding the earlier ache. There is something spectacular about being able to step away from the closeness of the quotidian, to feel the scope of the landscape, the air and spaciousness of seeing far away from me. At the peak of this mountain I dissolve into the blue air around me, surrender to the color and altitude. Here, I find that the feeling of blue isn’t just longing and sadness. It is also the feeling of abandoning myself, even if just until I return back to sea level.

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Losing Blue

Posted by Ayden LeRoux on May 21, 2015 (Comments Closed) as , , , , , ,

As we move farther along the trail, it becomes more forested and blues are few. I bike along the trail and through culverts; the corrugated metal tunnels make me feel like I am inside a whale’s throat. I pass into an esophagus and become temporarily blind as the darkness abruptly swallows me. My eyes see […]

Sky Scales

Posted by Ayden LeRoux on May 20, 2015 (Comments Closed) as , , , ,

I recently read of a Swiss physicist named Horace Benedict de Saussure who, living in the 1700s, wanted to measure the intensity of blue in the sky. He created the cyanometer, a round dial that had 53 shades of blue, moving from white through a range of blue to black. I find this to be at once beautiful and troubling. […]

Mapping Blue

Posted by Ayden LeRoux on May 18, 2015 (Comments Closed) as , , , ,

        These first two days on the trail, I find myself between two expanses of blue, the dome of the sky and the bowl of the water. More blue than I’ve been around for weeks. These two limitless expanses of material cannot be contained or held. They are formless and far-reaching. How […]

5/17 Landing at Westchester Lagoon

Posted by Jimmy on May 17, 2015 (Comments Closed)

Ayden doing research at City Hall

Posted by Mike Conti on May 16, 2015 (Comments Closed)

Ayden

Posted by Jimmy on May 13, 2015 (Comments Closed)

Meet Ayden LeRoux, an interdisciplinary artist and writer. Ayden is joining our crew from New York. More examples of her work can be found at http://www.aydenleroux.com/. Here you will find pictures from her Pillow Book project. Pillow Book is an ongoing series of videos that record the artist performing the act of making an unidentified […]