Sunday, April 24, 2016

Blue House 2016

Here's what I can tell you about the painting:  it's about trying to do what's best, but still living with the fears and anxieties of both the known and the unknown. There is faith, but there is also doubt about doing the right thing, about being the best parent or spouse or partner or friend.  It's about what happens inside that house: good, bad or indifferent, we don't know, but can only guess.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Angry Mother 2016

I'm  a child of the 50's, as is my husband, and we are both products of Angry Mothers.  To this day, my husband gets nervous when someone starts vacuuming, PTSD from having his mother yank the Hoover around as she furiously cleaned house.  My Angry Mother memories are of slamming drawers and smoldering silences, her anger flaring up when I would become sad or angry myself.  50's mothers weren't supposed to show anger or be angry or even have negative thoughts.  But of course they did, and because they had to appear to be fine, all went inward and then projected back out when least expected--fires that, once they received  oxygen, couldn't stop burning.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Friendly Woman 2016


Simple Definition of change

  • : to become different
  • : to make (someone or something) different
  • : to become something else
Earlier this winter, while working in the studio, I suddenly found myself--brush in hand--doing a  simple line drawing into wet paint with India Ink.  I haven't drawn in years, and was surprised to find myself, in one motion, shaping and defining this figure.  The panel I had in front of me was small, but, still, it was a real challenge for someone who has defined her images with either paint or paper for over 40 years. When I lifted my brush from the surface, I was surprised at what I had, but pleased.

I have been working with Photoshop quite intensely for some time now, trying to learn the ins and outs of this complicated and very deep computer program.  One of the things I had learned to do in Photoshop was to create a smooth, continuous line to define the image I was trying to create, usually based in some way on the photograph that was underneath.  I realized that this little line drawing was both a reaction against and at the same time, based on what I had been learning in Photoshop.  The reaction against was my frustration at not being able to directly hold/touch/feel what I was doing with my hands, and having to stay so much in my head.  But what I had learned to do in Photoshop was to make and follow a  continuous, single line that defined the image. However in Photoshop I can erase  and redraw that line with with total impunity, something I can't do with India ink and wet paint.   It's both extremely exciting and at the same time very frustrating to work this way.  For a person that likes to keep all her options open as long as possible, it should be an interesting ride. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Young Man Sitting Down 1994

In the late 80's and then through the 90's. I made multiple panel pieces. David Hockney that got me started.  I'd loved his composite photographs, and started taking my own.  They never matched up the way I thought they should, but, in my bad photographer's way, they were quite wonderful in the way they didn't. I would start with someone's head and then work my way down, often turning the camera sideways to accommodate arms and legs, or tails and ears. With the building of my new studio, and the acquisition of large, 30" x 40" trays and a large sink, the sky was the limit.  I made large, anywhere from 24" x 36" to 30" x 40", prints by projecting onto the wall, processing the images, putting them together and then painting over the photographs.

Mostly they didn't sell.  They were hard to show, hard to make slides of to show people, and hard to frame.  They were large and often they were complex in their configuration.  They were expensive, and of course it didn't help that the subject matter was usually pretty tough.  With titles like Man Crying with Red Hands, Bully, and Boy Ghost, one can only imagine how they didn't fly off the gallery walls.  I did sell some, have destroyed quite a few others, but still have the bulk of what I did through those years.

I was recently asked to be in a show curated by Dan Estabrook at the Penland Gallery  called This is a Photograph.  When Dan invited me to be in the show, he specifically asked to choose from one of these multiple panel pieces, and Young Man Sitting Down was one of his selections.  He was so enthusiastic and excited about showing these pieces that it made me remember how excited I had been making them, and now, looking at them again, realizing just how wonderful they are.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Couple Holding Hands 2002

At the age of 4 1/2, Bob remembers kissing me in the back of my mother's station wagon, my mother having gone inside to pay the electric bill.    Not long after that, Bob's family moved to Albuquerque, mine staying in Santa Fe, a distance of some 60 miles.  Time went by, we lived our lives, and then one day, 19 years later, he came looking for me, like a knight in a fairy tale.   Reunited, we became friends, then lovers, then married some 14 years and one daughter later.    A few years later we had a second daughter--this time in wedlock,  much to my mother's great relief.

From the beginning of the rekindling of our "romance", Bob has been the subject of a multitude of images that I've done of him over the years.  I've done strange things to him, photographing him when he was asleep, watching TV, raking leaves in the nude, or simply sitting on the couch sewing, then transforming these photographs into any number of images with titles like "Two Men Inside their Mother", "Stolen Snake" or "Man Waiting to be Held".  One of the biggest pleasures in my working day is when I'm done with a piece and get to watch his face when I show him in his latest incarnation.  He will stand in front of the painting, face serious, not saying anything. Then he will began to nod ever so slightly, and finally he will say ¨that's great".  The last thing is that he'll smile his lovely, warm, big smile that lets me know how pleased he is, once again, that I've turned a photograph into something unexpected and wonderful.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Leaving the Forest 2016

My nephew Sky was born on January 13, 1999.  I was there to help welcome him into the world, staying with my sister, Melisa and her husband Mike, to be that extra set of hands you need when you have a new baby and a toddler on hand.  As the years rolled by, we would only see him and the rest of his family sporadically, maybe once or at best twice a year, separated by mountains and plains. But we knew he was a special kid and were fascinated by this strong and enigmatic boy child.  He didn't need approval, and he wasn't especially outgoing, but what he loved, he loved deeply, and what he loved most was nature and all things that existed in nature.  He grew up with the usual array of dogs and cats, but also with chickens, salamanders, fish, newts, snakes, lizards, geckos, bunnies, and rats; anything he could get in an aquarium or a cage. He was like a wild animal himself:  long long hair at a time when that wasn't what the other boys were doing, watchful, careful, and ever alert. Now he's just turned 17.  Sky is tall, handsome, and athletic and the powerful connection he had with nature has taken a back seat to girls and sports and exams; college and a life away from his home looms on the horizon. I sense that wild connection to nature is still a part of him, but now as a ghost appendage, not as his complete and entire being.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Bob with Garden and Birds 2002

Earlier this year, my husband Bob and I made a bet about an actor in a TV series and I won(of course!).  If he lost, the bet was that he would have to put in a vegetable garden.  So he did.   By early that spring he had brought in concrete blocks to make a wall and added chicken wire to keep the rabbits out.  He mixed in my composted kitchen scraps, bought soil and added that.  He put in drip lines and set the timer, and by mid spring we were eating greens from the garden.  It looked good, everything had come up, the rabbits kept their distance, and we were eating from the garden on a regular basis.  But as the summer wore on, something happened and the garden began, not exactly to fail, but to not thrive the way it had.  There were only a few green beans, we had four turnips, two eggplants, and by now, of course, the greens had gone to seed.  The water ran right through the soil and the concrete blocks onto the ground around the garden, and it became swampy.  The garden looked sad, and except for a few tomatoes, was basically done, the area around it lush with mint, tall grass and weeds.