Sunday, March 15, 2020

Coyote at the Door(Five Trees) 2019

the wolf is at the/(one's) door

Some danger, threat, or calamity imminent or at hand.

Since I don't have photographs of wolves, but only of coyotes, I used a coyote for my canine in Coyote at the Door(Five Trees). The two faces in the windows of the house are my husband and I, but it could be, of course, anyone.  When I made this painting, and two others that are similar, all having to do with canines at the door, I was dealing with friends recently diagnosed with cancer, the ever present threat of climate change, the decline and eventual death of my parents, and political leadership that was(is)terrifying just to name the most obvious.  But little did I know that all of that would become secondary to what seemed like not a big deal at the time--out of China--a flu like illness called Covid 19, or, the Corona Virus. Currently, this is all my friends and family can talk about, and we watch the news and read the internet obsessively to find out the latest.  A week ago, most of us were still taking it lightly, but now, when I go out to shop, I use hand sanitizer after every entrance in and out of a store, and once I get home I wash my hands for 20 seconds with soap and water singing "Happy Birthday to Me" twice.  As well most of us are trying hard not to touch our faces and practicing some form of social isolation(not so hard for an introvert). Shelves are bare of strange things like toilet paper, bottled water and dog food.  All of our plans for travel for the spring have been cancelled, including an opening reception in Tucson at  Etherton Gallery  for a show called Go Figure. The stock market has tanked, and people are becoming more and more frightened as the weeks go by and the numbers of victims goes up.  Who knew that things could get so much worse when they already seemed so bad?

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Five Birds 2020

Finished version(start of the flu), of Five Birds

I finished this piece in my last week at Anderson Ranch this past January. I was there to teach and work on my own art for three weeks in the glorious winter that is Snowmass, Colorado. I was vaguely aware of the fact that I was developing a cough and my joints were starting to ache, but, since I had already been sick with a cold and sinusitis for the past two weeks, I didn't pay much attention.  Things weren't going well as I adhered the pieces to the panel, shifting ever so slightly as I went to but them down.  The bird caught in the man's hand was too low, so I had to peel his body back up, re-cut it to make the body bigger, and then add wings to cover up where I had pulled it up.  In the process, I lost the big bird's hands and had to remake them, and as well, somehow the beak went from being small and sweet to large and threatening. Even the three birds in the trees seemed now to be alarmed rather than interested. And for some, flu connected reason, I thought the legs should be walking instead of standing still.  The image went from being welcoming and sweet to dark and threatening. But it was done, glued down, and there was nothing more I could do.  I cleaned up, wobbled to my room on aching legs, and finally admitted to myself that I was coming down with the flu, realizing Five Birds had become an accurate representation of what the world had become for me.

First (pre-flu) unfinished version of 5 birds

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Figure with Spots(and Open Arms) 2018

The photo that forms the basis of this image was taken from a clipping of some kind showing a woman who was going through chemotherapy, and was bald as a result.  I didn't know the woman(girl?), but I loved the image.  It had a spare honesty that caused me to "borrow" it to use for my own images.  Recently, I've been battling my own health issues and for most of 2020 I've been walking around with what feels like a bucket on my head--sinusitis. But along with my poor health, the world has been hit with the Corona Virus, and when I mention that I had contracted the flu, the first thing people ask me is, "Were you in China?"  The news everyday is a recounting of the number of people who have been afflicted, cruise ships stuck in ports with all aboard quarantined, the daily death toll from the virus, and pictures from China of people being chased and beaten for not having their white masks on.

We live in a germy world, surrounded by viruses and bacteria, not to mention environmental pollutants and toxins.  It almost seems a miracle to me that we do as well as we do, and having just gone through the deaths of my parents at or near the age of 90, who didn't die of any illness, but of just of being old, I have to think that we either dodge those zinging particles of illness and death or we don't.  Either way, we just keep on keeping on, and hoping for the best.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Travelers 2020

In early January of this year I loaded up my little Mazda with it's newly aquired snow tires and headed for Snowmass, Colorado, to teach a three week immersive at Anderson Ranch.  This was my 6th time teaching the Winter Immersive, and I was looking forward to it.  It meant twenty-one cold, snowy, wonderful days in the Colorado Rockies, teaching in the mornings, and cross country skiing in the afternoons, then back to the school to my studio to work on my own. I would visit good friends, spend time with my daughter who lives in Snowmass, and just generally enjoy myself.

But not to be.  On my arrival I noticed a slight drippy nose, then a cough, then of course, the start of a cold. It lasted a few days, then turned into a sinusitis.  After spending a small fortune on humidifiers, herbs, and nose sprays, at the end of the second week I began to feel better.  But again, not to be. To my great dismay, I realized, after a day spent with a dry, hacking cough and muscle aches and joint pains, that I had started up with the flu.  For the next few days I wobbled around campus feeling sorry for myself, finished up with my class, packed, and headed home(which meant a 9 hour drive including a snow covered 10,000 foot pass). Still sick, back home in New Mexico, I marvel that there was ever  a time when I felt well, and wonder that I could have been so cavalier about feeling good.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Quarrel 2000

In 2000, after the Gore/Bush fiasco, when we waited for the Florida votes to be recounted, I thought things had hit a new low.  Everyone was anxious and unhappy as we waited for the results of the vote to come in.  I remember walking around for several weeks with a hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach  Now, at the end of 2019, I look back almost nostalgically--what a sweet and innocent time it was. A few votes gone astray, a president I didn't much like, but, what the heck, in comparison, now it seems like a chapter right our of Leave it to Beaver-"Not to worry. We'll get it all worked out Beav!"

Currently, all seems terrible, horrible, awful: the climate, the shootings in schools, houses of worship or anywhere people gather, the huge schism between left and right, the courts, the enormous discrepancy between the haves and the have-nots, the persistent racism--all the tough issues we thought could be taken care of are now hopelessly lost in a quagmire of anger and hatred. As we roll forward into 2020 I can only hope that, as the poet Robert Bly liked to say, we have to go deep into our ashes-the misery, the hurt and the anger-before we can rise up and see the world in a different way, and that, hopefully, we are at or near the bottom of those ashes. But I think that’s Pollyanna of me. I think we have further down to go, much further, before we can start back up.